I’ll be the first to admit it’s a long shot for any of these teams to make a deep run, but that’s why they’re dark horses. I’m not going to pick obvious teams like Kansas City; I’m more focused on teams who are underdogs in their division/conference.
This is somewhat contradictory to what I said before about obvious teams, but the Vikings look to be the most promising team on this list. Although they may not win their division- the NFC North still belongs to the Packers until proven otherwise- they have a real shot at winning the Wild Card. Bradford looked extremely good in Week One. They have a great defense returning from last year, but the man who stole the show was rookie runningback Dalvin Cook. I don’t expect Cook to play as well as he did the entire year, but he was very impressive.
The AFC South is probably the worst division in the league and, from my perspective, is wide open. The Colts are dysfunctional. Texans look good on paper, but the lack of offense through two games this year is concerning. I have very similar feelings towards the last two teams: the Titans ran into one of the best teams in the AFC but looked decent. Mariota is blossoming into an amazing quarterback; Murray is still a top five, but he needs more than 12 carries. Now the Jaguars are intriguing to me. I’m almost at the point where I want to call Bortles a bust, but I’m going to give him a few more games. Fournette is an absolute beast and I’m happy they’re feeding him the ball as much as they are. He is a great young back and they need to ride him until the wheels fall off- especially if Bortles can’t get it going. Their defense improved with the signing of Campbell (who is statistically one of the best lineman in recent years), but they played a Houston team who can’t buy points. Therefore, the verdict is still out on Jacksonville’s defense.
The last team on this list is the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams ripped out the soul of the Colts, ate it, and spit it back on the field. Although the Colts aren’t the best team, the Rams did absolutely anything they wanted to on Sunday. The Rams might steal the division, but the Seahawks are a huge favorite and the Cardinals are still good. Goff had the game of his life, but it’s Jared Goff, so be sure to expect multiple picks next game. Gurley is amazing; that’s no secret, and just like the Jaguars, I’m not sure if the defense is really good or if the Colts are just this bad.
Teams to keep an eye on: Eagles, Buccaneers, Bills.