Following up on my earlier article, there are certainly some teams who have been hurt by events during this offseason. Losing major free agents, potential draft mistakes, or some teams effected by improvements in their division. Here is a list of 6 teams I believe will regress in 2020, some more than others.
New England Patriots, 12-4, 1st in AFC East
This is an obvious choice. The Patriots lost their leader, their franchise quarterback, Tom Brady to free agency this past offseason. They also lost defensive playmakers Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins, while the rest of the oldest roster in the NFL is another year older. The biggest issue with this team however was their lack of moves this offseason to improve. Their draft strategy was odd, getting no offensive playmakers and taking no name defensive players. They also did not acquire any big names, or offensive players in free agency. I know this is how Bellicheck does it, but it seems unlikely to work in 2020.
Houston Texans, 10-6, 1st in AFC South
The Texans demise is going to fall on one man, and one man only; Bill O’Brien. He has proved quite inept as a general manager, and proved it this offseason by losing his franchise receiver, Deandre Hopkins, for a half-sandwich. They brought in a few names on offense in David Johnson and Brandin Cooks, but it does not make up for the loss. They did not properly address their defensive and offensive line issues in free agency or the draft, and it is easy to see the Texans falling out of the playoffs next season.
Baltimore Ravens, 14-2, 1st in AFC East
The Ravens being on this list has little to do with their roster, but more to do with an improving division and the likelihood of regression. It is nearly impossible for Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram to replicate their career years from a year ago. It is likely that teams will be better prepared to slow this offense down. As well, all 3 other teams in the AFC North have made key additions, and addressed key team needs, making their schedule that much more difficult. I’m not knocking Baltimore out out of the playoffs; just don’t expect another 14-2, one-seed.
Green Bay Packers, 13-3, 1st in NFC North
The Packers were a game away from the Super Bowl last season, in a resurgent year for Rodgers and their defense. However, it is difficult to see that happening again, especially after this offseason. They drafted a backup QB and RB in the draft, when the starters at those positions are two of their best players. They did not improve the defense, and lost their best starting linebacker; Blake Martinez. Even their offensive line saw little to no improvement in free agency or early draft picks, so expect a drop off for Green Bay.
New Orleans Saints, 13-3, 1st in NFC South
The Saints, similarly to the Ravens, do not deserve to be on this list from their own merit. They made decent additions in Cesar Ruiz in the draft, and Emmanuel Sanders in free agency to help their offense. However, they did not bring in any standout defensive players, and are in a division with three improving rosters. Expect an improvement from Tampa Bay, Atlanta and Carolina next season due to their offseason moves, with the Saints still in playoff contention.
Los Angeles Rams, 9-7, 3rd in NFC West
The Rams are just a year and a half removed from a 13-6 Super Bowl loss to New England, and may well finish last in their division this season. The 49ers and Seahawks continue to surround their franchise quarterback with help, and the Cardinals had an excellent offseason. The Rams lost running back Todd Gurley, and Cooks in that trade with Houston. Their up-tempo offense, and Jared Goff was very underwhelming last season, showing now signs of improvement. They are gonna need a big step-forward from their defense, and a few previous backups on offense to step up for what they lost; if LA wants to stand a chance at the playoffs this season.