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During the 2022 NFL season and beyond, these three teams, in particular, are not exactly the ones fans will be plopping money down on when it comes to Super Bowl futures.
In fact, these three teams probably haven’t had anyone gullible enough to torch their money on a futures ticket for in the last three years.
Here are three NFL teams viewed as outsiders to make the playoffs in the 2022 NFL season.
#1 – Atlanta Falcons
It’s crazy how much talent has seemingly been wasted in Atlanta through the years. Six trips to the postseason during the Matt Ryan era were nowhere near the number of years that the team should have been playoff-bound. Now, #2 is up in Indianapolis with the best chance he’s had at a Super Bowl since 2017, if ever.
The lack of a clear replacement in the ATL is damning. The fact that Marcus Mariota, a backup in the last three years, is seemingly the only clear option under center right now isn’t very promising. At the very least, Mariota understands that attempting to replace Ryan is very difficult.
“Those are big shoes to fill, no doubt. I think, for me, something I definitely learned over the course of my career is that you can’t compare yourself to other people. What Matt did here, what he’s accomplished here, is truly greatness, and for me, I just have to kind of carve my own path.I appreciate what he’s done, appreciate what he’s been for this organization, and the best thing that I can do is try to put my best foot forward and be the best player that I can be.”
With Calvin Ridley out for the season for gambling impropriety, the Falcons are missing their premier talent in 2022. They are very much a postseason outsider again, joining the likes of the next two sad sack franchises…
#2 – Detroit Lions
It’s been more than 30 years since the Lions have played in the NFL’s Divisional Round of the postseason. There are so many obscene stats you can formulate using that timeframe that it’s almost not worth trying to upset Lions fans more than they already are.
This past season was peak Detroit football. Jared Goff, fresh off a trade from the Los Angeles Rams, led the Lions to a 3-10-1 record as the starter in the ‘Motor City’.
The man they traded him for, Matthew Stafford, had his best statistical season to date, his first for a franchise other than Detroit, and won his first Super Bowl ring.
This upcoming season could see progress from the Lions, who have the league’s fifth-easiest schedule. But don’t expect them to crash the NFL postseason party under second-year head coach Dan Campbell.
#1 – New York Jets
Though many consider the Lions to be the saddest franchise in the NFL, the New York Jets have been more embarrassing in recent years. They have the longest postseason draught, and have won six games combined the past two years.
The Lions at least own a four-year stretch from 2014-17 where they won an average of nine games. You’d have to go back to Mark Sanchez’s days under center to find a similar period of success for Gang Green.
To be fair to the Jets, they do have a potential young star QB in Zach Wilson, a young star WR in Elijah Moore to pair him up with. They also have a physical and athletic defense that will be returning Carl Lawson from an Achilles tear.
Ralph Vacchiano of SNY predicts the Jets will finish just outside the playoff picture in 2022:
“Optimism about the Jets feels strange, and it has to be cautious considering they’re 4-12. But their young players have shown a lot of growth this season and the team is improving despite all of the injuries. Next year, for starters, they’ll get back pass rusher Carl Lawson, receiver Corey Davis, Becton, and they’ll keep their fingers crossed they get full seasons out of Wilson, Carter and Elijah Moore. Plus they’ll add two Top 10 picks and have $60-70 million in salary cap space to spend on free agents, so they’ll probably have another pass rusher, another top receiver, maybe a guard, safety … the possibilities are endless. This could be a quicker fix than it looks and a four-game improvement to 8-9 and the fringe of the playoffs.”
Even the most optimistic of Jets projections fall short of the postseason, continuing a decade-plus of underwhelming, if not flatly disappointing, campaigns at MetLife Stadium.
Q. Will any of these 3 teams make the NFL playoffs?