Every season, there are teams that are expected to lose but somehow, they deliver. There are five teams in the NFC that have reached the extent of their losing streak and need to improve:
New York Giants
The Giants have been one of the worst teams in the league for the majority of the past five years. Unfortunately, a large part of that is linked to the never-ending list of injuries. This year, aside from the strong possibility that more injuries will occur, they lost their big wide receiver, Odell Beckham, Jr., making a winning season seem that much more out of reach. There has a been a lot of speculation as to whether or not Eli Manning is the issue. It seems that the Giants’ staff might tend to agree with their first draft pick of Daniel Jones, and they seem ready to take Manning out at any given moment.
It’s not just the Giants that need to improve, it’s Manning. Otherwise, the two-time Super Bowl winner will be out of a job. The addition of Saquon Barkley has given promise to the squad. The fact of the matter is that they are in a division that is very much up for grabs. While the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys have had decent seasons recently, their success is partly due to the fact that they play the Washington Redskins and New York Giants twice a season, almost guaranteeing four wins. If Manning can start playing at the caliber, he is capable of, and Barkley locks down the ground game, the NFC East might just be interesting.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In the past five years, the Bucs have had one winning season (2016). 2016 was Jameis Winston’s sophomore performance and he left fans and players alike to wonder what exactly happened. Part of his lackluster performance is due to suspensions and part of that was due to Ryan Fitzpatrick’s shocking performance at the beginning of the 2018 season. Since Winston joined the team on 2015, the Bucs have been teetering on the verge of greatness. It’s time they either start winning or start making changes. A contributing factor to their inability to making the steps toward a winning season might be Winston. Aside from his suspensions, he is not playing at the level he should be, which is exactly why coaches were left to wonder, for most of 2018, who would start after Fitzpatrick won only two games.
While putting the Redskins on this list, after a tragic injury ended quarterback Alex Smith’s season early last year, the fact of the matter remains that they have not won more than nine games in a season in the past five years. It was lucky for them that the nine wins allowed them to squeak into the first round of the playoffs in 2015. The team has a had a lot of talent on their side of the field on any given day and yet Kirk Cousins couldn’t get the job done. It seems the Redskins have guys with good eyes finding talent for the roster, but there hasn’t been someone to take advantage of it yet. Until his injury, Smith seemed like he was likely to step up. The Redskins have served as nothing more than an occasional record spoiler in the past five years. They need to step up to the plate. It looks like they’ll be sticking with Case Keenum to lead the charge this year and they need that to be the right choice.
While Carson Palmer’s success in Arizona came as a shock to most people, his success had limits as they only made the playoffs once. It’s been a long and bad three years in Arizona since their last winning season. They have a solid coaching staff and have had players like David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald still suiting up, but they need a younger quarterback. After a couple of bad attempts to replace Palmer, this year, they went bold and drafted Kyler Murray in the first round of the draft; talks of the quarterback’s success have followed him in the big leagues. Although, success might be a stretch seeing as he’s only played one full year as a starting quarterback in college. The Cardinals need to improve this year or a bunch of new faces will be walking the field. It seems all of their eggs are in the Kyler Murray basket.
San Francisco 49ers
It’s been a number of years since greatness suited up in red and gold, leaving fans to simply wax nostalgia for the years of Joe Montana and Steve Young. The 49ers have not had a winning season in what seems like forever. The closest they came was in 2014 when they went 8-8. Jimmy Garoppolo was their best shot in years but with his injuries, the 49ers were left hoping for a change in the tides. Grappolo is supposed to be healthy this year and, with some strong offseason additions, the 49ers have built themselves a solid team. It’s time they start playing like it. They do find themselves in a tough division with the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, and Arizona Cardinals. The Rams made it to the Super Bowl last season and the Seahawks were also in the playoffs, and, as previously mentioned, the Cardinals are supposed to have a dynamite team. This year, the 49ers could keep it interesting.