• Best of the Bad


    Every year, some team makes the jump from the bottom of the league into the playoffs. Which of the 12+ loss teams from last year has the best chance at the postseason?

    1. Eagles (4-12). New coach, new schemes, the Eagles are the great unknown in a division up for grabs. They have talent on offense in Vick, McCoy and DeSean Jackson. They also get LT Jason Peters back. No one has any idea what the defense will look like.

    2. Lions (4-12). Huge step back last year after their breakout season in '11. Calvin Johnson is good (<-that's the kind of in depth, out on a limb analysis for which I'm revered). Matthew Stafford is still an unknown commodity. Big arm, big stats (over 10,000 passing yards the last 2 years), just seems like he should be better. Reggie Bush as a receiver out of the backfield could take some pressure off of Johnson. Yet again they took a d-lineman in the first round while ignoring the secondary.

    3. Chiefs (2-14). Call them the Eagles lite. Another new (to them) coach, another unknown, but with less talent. Can Alex Smith be one of those QBs that flourishes in the 2nd half of his career? Jamaal Charles could be huge playing LeSean McCoy in Andy Reid's system.

    4. Raiders (4-12). Very little reason for optimism. Matt Flynn has built a reputation on 2 games. Darren McFadden continues to punctuate a disappointing career with flashes of what he should have been. The defense is nondescript. As of right now they are starting Alex Barron at LT, which I believe is a 15-yard penalty.

    5. Jaguars (2-14). This is, and will continue to be, a very bad football team.

    Comments 24 Comments
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Lions and Chefs in a close race, but I'll trust Andy Reid figuring it out before The Schwartz does. Chefs. Also, the AFC stinks. An average team might look like world-beaters.
    1. Andy Freeland's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Rich Gapinski View Post
      Chefs.
      Great googly moogly

    1. Amy's Avatar
      I'd guess the Eagles with KC as a possibilty.
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar
      Definitely the egg-beaters. Serious upgrade at QB, and Tony Moeaki is already injured, so they can deal with that before the season even starts.
    1. Swami's Avatar
      From what Barnwell's been writing, I'm thinking it's the Lions, who were very unlucky last year. Not 2013 pre-season Bills unlucky, but still quite unlucky!
    1. DaBearsFan's Avatar
      My hunch is that the Chiefs will make the playoffs simply because the AFC is (on paper) so much weaker than the NFC. Yeah, it'll be hard for them to pass the Broncos unless Manning gets hurt, but those wild card spots are up for grabs. 4 games against the Raiders and Chargers, a coach that we know is better than Crennel and a QB that we know is better than Cassel may make enough of a difference. The Eagles have a little more uncertain pieces with coach and QB, and play in the NFC (though, I think the NFC East is going to be a bit down this year). The Lions play in a division where three times just finished 10-6 or better; I think they'll be better than 4-12, but that's a tough division to play against.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      I want to say Lions. That d-line looks ready to terrorize, they're using Bush right and I can seem them bouncing back. But they have a pretty tough schedule for a bad team.

      I really don't trust Philadelphia's defense. The signs aren't good, but it's hard to tell until the games get real.

      I'm taking the Chiefs. That's a mighty tasty schedule they have. Jags, Bills, Raiders x2, Bolts x2, Titans. That's almost .500 right there.
    1. hobbes27's Avatar
      The problem with the Lions is that they play in the NFC and the NFC continues to improve. So its hard for them to bounce back. Same with the Eagles, although they are playing in an mediocre NFC East and they could win that division. The Chefs seem like the best choice and the choice the cool kids are picking, since they could have 4 easy wins against the Chargers and Raiders. Plus they play the said mediocre NFC East, which Andy Reid could use his knowledge of those teams to fare well. An d they play the AFC South and so the Titans and Jaguars could be two more gimmes and they could sneak a win against Houston or Indy.

      Add to that that they picked up a smart coach, and a QB who isn't the most talented, but good at not turning over the ball. Their defense is pretty good to get them the turnovers they need, so by having Alex Smith, they could win a lot of games simply by not making dumb mistakes on offense.
    1. iwatt's Avatar
      It's probably going to be the Lions, though I really hope not because it would come at the expense of my Bears.

      Zona might have been a sleeper pick, except the rookie Guard broke his leg, and I don't know about Carson Palmer.

      The Chiefs if they take advantage of a suddenly depleted Broncos D, but it's asking alot of Alex Smith.
    1. Andy Freeland's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by iwatt View Post
      Zona might have been a sleeper pick, except the rookie Guard broke his leg, and I don't know about Carson Palmer.
      I keep wanting to want to like the Cardinals, but I just can't. I don't see how they can get out of that division. Plus, as you mention, Carson Palmer.
    1. Pruitt's Avatar
      Going against decades of NFL history - like the Lions. So they can't beat the Packers, they may split with Chicago and maybe a sweep against Adrian peterson and the Vike's D.

      Chiefs will improve - removing Romeo is good for at least 4 games, Eagles will move forward, but the Raiders will only improve once Jadaveon heads west.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      When Palmer went to the Raiders I thought he'd do well. I now think Palmer is a liability to his team. His arm strength never improved and he made a lot of bad decisions. Of the two, I'd prefer Alex Smith. At least he can run and has some zip.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Andy Freeland View Post
      I keep wanting to want to like the Cardinals, but I just can't. I don't see how they can get out of that division. Plus, as you mention, Carson Palmer.
      Fair warning - the Cardinals will be a late-season factor like the Seahawks in 2011 and Lions in 2010. Lots of Upset Special wins for the Redbirds starting around week 11 or so.

      6-10 at best.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
      Going against decades of NFL history - like the Lions. So they can't beat the Packers, they may split with Chicago and maybe a sweep against Adrian peterson and the Vike's D.

      Chiefs will improve - removing Romeo is good for at least 4 games, Eagles will move forward, but the Raiders will only improve once Jadaveon heads west.
      Address for hate mail, please?
    1. msclemons's Avatar
      A tale of two quarterbacks:

      1) 93 QBR, 27 TDs, 7 INT, 3100 yards, 6.64 ANY/A
      2) 91 QBR, 17 TDs, 5 INT, 3100 yards, 6.13 ANY/A

      Those are Matt Cassel and Alex Smith's best years*. Can you tell them apart? Other than Cassel having 10 more TD passes that is.

      Massive upgrade at QB? If you say so. I'm just hoping the Chiefs squeak out an 8-8 record so the 49ers can get an extra 2nd round pick.


      *years not on the Patriots and years not being benched again, respectively
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar
      The difference for me is that those look like Smith every year, and Cassell hasn't come all that close any other year.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      <dons homer goggles>

      The Lions lost 12 games in 2012. However, 10 of those losses were by less than one score. That trend simply cannot hold. Also, the Leos had a whopping 24 guys playing out the final years of their contracts which lead to a lot guys looking to pad their stats hoping to increase their value in the free agency market. Add to that the fact that nine day one starters were in IR at the end of the season, and there is reason for hope in the D.
    1. Trumpetbdw's Avatar
      While the focus is simply on making the postseason, the best path to the playoffs continues to be through winning the division. Which team has the best shot at that?

      I do like the Chefs to rebound. Their offense should be greatly improved, especially with Andy Reid now in charge. Their defense can also be solid. However, while I think Denver will fall off a bit, KC clearly has a tougher path to the division since they'll be battling with last year's #1 seed.\

      Detroit is another possibility, but they'll need marked improvement from their secondary, and a much more efficient version of Matt Stafford to make it happen. Plus, they too are battling a tough team at the top of the division, as well as another playoff team from last year, and a Bears team that figures to be improved from their 10-6 season of a year ago. That's a loaded division, limiting the Lions' chances for a bounceback.

      Arizona is also interesting. I have a feeling that either Arizona or St. Louis will finish ahead of either the Seahawks or the 49ers. But I'll still freely admit that it's a long-shot at best, and it's tough to envision them rising up to the very top of the division.

      My choice is Philadelphia. They have a new coach taking over for an organization that had become stale at the top. The new coach has a distinct system in which the players have bought in. They also play in a division chalk full of good teams, but without a team that truly stands out at the top, so the opportunity is there. They'll need to figure something out on defense if they want to be serious contenders, and there may be a 73% chance they completely implode, but there's also a 27% chance they'll be dynamic. There's a boom or bust quality with the Eagles this year, but that completely arbitrary 27% boom rate feels like better odds than any of the other teams listed jumping up and taking either the division, or a wild card spot.
    1. iwatt's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by ScottDCP View Post
      The difference for me is that those look like Smith every year, and Cassell hasn't come all that close any other year.
      No, those look like Smith behind the best OL in football and coached by a QB guru. Only half of that is true in Kansas (Reid is a heck of a QB coach). Clem can tell you what happened those other years. Wait, eh can't because of alcohol poisoning.

      Smith doesn't throw picks. Why? Because he takes a lot of sacks (his sack % is ridiculously high).
    1. iwatt's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Trumpetbdw View Post
      My choice is Philadelphia. They have a new coach taking over for an organization that had become stale at the top. The new coach has a distinct system in which the players have bought in. They also play in a division chalk full of good teams, but without a team that truly stands out at the top, so the opportunity is there. They'll need to figure something out on defense if they want to be serious contenders, and there may be a 73% chance they completely implode, but there's also a 27% chance they'll be dynamic. There's a boom or bust quality with the Eagles this year, but that completely arbitrary 27% boom rate feels like better odds than any of the other teams listed jumping up and taking either the division, or a wild card spot.
      The Iggles still can't play D, though.