Three Playoff Teams from Last Year that will not Return to the NFL Playoffs in the 2017 Season
1) Detroit Lions
The Lions actually held a two-game lead with three games to go over the Green Bay Packers and looked poised to win the NFC North. From there, as per usual, the Lions imploded. A lot of the implosion had to do with an injury to QB Matthew Stafford’s finger that severely limited his ability to pass the ball. Beyond that though, the Lions lacked a running game and the ability to get to the quarterback.
Stafford will return healthy and ready to go, but what about the running game and the ability to rush the passer? They may have improved the running game just by signing T.J. Lang, and Rick Wagner to upgrade the offensive line. But they still have not added a running back, and it is inexcusable to not at least pick up one late in the draft. The Pass rush does not look to really be improved either.
If the Lions make the playoffs, Matthew Stafford will have to have an NFL MVP type season. He is capable of that, but I would not bet on it.
2) Kansas City Chiefs
It is hard to pick against an Andy Reid coached team when it comes to not making the playoffs. Reid is a great regular season football coach and last year the Chiefs won the AFC West before losing to the Steelers at home in the playoffs. They over-reached, in my opinion, to get a quarterback in this year’s draft, which signals to me that Reid knows that he will never get over the hump with Alex Smith at QB.
Missing the playoffs may not be a bad thing this year. What I mean by that is it would then almost force the transition at the QB position. I believe the Chiefs in the off-season needed to add an inside linebacker, another receiver, and maybe an interior offensive lineman, and they didn’t. With all this being said, I do not know how you can believe they improved themselves this off-season.
The Chiefs will have to battle a very good Raiders team and a Chargers team that looks to be making all the right moves in this off-season, not to mention a dangerous and talented Broncos team. I think this could end up being a long season for the Chiefs.
3) Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys caught lightning in a bottle last year by having two rookies put up MVP type numbers at the same time. Number one, I think expecting that again may be a little too much to ask, and number two, I think people are forgetting that the Dallas Cowboys defense was not very good last year.
The Cowboys did address a lot of their needs in an excellent draft, but to be a huge threat this year, they would need all of those young guys perform at a high level in their rookie season, and I don’t see that happening.
The good news for the Cowboys is that they look to have a very bright future, I just don’t think it will payoff until next year.