As free agency and the draft approach, every team has some level of excitement. Some teams are looking to contend in 2021. Others only want to move in the right direction. However, the NFL is unique in that every team has a chance to win the Super Bowl each season.
At the same time, only one team can lift the Lombardi next February. 31 teams will fall short. Here’s why each team will not have what it takes to win the Super Bowl next year.
Let’s continue into NFC by taking a look at the NFC East.
Washington Football Team
When Ryan Fitzpatrick is on your team, you don’t make the playoffs. Ask the 2015 Jets. Ask the 2020 Dolphins. For some bizarre reason, “Fitzmagic” runs out before January football, leaving his teams in the cold grasp of mediocrity.
Superstitions aside, Washington might have the worst offense in the NFC East in 2021. No matter how dominant the defense might be, Washington will have to move the football. Any offense led by Fitzpatrick, Taylor Heinicke, or *gasp* Mac Jones has a ceiling well below that of a realistic Super Bowl contender.
The defense might regress slightly in 2021. Even with a healthier defensive front, the linebacking corps and secondary are far from special. They rely on the likes of Chase Young and Jonathan Allen to speed up the offense and reduce the number of compromised defensive positions. As impressive as the Washington defense was in 2020, they played a slew of quarterbacks that are far from a murder’s row. Carson Wentz. Daniel Jones. Not Dak Prescott (Andy Dalton and Ben DiNucci). Daniel Jones (again). Not Joe Burrow (Ryan Finley for about 25 minutes). Not Dak Prescott (again, Dalton). Ben Roethlisberger. Nick Mullens. Teddy Bridgewater. Rookie Jalen Hurts. Nate Sudfeld. Yikes.
While Washington will get Jones on the schedule twice again, Jones has a career 100.0 passer rating against the Football Team. Not ideal.
New York Giants
Defensively, the New York Giants overachieved in 2020. For the talent on the roster, they played well above the level one might imagine. If the defense experiences any regression, the Super Bowl window will be closed. While the defense did add pieces such as Adoree’ Jackson and could look to add more in the draft, talent-wise, the Giants do not have the makings of a strong defensive roster. It can be very difficult to replicate a great defense especially when the defense lacks talent as New York does.
Offensively, Daniel Jones is still the quarterback of the Giants. Similar to the blurb featured in the Denver Broncos article, any hope in a quarterback like Jones could blow up in one’s face. The Giants will likely fortify their offensive roster in the draft by adding wide receiver or tight end talent, but it is likely not enough to turn the Duke product into a competent quarterback. Even the arrival of star receiver Kenny Golladay might not be enough to turn Jones from the turnover-prone quarterback that he currently is. Saquon Barkley will be back, but the Giants need better production from 2020 picks Andrew Thomas and Matt Peart.
Dallas Cowboys are the opposite of the aforementioned Giants. While they have all of the talent in the world both on offense and defense, they often can’t get out of their way. On the offensive side, it appears that Ezekiel Elliott is a step slower than he had been in his career. Without the elite back that Elliot once was, the ceiling on the Dallas offense falters slightly. Dak Prescott will be coming back from an injury, and the offensive line is generally injured. Even with a healthy line mixed with a healthy Prescott, the Cowboys will Cowboy their way to several random losses and could miss the playoffs yet again.
Defensively, Dallas has talent, per usual. There is a bevy of stars across the Dallas lineup, both literally on their helmets and figuratively. However, the stars often fail to live up to their billing. Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch, once star-bound linebackers, now tend to be liabilities. The secondary’s best player is Trevon Diggs; that should say enough about how poor the secondary might be in 2021, even if the Cowboys spend their 10th overall pick on a cornerback or safety. Part of a strong defense is coaching, and the Cowboys will be coached by Dan Quinn in 2021, a coach famous for having fairly irrelevant defenses most of his tenure with the Atlanta Falcons. Even if Quinn can re-capture his magic from the Legion of Boom-era Seattle Seahawks, the Cowboys do not have future Hall of Fame talents such as Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, or Earl Thomas.
Even if Jalen Hurts makes a Lamar Jackson-like jump in his second year, the Eagles, similar to the Cowboys, will Eagle their way too many losses. While some of the star power on the Eagles stands out such as Hurts, Miles Sanders, and Dallas Goedert, there are many questions. In 2020, the offensive line was in shambles, and one may expect that the injuries could lead into 2021. If the Eagles are fully healthy on the offense, you might look to the defense and find more injuries.
With a secondary that features Darius Slay and several tackling dummies, one cannot trust the Eagles to defend any sort of passing attack. Your local high school may be able to throw for 300 yards on the Eagles. Even if the Eagles were able to snag a star cornerback such as Jaycee Horn out of South Carolina or Patrick Surtain II out of Alabama, it would be a full fly zone in Philadelphia. The front seven, per usual, is strong, but its Swiss cheese secondary will not do. Expect Eagles fans to do a lot of booing as Santa Claus drops yet another losing season in the City of Brotherly Love. Maybe, they should’ve taken Jordan Love in 2020.
Are you an optimist? All four of these teams have a chance to win the Lombardi.