It happens seemingly every year in every sport. A team comes out of nowhere to push for a playoff spot. One year a team is struggling to climb out of the cellar, the next they are in the postseason mix. Everyone loves a Cinderella story and sports are full of them.
In the last 13 years, 17 teams have gone worst to first in the NFL, so it’s understandable why there is usually so much hope in the offseason. Every team is 0-0, so if you’re going to be optimistic, now is the time.
Sure there are a few perennial playoff teams that will be there regardless, but things happen in the NFL. We’ve seen the injury bug decimate teams and we've seen young players have that light-bulb click as they become Pro Bowl type players. We’ve seen quarterbacks get hot and carry teams, and we’ve seen #1 QBs go down that essentially ends a teams chances. There aren’t 32 capable starting quarterbacks in the NFL so the odds that the back up is going to some in and keep the status quo are slim.
Football is 11 on 11 and there are so many variables that go into winning, that it’s no wonder we see a worst to first happen so often.
The Sporting News recently ranked the eight last place 2015 teams in order of most likely to go worst to first. They have the Chicago Bears at number four.
In Year 2 under John Fox and Ryan Pace, they’re in position to be a better team without it showing in the standings. Kevin White will have a delayed rookie season, and they improved their leaky defense via free agency (and the draft, if Leonard Floyd develops fast). If they didn’t have to surpass the Packers and Vikings, this would be plausible. Don’t count on them passing the Lions under new management, either.
I agree the Bears will be better, and I also agree that it will be tough to leapfrog two 2015 playoff teams to take the NFC North title. The Packers and Vikings are both better than the Bears on paper, but the Bears are one of those teams with a lot of young talent that could finally “get it.”
Sure there are a lot of ifs surrounding the Bears, but it could happen.
Chicago’s o-line could gel and give the young running backs the boost they need to make fans forget about Matt Forte. Those young running backs could also thrive in a shared backfield.
The revamped front seven could be just what the doctor ordered for the secondary to play winning football. Outside linebackers Willie Young and Lamarr Houston could be ready to build off their outstanding second halves from 2015 and rack up double digit sacks each.
Wide out Kevin White could have an Amari Cooper like impact on the offense with fellow WR Alshon Jeffery playing lights out for a new contract.
What do you guys think about the Bears going worst to first?
Could it happen?
Which teams do you think have the best shot at making the trip from the outhouse to the penthouse?