In the never-ending quest to determine who the best team is in each league we will start with the NFL. It feels like yesterday that Tom Brady and the Patriots came back from 25 points down in Super Bowl LI giving Brady and the Patriots their fifth title. However, there is no rest in the NFL as the league’s scouting combine begins next week at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Starting with no shock, the Patriots are number one, but have a lot of question marks going into the offseason.
1. New England Patriots (14-2)
There is no reason why the Patriots would not be number one after winning one of the best Super Bowl games ever played. They have the golden boy at quarterback in Tom Brady and the mastermind at head coach in Bill Belichick. However, if the Patriots are to repeat and tie the Steelers with six Super Bowl titles next season they will need to figure out the 21 free agents they have this offseason.
2. Dallas Cowboys (13-3)
This team is loaded and could easily make their own run at a sixth Super Bowl title next season. The biggest question for Dallas, what are they going to do with Tony Romo?
3. Atlanta Falcons (11-5)
It will be interesting to see how the Falcons respond with Kyle Shannahan moving on to San Francisco. Something tells me that Steve Sarkasian is not the answer in the ATL.
4. Seattle Seahawks (10-5-1)
Earl Thomas returning will bring the defense back up to the elite status that we have become accustomed to in the past five or so years. The biggest question facing Seattle is how much they address an absolutely atrocious offensive line.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)
One of the more intriguing stories that has taken a backseat in recent weeks is the possibility of Ben Roethlisberger retiring this offseason. Something tells me he will remain on the team, but even if he does retire the Steelers are still set on offense.
6. Oakland Raiders (12-4)
The injury bug came down hard on the Raiders at the end of the season as rising star Derek Carr had his leg broken. I expect the Carr and the Raiders to bounce back easily and quite possibly have a better season than they did last year.
7. Green Bay Packers (10-6)
The most confusing team in the entire NFL, they were dead in the water until a hot streak to end all hot streaks placed them in the NFC Championship. Defensive depth at any and all positions needs to be addressed to help Aaron Rodgers and the offense in Green Bay.
8. Kansas City Chiefs (12-4)
The Chiefs were riding high with a dominating defense and offensive playmakers in Travis Kelce and the explosive Tyreek Hill until they laid an egg in the divisional playoff game against the Steelers. I would not be surprised to see the Chiefs draft a quarterback higher than what people think as Alex Smith is really put on trial next season.
9. New York Giants (11-5)
The Boat Boys will be more than set next year, hopefully learning and moving on from their Miami trip the Monday before a playoff game. A solid tight end or possible other receiving option for Eli Manning should be what New York focuses on this offseason.
10. Washington Redskins (8-7-1)
How will the Washington handle the Kirk Cousins situation this offseason? Cousins definitely wants to return to the capital city and I think it will be through a franchise tag for next year.
11. Carolina Panthers (6-10)
Cam Newton was brought back to Earth after an MVP season in 2015 and the defense was abysmal at times without All-Pro Josh Norman. Carolina desperately needs offensive line and/or running back help to fit with their star at quarterback.
12. Denver Broncos (9-7)
Trevor Siemian? Paxton Lynch? Tony Romo? Who is going to play quarterback for this team in 2017?
13. Houston Texans (9-7)
Another landing spot for Tony Romo, there is no question that the Texans need to move on from $72 million man Brock Osweiler. The defense is too good to not have a reliable arm at quarterback.
14. Detroit Lions (9-7)
The comeback kids who were a win away from winning the NFC North will need to give serious attention to resigning Matt Stafford as he will be a free agent next season.
15. Miami Dolphins (10-6)
Like the Raiders, the quarterback injury bug hit the Dolphins hard as Ryan Tannehill tore his ACL near the end of the regular season. The Dolphins really need to address the defense, especially linebacker, during the offseason.
16. Arizona Cardinals (7-8-1)
Suddenly, the Cardinals are a really old team, especially on offense. They will need to figure it out with Carson Palmer or someone else at QB to get back into the playoffs next season.
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7)
A team that is underrated in my opinion has a lot of weapons on offense and money to blow on big name free agents, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
18. Baltimore Ravens (8-8)
The Ravens need to figure out an inconsistent offense and are very much playing to save Jim Harbaugh’s job in 2017.
19. Tennessee Titans (9-7)
Marcus Mariota needs some weapons to throw to other than Delainie Walker. How far can this team go with two work horse running backs in DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry in a pass-first league?
20. Indianapolis Colts (8-8)
Help poor Andrew Luck out somewhere, anywhere. This poor man has been getting murdered on Sundays so maybe start with some semblance of an offensive line next year.
21. Minnesota Vikings (8-8)
Will Teddy Bridgewater return this season or will he even return at all? The defense also needs to figure it out next season if the Vikings are to rely again on Sam Bradford.
22. Cincinnati Bengals (6-9-1)
A disappointing year after five straight years of making the playoffs in Cincinnati. If they do not make and win some playoff games next season Marvin Lewis has to go, right?
23. Buffalo Bills (7-9)
A new coach with a defensive mind has a lot to work with in 2016 draft picks Shaq Lawsonand Reggie Ragland. Obviously, the biggest question facing the Bills in the offseason is what they are going to do with quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
24. Philadelphia Eagles (7-9)
A 3-1 start to the year had Eagles fans riding high and feeling confident with rookie quarterback Carson Wentz. Then the floor fell out from under them and Philadelphia stumbled to a 7-9 record. Wentz will need to have a bounce back year in his second year or the Eagles could very well be looking for a quarterback again in 2018.
25. New Orleans Saints (7-9)
How many good years does Drew Brees have left in him in the Big Easy? Will this defense ever figure it out? How does Sean Payton still have a job? There are a lot of unanswered questions for a fairly below average team.
26. Los Angeles Rams (4-12)
The walking embodiment of a 7-9 record Jeff Fisher was finally, mercifully let go in Los Angeles towards the end of last season. Where will 31-year old head coach Sean McVay and second year quarterback Jared Goff take this team next year?
27. Los Angeles Chargers (5-11)
The Rams’ new neighbor has a lot of questions starting with who is even going to show up to their 30,000 seat stadium?
28. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-13)
Jesus Christ is Blake Bortles bad or what? The human “Pick-6” is going to be on the shortest of short leashes next season if he even gets a chance.
29. New York Jets (5-11)
A dumpster fire’s dumpster fire the Jets may have three quarterbacks on their roster next year that were not with the team at all in 2016.
30. Chicago Bears (3-13)
Jordan Howard had a great season last year but that was about it in Chicago. Does Brian Hoyer actually win the Opening Day start next season over lightning rod quarterback Jay Cutler?
31. San Francisco 49ers (2-14)
Shocking upset, Chip Kelly could not figure it out in San Francisco. This team is just plain awful and has no clue what they are doing.
32. Cleveland Browns (1-15)
Do they go with stud defensive star Myles Garrett or do they quarterback? Either way this team is years away from even making noise in the AFC.