Predicting Three New NFL Playoff Teams this Seasonby Ben Fadden September 7, 2021 0 comments
The National Football League season gets underway this Thursday night from Raymond James Stadium. As we lead up to another NFL season, many teams are confident in their chances of making the playoffs. The Kansas City Chiefs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Buffalo Bills are the most confident because they’re the best teams. But what about the teams that didn’t make the playoffs last season?
The Jacksonville Jaguars and Detroit Lions should not be confident. However, there are some interesting teams out there this season, such as the Los Angeles Chargers and Miami Dolphins with young quarterbacks surrounded with talent. But let’s focus on three specific organizations today. Here are three teams who will make the playoffs this season despite missing out on the party last season.
Last year was a weird year and that was no exception with the Cowboys. If the Atlanta Falcons hadn’t screwed up an onside kick recovery, they would have started out the season 0-4. Then quarterback, Dak Prescott, endured what was a season-ending injury. This almost instantaneously ended any playoff ambitions that the team had in 2020. Despite this, they finished 6-10 and tied for second place in the NFC East. However, this year’s a different year.
Prescott is healthy and is confident going into the season. Ezekiel Elliott, who led the league in rushing in 2018, is in the “best shape of his life” after getting his diet in check. Dallas’ defense might not be strong but they are improved with the addition of Micah Parsons via the draft.
The Cowboys are also well-positioned this year due to the teams around them. The Philadelphia Eagles are in rebuilding mode. The New York Giants have more questions around their quarterback than answers. In addition to Ryan Fitzpatrick not moving the needle much at quarterback in Washington, despite a stellar defense. The Cowboys, meanwhile, have their best players back and are geared with one of the most talented offenses in the league. Not to mention the league’s second easiest schedule. They are set up better than any other team to win the NFC East.
New England Patriots
This one might come as an obvious one. Everyone is jumping on the Patriots bandwagon and rightfully so. Mac Jones outplayed Cam Newton in the preseason and that’s part of the reason why Newton is looking for a job. He’s set up to lead the Patriots to the playoffs in his rookie year because Josh McDaniels has essentially coached Jones for over ten years because Jones and Tom Brady have a similar playing style.
Additionally, New England vastly improved their team. Offensively, the Patriots signed Hunter Henry, Nelson Agholor, and Jonnu Smith. Defensively, they brought in Jalen Mills and Matt Judon, among others. Bill Belichick didn’t spend a bunch of money to miss out on the playoffs. Not even mentioning New England is also getting back the heart and soul of their defense, Dont’a Hightower. The linebacker opted out of the 2020 season due to Covid-19 concerns. If you just eyeball their schedule, they are a 10 win team and that should be good enough for the playoffs.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers are another team who look destined for the playoffs in the NFC. First off, they are back to being healthy. Although some aren’t on the roster currently, they had 31 players on injured reserve last season. Richard Sherman, Solomon Thomas, Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, George Kittle, and Raheem Mostert all missed games at one point or another. That many injuries to core players would have ravaged just about any other team as well. The odds are the injuries won’t stack up again, and when the 49ers are healthy, they’re one of the better teams in the NFC.
Jimmy Garoppolo also was hurt last year but he’s healthy now. There are a lot of people questioning how efficient Garoppolo will be going into the season. However, a big reason why the 49ers are set up for playoffs is the man behind him. Trey Lance showed flashes of brilliance in the preseason and could benefit from getting into the game for a couple of plays for the first part of the season before becoming the starter. If Garoppolo struggles or goes down, the 49ers still have a shot to win with Lance. San Francisco also has the easiest schedule in the NFL based on last year’s records. This year they have matchups with the likes of the Cincinnati Bengals and Houston Texans. In addition to the aforementioned Lions, Falcons, and Jaguars as well.
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