In any sport, we see the same teams in the playoffs for a few seasons.
The San Antonio Spurs had their playoff ticket punched a week into every season for 22 years.
The Yankees and Dodgers will win 100 or more games and make a deep playoff run.
The Penguins and Stars have been the most successful NHL teams for the past 40 years.
For the past 20 years, Tom Brady has led his team to the playoffs almost every year.
For every guaranteed team to make the playoffs though, there is usually someone there we are shocked to see.
Give me the 2016 cavs who came back to beat a stacked GS warriors from being down 3-1 in the finals !! That cannot be topped ever in my eyes. What lebron and his team did is unreal
— T stirn (@StirnTyler) March 3, 2021
You can never sleep on those underdogs.
The 2016 Cleveland Cavilers showed us why.
What 2021 NFL team is going to be the 2016 Cavs?
1: Las Vegas Raiders
The Las Vegas Raiders are closer to making a big playoff run than most think.
Everyone loves to tear Derek Carr down, including his own brother.
David Carr, the brother of Derek Carr, suggested that the Raiders should trade for Russell Wilson.
— NFL Memes (@NFL_Memes) March 2, 2021
Sure, trading for Russell Wilson sounds good, but guess who loses their job because of that?
Your own brother.
I can understand everyone’s frustrations with Carr since he holds a 47-63 record as the team’s starting QB.
What people need to understand is W-L records should not be a QB stat, it is a team stat.
The major issue is the defense couldn’t stop a nose bleed and they are in the same division as the Chiefs and Chargers.
Both of those teams can put up an insane amount of points and the Raiders currently can’t do anything about it.
Fortunately for the Raiders, they are starting to put up some points of their own.
They scored more than 30 points in all but one of their wins and still scored 20 or more in all of their losses except one.
The team is seeing an uptick in offensive performance so there is no reason to believe this is Derek Carr’s fault.
Las Vegas Raiders Free Agency Preview: Richard Sherman https://t.co/5R7xuMJwfi
— Hondo Carpenter (@HondoCarpenter) February 27, 2021
I am not saying Sherman is the fix it all solution, but he brings a veteran presence to an already young team.
The Raiders should be focusing on defense in the draft this year.
Once they enter the building, they can lean on vets like Sherman and expedite their development.
If the Raiders can pull a defensive rookie class similar to the Carolina Panthers in 2020, this team can be very dangerous.
2: Carolina Panthers
Speaking of the Carolina Panthers, I love what they are building with HC Matt Rhule at the helm.
I just brought up their exceptional 2020 defensive class.
DL Derrick Brown was the anchor of that line and was a run stuffer and pass rusher that could have been in the conversation for DROY.
OLB Jeremy Chinn was almost the DROY with an incredible debut with 117 tackles, 2 TFL, 5 QB Hits, 1 Sack, 2 Forced Fumbles, 5 Passes Defended, 6 Pressures, and 2 TDs.
Highest-graded rookies in coverage this season:
1. L'Jarius Sneed – 73.8
2. Cameron Dantzler – 69.8
3. Kamren Curl – 69.6
4. Jeremy Chinn – 65.4 pic.twitter.com/sNCYz67Xm6
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) February 1, 2021
DE Yetur Gross-Matos has his moments and will only be better in year 2.
CB Troy Pride Jr was thrown into the defense “baptism by fire” style and he struggled.
Fortunately, it will only make him better by going through a full season as a starting outside corner in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL.
With the addition of a top free agent safety or CB, this defense could be very scary.
The offense is not something you can forget either.
Teddy Bridgewater and a healthy Christian McCaffery can hold up against anyone.
I know the team is looking at bringing in Deshaun Watson but I don’t believe that is necessary.
That is fun to think about though.
Atlanta Falcons fans if the New Orleans Saints get Russell Wilson, the Carolina Panthers get Deshaun Watson and the Tampa Bay Bucs give Tom Brady a Contract Extension. pic.twitter.com/CyZtXNaevz
— DEFUND GEORGIA BASKETBALL! (@TheDawgzilla) February 25, 2021
Bridgewater has proved he can be accurate and effective in this offense if given enough time.
The Panthers like to throw it deep and want to allow WRs DJ Moore and Robby Anderson to run their long routes.
They have to be one of the most underrated WR duos in the league.
— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) March 3, 2021
Once CMC is back and healthy, teams won’t be able to stop all 3 of them.
Add in a pass-catching TE like Kyle Pitts in the draft and you have yourself a Chiefs-like offense.
The reason the Panthers are slept on is because of the Division they are in, just like the Raiders.
Small personnel adjustments, a good draft, and sticking with who you are can result in some playoff games.