Who Will Go From Worst To First In 2021?
From worst to first is a cool saying but how often does it really happen?
In the National Football League it happens all the time. Since 2002, all but two seasons have had a team that finished dead last in their division came back the next year to win that same division.
In 2020 it was the Washington Football Team that kept that streak alive.
Speaking of 2020, someone had a bold pick of the Detroit Lions being that team to do it a year ago. Who was that?
Ok, that was me and I was way off, but 2021 is a new year and let’s give it another try. To cover my basis a little more this year I am switching it to a ranking of the eight teams that finished last in 2020 and what their chances are in 2021.
Here goes nothing.
1) San Francisco 49ers (6-10)
The 49ers were injured at football’s most important position but also had such a high volume of injuries it was amazing that they won 6 times last year. This team is loaded and the division is very winnable for Kyle Shanahan and company. Many have them getting back to the Super Bowl.
They don’t have to win the division to do that but it would go a long way in boosting those chances. The 49ers have as good of talent as anyone in the NFL with a good coach and experience. This team is dangerous and has the best chance to go from worst to first.
2) Denver Broncos (5-11)
I really like the Broncos to surprise this year. What will make that jump from worst to first most difficult is the domination of the Kansas City Chiefs. The addition of Teddy Bridgewater should immediately make the offense more consistent.
The running game of Melvin Gordon and rookie Javonte Williams should keep things honest enough to get the ball to the receiving weapons. The trio of Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and Noah Fant will be good in 2021. Von Miller is back, Bradley Chubb and rookie Patrick Surtain II should thrive under Vic Fangio who has been a great coordinator over the years but needs to show something as the leader of this team.
This pick is bolder than the 49ers and I say watch out for Denver.
3) Philadelphia Eagles (4-11-1)
The only reason, and I do mean the only reason I have Philly here is their division.
The NFC East rotates all the time. There isn’t a dominant team and maybe the Eagles can find a way to win a few more games which would automatically put them in contention. I don’t trust them here, but still put them with the 3rd best chance.
4) Atlanta Falcons (4-12)
Atlanta had some brutal losses last year. A couple of breaks here and there and this team would have been much better. A new coach may give a much needed surge to the dirty birds.
The loss of Julio Jones will be felt but they still do have Matt Ryan, Calvin Ridley and watch out for rookie Kyle Pitts. If New Orleans and Tampa wasn’t in their division their chances would be better.
5) Detroit Lions (5-11)
Here I go with Detroit again. It will be interesting to see Jared Goff in a new place. I think they have a nice piece in second year running back De’Andre Swift, but not enough else. Aaron Rodgers is still in Green Bay and Detroit should still be looking up at them.
6) Cincinnati Bengals (4-11-1)
This team is getting better but they are taking a slow approach to growth. This isn’t a bad thing it just is taking some time. Joe Burrow had a nice season going before his injury.
They have some young exciting offensive pieces but that patience may be tested as they wait on improvements from their defense. The division is good with consistent teams in Pittsburgh and Baltimore and now Cleveland has figured it out too. Good luck to the Bengals.
7) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15)
Urban Meyer wanted to try the NFL and he may second guess that during some of the 2021 season. Trevor Lawrence and Meyer take over a team that won once last year.
The division isn’t that scary. Houston is a mess. The Colts and Titans are good teams but not dominant. Jacksonville will have to wait but they have to get a lot of things right over the next couple of drafts.
8) New York Jets (2-14)
The Jets hope they have their quarterback of the future in Zach Wilson. I am not the biggest fan of him but certainly I could be wrong. They thought they had the guy in Sam Darnold and have already moved on.
Robert Saleh will be intriguing there as the new leader. Give him some time but he still has to go against Bill Belicheck twice a year, an improving Miami team and the Bills are loaded. Stacking all those things together it sure looks like another tough year for the J E T S, JETS, JETS, JETS.