The weekend has passed and we are now back to my 2019 NFL countdown. We are finally to the stage of what I consider all the teams to be playoff, or division winner, contenders. It is all good from here on out.
At number 12 I have the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys, a team I have loathed since childhood, depends on health, growth from their QB, and if they sign or let Ezekial Elliot walk. I, for one, would let him walk. He is a total headache off the field, he likes to hit females and, while a productive back, can be replaced. Look at what the Steelers did last year, and what a ton of other NFL teams have done in the modern NFL with running backs. They use them and throw them out. Remember when DeMarco Murray was the big thing in Dallas? Well, he had his breakout year with them, left in free agency and is now out of the league. I do not think Elliot is this great back that some proclaim, and if I were the Cowboys, I'd say bye. I would probably do the same with Amari Cooper. When he was traded there, he blew up. But, was that a sign of things to come, or a mirage? I think it was fools gold. He was out to prove the Raiders wrong, he did, but now teams will key on him. He is bound to regress. I would however lock up Dak Prescott. The modern NFL is so QB driven, and while Prescott isn't the best QB in the world, he is efficient and mobile and can lead a team. Those are my true feelings on this team. Now, for the hatred. Why did they bring back Jason Witten? How does Jason Garrett still have a job? Why is Jerry Jones so god damn racist? And, this team will never be "America's Team" ever again. The Cowboys are a mirage themselves. They have moments here and there, but they have done nothing but fall flat on their faces for the past decade, especially in the big moments. They are fortunate to be in such a crummy division. Their division alone is enough to push them to 9 wins, and a possible wild card slot. I do think it will be a struggle, especially because their defense is so suspect, but they will find a way to a .500 or better record.
At number 11 I am staying in the Lone Star state, and going with the Houston Texans. While I do not like Texas at all, I do, for some weird reason, kind of like the Texans. It has nothing to do with their coach, he is a boob, and their owner died, and I hope he is rotting. But I enjoy them because of guys like DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson. They are so much fun to watch play the game. Watson dances and moves and fires bullets from the pocket. And usually, they end up in the hands of Hopkins who is an amazing receiver. He is also oddly underrated. His name needs to be in the same breath as guys like Antonio Brown, Julio Jones and Michael Thomas. Hopkins is that good, and I'd say only Julio Jones is better. The o line needs to be shored up so Watson doesn't take so many hits. They are not as bad as Seattle, but not anywhere near as good as some of the upper echelon o lines. Their run game could be better too, but I think undrafted rookie free agent Karan Higdon is a good guy to go with. He was the stabilizer for Michigan the last 2 years, and when he learns to really catch and go, he could be a solid back. The defense is always going to be good, but I do worry that they won't give Jadaveon Clowney what he wants. He is so good and so big and one of the best defensive ends in football. They need him to make that duo, Clowney and JJ Watt, as deadly as they can be. They are also solid in the linebacking unit and the secondary. This team is good, and they will compete all year with the Colts in their division. I see them winning 10 games and earning a wild card spot because Hopkins and Watson are such a dangerous combo.
At number 10 I have the Minnesota Vikings. This is a make or break year for this team, and you know it RD (ed note: yup). They need to do something big this year, or I would blow it all up. Mike Zimmer needs to get back to being a good coach. They need Dalvin Cook to stay healthy. They don't need their receivers yelling at their QB on the sidelines. They need their 84 million dollar guaranteed QB to actually play, and win, some important games. And they need their elite defense to be elite. That may sound like a lot, but they did almost all of that 2 years ago with Case Keenum at QB. Sure, it took a miracle play to get them to the NFC title game, in which they got trounced, but they still made it that far. It was because of their defense. The Minnesota defense has the players, and potential, to be great. Like, Denver Broncos recent Super Bowl champion great. They just need to put it all together. They also need Kirk Cousins to get off his nonsense, and play like the top level QB they are paying him to be. I don't think he is up their with some other guys, I'd much rather have Deshaun Watson. But, they went to a NFC title with Case Freaking Keenum. Minnesota has the goods. They have the players. They have the pieces. They just need Zimmer and his staff to get it right. This may be their last chance. I do see them pushing all year to 10, maybe even 11 wins, but they are in a tough, tough division. They will be fighting for a playoff spot all year, even with double digit wins.
My final team for the day is my team, the Green Bay Packers, coming in at number 9. I see bounce back written all over them this season. I am an optimist when it comes to the Packers, but if Aaron Rodgers is healthy all year, they are a great team. They finally settled on Aaron Jones in the backfield, and I am totally down with that. They have a great number one receiver in Davante Adams. And this is Jimmy Graham's last chance. I think he will respond well to that. The o line is also one of the best in football. The defense has always been the problem in Green Bay. But this offseason they went out and spent money on guys and drafted for needs on that side of the ball. I absolutely love that they took Rashan Gary. I cannot wait to see him wreck backfields in the fall. Also, Jaire Alexander is now in his second year, and he is already one of the better shut down corners in the league. The 2 things that scare me most though, Rodgers health, he gets hurt so much more now, and Matt LaFleur. I was not on board with his hiring, and I think it could be bad. If he is insistent on running his offense, with no checks at the line from Rodgers, that could become a major problem. But, if it works out, and Rodgers stays healthy, I could see Green Bay getting back to being an 11 or 12 win team. They now have the offense at full health, and they addressed some much needed problems on defense. Now lets see if they can stay healthy, and is LaFleur has the goods.
That's it for today. Come back tomorrow for the next 4 teams.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. What Ty needs to do is visit Texas before he dismisses it. Sure it is hot, the scenery sucks, many of the people are questionable, but damn do they have some great food.
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