There are a myriad reasons a sports team can be bad. The most encouraging reasons have phrases surrounding them like "rebuild," "fluke," and "on the cusp." We're going to talk about a few NFL teams who underperformed last season or were just flat-out losing. Let's get it started.
The Baltimore Ravens
Last season the Ravens went 8-9. They are somehow favored to win the AFC North (I am not sure about that) but a Cinderella finish is not out of the realm of possibility. Last season the clown car of injuries to the Ravens could fill this entire piece. I'll list a few. The Ravens lost Lamar Jackson for five games and key starters like cornerbacks Marcus Peters, Marlon Humphrey, J.K. Dobbins, and Gus Edwards. Here is hoping that 2022 brings fewer injuries. Oh wait. They already lost their heart and soul.
Oh no, Poe! Here is hoping their injury woes are nevermore. (Get it? Oh man I gotta take a day off or something.)
The Denver Broncos
The Broncos went 7-10 last season. I forgot they managed to win 7 games if I am being honest. The Broncos were 23rd in the NFL in points scored. They did not put up enough points. They were also 1-5 in games decided by only one score, which means they could not put together runs and offenses in crunch time. The addition of Russell Wilson should mitigate some of these issues. The AFC West is a difficult division, but I expect the Broncos and their top-5 defense to pull out a winning record.
The Carolina Panthers
The Panthers went 5-12 last season so it is a tall order to say they are going to have a winning record.
They're going to have a winning record. Spite is a terrific motivator, and there is spite to go around with Baker Mayfield. Mayfield has reportedly told sideline reporters that he has "revenge on the mind" for the week 1 against the Cleveland Browns. This will be must-watch television. The Browns scorned Mayfield in order to acquire a man who is suspended for most of the season for offenses I won't address here. Never doubt a quarterback scorned. That's the quote, right?
A healthy Christian McCaffrey is going to get this team going on his own. The Panthers also upgraded their offensive line in a big way. This team is going to surprise some people. Book it.
The Jacksonville Jaguars
I know the Jags went 3-14 last season.
Doug Pederson > Urban Meyers. I could end the paragraph right there. Meyers was a toxic waste dumpster fire in Jacksonville. His replacement, Doug Pederson, is a Super Bowl championship winner who won with quarterbacks who are inferior to Trevor Lawrence's ceiling. The Jaguars also play in a division full of question marks. If Pederson can work any magic with Lawrence, the Jaguars have a shot. A long shot, but a shot.
If your team was not on this list, don't put away your glass half full attitude. Maybe your team is already good. Maybe your team is still going to stink but they are "rebuilding." Pretend those were air quotes. Let's turn these narratives around.