With the start of every NFL season comes a sense of optimism from all 32 teams in the NFL. Still, we can’t help but notice that there are some franchises coming off of terrible seasons. How will they stack up against the rest of the league? The following is, in my not-quite-humble opinion, the best case scenario for some of the worst teams in the NFL.
Kansas City Chiefs, Best Case Scenario: 11-5
The Chiefs picked first overall in April’s draft, but this year’s team will be nothing like last year’s team. It all starts and ends with head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Alex Smith. Both are new faces to the franchise, and they both carry success and confidence to a team that’s sorely lacked both traits in recent years. In addition to new leadership, the Chiefs play a very manageable schedule. An 11-5 record may be a long shot, but the playoffs are a distinct possibility.
Jacksonville Jaguars, Best Case Scenario: 9-7
No, I don’t think the Jaguars will post a winning record in 2013, but unlike a couple of teams on this list, there’s potential to do so in Jacksonville. The Jaguars will be getting back Maurice Jones-Drew, there best player, as well as putting vastly better offensive line on the field this season than they did last season. If Gus Bradley can get the defense to an average level, Blaine Gabbert and/or Chad Henne may be able to run a functional offense with the weapons they have.
Oakland Raiders, Best Case Scenario: 6-10
It’s ugly in Oakland, and there’s just no way around it. The Raiders have a very limited pool of talent, and it’s unfair to believe that they can turn it around considering a lackluster offseason. They’ll be replacing a largely ineffective Carson Palmer with an unproven Matt Flynn. That’s probably not a recipe for success. Don’t be surprised to see the Raiders blow it up at the end of the season — again.
Cleveland Browns, Best Case Scenario: 5-11
I’m giving the Browns a chance at pulling down a 5-11 record, even though my gut tells me they may be picking first overall in next year’s draft. The Browns are betting that their not-so-young second year quarterback improves a great deal, but he has few weapons to help him on offense. In addition, the Browns are outclassed by the rest of the teams in their division by miles in the talent department. Browns fans are in for another long season.
Arizona Cardinals, Best Case Scenario: 9-7
There are certainly better teams in the NFL than the Cardinals, but there are worse teams as well. The Cardinals will be relying on new leadership much like the Chiefs. Quarterback Carson Palmer will have a better set of receivers than he did in Oakland, and Bruce Arians led the most overachieving team in the league a season ago, the Colts, to an improbable playoff birth. The Cardinals would need an extraordinary effort to make a playoff push, but don’t be stunned if they spoil someone’s season late in the year.
Why weren’t the [insert team name here] mentioned?
Frankly, some teams that finished near the bottom of the standings a year ago had no business being in an article about the worst teams in the league. The Eagles? Yeah, they have some talent. The Lions? They have huge potential on offense. I picked the teams I felt were and are the worst in the league, with the exception of the Chiefs. They made the list simply because they picked number one overall. I had to give them a best case scenario, right?