In the world of the NFL, fortunes can change drastically from one season to the next. Last week, we discussed the concept of NFL teams that went from worst to first. However, the opposite trajectory is equally possible – a team that soared to the top of their division can find themselves plummeting to the basement in the blink of an eye. This intriguing scenario is precisely what Julian Martinez and Kyle Ledbetter explore in their thought-provoking conversation. In this article, we'll delve into their insights and analysis to predict which teams are most likely to go from first to worst in the upcoming NFL season.
The Division Winners of Last Year
In their conversation, Julian and Kyle took a closer look at the division winners from the previous year – the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, Minnesota Vikings, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. These are the teams they considered in their predictions.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Prime Contender for Regression
The consensus between Julian and Kyle is that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the prime contender for regression. Despite their Super Bowl win with Tom Brady, the Buccaneers are facing the possibility of finishing last in their division. The reasons for this predicted downfall include the potential replacement of Tom Brady with less experienced quarterbacks like Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask. The Buccaneers' defensive struggles and injuries also add to their regression prospects.
San Francisco 49ers: A Team Built to Withstand Challenges
In contrast, the San Francisco 49ers are seen as a team less dependent on their quarterback situation. Their robust roster, including talents like George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, and Christian McCaffrey, along with their impressive defense led by Nick Bosa and Fred Warner, make them resilient to quarterback-related setbacks.
Cincinnati Bengals and Minnesota Vikings: Vulnerable to Quarterback Injuries
The Bengals and Vikings are both regarded as potentially vulnerable to regression due to injuries to their key players. Joe Burrow's significance to the Bengals' success and Justin Jefferson's importance to the Vikings make them particularly susceptible to falling behind in their division if either player faces a significant injury.
Buffalo Bills: A Question of Depth
The Buffalo Bills, though strong, could struggle if quarterback Josh Allen were to experience an injury. The depth of talent on their roster and their challenging division make them susceptible to losing their top spot if such an unfortunate situation arises.
Philadelphia Eagles: Possibility of Overcoming Quarterback Injuries
Julian and Kyle consider the Philadelphia Eagles as a team that could potentially survive quarterback injuries. The presence of Mariota and the overall talent on the roster might enable them to weather such setbacks, even in a competitive division.
Kansas City Chiefs: Built to Endure
The Kansas City Chiefs, despite their reliance on Patrick Mahomes, are still perceived as being built to endure. Their solid lineup, coached by Andy Reid, and the presence of playmakers like Travis Kelce contribute to their resilience.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Uncertainty Surrounding Their Fate
The Jacksonville Jaguars remain a bit of an enigma in this conversation. While they are seen as a team with the potential for regression, their exact fate is uncertain. They play in a competitive division and are currently undergoing changes that could influence their performance.
In the dynamic world of the NFL, predicting which teams are most likely to go from first to worst involves careful consideration of various factors, including roster strength, division competitiveness, and quarterback reliability. Julian Martinez and Kyle Ledbetter's conversation provides valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities each team faces. While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers stand out as the likely candidate for regression, the fate of other teams remains uncertain. As the NFL season unfolds, fans will eagerly watch to see which teams defy the odds and which ones fall from the top to the bottom of their divisions.
Julian Martinez: [00:00:05] Last week we talked NFL worst two first teams. But something that does also happen from time to time is a team will go from the top of their division straight to the basement. That's what we were discussing in this video. Last year's division winners were the following The Buffalo Bills. Kansas City Chiefs. Cincinnati Bengals. Jacksonville Jaguars. Philadelphia Eagles. San Francisco. 49ers. The Minnesota Vikings and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. When I say these teams out loud, which of them screams out regression to you? [00:00:37][31.9]
Kyle Ledbetter: [00:00:38] I mean it's the answer everyone's thinking of. So I don't know how deep we want to go into it. It's obviously the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa Bay Buccaneers are right now the pick two finished fourth in the in the NFC South right now like they according to Vegas are the fourth best odds to win the division. So not only is it possible that they regressed they are expected to regress to a place where they are going to be last. And the biggest part of that is they went from having Tom Brady to having maybe Baker Mayfield, which is still a maybe because it could also be Kyle Trask. And I assume Blaine Gabbert is still hanging around somewhere in that organization. Buccaneers have also had a whole bunch of injuries from the past couple of years. Joe Tryon-Shoyinka is someone who they thought would end up being a difference maker on the defensive side of the ball and hasn't worked out that way so far. They just drafted the guy from Pitt at the defensive tackle position to pair alongside Vita Vea. Devin White is looking for a trade because they're not going to give him a contract extension and that quarterback room was just awful last year, just awful from a team that had the best defense in the league during that Super Bowl run to then just being awful in the cornerback room because everyone either retired got old or left. Obviously, they brought back was a Davis in the secondary the corner. So that'll be a nice little plus for them. But I don't think that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are anywhere close to being a first place team and they just might be the worst. The only other teams I can think of in that group who will fall to last are teams that suffer an injury. And I guess of that group, the most valuable players to their teams are Joe Burrow with the Bengals and Justin Jefferson with the Vikings. Those would be the teams that if there's some sort of injury, maybe their season falls apart. [00:02:32][114.4]
Julian Martinez: [00:02:32] I'll tell you who I think is least likely to go first to worst the San Francisco 49ers and why I will say that is because the 49ers unlike every other team on this list, aren't as dependent on their quarterback situation. We saw it last year. Literally you cycle through four or five quarterbacks in a season and the 49ers were still able to get by on the talent on the roster alone. When I think about Kansas City or when I think about Buffalo or Cincinnati or Jacksonville, if any of these teams lost Trevor Lawrence, Mahomes, etc. for the rest of the season, they would probably be screwed. I mean, Chad Henne might be able to give a noble attempt for Kansas City and I'm sure they'll win a lot of games just based off Andy Reid and the playmakers on that team alone. But you take Mahomes off that roster for an entire season and Kansas City is screwed. If I told you that Brock Purdy week one, something unfortunate happens, hoping that doesn't happen, I think they can still win some games with Trey Lance, with Sam Darnold, whoever they have to put in. Because at the end of the day, whoever that quarterback is, they still have George Kittle to throw to. They still have Deebo Samuel to throw. Do they sell Brandon Aiyuk Christian McCaffrey, the best left tackle in the game, and a All-Pro level defense led by Nick Bosa and Fred Warner. So they'll still be okay so long as more injuries don't happen at those positions. For the 49ers, you need three or four injuries to really take them out of contention to the point where they go first to worst. You mentioned Tampa Bay. Circling back to them, I would just say, yeah, you look at the division around them, Carolina is starting to become more of a trendy darkhorse pick to really go in there and have a good season. We mentioned the Falcons last week. I think that they kind of give me steady Eddie vibes, like with Bijan Robinson. I think there's going to be some improvement on that team. They're going to be tough for Tampa and the Saints and they in theory should be an improvement with Derek Carr at quarterback. However, I still have question marks about Dennis Allen overall. I have question marks about Todd Bowles. I don't know if Todd Bowles is a good coach. I kind of I'm leaning towards no, because if Tom Brady couldn't make it work, which ultimately led to Tom Brady's retirement, I think that that kind of gives you the answer. So, yeah, they are the obvious favorite out of all these teams to have that regression season. [00:04:54][141.4]
Kyle Ledbetter: [00:04:55] I should apologize to the listeners real quick. As you mentioned, Chad Henne being one, Mahomes a.k.a Chad Henne retired after the Super Bowl last season. Chad Henne walked away on the mound. Top sell now one Patrick Mahomes injury away from playing for the Kansas City Chiefs. That would be Super Bowl champion Blaine Gabbert. That is the backup quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs. This season is Super Bowl champion quarterback Blaine Gabbert, which I'm sure he will come in and play like Nick Foles in the Super Bowl if the circumstances ever happened. Because I remember when Blaine Gabbert went 0-11 to start his career on the Jacksonville Jaguars when people tried to convince me that he was better than Cam Newton. So yes. Kansas City having an injury would be a problem. Burrow's already injured, so that's already starting the chain of reaction. [00:05:42][47.3]
Julian Martinez: [00:05:42] Just heard that he is clear for week one. It looks like Joe Burrow's health is fine, but yes, because we've literally saw that one two years ago. Right. Joe Burrow, take him off this roster. Cincinnati's the last place team. [00:05:55][12.4]
Kyle Ledbetter: [00:05:55] Mm hmm. It's entirely possible. Jacksonville, Less likely because of the division they play in Buffalo. I think that it could withstand losing Josh Allen. It wouldn't be ideal, and they probably wouldn't win the division, but I don't think their whole season would fall apart. The 49ers are a great bet by you to be the team most likely to finish first place again because this might be the most talented 49ers team of any of the last few years. And it's really hard to get to NFC championship games and it's really hard to get to Super Bowls. And yet the fact that people are coming back this year after the 49ers dominated the league the back end of the season, they were10-0 to end the season between Jimmy G and Brock Purdy going in there like they were ten and oh they were kicking ass and then they lost to the eagles when all of their running backs are all sorry their running back was playing quarterback at the end of the game. So yes. And despite that fact, people are still picking the 49ERs to be even better. This season is absolutely remarkable. I think from top to bottom, they just might be the most talented roster in the NFL. I've been saying for years they've been the most talented team and the most the biggest collection of talent since the Legion of Boom Seattle Seahawks in the early 2010's. When you talk about just seven Pro bowlers on the offensive side of the ball, six All-Pro players on defense, one of whom they just gave away, basically, they traded Deforest Buckner for Javon Kinlaw. And while people are saying good things about Kinlaw coming out of camp, like he just ran over a guard for the 49ers in one of the practices. While people are saying good things about Kinlaw, he's not DeForest Buckner and they just gave away Deforest BUCKNER And we're still able to keep the machine rolling because now it's who fungo who comes in and he's immediately a pro bowler when no one knew who he was. And the 49ers just have this ability to replicate talent. And I think that that was a good shout by you that they might be the best collection of talent in the NFL, and even more so than Philadelphia, even more so than Kansas City or Buffalo or Cincinnati or Jacksonville. They have a chance to stay the course, even if they deal with injuries coming up throughout the season. [00:08:03][127.5]
Julian Martinez: [00:08:04] And, you know, you brought up an interesting discussion like made me think about this. Whenever you mention obviously Kansas City did have a switch at the backup quarterback position. Blaine Gabbert, good catch by you. Apologies again. Thought it was Chad Henne just feels like he's been there forever. But looking at the other depth charts of those teams that are really reliant on their quarterback so Buffalo their backup is Kyle Allen Philadelphia their backup Mariota Cincinnati has Jake Browning a guy I honestly have never heard of and Trevor Siemian back there right now Jake Browning is the number two and then for Jacksonville 49ers former quarterback C.J. Beathard former third round pick there out of those I again with Jake Browning I have no idea who he is to be honest I really don't. [00:08:47][43.9]
Kyle Ledbetter: [00:08:48] Hey that's that is Sacramento's own Jake Browning He played high school football about 15 and it's that way from where I'm sitting right now. He led Washington to the College Football Playoff in 2016. That is who Jake Browning is. [00:09:02][14.0]
Julian Martinez: [00:09:02] I'm sorry to Jake Browning and Jake Browning family. But if Joe Burrow goes down and Jake Browning is taking snaps, yeah, the Cincinnati Bengals might be a last place. Team Trevor Siemian comes in and takes snaps for the Cincinnati Bengals significant snaps this year. I've seen enough Trevor Siemian play to know that he's not going to help your team win games. The Broncos knew that back in the day. Mariota with the Eagles. You mentioned the Niners have such a wide collection of talent that kind of props them up regardless of their quarterback situation. I wonder if they could survive Mariota at quarterback if Jalen Hurts had a miss significant time this year because Mariota obviously we saw him get benched last year with the Falcons. One of those situations where we drafted a guy. We just kind of want to see what it is. We know we're finishing last place this year. What do you think about that? Like if Mariota has to play significant time on a talented team like the Eagles, could they get by? [00:09:58][56.5]
Kyle Ledbetter: [00:09:59] It'll look very similar to when Minshew took over the Eagles last year, which was, if you'll remember. I'll be able to beat the the middle teams of the NFL. But when Minshew took over last year, when hurts injured his shoulder, they lost to Dallas and they lost to someone else who was pretty good. I remember because he played three games. He went one and two, and one of the losses was to Dallas and one of them was to another good team. [00:10:24][24.6]
Julian Martinez: [00:10:24] But yeah, right now we'll have to remember too, with the Dallas game, he played great in that game. He had multiple touchdowns. [00:10:30][5.8]
Kyle Ledbetter: [00:10:30] Except except for the interception or fumble at the end. He had a turnover at the end of the game that cost them. But they were, you know, it was like a 40-33 game. [00:10:39][8.8]
Julian Martinez: [00:10:40] Ceedee LAMB was just going nuts in that game. I won. That one, I think cost me a fantasy football championship. [00:10:45][5.4]
Kyle Ledbetter: [00:10:46] So if Mariota is the quarterback, even if Nate Sudfeld is the quarterback of the Eagles, they will still be better than Washington. That I feel confident saying. I still think they'd be better than the Giants with Nate Sudfeld at quarterback. But would they be better than the Cowboys? I'm not sure. Would they get the playoffs? [00:11:01][15.1]
Julian Martinez: [00:11:02] Not on there. It's if it comes down to it. Third Stringer is Ian book Ian. [00:11:06][4.6]
Kyle Ledbetter: [00:11:07] Oh God. [00:11:07][0.3]
Julian Martinez: [00:11:08] And Sanders Nate says that fourth stringer. [00:11:10][1.9]
Kyle Ledbetter: [00:11:11] Nate Sudfeld Oh he's sure right now good for Nate Sudfeld. So yeah, maybe not Ian book, but if if it's Mariota, they can get to the playoffs with Mariota Now when they get there, will they lose to maybe whichever team comes out of the NFC South? Probably. Maybe, I don't know. I think it would be a closer matchup, but yeah, yeah. Jalen Hurts is a $50 million quarterback, even if I don't think of him as like the top of the top of the NFL. Jalen Hurts is a $50 million quarterback and was a big part of the reason they were good last year. As much as I love Jake Browning Folsom Lake High School in Sacramento shout out to Jake Browning. Yeah I said off the top, like the teams that would be least likely to withstand a major injury would be the Bengals losing Joe Burrow. I mean, Joe Burrow is just I know they have Ja'marr Chase, I know they have Tee Higgins. I know Orlando Brown is here this year, but he is the catalyst of everything that goes on in Cincinnati. And the other one I'd say is Justin Jefferson. If Justin Jefferson goes down for the Minnesota Vikings, I don't know if they're going to be able to overcome that. Now. I don't know if they'll finish last in the NFC North this year, but like we talked about in a previous video, if I told you any of the teams in the NFC North were going to go eight and eight this year or eight and nine, you would believe me if I told you Detroit, Minnesota, Green Bay or Chicago were to go eight nine, it would totally be in the realm of possibility. [00:12:34][83.5]
Julian Martinez: [00:12:35] I will agree with you a little on Minnesota, too, that they're not as dependent on if Kirk Cousins misses time only because it's odd for me even saying this right now. But I think Nick Mullens could get by if you still gave him like Justin Jefferson. But ultimately for the Vikings, they also have to deal with a defense that was just God awful last year. Hopefully that defense can do anything around the division. Going back to the main question of first or worse, would they fall behind the Packers? Would they fall behind the Bears? We mentioned the Bears seem to be ascending. The Lions seem to be ascending, the Packers kind of treading water. Would the Vikings fall below them if Justin Jefferson or Kirk Cousins or respectively, of any of them this time? That's something to monitor when it comes to the bills. You know, I don't like the bills, too. They're very much at risk. If Josh Allen was missed time, I think he kind of downplayed whether or not they could survive a Josh Allen injury with Kyle Allen. Could he come in with Stefon Diggs? Gabe Davis? They have a good defense, certainly. But you also got to consider that AFC East is, as we mentioned in the previous video, a dogfight. The Jets are better. The Patriots, we know, will always be good and we'll take advantage of a quarterback of Kyle Allen's ilk. And then the Dolphins are better. So if the Bills had any serious injury to Josh Allen, I don't think they could survive. [00:14:05][89.6]
Kyle Ledbetter: [00:14:05] The reason that I discounted Buffalo from that group is because last season Buffalo was what you were just describing for San Francisco. They were the best collection of talent in the NFL and there was no second place. I mean, it was night and day between all the nerd stats that I won't bore you guys with. But basically, like if you took the projected win totals of every NFL team last year, Buffalo was two games ahead of that and the next closest team in the regular season like they were just so far an above in terms of talent on the roster better than anyone in the league and while they're not as talented this year obviously they've lost a couple pieces. They had to replace defensive line players leaving with like Connor McGovern on the offensive line and they have to make choices about which players they keep and which players they extend. I've brought up the stat they haven't drafted a Pro Bowler since the Josh Allen draft. Class in 2018. So they haven't necessarily been replenishing that talent. Granted, Ed Oliver's very good. He just hasn't made a Pro Bowl yet. But given the fact they haven't replaced talent, maybe it becomes a bit of a question for Buffalo. But the Bills were just so, so talented last year that I find it hard to believe that that talent is going to fall all the way back to the pack in just one off season that it didn't feel like they lost any major pieces. [00:15:26][81.1]
Julian Martinez: [00:15:28] Yeah. So again, if we're going to rank these most likely to go to first or worst, Tampa's the clear leading number one, right? We agree with that. Yeah, probably. I don't know I probably go with the Minnesota at two I think Minnesota kind of But with with that defense if I believe that again, two of the teams in the division are ascending and I think that the Packers who knows we'll see with the Packers Jordan love actually look good over the weekend. I don't know if that means anything but if he ends up being a decent quarterback after all, the Vikings run back with this defense and they do experience an injury that could really suck for them. Cincinnati, When I look at that the division around them, if Joe Burrow was to experience any health scares or anything, then they would be at risk. I would probably go Buffalo next. I think Buffalo again with the division around them. If Josh Allen gets hurt, they might be most at risk. We talked about the drama they had in the offseason and it feels like that team was starting to break apart towards the end. I mentioned it earlier. I think the Niners are last on the list, but behind them I probably put the chiefs because even again, if Mahomes gets hurt and it does end up having to be Blaine Gabbert, I still give the benefit of the doubt to Andy Reid. I still give the benefit of the doubt to Travis Kelce. If they can make this Chris Jones thing yet, figure it out. They have enough pieces there to survive any kind of injuries or something that could dethrone them. Then I'll probably go Philadelphia, Philadelphia there because again, talent on the roster, Mariota, we've seen them win a playoff game in the past. I don't know if Mariota will ever be that good again in his career, but he has won a playoff game when he was surrounded by elite talent. So decent backup quarterback situation. And I know I've just missed one who am I missing. [00:17:11][103.3]
Kyle Ledbetter: [00:17:11] It's it's the one that is the one I don't know what to do with it is Jacksonville. I'm just like I mean, Jacksonville's not blowing out of the water, but also they play in that division again. [00:17:22][10.2]
Julian Martinez: [00:17:22] If Jacksonville was to go first or worse, it would be because Trevor Lawrence missed significant time. Right. I think that we can agree on that. [00:17:29][6.9]
Kyle Ledbetter: [00:17:29] Or Doug Pederson turns into like an Urban Meyer situation. But you start kicking kickers. The only, the only qualm I would have is like it feels weird to put Buffalo over Jacksonville but like between the two of them it's they're pretty close to each other but the other six I agree with yeah. [00:17:46][16.8]
Julian Martinez: [00:17:46] You have to factor in division and what's around them and I think that if buffalo just had a rough season, a rough start to the season, there's three teams in their division that could jump them that can make a case for that can jump them. [00:18:00][13.6]
Kyle Ledbetter: [00:18:00] That's fair. I guess I'd just call it a tie for fourth because again, I don't I don't disagree with you. It just feels so weird to say Buffalo's more likely to finish last place than the Jaguars because Buffalo was the most talented football team in the NFL going into last year and the Jaguars were the team that had the number one pick a year or two years ago. So I guess you're proud. I don't disagree with you. It just feels so weird to put Buffalo over Jacksonville. [00:18:25][25.1]
Julian Martinez: [00:18:26] All right, guys, let us know in the comment section. Which team do you believe is most likely to go from first to worst? We will like in the video, subscribe to the channel. Follow us on all our social media from Ju-Ju and Kyle. Stay safe, happy and healthy. We will see you next time. [00:18:26][0.0]
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