3 teams on the decline
The Lions have a big problem along the defensive line now that Ndamukong Suh has bolted for Miami as a free agent. They tried to lessen the blow by trading for Haloti Ngata from the Ravens, but the Lions defense won’t be the same. Pair that up with inconsistent quarterback Matthew Stafford, and Detroit seems bound to regress.
Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles did an outstanding job of coaching despite multiple key injuries and deservingly became the Jets head coach in the offseason. Even with the return of quarterback Carson Palmer and an improved offensive line, it’s hard to see the Cardinals succeeding as they did last year because the defense likely can’t repeat its surprising success.
San Francisco 49ers
It’s one thing when you lose your head coach, and it’s another when four players that combined for 408 career starts retire in one offseason. The 49ers overpaid to acquire WR Torrey Smith and took a raw talent in Arik Armstead in the first round. The only strong addition they made was defensive tackle Darnell Dockett.