In most seasons (except 2014) there is a team that finishes last in their division one season only to return the next season and finish first. Worst-to-first from one year to the next is a big part of the NFL’s success. That parity makes every NFL fan feel like their team has a shot, and they do (for the most part .... sorry, Browns).
Let’s take a look at who finished in last place in the division last year and whether they have a shot to finish first this year. I see one obvious candidate...
AFC East: Dolphins
No shot that the Patriots give up their run. They’ve won the AFC East every year but one since 2002. And even in that one year, they won 11 games with a backup quarterback (hi, Matt Cassel!).
AFC North: Browns
While I do believe the Browns will be a better team under Hue Jackson, it’s way too early. The Steelers and Bengals are playoff-caliber teams.
AFC South: Titans
The Titans are an intriguing pick because I’m not a big believer in the Texans or Colts in the AFC South. It’s still a long shot.
AFC West: Chargers
Nahhhhh. The Chargers are not one of the NFL’s worst teams but they’re also probably not the best team in their division. The Chiefs, Broncos and Raiders are all better.
NFC East: Cowboys
This is your pick. I believe with a healthy Tony Romo that the Cowboys will win the NFC East. This will be your worst-to-first winner.
NFC North: Bears
The NFC North likely belongs to the Vikings or Packers. I’m not putting any money on Jay Cutler.
NFC South: Bucs
Intriguing too. The Panthers probably aren’t a 15-1 team again. The Bucs were clearly improving under Jameis Winston. Give me the Panthers to repeat but this division could be fun.
NFC West: 49ers
The Cardinals and Seahawks aren’t going anywhere. That’s the 49ers problem.