Kicking off day 5 of my 2019 NFL countdown I have the first team that I think will make the playoffs. You may read that and think, this team is ranked too low for the playoffs. I don't do my countdown like that, I simply rank the teams how I see them, and even though the Baltimore Ravens, my number 16 team, may be on the outside according to placement, I think they are the best team in their division, thus earning them a playoff spot.
The Ravens are a solid football team with a Super Bowl winning coach. I think John Harbaugh has earned carte blanche there, and this team is a solid bet to win their division. I love that they let Joe Flacco go, and have turned over the offense to Lamar Jackson. I think he has the potential to be Mike Vick esque. He needs to become a better passer, but the guy is electric, young and fast. He is one of the younger QB's that I actually like to watch play. He is fun. They have a pretty solid o line too. They need some better receivers, and a good ground game outside of Jackson would be nice. But this team wins with defense. And while Terrell Suggs is gone, they got Earl Thomas this offseason. I know he is coming off a broken leg, but Thomas is a modern day Ed Reed. Well, he might not be as skilled as Reed, but he is a hard hitting, ball hawking safety. He is also out to prove something this season. The fact that Baltimore got him to sigh with them is the main reason I thin they are a playoff team. They have a solid defense around Thomas as well. With Thomas, and an emerging Jackson, I think Baltimore is set up nicely for the future. I see them, fairly easily, getting to 10 wins and being a tough out in the playoffs. This team got better by letting Flacco go, and they improved their defense even with Suggs heading out.
At number 15 I have the Seattle Seahawks. Look, I have made no bones about how much I dislike this team. I'm usually a fan of Seattle pro sports teams, but the Seahawks just rub me the wrong way. First off, I loathe Pete Carroll. He is the sleazy car salesman of the NFL. He lies, cheats and blames everyone else. Yeah he won a Super Bowl, but so did Brian Billick. Carroll is a scumbag. Just ask Earl Thomas. I am also not a fan of Russell Wilson. I think he is a prima donna, who without a great defense, would have zero Super Bowl rings. The interception in the Patriots Super Bowl is more what I tend to think of when thinking about Wilson's NFL career. He is a magician behind the line, and puts up numbers, but I think that is more luck than skill. And that o line, what a joke. They are awful. They cannot block a single person. They stink. The Seahawks also have no run game. I think they went through about 6 backs last year. Their best receiver is Tyler Lockett, and while he is a burner, I think he might be 5 feet tall. But this is what happens when you give your QB all the money he wants. They can't get any skill around him. They used to be elite on defense too. Now, they only have Bobby Wagner. And while he is wonderful, every other premiere defender they had is gone because they either hated Carroll or Wilson. This team has to have the worst locker room in the league. But, they do find ways to improbably win games, and they just may win 9 or 10 again. But, for the time being, I see them regressing because of the o line and no rum game, to being an 8 win team.
At number 14 I have the Atlanta Falcons. They are just 2 years removed from a Super Bowl, and they have fallen pretty hard. For one, their defense is atrocious. They cannot stop anyone. I think a year ago they gave up 50 to the Giants, a team that hasn't averaged 20 points in a couple of years. They seemingly give up 28-35 points a game, and they always have to play catch up. On offense, I feel like Matt Ryan is a rich man's Andy Dalton. He is a better QB, and has gone farther, but what has he really done in the league. Sure, he has an MVP, but I put that more on the offense and Julio Jones. I adore Julio Jones. He is one of the best in the game. He is big, strong, fast, runs great routes and catches pretty much everything thrown his way. He just cannot seem to find the end zone. He always goes over 100 receptions, and well over 1,000 yards, but only has like 5 or 6 TD's. That needs to change. I still think the offense is going to be explosive, at least this season, but they didn't do much to shore up the defense. And Matt Ryan is only getting older. I think Falcons games will be fun, high scoring affairs, but I don't know how many of those games they can win. Maybe 8 or 9, but I tend to lean more towards 7. I wish Julio Jones was on a better team with a better QB. He deserves that.
My final team for the day, at number 13, I have the Carolina Panthers. This team is due for a turnaround. After last season, I think they will shake off the cobwebs, and be the Saints biggest problem in that division. I love Cam Newton, and I feel like he will return to his MVP form. He is too good, and too competitive, to have another down year. I know he is coming off surgery, but that guy is a player, and he will work it out on the field. Christian McCaffery really blew up last season, and I see him growing and growing into an even better player and weapon for this team. The o line got better, and they will need to protect Newton this year. I would like them to have better wideouts, but Cam has won with worse. And Greg Olsen is still there, and he was a key cog in my fantasy title last year. The defense is still solid enough to keep them afloat, although I am terrified that Luke Kuechly is going to die on the field before he realizes he has had too many concussions. The Panthers, while they may not get back to being the 15-1 team they were a few years ago, will be back to being a real problem for opponents this year. I could see them winning 11 games and challenging New Orleans all season long.
That's it for today. Come back on Monday for the next 4 teams. We are oh so close to Super Bowl contenders now.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He has not always hated the Seahaks. He was a big fan when they had, oh what’s that one guy’s name who used to be a quarterback? You who I’m talking about, he could throw the ball far? Anyone?
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