5 teams under the most pressure for 2019


Football season is still a torturous 12 weeks away (excluding preseason), but for 5 teams, three months might not be enough to get them ready. They’re going to under extra pressure come Sept. 5. Here they are in no particular order.

Kansas City Chiefs- 2018 record: 12-4, AFC West champions

2018 was a record-breaking year for the Chiefs, not only for rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes but for wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce as well. It likely would have been for running back Kareem Hunt as well had he not gotten kicked off the team at the end of November.

This season, all eyes will be on Kansas City as they attempt to hang onto their title of division champs. The AFC West has seen some pretty big off-season additions with Antonio Brown settling in with the Oakland Raiders and Joe Flacco joining the Denver Broncos. Not to mention, the LA Chargers gave the Chiefs a run for their money last season.


Kickoff this year will bring a team that has had an entire offseason to adjust to Hunt’s absence. It will have also given Mahomes a chance to form chemistry with some other receivers as Hill is awaiting a ruling of his own from the league which could leave a Pro Bowl-sized hole in the offense.

The Chiefs have a relatively young starting team with only two players, punter Dustin Colquitt and backup quarterback Chad Henne, over 30. This is a team that is expected to dominate for at least a few more seasons. After a stellar performance in 2018, can the Chiefs continue this upward trajectory?


Los Angeles Chargers- 2018 record: 12-4, 2nd Place AFC West

The Bolts 2018 season bore many similarities to the Chiefs. Both ended with 12-4 records, the Chiefs managed to get first due to a divisional loss on the Bolts’ part. Both had their seasons end against the Patriots in the postseason, and both teams shocked the football nation.

On the heels of multiple “bad” seasons, the Bolts were expected go nowhere fast, as per usual. This season will be a test to see if last season was a fluke due to a combination of an easy schedule and bad calls.

While the Bolts certainly received more than their fair share of calls in their favor last season, their schedule was far from easy and 2019 will be equally as hard, if not harder. Not to mention, since their move from San Diego in 2017, the Bolts hardly find a reprieve in their “home” games because LA doesn’t want them there. Two years into it, they’re starting to figure out how to win as the perpetual underdog.


The Bolts will have the same strong players as last year helping them prove themselves. Plus, if the powers that be feel that the Bolts offense is lacking, Antonio Gates is still residing in free agency hoping to be picked up for another season. His history with Philip Rivers speaks for itself.

With Father Time nipping at their heels, both Gates and Rivers have proven time and time again that age is just a number. Critics, as usual, are already predicting that a mediocre season is a best-case scenario for the Bolts. They’ll have pressure to surpass that expectation.

Los Angeles Rams-2018 record: 13-3, NFC West Champions

The City of Angels will be under extra pressure this year as both of their local teams will be under scrutiny. The Rams 2018 season came to an end in the Super Bowl against, yet again, the Patriots. They played really well. In fact, they’ve played really well the past couple of seasons since Jared Goff took off.

Goff has become something of a sophomore sensation and never looked back. Now the Rams lost the 2017 season in the Wild Card round of the playoffs against the Atlanta Falcons. Then last year, on a call so bad it changed the rules for the 2019 season, the Rams beat the New Orleans Saints to advance to the Super Bowl.

With Goff leading the air game and throwing to Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods and Todd Gurley controlling the ground, a win against the Patriots should have been a walk in the park. It wasn’t. The Rams reign as a top team should be far from over, but the pressure will be on for the second half of the season.

The Rams always come out the gate hot but usually start to falter towards the end. They still get wins but the separation in scores lessen or they don’t play as they should in the playoffs. Will the Rams continue to prove the old adage true: Always be the bridesmaid and never the bride?

Cleveland Browns-2018 record: 7-8-1, 3rd Place AFC North

Last season, the Browns put a W in the books for the first time since 2016. In fact, they put seven wins in the books. If it hadn’t been for Baker Mayfield, the Browns might still be stuck with a tie as the only highlight in three seasons. Now Mayfield will be returning with some professional experience under his belt and some promising additions to his squad.

Veterans Odell Beckham Jr. and the aforementioned Hunt will be suiting up in Browns uniforms this year, although Hunt will be joining the squad at a much later date when his suspension is lifted. Plus, crazy as it may seem for a team that couldn’t manage a win two seasons in a row, they actually have an opportunity to win their division.

The Baltimore Ravens recently parted ways with longtime QB in Flacco, entrusting their season to Lamar Jackson. The Cincinnati Bengals have had a rough few seasons with Andy Dalton at the helm and he’ll be returning from season-ending surgery to his thumb. Ben Roethlisberger is still leading the charge in Pittsburgh, but age has not been kind to Big Ben. He is showing all sorts of signs of slowing down and this season he’ll be missing Antonio Brown.

For the first time in a long time, the league might have a reason to be nervous about the Browns. All eyes will be on them to see if it’s true.

Philadelphia Eagles- 2018 record: 9-7, 2nd Place NFC East

The Eagles have had an interesting past couple of years as they’ve dominated the NFC East. Both seasons, the team has made the playoffs but unlike most teams, both times they’ve done it with two different QBs-Carson Wentz and Nick Foles.

Granted, the first year, Wentz injured his knee and the Eagles had no choice but to put Foles in. Then magic happened. The team played as if they weren’t playing with the backup. In fact, some might have even argued that they were better.

Foles marched them straight to a Super Bowl matchup against the Patriots. The team played so well under Foles, so when Wentz was ready to go in 2018, the question was who was going to start. Foles played two games before passing the ball to Wentz who played until he got injured…again.

Foles saved the season again marching the Eagles, proving that his chemistry with the team was just as strong, even though they did not make another Super Bowl appearance. This season finds Foles in Jacksonville so if/when Wentz inevitably gets hurt again, can the Eagles still be a powerhouse with the new backup? The Eagles organization seem to think so. It’s up to the team to prove it.

As always, winning (and losing) is a team effort. These teams will have to work extra hard to live up to their expectations, or in the Chargers case, surpass expectations. Will these teams be up for it? That remains to be seen.


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