In sports, some teams could go from last place to first place in just a year. A team going from worst to first shows how things change every year for them. In the NFL, it’s exciting for both the teams and fans when it happens.
From the 1975 Baltimore Colts to the 2020 Washington Football Team, there’s always a chance of going from worst to first. Let’s take a look at the eight franchises in the NFL that a the worst-to-first candidates in 2021.
- AFC East: New York Jets; The Jets finished the 2020 season with a 2-14 record. This led to the firing of Adam Gase and Sam Darnold being traded to the Panthers. During the offseason, they hired Robert Saleh as their new head coach and drafted Quarterback Zach Wilson. The Jets are going into 2021 with the expectations of starting the groundwork of rebuilding the team. Also, with the Bills, Dolphins, and Patriots all looking like playoff contenders, it will be tough for the Jets to take first place in the division.
- NFC East: Philadelphia Eagles; The Eagles went from a Playoff appearance in 2019 to a 4-11-1 record in 2020. However, they have a great chance to win their division this year. Mainly because of how bad the NFC East was last year and the questions this year. Washington and The Giants have quarterback questions, and the Cowboys’ defense was one of the worst last year. If Jalen Hurts plays to the level they want him to be at, they have a chance.
- AFC North: Cincinnati Bengals; The Bengals, just like the Eagles, finished 2020 with a record of 4-11-1. Quarterback Joe Burrow was having a good rookie season until he suffered a torn ACL. One of the main problems with the Bengals in 2020 was their O-line. They did draft Jackson Carman in the second round, however, that might not be enough. Tee Higgins, Ja’Marr Chase, and Joe Mixon do make for a nice trio to get the ball to. However, if the offensive line can’t hold up, it will be a long season for Burrow. Also, the Browns and Ravens look to be Super Bowl contenders and never count out the Steelers.
- NFC North: Detroit Lions; The Lions fired Matt Patricia in the middle of a 5-11 2020 season and hired Dan Campbell. They also traded Matthew Stafford to the LA Rams for Jared Goff. They also lost receivers Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones in free agency. The offensive line, however, is in good shape and just got Tackle Penei Sewell in the draft. The Lions also have young players like D’Andre Swift and Jeff Okudah, who could be in for breakout seasons. Some questions still need to be answered with the other NFC North teams. The Aaron Rodgers drama in Green Bay, Dalton vs. Fields in Chicago, and Minnesota’s struggles last year. The Lions could surprise some people if things go their way.
- AFC South: Jacksonville Jaguars; The highlight of the Jaguars 2020 season was winning their first game. The lowlight was losing their last 15. That gave them the number one pick, which they used on Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence will have help with James Robinson, Travis Ettienne, DJ Chark, Laviska Shenault, and a few others on offense. Defensively, the Jaguars have some good young players in Josh Allen, CJ Henderson, and Myles Jack. However, new head coach Urban Meyer has never coached at the NFL level. Also, with the Titans going all in for a Super Bowl run and the Colts looking good, it’s gonna be tough for the Jaguars to win the division.
- NFC South: Atlanta Falcons; Atlanta looks to be at a crossroad right now. They finished 4-12, and Matt Ryan is in his mid-30s now. They had the fourth overall pick which was used on Tight End Kyle Pitts. Then Julio Jones was traded to the Titans. There’s also a new head coach and general manager. Then there’s the defense, which has questions just about everywhere. The NFC South looks to be the Bucs division to lose right now, and the Falcons have too many questions that need to be answered.
- AFC West: Denver Broncos; Denver is in a tough division, having to deal with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. They also have questions at quarterback. This might be Drew Lock’s last chance to prove he could be their franchise quarterback. He will be pushed by Teddy Bridgewater in training camp. Even if the Broncos get good quarterback play, it will be tough to overtake the Chiefs in the division.
- NFC West: San Francisco 49ers; The 49ers dealt with injuries all year in 2020, which was, partly responsible for their 6-10 finish. Now with everyone healthy, they could have the best shot to go from worst to first. The 49ers have one of the best front fours in the league. They also have a dynamic duo at receiver with Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel. While the team did draft Trey Lance third overall, Jimmy Garoppolo will still be the quarterback for the time being. The key for the 49ers’ season is for everyone to stay healthy.