AFC and NFC dark horses for the 2018 NFL season
Here we are late May and I’m already mock drafting. If you’re like me the NFL season never ends, and sometimes the offseason is just as fun, or even more interesting than the actual season; However come the 2018 season, I know my tune will change. Now that the draft is finally over, and players have found new homes, we now have an idea of what most teams will look like as we head into training camp.
Some teams made some drastic changes to their teams, others made head scratching movies that we just can’t seem to understand, but let’s have some fun here and take a look back at the 2017 LA Rams. For the last decade prior of 2017 they were one of the biggest jokes in the NFL. Jeff Fischer had a lot to do with that, but they bring in this young stud in Sean McVay, and quickly they became the Cinderella story of last season. So looking ahead who will be the teams to fill that role this season. Here are my two teams from the AFC and NFC that fit those roles perfectly.
The Cleveland Browns
Obviously this was coming up. How could it not? I get the fact that they made another bone-headed move in the eyes of many by drafting Baker Mayfield number 1 overall, but the talent surrounding this team drowns out the Mayfield move. You still need a franchise quarterback to succeed, but last season Jared Goff did not play lights out football either. The Rams fed Todd Gurley a lot, and they surrounded him with a one of the best defenses in football last year, and that was enough to help diminish some of Goff’s woes.
The Browns wasted to time in adding Jarvis Landry, and Carlos Hyde. Although the Carlos Hyde move just makes this whole scenario very cloudy, especially for fantasy purposes, because you now have a loaded backfield with Duke Johnson, and Nick Chubb, who might even end up as the starter in 2018. The Browns also have their wide receiver depth chart flooded with talent, Hard Knocks will be very interesting to see who steps up, but if you need something else to get excited for Josh Gordon is returning finally after dealing with some personal issues, and Corey Coleman should enter the season healthy. Don’t forget about Jarvis Landry possibly leading that entire receiving corps.
Cleveland beefed up their defense as well when they added Denzel Ward, and now, well at least on paper they’re the second best team in the AFC North. Todd Haley was also named the offensive coordinator. This could all be thrown out the window, and the Browns got us excited for nothing, and pull the most Browns thing ever and go 3-13, but for 2018 the Cleveland Browns are my version of the 2017 LA Rams to make the postseason.
The San Francisco 49ers
No surprise here. I’m sure the 49ers will be on a lot of analysts lists when it comes to teams to make the post-season this season that didn’t make it last season. One of those reasons is handsome Jimmy G. Each season is a new story for each team, but the 49ers have a lot to be excited for this season. The have their franchise quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo who came from the Patriots system, and once he took over after sitting on the bench for a few weeks the Niners went on to win their last five games.
Stud running back Jerrick McKinnon was also signed in place of Carlos Hyde, and McKinnon brings a different run and play style to the backfield. A few offensive lineman, and defensive pieces were also re-signed. Say what you want about the man, but the signing of Richard Sherman also brings some spice to that Niners defense, and those divisional games versus the Rams and Seahawks are sure going to be interesting to watch. Don’t be surprised if those three NFC West teams make the post-season this upcoming year, but I expect San Fran to be in the mix.
Agree or disagree? Let’s talk about it. Follow me on Twitter @itslandoyo and you can always submit your questions to the site to possibly be featured on our weekly MFST podcast.