Pro Football Weekly has come out and picked the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the most likely teams in the NFL to jump from last in their division to first this year. Today’s post will be to examine Hub Arkush’s column on this topic.
My first thought was “What!? The Browns?!” Obviously this guy has not seen the Browns in the preseason when they haven’t been able to put together a touchdown drive until their third-string was in the game. Their best looking player is the fourth string quarterback who dominated a four team defense on a team whose first team defense isn’t that good with dump down passes and screens.
Then there’s the Bucs. They are led by a quarterback who forgot how to throw a ball in Cleveland and so bad he couldn’t be here for more than one season. But, maybe Arkush is remembering the Jeff Garcia who was a Pro Bowler with San Francisco and the guy who saved the Eagles season last year. (I hate Garcia so much for being good everywhere but Cleveland, not that he was really good but he just didn’t suck. I also hate him for being such a goofy, odd looking man and having an incredible hot wife.)
It seems like every year a few teams do go from worst to first and some, mainly the Super Bowl losers, go from first to worst. If you read Arkush’s column, it explains that since 1999, 14 division titles have been won by teams that were last in their division the year before. In six of the past eight seasons, at least two division winners were teams that finished last the year before. Only one team did in 2000 and no teams in 2002.
Last years eight last place teams were Miami, Cleveland, Houston, Oakland, Washington, Detroit, Tampa Bay and Arizona.
Safe to Miami won’t make the jump. Not with Trent Green who won’t remember what play he called after walking from the huddle to the line and with New England ruling that division like the O’Doyle’s ruled the school in Billy Madison.
Same with Texans being in the same division as the Colts. No way does Peyton not win 13 games again this year. I don’t care what you say about the defensive losses.
The Raiders are the Raiders, the only team that might be worse than the Browns. Do you really think they can pass up the Chargers and Broncos. They might finish better than KC but they’ll still be a long way from first.
Redskins maybe have a chance. They are in with New York Giants (a team with Eli as the quarterback always has a chance to pee down their leg at anytime), Philadelphia Eagles (I like McNabb but come on, what’s the over under on him getting hurt, Week 7? 8? And who’s their back up? Ty Detmer? Kevin Kolb? The kid will be good but not this year.), Dallas Cowboys (I’m still not buying this whole Romo thing). Washington could get it done but then again it is a team coached by a guy more in to NASCAR and ownened by a guy who spends money just to pretend he is George Steinbrenner (without the titles) and quarterbacked by a guy couldn’t beat Mark Brunell out of the starting job until Brunell all but had his legs fall off. Yet still, they have a better chance than just abbot anyone else on the list.
I think the Lions have the best chance to go from last to first. After all, Jon Kitna and Mike Fuerry said they would win 10-12 games and you always trust someone named Fuerry. Their offense was great last year and has only gotten better with Tatum Bell and Calvin Johnson. Green Bay, I’m a huge Farve fan so I want them to be good but I just can’t see it. Minnesota, please. Chicago may fit nicely into that category of Super Bowl losers that fall off the next year. Rex Grossman look horrible in the game with Colts and the defense and special teams can only carry a team so long.
The Bucs will be better than the Falcons (who won’t be) but not better than the Saints or Panthers. Some people are writing off the Saints as one year wonders and I just don’t see that. Too much talent. As for Carolina, with Steve Smith, all things are possible.
Arizona has a decent chance to win their division, too. That’s what I would be saying if it wasn’t Arizona.
That leaves the Browns. Before the preseason, I was telling people around the office they could surprise some people and make a run at the division title. Now, two preseason games into the season, I think I’m back tracking on that. Their offense looks horrible. Frye sucks, Anderson sucks and Crennel for whatever reason, refuses to see on Quinn looks against number ones. This Saturday in Denver, the dress rehearsal if you will, will be the real test of where the Browns stand.
I can, in an optimistic fans eyes, see the Browns being better than Cincinnati. I can maybe see us finishing with a better record than Pittsburgh, but we can’t beat the Steelers so maybe not. Baltimore is one of the best teams in the NFL but still shaking enough to falter. Their two injures away from being .500.
With all that said, I pick the Lions and Browns as the teams with the best chances to go from last to first. Not saying it will happen, just saying they have the best chance.