PRO SPORTS SPOTLIGHT: Five National Football League Teams That Will Regress in 2018

By  //  August 29, 2018

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A single loss over a 162-game MLB season or an 82-game NHL season has far less impact than losing a game on a 16-game NFL schedule. The New England Patriots have enjoyed an abnormally long run at the top while teams like the Cleveland Browns have been bottom feeders for the better part of 20 years. However, the Patriots will eventually suffer through some bad seasons and the Browns will be a playoff team one day. Hard to imagine.

A single loss over a 162-game MLB season or an 82-game NHL season has far less impact than losing a game on a 16-game NFL schedule.

The ebb and flow of progression and regression is par for the course for professional sports teams. The NFL sees this cycle as much as any other sport. Some teams take longer to go through the cycle than others but it eventually happens.

The New England Patriots have enjoyed an abnormally long run at the top while teams like the Cleveland Browns have been bottom feeders for the better part of 20 years. However, the Patriots will eventually suffer through some bad seasons and the Browns will be a playoff team one day. Hard to imagine.

The NFL is unlike most other major sports simply because of the short schedule. A single loss over a 162-game MLB season or an 82-game NHL season has far less impact than losing a game on a 16-game NFL schedule. Just ask the Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Chargers, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, and the Seattle Seahawks whose fortunes in 2017 could have been vastly different had they won just one more game.

Let’s take a look at a few teams that will regress in 2018. In some cases, it will just be a regression of 1 or 2 wins but those crucial wins are the difference between being a participant or a spectator when January rolls around. Below are some of this years NFL Picks from Jon Price the betting legend who has made more money wagering on football than any other living and active handicapper.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

The Jaguars were definitely a surprise in 2017. They went through their first 7 games alternating between wins and losses before going on a run that saw them take 6 of the next 7 before dropping their final 2 games of the season to finish an impressive 10-6.

Excellent defense and a punishing ground game were the main ingredients in their success. Of course, it didn’t hurt that they had one of the easiest schedules. The Jaguars will once again face one of the softest schedules in 2018 but there is a very good chance that this team doesn’t match last year’s regular season success.

In the AFC South, Andrew Luck is back at the helm in Indianapolis and Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson is set to resume where he left off last year before he was sidelined for the year. Marcus Mariota and the Titans are looking strong which makes the division much tougher to play against. New England, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh who will be looking for revenge will be tough as will road games in Kansas City and Dallas.

There is no question that Jacksonville’s defense is beyond solid but they are pretty one-dimensional on offense. 9-7 might be a minor regression but it is a regression all the same and will put their playoff hopes in jeopardy.

BUFFALO BILLS

In 2017, the Buffalo Bills proved that you can average less than 19 points per game while giving up over 22 points per game and still make the playoffs. They played 7 games against teams that ended up with winning records and came away with just a pair of wins in those games but they did well enough against the scrubs to somehow squeak into the Wildcard game with a 9-7 record.

While they will be looking at their 2018 first overall pick to fill the quarterback position in the years to come, it looks like career back up A.J. McCarron will start the year at quarterback while LeSean McCoy will get his share of carries.

The Bills have a very mediocre receiving core and this offense probably won’t be much more productive than they were last year. Aside from their 2 annual matches against the Patriots, Buffalo will be in tough spot when they face the Chargers, Vikings, Packers, Tennessee, and Jacksonville. It’s not like they’ll be taking Houston, Baltimore or Detroit lightly either. Buffalo will be lucky to win 6 games. Oddsmakers have set Buffalo’s season wins total at 6.5 at +165.

ARIZONA CARDINALS

Their offense floundered and their defense was suspect yet the Arizona Cardinals still managed to finish 8-8 in 2017. Even though Larry Fitzgerald is still a force and David Johnson is returning after missing last year, this is a team with one of the weakest offensive lines in the NFL and their defense is on the wrong side of mediocre.

They will have to contend with the much-improved Rams and 49ers in the NFC West as well as the Seahawks who are also regressing but still a good team. On top of that, the Cardinals will also face the Vikings, Chargers, Packers, Falcons, and Chiefs among others. There are no real gimmes on tap this year. The bookies have hung a season win total of 5.5 on them and they should barely surpass that mark with a 6-10 finish.

DETROIT LIONS

2017 saw the Detroit Lions put up a second consecutive winning season for the first time in about 2 decades but they are going to be hard-pressed to do it again in 2018.

They were able to take advantage of a depleted Packers squad and a bad Bears team for 4 of their wins but they deserve credit for splitting their series with the Vikings. They also picked up wins against the Cardinals, Giants, Cleveland, and Tampa Bay. With the exception of their single win against Minny, the Lions went 0-5 against teams with winning records.

They’ll likely do well against Chicago again this year but they almost certainly won’t have such an easy time with Green Bay or Minnesota. The chances of them going 5-1 against the NFL North is slim to none.

Aside from teams in their division, Detroit will face New England, Dallas, Seattle, Carolina, and the Rams who all had winning records in 2017. We can also expect that road games in San Francisco, Arizona, and Buffalo will present a challenge. Oddsmakers have Detroit winning 7.5 games this year and that might be giving them a little too much respect.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

The Chiefs have had a lot of regular season success in recent years. They have finished their last 5 seasons with a winning record and have finished in first place in the AFC West for 2 straight years.

The Chiefs drafted Patrick Mahomes in 2017 with the intention of making him their guy under center and that’s where he will be this year. Mahomes comes with a lot of upside and he will have some very good targets to throw to along with running back Kareem Hunt who can relieve a bit of pressure. On the defensive side of the ball, the losses of Derrick Johnson and Marcus Peters weakens an already mediocre defense.

The Chiefs start their season with road games against San Diego and Pittsburgh before returning home for a match against the Niners. Aside from playing their usual AFC West rivals, the Chiefs also have to contend with Jacksonville, New England, the Rams, Baltimore, and Seattle.

They might finish 9-7 but an 8-8 regular season record is more likely. Either way, the Chiefs are going to have a hard time returning to the playoffs. Bookies have set Kansas City’s win total at 8.5 at +105.

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