Not all teams are created equal. Some teams are juuuust a little more interesting than others, and today, we’re going to pick out the shiniest pennies in the pool. Which teams do we think will be the most interesting this season?
The Most Fascinating NFL Teams to Watch in 2019
The Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns were the sweethearts of the off-season before the off-season even started. Baker Mayfield, Myles Garrett, and Denzel Ward have the NFL world very, very excited about the future of the Browns after ending last year on a hot streak, winning five of their last seven. Then they went out and traded for Odell Beckham Jr.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows though, the team does have some adversity to overcome. Head coach Freddie Kitchens has never been a head coach on any level, and he hasn’t served a full season as a coordinator either. To call him the NFL’s least experienced head coach isn’t an exaggeration, and now he has to balance a very young, spirited locker room. Will they live up to the hype or will they go down in flames? You’ve gotta watch to find out.
The Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals are arguably the most important team to watch this season. Kliff Kingsbury, who ran the infamous air raid offense at Texas Tech, is trying to bring his high-octane video game offense to life with his Arizona Cardinals, and the off-season has reflected that.
Kingsbury went out and drafted the trio of Kyler Murray, Hakeem Butler, and Andy Isabella to join Larry Fitzgerald, David Johnson, Charles Clay, and Christian Kirk on offense. With Kyler’s stature, it’s not like he can seriously be expected to spend too much time under center, so expect the Cards to run nearly all of their plays out of the shotgun with several receivers on the field at once.
We saw Patrick Mahomes buck the “air raid quarterbacks can’t succeed in the NFL” trend last season as Andy Reid built an offense that suited his strengths directly, and he ended up having one of the best passing seasons of all time. If Kingsbury can successfully install a full-blown air raid offense in the NFL, it could completely change the future of the league and how teams shape their roster.
The Oakland Raiders
Just based on the personalities involved, the Oakland Raiders are a team to watch. Jon Gruden’s Raiders feature Antonio Brown, Vontaze Burfict, Richie Incognito, three first round picks, Tom Cable, and a deceptively witty Derek Carr. HBO agreed, which is why they picked the team to be on Hard Knocks this season, which hey, has anyone mentioned will be the last one in Oakland? The Raiders might not be very good this year, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be interesting to watch, for better or worse.
The Dallas Cowboys
Lets be honest, if I wrote this article every year, the Dallas Cowboys would always be featured. The New York Yankees of the NFL are always a circus, either because of actual-Bond villain owner, Jerry Jones, or the fact that the Cowboys are “America’s Team.”
This year, it is a little different, as we see the best Cowboys team in recent memory. They have a great defense, a quarterback, arguably the best tailback in football, and some playmakers, like Amari Cooper. They’re primed to make a real run in the NFC. However, if they can’t, then the window might close pretty abruptly, as the problem with having so many good players? Is that they all want to be paid like good players.
The Pittsburgh Steelers
For a long time, the Pittsburgh Steelers had Ben Roethlisberger, a Hall of Fame quarterback, Le’Veon Bell, arguably the best tailback in the NFL, and Antonio Brown, a Hall of Fame wide receiver. Now, Bell’s a New York Jet, Brown’s a Raider, and for the first time in a long time, the Steelers are not the favorites to win the AFC North. That honor goes to the up-and-coming Cleveland Browns, who we’ve already discussed.
This season also happens to be the last year of head coach Mike Tomlin’s contract. The Steelers have never fired a head coach, ever, in their illustrious history, and I doubt that’s something they want to change now. However, should the Steelers struggle again in 2019 or the locker room continue to erode, it might be time for the legendary Rooney family to look for someone else to take over the reigns as we head into the next decade of black and yellow football.
The New England Patriots
Is this the year that we finally see Tom Brady and company fall off? Tom Brady’s Patriots have never had a losing record, and during seasons where he’s started multiple games, they’ve only missed the playoffs once. In fact, every season except once that’s seen Tom Brady play in multiple games has ended in the Patriots winning the AFC East.
Tom Brady has won the AFC East in every season he’s started except in 2002, his first full year as a starter. As insane as that is, it has to end eventually… right? He can’t keep doing this to us forever, can he? Can he? I really need to know.