With an extra regular season game to play and with an additional playoff spot up for grabs, most NFL teams are likely taking the approach that they’ll be in the mix until the very end.
While that logic certainly would make sense given the extended regular season and expanded playoff field, there will still be teams who never quite figure it out next year.
We’re not quite sure who the “Lose For Lawrence” or “Tank For Tua” prize will be ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft, but there will be a few franchises who will likely try to pack it in early to secure college football’s next great prospect.
Let’s take a closer look at which teams are the most likely candidates to finish 2-15, 1-16, or the even the unprecedented 0-17.
3. New York Jets
The boys are on Long Island today cheering on the @NYIslanders 🏒
— New York Jets (@nyjets) May 22, 2021
Including the New York Jets in a prognostication piece where they finish with a tumultuous record for another season seems almost cruel.
New head coach Robert Saleh does appear to be an upgrade over the much maligned Adam Gase, but it will take time for him to get his footing leading a team.
There are aspects of the job, such as clock management and going for it on fourth down, that he’ll need to get more comfortable with in his first season.
Similarly, rookie quarterback Zach Wilson looks to have all of the physical skills a team could want at the position, but will need time to adjust to the NFL game.
BYU’s schedule wasn’t exactly loaded, so it will be interesting to see how he fares in 2021.
There’s a very real chance that New York actually secures the first overall pick in next year’s draft, something they “failed” to do last year.
2. Cincinnati Bengals
Couldn’t be more excited about the future of our organization. We have a great foundation and great people at the top. Look forward to giving the fans what they deserve. Also hopefully that’s the last time I ever have to watch a game on tv🤟
— Joey Burrow (@JoeyB) January 4, 2021
On paper, the Cincinnati Bengals have a lot of promising pieces and a bright future.
Cincinnati also used the fifth pick in the draft to selected LSU playmaker Ja’Marr Chase, who should be something close to an impact player from day one.
A lot of the Bengals’ fortunes will hinge on whether Joe Burrow can recover from his depressing ACL injury.
Reports indicate that he’s progressing well, but it can take a quarterback a year or two to fully get back to form.
Whether Burrow starts Week 1, or sits a few weeks to ensure he’s fully healthy, the Bengals will have a difficult time improving their record in a super competitive AFC North.
1. Detroit Lions
It’s a vicious cycle of promise and heartache for fans of the Detroit Lions, and 2021 may not figure to get any better.
Stafford figures to have a chance to make a difference on an NFC playoff contender, while Goff’s NFL future took a significant turn for the worse it seems.
Detroit’s roster isn’t anywhere near as talented as Los Angeles’, and with all due respect to new head coach Dan Campbell, he doesn’t have the reputation Sean McVay has around the league.
If Goff was an inconsistent player for the Rams, it doesn’t seem like he’s going to all of a sudden be a force in the Motor City.
It could be a long year for the Lions, especially if the Green Bay Packers hold onto Aaron Rodgers.NEXT: 2 Chiefs Who Likely Won’t Make The Week 1 Roster