NFL | State of the forces


NFL seasons are not long and playoff time has already come. While 14 clubs are preparing for the tournament, the other 18 have already started their preparation for next September. We take the tour in our last edition of the state of the forces season.

Posted at 8:00 a.m.

Miguel bujold

Miguel bujold
Press

1. Green Bay Packers (13-4)

All NFL teams have lost at least four times this year, which is extremely rare whether the season is 17 games or 16. The return to the game of David Bakhtiari, one of the best left blockers, will make Aaron Rodgers again. more productive, one of the two main contenders for the title of MVP, an honor he received last year.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4)

The other contender for the MVP title is of course Tom Brady, who set personal marks with 719 passing attempts, 485 passing passes and 5,316 overhead yards. Brady and the Bucs should be able to count on Leonard Fournette (hamstring) in their playoff game against the Eagles.

3. Tennessee Titans (12-5)

Bakhtiari (Green Bay) and Fournette (Buccaneers) are important players, but the biggest return to play in the playoffs will likely come in Nashville. Derrick King Henry has started training again and everything points to a return to the game next weekend (the Titans are on leave in the first round). This isn’t great news for the other six teams still alive in the American.

4. Kansas City Chiefs (12-5)

Patrick Mahomes recovered well after an ordinary first half of the season. In his last 9 games, he has totaled 18 touchdown passes against only 3 interceptions, he who had suffered 10 interceptions in his first 8 outings. Will Tyreek Hill be in top form on Sunday night? He injured a heel last Saturday.

5. Buffalo Bills (11-6)

Despite having played four of their six intradivisional games against the Patriots and Dolphins, who have two of the best defenses in the league, the Bills finished the schedule with the best points differential in the NFL (+194).

6. Dallas Cowboys (12-5)

Not only will Sunday’s Cowboys-49ers clash be the first playoff episode between these two old rivals since the mid-1990s, but it will also pit teams of a comparable caliber against each other.

7. Cincinnati Bengals (10-7)

The Bengals gave Joe Burrow a day off last week and the minor knee injury he sustained in his last game shouldn’t bother him against the Raiders.

8. San Francisco 49ers (10-7)

Cooper Kupp, Davante Adams and Justin Jefferson are all very good, but if you gave me a choice, I’d take Deebo Samuel, the NFL’s most versatile wide-winger. Samuel caught 77 passes for 1,405 yards for an average of 18.2 per catch, the league’s best for those who caught 25 or more passes. He also carried the ball 59 times for 365 yards (6.2 per carry) and threw a touchdown pass Sunday against the Rams.


PHOTO JED JACOBSOHN, ARCHIVES ASSOCIATED PRESS

Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers

9. Los Angeles Rams (12-5)

Speaking of the Rams, Sean McVay’s side have surely developed a complex compared to the 49ers, who have now beaten them six in a row. Luckily for the Rams, the Cardinals will be in Los Angeles on Monday night, not the Niners.

10. New England Patriots (10-7)

Mac Jones seems to have hit the proverbial « rookie wall » at the end of the season. In order to be able to take out the Bills, the Pats will likely need to be very successful on the ground, as they did on their first visit to Buffalo last month.

11. Arizona Cardinals (11-6)

Perhaps it was better for the Cards to play abroad in the playoffs: 8-1 away from Arizona and only 3-5 at home. J. J. Watt could play on Monday.

12. Las Vegas Raiders (10-7)

Most of us had already buried the Raiders a month ago. Derek Carr has just shown that he can be at his best when it matters. As for interim head coach Rich Bisaccia, he deserves the driver’s job permanently.

13. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7-1)

If T. J. Watt doesn’t get the Defensive Player of the Year title, there will be a rebellion in Pittsburgh. In addition to matching Michael Strahan’s record with a 22.5-sack season (in 15 games), Watt has multiplied key games – as he did in 2019 and 2020.

14. Philadelphia Eagles (9-8)

Jalen Hurts and several other important players had little or no play on Saturday night. The beating they suffered against the Cowboys therefore came as no surprise.

15. Miami Dolphins (9-8)

The best team to miss the playoffs, but what a bad decision it was to thank Brian Flores… The Dolphins were finally on the right track!

16. Los Angeles Chargers (9-8)

Another season that ends in fishtail for the Chargers. The good news is that they should become regular in the playoffs with a quarterback the caliber of Justin Herbert.


ORLANDO RAMIREZ PHOTO, USA TODAY SPORTS ARCHIVES

Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers

17. Indianapolis Colts (9-8)

Frank Reich did not want to confirm whether Carson Wentz would be the Colts’ starting quarterback in 2022. After his poor performance in Jacksonville, Wentz should indeed not be sure of anything. A team that loses its most important game of the season against the Jaguars just doesn’t deserve a place in the tournament.

18. Saints of New Orleans (9-8)

First objective: to choose a starting quarterback for the next season as quickly as possible. Second objective: find him a few top receivers. One of those could be Michael Thomas if he continues his career in Louisiana after missing the entire season with an ankle injury.

19. Baltimore Ravens (8-9)

The many injuries, including that of Lamar Jackson, greatly weakened the Ravens, certainly, but to the point of ending the season with a six-game losing streak? Contract negotiations with Jackson will be at the forefront of the offseason in Maryland.

20. Cleveland Browns (8-9)

Kevin Stefanski has said he expects Baker Mayfield, who has been bothered by his shoulder injury throughout the second half of the season, it should be said, to come back with a vengeance next season. But not sure that Browns fans share his optimism.

21. Seattle Seahawks (7-10)

The future of Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson with the Seahawks remains uncertain. If both men are to stay in Seattle and win, the organization will definitely need to improve their defense.

22. Minnesota Vikings (8-9)

The first big decision made by the Vikings ‘new decision-makers when they’re hired will be about Kirk Cousins’ future. Holders of 12e choice, the Vikings will be in a good position to acquire a young passer in the next draft.

23. Denver Broncos (7-10)

In Denver, there is no doubt that acquiring a new quarterback will be THE priority once the hiring of a new head coach is concluded. A Brian Flores-Deshaun Watson combination? Flores is free and the rumors were that he wanted to get Watson in the Dolphins. The Broncos will certainly have the necessary capital in draft picks to make a trade with the Texans.

24. Washington team (7-10)

Another team with a big question mark at the most important position. Head coach Ron Rivera has said his team need a very good offseason and he is absolutely right. At least the organization has already made it known that they will have a new team name before the start of next season.


PHOTO NICK WASS, ARCHIVES ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ron Rivera, Washington team head coach

25. Atlanta Falcons (7-10)

The question the Falcons need to ask is whether they will have time to become legitimate contenders again before Matt Ryan’s game declines too much. If the answer is no, a transaction would be the best option for both parties.

26. Chicago Bears (6-11)

One of the Bears’ priorities will be to improve their offensive line. Because if Justin Fields is not better protected than he was in his first season, the Bears will still be looking for a quarterback in two years.

27. Carolina Panthers (5-12)

Three assistant coaches lost their jobs on Monday. We can guess that Matt Rhule was strongly encouraged to make these changes, in order to be able to keep his position himself.

28. New York Jets (4-13)

It won’t be easy for the Jets to become competitive in a division that also includes the Bills, Patriots and Dolphins. But the Bengals have just shown that it is possible to find a place in a strong division, and quite quickly. Like Fields in Chicago, Zach Wilson will need to be much better protected in 2022. He suffered at least 4 sacks in 6 of his 13 games in his rookie season, including each of his last 3.

29. Detroit Lions (3-13-1)

The Lions did what they could with the very limited squad that was in place this season. They will now have to improve their training on all fronts in order to be able to make significant progress in 2022.

30. Houston Texans (4-13)

It wasn’t for that, but Davis Mills might have played well enough down the home stretch to get the chance to be the starting quarterback in September. The rookie hit the target 66.8% of the time and threw 16 touchdown passes against 10 interceptions.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-14)

The Jags will have the first-ever draft pick for the second year in a row. They could have had their fill of choices by trading that selection to a side keen to get their hands on a young quarterback, but the 2022 vintage is ordinary at this position, so it’s an unlikely scenario.

32. New York Giants (4-13)

The last time I heard a coach or GM say he was putting the foundation in place when his team was atrocious on the pitch, like Joe Judge did this week, it was from Kavis Reed. The Alouettes have had to reinforce the stakes since… The Giants did not really believe in Judge’s plan since they fired him on Tuesday.



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