What an end to a very weird season.
In a season in which a 2018 All-Injured team would probably have beaten the 2018 All-Pro lineup, the playoffs featured many unusual and intriguing match-ups. The AFC featured a Titans comeback over the Chiefs, a Jaguars upset on the Steelers, and a predictable Patriots Super Bowl run. In the NFC, nearly every week featured an upset, including the Eagles shellacking of Minnesota on their way to a surprise Super Bowl victory. Minnesota barely even squeaked into that game, but found hope after Stefon Diggs’ “Minnesota Miracle”. This offseason should have a lot of trades, free agent acquisitions and draft picks that drastically improve or worsen teams, but for now, here are the top 10 teams going into the 2018 offseason.
1. Philadelphia Eagles
2. New England Patriots
The Eagles are fresh off of a Super Bowl victory, which is only partially the reason for their placement atop this list. They also possess the deepest and most talented roster in the league, as shown by their terrific Super Bowl run. In addition to getting MVP candidate Carson Wentz back at quarterback, they also get star left tackle Jason Peters and second round draft pick Sidney Jones at cornerback. With limited roster turnover expected in the offseason, the Eagles are prepared to repeat. Meanwhile, the Patriots seem to be in the midst of a transition phase, with McDaniels seemingly preparing to take over and Gronkowski contemplating retirement. However, the Patriots still have Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, which puts them in contention every year. Although Malcolm Butler is leaving, the return of Edelman and Hightower bring back two of the team’s best players for next season.
3. New Orleans Saints
4. Los Angeles Rams
5. Atlanta Falcons
6. Minnesota Vikings
One fluke play away from the NFC Championship game, the Saints have a roster chock full of outstanding young talent and a Hall of Fame quarterback to match. With a playoff caliber head coach in Sean Payton as well, they should be able to challenge the Eagle’s supremacy in the NFC. After taking home offensive player, defensive player, and coach of the year, the Rams are primed for another big year. With Jared Goff gaining more big game experience, the Rams could push for playoff run. A bit higher than one would expect, the Falcons have a well balanced roster that should continue to improve under the tutelage of Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff. With a year under his belt, Sarkisian is expected to turn around the offense in Year 2 just as Kyle Shanahan did. Although the Vikings are getting back Dalvin Cook, the major quarterback questions and the self implosion during the NFC Championship game could limit their success. They have an elite defense and explosive offense, but even a returning Case Keenum doesn’t guarantee success.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
8. Pittsburgh Steelers
9. Dallas Cowboys
10. Kansas City Chiefs
Even with Blake Bortles at quarterback, the Jaguars were able to put up a fight with New England in the AFC Championship. The defense is so deep and talented that they will always give their team a chance. After a stunning playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Steelers seem to be facing internal problems. The status of Le’Veon Bell will need to be monitered, but Antonio Brown and Big Ben can still put up points. The defense sans Ryan Shazier will continue to be a weak point. Getting Ezekiel Elliott back for a whole season will completely revitalize the Cowboys and put them back in the heart of the playoff race. Although Dez Bryant is questionable to return next year, Zeke and Dak can carry the offense. The defense has begun to emerge as well, with Demarcus Lawrence turning in an excellent 2017 season. Even after the stunning move to trade Alex Smith, the Chiefs are poised to win their division. Pat Mahomes adds to an offense that already contains many explosive players and a head coach that knows how to use them. The defense is the definite weak spot of the team, but the return of Eric Berry will work wonders.