Loading... Please wait...

Who will be the surprise NFL team to contend next season?

Posted by

Despite the salary cap in the NFL, it’s typically the same group of teams (usually those featuring a star quarterback) who contend year in and year out. But every season there’s one or two franchises that seem to come out of nowhere and actually contend. Last year it was the Kansas City Chiefs and the New York Jets. Who will it be in 2016?

I’ve got my eye on the Buffalo Bills. I know, I know, the New England Patriots have won the division practically every year since 2000, and as long as Tom Brady is at the helm, they’ve got a shot to beat anyone. And this is the Bills we’re talking about…

But I think this team is ripe for glory in 2016. They had a respectable 8-8 showing last year and with head coach Rex Ryan now entering his 2nd season in charge, he’s had proper time to really inject his will on the team. What does this mean? Expect the Bills to have a very tough defense this year.

Buffalo has two tremendous cornerbacks in Stephon Gilmore and Ronald Darby. Additionally, their drafting of Shaq Lawson and Reggie Ragland suggests they are looking to establish a formidable defense. Though their overall performance was average last year, the team did rank well in takeaways, and these big plays could make the Bills very competitive.

And while we basically assume that any Rex Ryan defense will be strong, the opposite is expected of his offenses. I expect this to change in 2016. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor got his first real opportunity last season and passed with high marks. His 99.4 QB rating was 7th best for starters and was equal to league MVP Cam Newton. His 6 interceptions displayed a maturity not often seen in first-year starters and bodes well for his future. This team will go as far as Taylor takes them. With LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins as primary offensive weapons, the Bills will put up more points than people are used to in 2016.

Perhaps one thing that heavily points in the Bills’ favor this season is Tom Brady’s 4-game suspension to start the year. The Patriots may find themselves in a deep hole; one that a good team like the Bills can take serious advantage of. Expect the Bills to be the surprise team in 2016, and make a strong run to the NFL playoffs behind an 11-5 record!