Three NFL teams that could regress badly in 2020
The offseason is a time when optimism abounds for just about every team and every fan base. Every team is undefeated.
New free-agent signings, players acquired through trade, and the influx of prospects from next month’s NFL Draft bring renewed hope to every organization.
Teams rise up to qualify for the playoffs, but there are always others that will regress. Here is a look at three teams that could regress badly next season.
San Francisco 49ers (Super Bowl odds: +900)
The 49ers were a quarter away from winning the Super Bowl in February. But they could take a step back in 2020.
The 49ers have the lowest Super Bowl odds of all NFC teams, at +900 at BetAmerica. They’re also favored to win the NFC, with odds of +450.
But there are a few factors that could play against them next season.
They lost receiver Emmanuel Sanders in free agency and had to trade DeForest Buckner, a force on the defensive line. They are tight against the salary cap, which played into the Buckner trade.
I also don't want to hear how the 49ers can't afford OBJ financially.— Vincent Frank (@VincentFrankNFL) March 20, 2020
Beckham 2020 cap hit: $14.3 million
Goodwin, Coleman, Nzeocha cap savings: $10.1 million.
Cap goes up considerably in 2021 and beyond under new CBA.
And is Jimmy Garoppolo the quarterback to take the 49ers over the top? He had a good season, with 3,978 yards passing, 27 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions, but was far from great.
In the playoffs he wasn’t asked to throw much prior to the Super Bowl, and when he was asked to air it out, with a championship on the line, he struggled with a pair of interceptions.
The playoffs seem likely, but they’ll take a step or two back from the 13-3 regular season they posted in 2019.
Seattle Seahawks (Super Bowl odds: +1800)
The Seahawks made the playoffs with an 11-5 record in 2019. Russell Wilson was front and center in the mid-season MVP conversation and receiver D.K. Metcalf burst onto the scene as a rookie.
But the team lived dangerously every week.
Five of their wins last season were by four points or fewer, and they twice won in overtime. An 11-5 season very easily could’ve been 5-11 if Wilson wasn’t at the top of his game.
Their win total for 2020 has been set at nine at BetAmerica. The Over is favored, with odds of -120, despite lingering offseason issues that need to be addressed.
The Seahawks still need a pass rush, they have injury concerns at running back, and there are questions every year about whether they can adequately protect their quarterback.
They’re also in a division with the reigning NFC champion 49ers, and the Arizona Cardinals should be more competitive in the second year of Kyler Murray’s tenure as starting quarterback.
Houston Texans (Super Bowl odds: +3300)
An honorable mention for an AFC team to regress in 2020 goes to the New England Patriots.
We’ll focus on the Houston Texans, a team that finished 10-6 last season to win the AFC South and features a dynamic quarterback in Deshaun Watson.
There are red flags, though. An indication of that is their 2020 wins total, which is set at 7.5. The Over has odds of -120 at BetAmerica.
The Texans were the only playoff team to have a negative point differential (-7) during the regular season, and they were far from elite on defense, especially without J.J. Watt.
It has also been a tumultuous offseason.
The Texans traded DeAndre Hopkins, Watson's favorite target, for running back David Johnson.
It was a good move for Arizona. Not so much for the Texans.
Johnson is 28 and four years removed from his career year, when he had 1,239 rush yards, 879 receiving yards and 20 total touchdowns. Since 2016 he has dealt with injuries that have kept him out of the lineup, and the Cardinals decided it was time to move on.
The Tennessee Titans are in position to take over the AFC South. The Indianapolis Colts could get back into the playoff hunt, if Philip Rivers can take command of that offense.
The Texans are a prime candidate to regress.