NFL - 5 Teams to Watch in 2018
The 2018 NFL Season looks to have many teams who have improved. Here are the five we think you should keep an eye out for.
It's truly been the most interesting offseason for quite some time, with many teams making major moves and a lot of promising draft picks. Here are just some of the teams you should be keeping an eye on this season:
The Browns certainly have the potential to be the most improved team in the NFL this year. With the 1st and 4th picks in this year’s draft, they were able to select Baker Mayfield who will hopefully be their long-awaited and long-term quarterback for the future while also solidifying their defense which was surprisingly decent in 2017.
There receiving corps is also looking very strong this year, picking up former Miami wide receiver Jarvis Landry who is a top threat. As well as this, cult legend Josh Gordon who has been in and out of the league with drug offenses but has shown on multiple occasions that he is the real deal and can be a top receiver in the league if given the chance.
Prediction: The Browns finally look like they’ve got the pieces for a decent team. However it might take a year or two for all the pieces to gel together like we’ve seen with the Rams. I predict they go 7-9 and miss the playoffs.
Los Angeles Rams:
The Rams out of nowhere produced some stellar football in the 2017 season but disappointingly lost in their first Playoff game. Instead of resting on their laurels with their already good team, they’ve made a big splash this offseason with some key additions.
They’ve been able to add former Patriots receiver Brandin Cooks who is a constant deep threat with blistering speed. He will compliment fellow receivers Woods and Kupp well with what should be one of the league’s top passing games to go with last year’s best running back, Todd Gurley. What’s more is they’ve been able to improve on their great defensive group from last season, adding Ndamukong Suh to their strong defensive line, as well as a couple of big defensive back signings.
Prediction: The Rams are the real deal. Not only should they be able to match their very impressive season last year, but they’ve made key pickups which given undoubtedly put them right up there with the Superbowl contenders. I predict they win the NFC West, going 13-3.
Green Bay Packers:
It was a very difficult season to watch last year for the Packers. Rodgers went down early in the season and with him, so did the Packers’ hopes for the playoffs. But Rodgers is back and he has a new toy to play with.
Yes, the former MVP and Superbowl winner finally has a good tight end to throw to, Jimmy Graham. Graham has been one of the top tight ends in the league for almost a decade and remains a big threat anywhere on the field. While Rodgers has always had good receivers to throw to, he’s never had a tight end anywhere near the calibre of Graham. The Rodgers-Graham connection will be something to watch in the 2018 season. However, the Packers defense remains the big concern. No major signings this offseason means they’re relying heavily on young draftees to pick up the slack.
Prediction: Rodgers being healthy automatically throws the Packers into Superbowl contention. If he remains healthy, I expect them to be competing for the division title with Minnesota and finish around 10-6. I don’t think they have the defense to make it back to the Superbowl though.
San Francisco 49ers:
The 49ers were in a dark place a year ago. But what a difference a year can make. A mid-season trade last year with the Patriots to send quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to San Fran looks to have been a trade for the ages, with the 49ers finishing the season with a flurry of points and also wins.
They by no means have a top roster, but they’ve certainly filled a number of gaps which were keeping them at the bottom of the league. A couple of key defensive additions will really help plug some holes but there’s no hiding the fact that Garoppolo fills the true hole they had. With a decent quarterback to work with, keep an eye out for Marquise Goodwin who is one of the speediest receivers in the league and can burn defenses on regular occasions.
Prediction: A quarterback isn’t everything but it certainly means a lot. The 49ers’ issue is their tough, tough division which makes it hard for them to make the playoffs. I see them going 9-7 but this record may not be good enough to see them back in the postseason.
The Broncos fans have been used to success in recent years but last year was certainly not fun for them. The lack of consistency at quarterback made it impossible to get on any sort of role. But those days may already be over after the signing of former Vikings QB Case Keenum.
Keenum was unbelievable at Minnesota last year, almost leading them all the way to a Superbowl. If he produces a similar level of performance at Denver, the league better watch out again. However, it remains unclear if Denver’s once-outstanding defense is still at that elite level. Constant turnovers on offense made it difficult to properly determine how good their defense was last season but we’ll certainly learn where they’re at early in the season.
Prediction: The Broncos are in an interesting division where anyone could win it. They’ll probably need to go 11-5 to win it and I’m not confident they will. I think their defense isn’t what it once was and a lack of a good running back will hurt them. I think they’ll go 8-8 and need to fill in some more pieces next offseason.