The NFL is a jungle of uncertainty, though there are some bastions of security embedded into the madness. For instance, there are a few NFL teams set up to succeed, such as the New England Patriots. There are other teams we can count on to fail in 2017, like the New York Jets.
But many NFL teams on the precipice of success could just as easily tumble down the standings.
Those are the teams we’re going to discuss here. Teams like the San Diego Chargers and Philadelphia Eagles have some very intriguing pieces in place that could propel them to glory. On the other hand, nobody would be all that surprised if they ended up finishing in last place among their division rivals like they did in 2016.
These are the biggest boom or bust teams in 2017.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers won just five total games last year and just one against their AFC West rivals. But some good things were happening, especially on the defensive side.
Particularly, the front seven started shaping up as one of the more dominant units around the league. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram terrorized off the edge, while Denzel Perryman and Jatavis Brown mopped up anything in between the tackles. As a result, opposing teams averaged just 3.8 yards per carry against the Chargers.
Now, the secondary was somewhat of a problem, and it was one that was not addressed in the draft, either.
But the real issue was that the Chargers had a big problem with turnovers. Philip Rivers was awful in this regard, throwing 21 interceptions, and the offense coughed up 14 fumbles.
General manager Tom Telesco did some solid work in the draft to address this issue. One of the big winners of the draft, the Chargers shored up their offensive line, adding guards Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney. He also gave Rivers a new offensive weapon in former Clemson star, Mike Williams.
These moves certainly could pay dividends immediately. The offensive line should do a better job protecting Rivers, which could certainly help him with turnovers, which could propel Los Angeles up the standings and into the playoffs.
Then again, if Rivers is simply starting to fade and continues to throw games away, then nobody would be surprised if the Chargers ended up in the AFC West’s basement again in 2017. There’s also the fact that the Chargers are ill equipped for the inevitable scenario in which Rivers gets injured and misses time.
Things could go downhill in a hurry.