5 NFL teams who could be pretenders or contenders

NFL free agency reaction: Day 1 winners and losers

Looking at the upcoming 2022 NFL season, these five teams can either be terrific, or be picking towards the top of the 2023 Draft.

5. Denver Broncos

The Broncos made perhaps the biggest move of the offseason, landing quarterback Russell Wilson in a massive trade with the Seattle Seahawks. Denver, though, is stuck in the brutal AFC West, where it’s fair to wonder if all four teams can get into the playoffs. If Wilson shines and the defense plays solid football, the Broncos can make a deep playoff run. If Wilson declines at age 34, Denver could be finishing in last place of the league’s best division.

 

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4. Arizona Cardinals

What to make of Arizona? The Cardinals had an uneven offseason, losing star edge rusher Chandler Jones but adding receiver Hollywood Brown in a trade with the Baltimore Ravens, relinquishing their first-round pick. With Kyler Murray back in the building, it appears that issue has, at the least, been tabled. Can the Cards make a push for the NFC West as they did one year ago, or will they continue to struggle with injuries and late-season struggles?

3. San Francisco 49ers

Staying in the NFC West, it’s impossible to know what’s coming for the Niners. Assuming Trey Lance is going to start under center, he’ll be seeing consistent action for the first time in years dating back to his time at North Dakota State, which was interrupted by COVID. If Lance is good, the 49ers could find themselves in the Super Bowl. If he struggles, it could be a long year for San Francisco as Lance tries to develop into his best version. There may be no bigger wild card in the league than the Niners.

 

Read: ‘Battle-Tested’ Boston Celtics Ready To Go The Distance

 

2. Miami Dolphins

No team is more under the microscope in a variety of ways than Miami. The Dolphins made huge waves this winter, acquiring star receiver Tyreek Hill from the Kansas City Chiefs for a package of five draft picks. Miami general manager Chris Grier also added left tackle Terron Armstead, guard Connor Williams and running back Raheem Mostert to blend with new head coach Mike McDaniel. Of course, this all comes down to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and whether he can blossom in his third year.

1. Philadelphia Eagles

Much like the Dolphins, the Eagles have surrounded their third-year quarterback with a terrific supporting cast. Jalen Hurts helped Philadelphia reach the playoffs last season, but can he take them further in 2022? The Eagles are in the weaker conference and a winnable division, but they’ll need Hurts to step up in the passing game while defensively, Philadelphia is banking on a big year from free-agent acquisition, corner James Bradberry.

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Author: Lucas Carlson