Each year there’s a handful of teams who turn it around. Here’s four teams who missed out on the playoffs in 2019, who’ll expect to get there this year.
The Steelers had a middle of the road 8-8 season last year. Mainly thanks to a stellar defence but poor offensive production. Two time Superbowl winning QB Ben Roethlisberger missed most of the season due to injury but is back healthy. With Big Ben back behind centre the Steelers should see a big improvement from their offensive unit which finished 30th in yards and 27th in points scored.
Their defence doesn’t require much improvement, they were joint 1st in yards allowed per play, 5th in yards and 6th in points against last term. Even a slight decline in their defensive play should be more than compensated by having a competitive offence.
Jacoby Brissett had spent years learning from two of the greats; a year with Tom Brady at the Patriots then two behind Andrew Luck. Following Luck’s surprising retirement last summer Brissett had the world at his feet; playing behind a strong line with decent weapons to work with. Unfortunately for him it didn’t go so well, injuries and poor performance lead the Colts to going 7-9 and finishing 3rd in the AFC South.
In comes free agent Philip Rivers, who many see as a big upgrade on the aforementioned Brissett. Alongside 8 time Probowler Rivers, the Colts traded for defensive tackle DeForest Buckner and added former All-Pro safety Xavier Rhodes to sure up the defence. In a division with the Texans and Titans it won’t be easy, but the Colts have a great shot at making the playoffs.
Welcome to the revolution. It started in early January when the Cowboys brought in Superbowl winning head coach Mike McCarthy. It continued later that month Mike Nolan got on board as defensive coordinator. In March the Cowboys selected the highly touted CeeDee Lamb to add to an already top heavy wide receiver collection. The days of “consistent” Jason Garret at the helm are long gone and here are the new, exciting, Cowboys.
That’s the plan anyway. The big question marks are on the defence after losing star corner Byron Jones and sack leader Robert Quinn. Mike Nolan’s new “hybrid” scheme may take some getting used to. But if the defence can play it’s part, with that offence; the Cowboys should make a deep playoff run.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It can be argued, quite easily, that Tom Brady’s receivers weren’t all that in the last few years of his tenure in New England. In joining Tampa, Brady now has the most talented set of weapons he’s ever had. This term Brady will have the dangerous pairing of Goodwin and Evans, who both made the Probowl last year. His buddy Gronk is along for the ride too joining talented young tight end O.J. Howard to give Brady plenty of options to work with. Throw in the Buccs up and coming defence, a lot of hype and a smart QB friendly head coach Bruce Arians; it’s no surprise Tampa are the bookies 5th favourite to win it all.