The NFL’s Hopeless Franchises

It’s rough rooting for an NFL team that constantly losses. Cleveland Browns fans have seen more than their fair share of struggles. Luckily for them, the team is currently 7-3 and it seems as if they will be playing in the playoffs for the first time since 2003. With 3rd-year quarterback Baker Mayfield along with a talented roster and new head coach Kevin Stefanski, the Browns are no longer a hopeless franchise. However, other teams wish they could say the same.

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New York Jets:

The New York Jets are currently 0-10 and will miss the playoffs for the tenth year in a row. The Jets are not only awful but completely unwatchable as well. The only player currently on the Jets roster that has ever made a Pro Bowl in his career is 37-year-old Frank Gore, who’s best years were well before he signed with the Jets this offseason.

Are there any reasons for Jets fans to be optimistic?

The team will likely have the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and should have the opportunity to select Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence. However, drafting Lawrence won’t solve anything if the Jets are unable to put good players around him.

In 2018, the Jets drafted Sam Darnold with the 3rd overall pick. Like Lawrence currently, Darnold was seen as a future NFL star before getting drafted by the Jets. The former USC Trojan has been unable to succeed with the Jets partly due to the lack of good players around him. Would Lawrence also be set up to fail with the Jets?

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Cincinnati Bengals:

The Bengals have not won a playoff game since 1991. Despite finishing last season with a league-worst 2-14 record, there was some optimism around the team because they selected Joe Burrow with the first overall pick in April’s NFL draft.

After tearing his ACL, MCL and suffering additional knee damage, Burrow will miss the rest of this season. The former LSU Tiger was having a promising rookie season and was giving the Bengals franchise hope. Will Burrow ever be the same player? Even if he returns back to normal, the Bengals will have a tough time leapfrogging the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, and the now resurgent Cleveland Browns in their own division alone.

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Jacksonville Jaguars:

The Jaguars have appeared in the playoffs just once in the past decade. Since making the AFC title game in 2018, the Jaguars are just 12-30. Jacksonville has returned to being completely irrelevant after nearly making the Super Bowl just a few seasons ago. 

At 1-9, the Jaguars are near the bottom of the league. Additionally, there are no household players on the team that generate excitement. Because of how bad the Jets are, the Jaguars will likely not have the #1 overall pick in this upcoming NFL draft and probably won’t have the opportunity to select Trevor Lawrence. Would Ohio State’s Justin Fields be able to save the Jaguars?

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Detroit Lions:

A key to success in the NFL is having a reliable starting quarterback. Unlike the other previously listed teams, the Lions have had a franchise quarterback in Matthew Stafford for over a decade, which makes their constant struggles even more puzzling.

The last Lions playoff win came in 1992. In that span, the team has had generational talents in Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson. Will the Lions ever be able to capitalize on the times when they do have great players?

Honorable mentions:

New York Giants:

The Giants haven’t won a playoff game and have missed the playoffs in seven of the past eight seasons. The Giants are in the middle of another losing season with a 3-7 record. However, the team has a realistic shot at the playoffs because of how bad the NFC East is. 2nd year QB Daniel Jones and rookie head coach Joe Judge have each shown flashes. Will they be able to turn the Giants franchise around?

Washington Football Team:

The Washington Football Team hasn’t won a playoff game since 2005 and they currently have a 3-7 record. After drafting Dwayne Haskins in 2019, it appeared as if the franchise had found their savior. However, that no longer appears to be the case after Haskins previously got benched this season and hasn’t returned to the team’s starting lineup.

The Washington Football Team still has a realistic shot at the playoffs this season because of how bad the NFC East is. Ron Rivera, who previously coached the Carolina Panthers to a Super Bowl appearance, wants to make a statement in his first season as the Washington Football Teams head coach.

Rooting for an incompetent NFL franchise can be taxing. However, with a few good decisions, your franchises direction can completely change. Look no further than the Buffalo Bills. After missing the playoff in seventeen consecutive seasons, the Bills are currently 7-3 and are on track to make the playoffs for the third time in seven seasons. Can the Jets, Jaguars, Bengals, and Lions turn things around?

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