Playoff hopes dashed? Just wait until next year. The Breakout Live team debates which of the teams eliminated from the playoffs has the best chance of getting to the Super Bowl next year.
Senior News & Fantasy Editor
I’ll give the nod to the Colts. Indy has over $122 million in cap space which is nearly $25 million more than the team with the 2nd most (Jets). The Colts have the best quarterback of the teams eliminated and face the 7th easiest schedule in 2019, giving them a chance to lock down the 1-seed inside their dome. Of the eliminated playoff teams, only the Texans with the 4th easiest schedule have a path of less resistance, but they have nearly 50% less cap space than the Colts.
It has to be the Chargers on talent alone. You hear players talk all the time about how the biggest fallacy in the NFL is the idea that “We’ll be back next year.” It rarely happens. With so much roster turnover every year and the plethora or variables that have to align just to get to the playoffs, the notion that you’ll have another look at a Super Bowl after losing in the postseason the previous year is misguided at best.
But in looking at the list of UFA’s for LA this offseason, there really isn’t a single guy they can’t live without. Gates is there, but he’s 39 and Hunter Henry should be healthy. Brandon Mebane is 34. And Tyrell Williams is a nice piece, but he’s expendable given how Mike Williams blossomed this year. Top-to-bottom, the Chargers have one of, if not the best roster in the NFL and they’ll likely have all the vital pieces returning. The key will be Philip Rivers, who will be another year older but also another year saltier after yet another early playoff exit.
George “Cannonball” West
My pick for the 2020 Super Bowl Champion is the Los Angeles Chargers. The Bolts are stacked with a franchise quarterback and a plethora of talent in key positions and face a favorable schedule against opponents that had a combined record of 44-83. Philip Rivers is coming off arguably his finest season with 32 TDs and only 12 picks. He will have a quality receiving corps that includes Kenan Allen and Mike Williams, who blossomed in 2018, and TE Hunter Henry who will return from a knee injury that wiped out this season. And the Chargers have an established ground game featuring Melvin Gordon, Austin Ekeler, and rookie find Justin Jackson.
The defense is loaded with two great pass rushers in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, as well as a solid CB in Casey Heyward and a potential perennial All-Pro at safety in Derwin James. The Chargers should be able to draft a quality offensive lineman and a sturdy linebacker from where they pick in the draft to fill in the two places that they were lacking in this past campaign. The 2019 Chargers should end up with a #1 or #2 playoff seed next season on their way to a Super Charged hoisting of the Lombardi Trophy.
There are a number of playoff drop-outs I could see making a Super Bowl run next season. I like the way the Colts are constructed on both sides of the ball and they seem in solid hands with rookie coach Frank Reich. In Los Angeles, Philip Rivers has plenty of weapons and a solid defense backing him to make a deeper run. The Seahawks are rebuilding nicely and still have quality years left from Russell Wilson. And a healthier Eagles team still seems like contenders, although they’ll likely have to do it without Foles next year.
But the team I’m most confident in among the playoff losers is the Chicago Bears. That defense promises to be among the league’s best again next year. And if they can get another weapon or two for Mitchell Trubisky on offense, I think they’ll be dangerous.