NFL Season Recap and a Look Toward Next Season

Photo Courtesy NFL

After a crazy finish to Super Bowl LI, football fans have nothing to look forward to except for the draft in a few months.  With many teams believing that they can contend next season, this offseason is about to be very hectic, with both the draft class and free agency class brimming with top-tier talent.  Every team, even the Patriots, have dire needs this offseason, so WUVA is here to help give teams advice about what they need to do to contend next season.


New England Patriots:

  • Season Synopsis- Even with Tom Brady suspended for four games, Rob Gronkowski hurt for most of the year, and one of their best players, Jamie Collins, gone, the pre-season Super Bowl favorites still found a way to dominate wire-to-wire this season. Not only that, but they have the pieces in place to make a run next year as long as Tom Brady is running the show.
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- Trade Jimmy Garoppolo for high draft picks to shore up a weakened O-line.

Miami Dolphins:

  • Season Synopsis- One of the surprises of the season, they made the playoffs despite losing their QB Ryan Tannehill to a season-ending injury. With Tannehill back and Jay Ajayi and Jarvis Landry taking major steps forward this season, Dolphins fans have much to be excited about.
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- They may lose some linemen in free agency, but they need to shore up a LB core that got gashed by opposing running backs this season.

Buffalo Bills:

  • Season Synopsis- They spent another season in mediocrity despite having a more-potent-than-usual offense. Rex Ryan had to go, as his defense was getting worse every year, but now the Bills have questions at QB and WR to address as well.
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- If Tyrod Taylor is gone then they need to land another QB, but they need a stud receiver regardless in order to complement their number one ranked rushing attack.

New York Jets:

  • Season Synopsis- One of the most disappointing teams this season, their carousel of QBs was mediocre at best and laughable at its worst. In addition, age finally caught up with a number of players like Brandon Marshall and Darrelle Revis, leading this team right into last place.
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- They need a new QB, regardless of how good they think Christian Hackenberg might be. It wouldn’t hurt to grab a TE as well, maybe even by trading up to land Alabama’s OJ Howard in the draft.

Kansas City Chiefs:

  • Season Synopsis- Once again they came up short in the playoffs, but the future looks bright with Tyreek Hill giving the Chiefs an explosive playmaker for the first time in ages. They also won their first division title since 2010.
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- They need to shore up an aging defense, but their number one priority must be to resign S Eric Berry, who is the true face of the team a huge inspiration in the locker room.

Oakland Raiders:

  • Season Synopsis- What was at one point the best story in the NFL turned sour once Derek Carr broke his fibula. Luckily, many of their stars are young and poised to be good again next year, including Defensive POY Khalil Mack.
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- They need to shore up the contracts of Derek Carr and Latavius Murray before they can truly test the waters of free agency. The Raiders struggled heavily on offense when either of these pieces was missing.

Denver Broncos:

  • Season Synopsis- After Gary Kubiak stepped down as head coach, the wheels fell off the wagon and the team’s locker room fell into dysfunction. Now Vance Joseph will fill the void and try to piece together a team that has an elite defense but a young and struggling offense.
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- They need to improve an offensive line that yielded the league’s worst rushing attack. Neither Trevor Siemian nor Paxton Lynch will develop if the line play doesn’t improve.

San Diego Chargers:

  • Season Synopsis- In their last season in San Diego, there were a few bright spots including the play of DE Joey Bosa and RB Melvin Gordon, but it wasn’t enough to avoid coming in last place in the AFC West or having to move to LA.
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- They need to get healthy, first of all, but they also need another offensive weapon opposite Keenan Allen. Dontrelle Inman had to play as the number one WR for most of the year, which lead to obvious failures on offense.

Pittsburgh Steelers:

  • Season Synopsis- A slew of injuries slowed them down throughout the season, but the Steelers still found a way to make it to the AFC title game led by the “Killer B’s” of Brown, Bell, and Ben.
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- Re-signing Le’Veon Bell should be a top priority. DeAngelo Williams is a very capable back and could start on most teams, but Bell is the kind of transcendent talent that can take the Steelers to the next level.

Baltimore Ravens:

  • Season Synopsis- After a 3-0 start, they finished a disappointing 8-8 behind one of the league’s best defenses but most inconsistent offenses. Winning a Super Bowl has bought Joe Flacco some wiggle room, but he needs to prove again that he is an elite QB.
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- They need a dynamic playmaker on offense. Their RB committee of West, Dixon, and a bunch of no-namers isn’t cutting it, and with Steve Smith gone the Ravens have nothing but 3rd-string receivers. If they can’t land someone like John Ross in the draft, they could grab someone in free agency.

Cincinnati Bengals:

  • Season Synopsis- Injuries to AJ Green and sporadic play on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball led to a very disappointing finish for the Bengals. Is Andy Dalton the long-term answer at QB?
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- Marvin Lewis is one of the most tenured coaches in the league, but this team is desperately in need of change as Lewis has won as many playoff games as I have in the past 14 years, which is to say exactly 0. Maybe parting ways could give this team a massive culture change.

Cleveland Browns:

  • Season Synopsis- They won a game! Their team is laughable and doesn’t look to be improving in the near future, but they won a game! They even had a pro-bowler in OT Joe Thomas!
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- It’s hard to pick a single weak point in this team, but they need a QB more than anything else. However, it’s hard to imagine them taking anyone other than LB Myles Garrett with the first overall pick since he is such a dynamic defensive force.

Houston Texans:

  • Season Synopsis- They limped into the playoffs as the winners of the league’s worst division, but major questions about the QB position loom. On the bright side, their defense was tenacious even without JJ Watt, so they should be even better on that side of the ball next year.
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- The need a new QB, as the $72 million invested into Brock Osweiler last offseason clearly was not the answer.

Tennessee Titans:

  • Season Synopsis- After years of struggles, Marcus Mariota has finally stepped up and looks to be a serviceable QB. DeMarco Murray’s return to form was also a welcome sight, but unfortunately the Titans’ effort proved too little too late this season.
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- While the CB position is a location of concern, a true number one WR would dramatically help this offense and help Mariota’s development. Outside of TE Delanie Walker, this team does not have many options in the passing game.

Indianapolis Colts:

  • Season Synopsis- One of the most disappointing teams of the season, their defensive playmakers are getting old and their O-line is forcing QB Andrew Luck to run for his life on every play. But in a weak division, they can make a run next year.
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- They need better O-linemen to protect Andrew Luck and jump start their running game that relied on an old Frank Gore to carry the rock.

Jacksonville Jaguars:

  • Season Synopsis- After a very successful campaign last season, their offensive stagnated behind the subpar play of QB Blake Bortles. The Tom Coughlin hire is a Hail Mary, but it was their only option left.
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- They have dynamic playmakers, but they struggled to run the ball all year after the Chris Ivory deal didn’t pan out. Perhaps local Floridian Dalvin Cook is the answer.


Dallas Cowboys:

  • Season Synopsis- After losing Tony Romo before the season started, no one expected the Cowboys to play as well on both sides of the ball this year. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott will only be better next year, giving this team a lot of hope for the future.
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- Outside of Dez Bryant, their passing offense lacks a real offensive threat. A burner WR like John Ross could be the answer.

New York Giants:

  • Season Synopsis- They came into the playoffs as one of the hottest teams in football, but their formidable defense struggled once they got there. QB Eli Manning had another up-and-down season, but it’s hard to put all the blame on him as both the running game and O-line also struggled all year.
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- A fresh RB would take pressure off of Eli Manning, who at times had to throw 50+ times a game.

Washington Redskins:

  • Season Synopsis- A show-me year for QB Kirk Cousins ended on a sour note as he failed to perform in prime time games against Carolina and New York. When the offense was clicking, however, their defense often failed to close out key games.
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- Despite his struggles this year, the ‘Skins have few options other than re-signing Kirk Cousins, perhaps to a second franchise tag deal.

Philadelphia Eagles:

  • Season Synopsis- After a bright start, rookie QB Carson Wents regressed some and RB Ryan Mathews slowed down after a hot start. However, this young team led by coach Doug Pederson has a lot of hope for the future.
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- They need a stud WR to help Carson Wentz develop. They may have to dip into their pockets in free agency to acquire somebody, though.

Seattle Seahawks:

  • Season Synopsis- They were dominant until S Earl Thomas went down with a season-ending injury. Injuries to RB Thomas Rawls and a struggling O-line didn’t help matters either. However, Seattle saw huge leaps from TE Jimmy Graham and WR Doug Baldwin this season.
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- They need to shore up the O-line and protect QB Russell Wilson, who prefers to stay in the pocket.

Arizona Cardinals:

  • Season Synopsis- Many projected they would win the Super Bowl this season, but after a slew of injuries and a massive regression from Carson Palmer, they missed the playoffs altogether. RB David Johnson, however, had an MVP-caliber season.
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- Their offense lives and dies with Carson Palmer, but his age and propensity for injury means that this team needs to find a high-level backup.

Los Angeles Rams:

  • Season Synopsis- This season was never expected to go well when they started QB Case Keenum on opening day, but no one expected RB Todd Gurley or QB Jared Goff to play as badly as they did. Even their lauded defense played poorly for most of the year.
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- The O-line needs drastic improvement to help both Goff and Gurley play up to their potential.

San Francisco 49ers:

  • Season Synopsis- An ugly season turned into a quick exit for their coach, but now what? QB Colin Kaepernick has the talent to succeed, but the major question is whether or not their new coaching staff can help him.
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- The biggest problem with this team is their front office, which is in disarray. Culture change is needed- or else no changes on the field will matter.

Green Bay Packers:

  • Season Synopsis- They struggled for most of the season, but a late-half hot streak from perennial-stud QB Aaron Rodgers brought this team into the NFC championship game. Unfortunately, this team had too many holes to get further than that.
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- Their secondary was horrendous, and got exposed by the Falcons in their final game. Injuries hurt them, but they need to make some personnel changes as well.

Detroit Lions:

  • Season Synopsis- The play of QB Matthew Stafford early in the season was good enough to help the Lions limp into the playoffs. The second half of the season was a struggle for the offense, however, and inconsistent play by WRs Marvin Jones and Golden Tate stymied Stafford’s season.
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- They need a workhorse RB to take pressure off of Matthew Stafford. Unfortunately, this may be difficult in the draft.

Minnesota Vikings:

  • Season Synopsis- They started off 5-0, but fell of a cliff at the end of the season. The jury is still out on QB Sam Bradford, who played very inconsistently but showed flashes of brilliance. However, the real reason for their fall was the defense, which shined early but faded late.
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- Help on the O-line would help this team run better and take pressure off of a passing game which was leaned on too heavily throughout the year.

Chicago Bears:

  • Season Synopsis- With the QB position in disarray and the defense gashed by injuries, this was never going to be a good season for the Bears. Luckily, they found a stud RB in Jordan Howard.
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- They need to decide whether or not Matt Barley is the QB of the future. He showed flashed of brilliance, but then he had a 5-int stinker against Washington. If Cutler isn’t the answer, then coach John Fox needs to put in all of his chips on Barkley.

Atlanta Falcons:

  • Season Synopsis- A magical season ended with a disastrous end in Super Bowl 51. Luckily, reigning MVP Matt Ryan and a slew of playmakers will return next year to help this team recapture the magic.
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- This team played best when their pass rush was working well, but when playmakers like Vic Beasley struggled, this team had to rely too much on the offense. A pass rusher should be the number one target this offseason.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

  • Season Synopsis- They took a huge step forward this season, largely behind the play of QB Jameis Winston and WR Mike Evans. The pieces are in place, and they should make a playoff run next year.
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- A pass catcher to complement Evans would dramatically improve the performance of this offense. TE Cameron Brate played well, but what exactly is his ceiling?

New Orleans Saints:

  • Season Synopsis- Their defense was among the worst in the league to start the year, but drastically improved in the second half which allowed this team to improve. The offense is playoff-caliber, but this defense will always be the Achilles’ heel.
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- They need help in the secondary and at LB to improve this defense. No matter how good the offense gets, they can’t win if they give up 30 points per game again.

Carolina Panthers:

  • Season Synopsis- They went from Super Bowl favorites to 6-10, largely due to a number of injuries and a struggling defense. The loss of CB Josh Norman hurt, as did the regression of players like DTs Kawann Short and Star Lotulelei.
  • #1 Priority this Offseason- The return of WR Kelvin Benjamin did not pay dividends for this team, and once again they are in need of a consistent pass-catcher not named Greg Olsen.


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