The New England Patriots are the anomaly to everything the NFL is supposed to be.
Despite the league’s parody, salary cap constrictions, even a four-game suspension for their superstar QB doesn’t stop them from winning the Super Bowl.
They are perennial favorites, whether you want them to be or not, because you can always count on the Pats to go deep into the playoffs.
For the other 31 NFL teams, there is a window of opportunity they have to take in order to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
For a handful of teams, this window is closing quickly. Take a look at the five teams who need to be in “do or die” mode this season if they want to win another ring or maybe just their first:
The Cards came pretty close to their window being slammed shut when QB Carson Palmer and WR Larry Fitzgerald talked about retiring. nearly saw their window slam shut this offseason when Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald talked retirement. It’s just barely open, which is crazy to think about after seeing them go 13-3 in 2015. The reason there’s still time to win a championship is because of two things: the defense, and David Johnson.
They will both return for 2017, but Arizona needs to capitalize on the opportunity to be Super Bowl champions quickly before they go into rebuilding mode.
Before last year, the Bengals had been to the postseason five straight years, making 2016’s 6-9 record quite the disappointment in Cincy.
Since the season ended, they lost their two best offensive linemen, Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler, and QB Andy Dalton threw just 18 touchdown passes in 16 games and he has two playmakers in the receiving corps in WR A.J. Green and TE Tyler Eifert.
If the Bengals can get back on track this season, it may be their best chance at a ring.
When a team starts shopping one of the best players at their position in the entire league, they typically know their window is closing and they are trying to reboot.
That’s what’s going on in Seattle.
The Seahawks have been trying to find a trade partner for CB Richard Sherman, believing no matter how good he is that he’s expendable at 29.
Russell Wilson kept Seattle’s hopes alive last season, but he can’t do it on his own. He needs a better offensive line and a target at receiver since TE Jimmy Graham might not be around.
If they want to win another Super Bowl, this is the season to do it.
New York Giants
The Giants have won two Super Bowls in the last 10 years and if Eli Manning wants No. 3 they have better get it done this season.
Manning is on the decline, throwing 26 touchdown passes and 16 interceptions while averaging just 6.7 yards per attempt. Manning is an elite QB so his play affects the W-L column more than a team built around a group of players. He still has Odell Beckham, Jr., thankfully, which is why Manning isn’t done for good.