PFR Polls

POLL: Will The Bills Reach .500 In 2019?

The Bills are going to be an interesting team in 2019. They’ve got a lot of young talent, but how the team does will almost entirely come down to the development of Josh Allen. Allen showed a lot of flashes as a rookie, but he also struggled with his accuracy and decision-making.

To be fair, Allen was playing behind a ragtag offensive line and with one of the worst receiving corps in the league. Buffalo made upgrading both areas a priority this offseason, and they made some big moves. They completely overhauled their group of pass-catchers, signing Cole Beasley and John Brown in free agency. They also signed center Mitch Morse to become the new anchor of their offensive line, and highly-regarded tackle Ty Nsekhe who had spent the previous few years in a reserve role with Washington.

To help replace the retiring Kyle Williams, they drafted defensive tackle Ed Oliver out of Houston ninth overall. The defense is stacked, and they were one of the best units in the league last year. The Bills finished 6-10 last season, which was good for third place in the division.

The Dolphins are widely expected to take a big step back, which means it’ll either be the Bills or Jets behind the Patriots in the AFC East pecking order next season. Buffalo made the playoffs in 2017 with a 9-7 record, and that seems to be a reasonable goal. Head coach Sean McDermott has been widely praised for the culture he’s instilled during his couple of years with the Bills, but everything will ultimately fall on Allen’s shoulders.

So, what do you think? Will Allen take the next step with an improved group of weapons and offensive line, or will he be unable to put it all together? Will the Jets and Sam Darnold pass them in the AFC East, or will the Bills separate themselves?

Cast your vote below (link for app users) and back up your choice in the comments section:

POLL: Will The Redskins Reach .500 In 2019?

The Redskins are heading into a pivotal season. Everything we’ve heard this offseason has indicated that Jay Gruden will be coaching for his job, so there will be a lot of pressure for the team to win in 2019. Washington quietly started the year 6-2 last year and appeared destined for the playoffs, but Alex Smith‘s devastating injury derailed their season and they went just 1-7 the rest of the way.

The team hit the reset button under center, and will be one of only a couple of teams with an open quarterback competition in camp. They traded for Case Keenum, and drafted Dwayne Haskins in the first round. The team has insisted they’ll be patient with Haskins, but with Gruden being on the hot seat he won’t be able to wait too long if Keenum falters. Last we heard, Redskins owner Dan Snyder was planning on being involved in the decision on who to start, which will surely rankle the fanbase.

The team’s defense took major strides last year, and they have the chance to be even better in 2019. They signed safety Landon Collins to a big contract in free agency, which is a big upgrade to the secondary. They’ll also have running back Derrius Guice back, who missed his entire rookie season with an ACL tear.

You’ll also need to monitor the situation with left tackle Trent Williams, who has been staying away from the team. If Williams forces his way out which seems possible, it’d be a huge blow to their offensive line. Washington has had terrible injury luck the past couple of years, and they’ve already had major health issues yet again this season. Back in May, projected starting linebacker Reuben Foster tore his ACL, and he’ll miss the entire year.

Even with the way things have gone, there are reasons to be optimistic due to the presence of Haskins and young stud defensive linemen like Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne. Receiver Paul Richardson should also provide a boost, as his first season with the team last year was also ruined by injury.

So, what do you think? Will the Redskins have better luck in 2019, or will things go off the rails yet again?

Cast your vote below (link for app users) and back up your choice in the comments section:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: Will The Titans Reach .500 In 2019?

For three straight seasons, the Titans have finished with a 9-7 record. Naturally, Las Vegas has set their over/under around the eight-win mark, and they might be one of the trickiest plays for gamblers in 2019. 

This wasn’t a flashy offseason for the Titans, but they did make some quietly savvy moves. With injury questions surrounding starting quarterback Marcus Mariota, they added former Dolphins starter Ryan Tannehill as a backstop. If Mariota stays healthy, he’ll have Adam Humphries and rookie A.J. Brown as new targets and distractors for defenses who may key in on incumbent Corey Davis. Meanwhile, they beefed up the interior offensive line by signing Rodger Saffold, who graded out as Pro Football Focus’ ninth-best guard in the NFL last year, and drafted Nate Davis in the third-round, who could be primed to unseat Kevin Pamphile for a starting role.

On the other side of the ball, the Titans picked up Cameron Wake and first-round pick Jeffery Simmons to bolster their lackluster pass rush, and they should easily offset the retirement of Brian Orakpo and the potential departure of Derrick Morgan, who remains in free agent limbo. The common thread to the Titans offseason across every position group is this – they didn’t grab headlines, but they made some smart under-the-radar moves without losing a whole lot in the process.

How do you see things playing out for the Titans? Will they, at minimum, reach the .500 mark?

Cast your vote below (link for app users) and back up your choice in the comments section:

Poll: Will The Giants Reach .500 In 2019?

After the Giants shocked the world with their No. 6 overall selection, could they be poised to shock everyone all over again in the regular season? 

It has been a trying few years for the G-Men – a rash of injuries spoiled their 2017 season, and 2018 wasn’t much better. The Giants turned on the jets in the middle part of the season, but it was too little too late after a dreadful 1-7 start.

This offseason, the Giants moved on from multiple stars, though they stopped short of a complete rebuild. They shipped out Odell Beckham Jr. after his off-field distractions started to outweigh his on-field contributions. They moved defensive end Olivier Vernon to the Browns as well, recouping guard Kevin Zeitler, safety Jabrill Peppers, a first-round pick, and a third-round pick. Those trades weren’t especially popular with Giants fans, but their most controversial move might have been allowing star safety Landon Collins to walk without the franchise tag.

This much is clear: GM Dave Gettleman isn’t afraid to go against the grain to get what he wants. The replacements for OBJ and Vernon offer decidedly less in name value, but team brass is hoping that the character of Golden Tate and upside of Markus Golden will offset their departures.

A skeptic might say that the rival Jets have more upside and star power in their favor, but the Giants believe that Eli Manning can turn back the clock and allow them to bring along Daniel Jones at a slower pace. Meanwhile, they have an improved interior offensive line to block for Saquon Barkley.

One Vegas oddsmaker has pegged the Giants for a 4-11 record, splitting their difference between their last two seasons. Do you have more faith in the G-Men than the bookies? Or do you feel the Giants are on course for another top 10 pick?

Cast your vote below (link for app users) and back up your choice in the comments section:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: Who Is The 2019 NFC Favorite?

Unlike the AFC, where the same team has been the annual favorite for a few years now, the NFC has featured different Patriots opponents over the past three seasons. Since the Packers’ back-to-back Super Bowl appearances in 1996-97, only the 2013-14 Seahawks have repeated as conference champions.

When determining who should be considered the 2019 NFC favorite, we should first look at conference’s two best 2018 teams. While the Saints have one of NFL history’s greatest arguments for being the team that should have gone to a Super Bowl, the Rams did. Both teams bring back most of their core players.

The Rams lost more than the Saints this offseason, with their big-spending 2018 helping lead to the departures of Rodger Saffold, Lamarcus Joyner and Ndamukong Suh. Los Angeles brought back Dante Fowler and added Clay Matthews, giving the two-time reigning NFC West champions much bigger names on the edge than the ones that opened the ’18 season as starters, and signed Eric Weddle to replace Joyner. The Rams will trot out two new offensive linemen, likely 2018 mid-round picks Joseph Noteboom (at left guard) and Brian Allen (center). Cooper Kupp is also on track for Week 1. But Todd Gurley‘s status overshadows the rest of the Rams’ lineup; the team has kept information about its two-time All-Pro running back’s knee injury close to the vest.

Lagging just behind the Rams in Super Bowl LIV odds, the Saints lost Mark Ingram but added Latavius Murray. Max Unger retired, but New Orleans added both free agent Nick Easton and second-round pick Erik McCoy. The 2018 trades the Saints made left them without first-, third- and fourth-round picks this year, limiting their ability to enhance their roster cheaply. Drew Brees heads into his age-40 season, and while his arm strength may not be what it once was, he broke his own completion percentage record and was Pro Football Focus’ top-graded QB last season. The cogs chiefly responsible for the Saints’ No. 6 weighted DVOA defensive ranking also return.

The next tier, per Vegas, features the double-doink game’s participants. The Eagles were again active this year, bringing back DeSean Jackson and replacing Michael Bennett with Malik Jackson. Zach Brown also headed to eastern Pennsylvania on a low-cost deal. Philadelphia brought back Brandon Graham and Ronald Darby and extended Jason Kelce. Carson Wentz‘s extension will hit future Eagles caps harder, but his 2019 number ($8.393MM) helps Howie Roseman‘s ability to fortify the roster. After a busy 2018 free agency, the Bears had a quiet offseason. They lost DC Vic Fangio, the NFL’s assistant coach of the year, and may be in line for changes under replacement Chuck Pagano. Scrutinized quarterback Mitch Trubisky (No. 3 in 2018 QBR, No. 18 in Football Outsiders’ DYAR metric) obviously has the biggest say in where the Bears go.

Two out of the past three NFC champions missed the playoffs the year prior, and Vegas places the Packers as the top such candidate for 2019. Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFleur have expressed a difference of opinion about Green Bay’s offensive structure, but the Packers enjoyed their most active offseason in years. Brian Gutekunst spent wildly on edge rushers, with both Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith now each a top-five highest-paid 3-4 outside linebacker, and brought in Adrian Amos for $9MM annually. Did they do enough to get back in the Super Bowl mix?

While the Cowboys re-routed their season after their Amari Cooper trade, Las Vegas is not bullish on their chances. Dallas sits at 25-to-1 Super Bowl odds, the same as Seattle, Minnesota and San Francisco. Despite their NFC East title, the Cowboys ended last season as the No. 21 DVOA team.

The Seahawks lost one of the top receivers in franchise history, with Doug Baldwin retiring at age 30, and traded their best pass rusher. Ziggy Ansah and first-round pick L.J. Collier represent the team’s top edge options. Minnesota is all-in on this nucleus, with the Anthony Barr deal furthering Rick Spielman‘s massive financial commitments to the core he built. Do the Vikings (ninth in weighted DVOA last season) have enough talent to justify these expenses?

Will a team emerge unexpectedly? The 49ers have Jimmy Garoppolo set to suit up again and, after acquiring Dee Ford and Nick Bosa, boast their best edge corps in years. Are the Falcons (40-1) being undervalued? Vote in PFR’s latest poll (link for app users) and weigh in with your NFC assessments in the comments section.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: Will The Jets Reach .500 In 2019?

The Jets entered the 2018 offseason full of hope and a boatload of cap room. They emerged with the best available cornerback in Trumaine Johnson and drafted a potential franchise quarterback in Sam Darnold, giving them reason to believe in the coming year. The Jets hardly expected to contend, but they looked the part of a team that could make some noise and at least finish in the middle of the pack. 

That, of course, isn’t how things played out. The Jets finished the year 4-12, failing to improve on their five-win season in 2017.

With that, the Jets were in an eerily familiar position this offseason. Gang Green had more than $100MM in cash to burn and, once again, owned the No. 3 overall pick in the draft.

Much of their free cap space went to signing Le’Veon Bell, much to the chagrin of new head coach Adam Gase. In April, the Jets used the third pick to select defensive tackle Quinnen Williams – regarded by most as the best player available – rather than addressing more pressing needs, such as their lackluster edge rush. After signing the biggest star on the open market and overseeing one of the most crucial drafts in franchise history, GM Mike Maccagnan was given the heave-ho in favor of Eagles executive Joe Douglas.

The Jets’ past draft blunders and internal discord have been well-documented, but despite all their warts, the Jets have real talent on both sides of the ball. If Darnold is able to take a leap forward in 2019 and Bell is able to quickly shake off the rust, the Jets just might have a balanced attack good enough to keep defenses honest. Gang Green also boasts a quietly dangerous group of receivers, headlined by Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa, and Jamison Crowder.

Meanwhile, the Jets boast a fearsome interior defensive line and a serious upgrade at inside linebacker after C.J. Mosley supplanted Darron Lee. And, in the middle of the secondary, they have a young and exciting tandem of Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye.

Can Adams’ strong coverage skills offset the Jets’ possible deficiencies at cornerback? Can the Williamses do enough damage up front to allow the Jets’ iffy edge rush unit to penetrate the backfield? Can the arrival of two-time Pro Bowler Kelechi Osemele help to fortify the Jets’ offensive line?

If the answer to those questions is “yes,” then the Jets just might be a competitive football club in 2019.

Will the Jets reach or break the .500 mark this season? Cast your vote below (link for app users) and back up your choice in the comments section.

Poll: Grading The Raiders’ Offseason

To say that this was an offseason of overhaul for the Raiders would be a drastic understatement. With the aid of new GM Mike Mayock, head coach Jon Gruden completely rebooted his team after a disappointing 4-12 finish last year. 

The renovations got underway in 2018 when the Raiders shipped out stars Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper for a combined haul of draft capital. The moves also gave the team financial flexibility this offseason, which was used to add wide receiver Antonio Brown, wide receiver Tyrell Williams, right tackle Trent Brown, and slot cornerback LaMarcus Joyner. Those four players alone account for more than $109MM in guaranteed money, signaling a clear desire to compete in 2019.

It’s hard to knock any of those additions – at least, when considering their expected value for the coming season. However, the Raiders’ draft was among the most polarizing in the NFL. After Gruden and Mayock sent their scouting department packing, they stunned every prognosticator by selecting Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell with the No. 4 overall pick. Then, at No. 24 overall, some felt that the Raiders reached again with their pick of Alabama running back Joshua Jacobs.

Other picks, such as Mississippi State safety Johnathan Abram at No. 27 overall, were better received. Abram projects to be a Day 1 starter alongside Karl Joseph and, ultimately, figures to inherit his spotlight after the club turned down Joseph’s fifth-year option for the 2020 season.

Despite some clear upgrades, question marks remain for the Raiders. The club tried to upgrade its backfield with the quietly effective Isaiah Crowell, but he was quickly lost to a torn Achilles and replaced by the return of Doug Martin. There were also rumblings that they would add a new quarterback to play ahead of Derek Carr, but they elected to stick with the signal caller in hopes that he could return to his old form. It’s also fair to wonder about the status of the Raiders’ locker room – the mercurial Brown always has the potential to rock the boat and he’s now joined by longtime rival Vontaze Burfict and controversial lineman Richie Incognito.

On the whole, how would you grade the Raiders’ offseason? Click below to cast your vote (link for app users) and back up your choice in the comment section.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: Who Is Pats’ Top 2019 AFC Challenger?

Another summer featuring the Patriots preparing a title defense will bring PFR’s third version of this poll. The Patriots are only the third team to book Super Bowl berths in three straight years, joining the Dolphins from 1971-73 and Bills from 1990-93, and again Las Vegas tabs Bill Belichick‘s team as the favorite to win a championship.

In the past two AFC title games, the Pats skated to Super Bowls by razor-thin margins. Their 2019 passing attack features more questions than it has in maybe 13 years, dating back to the days before the arrivals of Randy Moss and later Rob Gronkowski. But until they are defeated, this century’s premier team will be the favorite to represent the AFC in Super Bowls.

The top candidate to dethrone them last year may again fill that role, but the Chiefs have gone through a rather complex offseason. After another dismal defensive season, the Chiefs overhauled their pass rush. They ditched anchors Justin Houston and Dee Ford, along with DC Bob Sutton, in moving to Steve Spagnuolo‘s 4-3 defense. But Frank Clark (35 sacks in four seasons), on a $20.8MM-per-year contract in a deal that cost the Chiefs their first-round pick, is Kansas City’s new edge bastion. It is not certain who will fill the role of K.C.’s No. 2 edge rusher, and high-end interior presence Chris Jones skipped minicamp.

This figures to be Patrick Mahomesfinal season on his rookie contract, amplifying the importance of 2019 for the Chiefs. A major AFC variable: the status of the reigning MVP’s top receiver. Tyreek Hill is facing a near-certain suspension, or possibly a Chiefs departure, depending on where the NFL’s investigation goes. So the three-time defending AFC West champions’ status is a bit murky at the moment.

Despite the 2018 Chargers winding up on the wrong end of a divisional-round rout in New England, they still possess one of the NFL’s best rosters. As such, the Bolts were relatively quiet in free agency — beyond their Thomas Davis signing. The Chargers still employ the key players responsible for 2018 top-10 rankings on offense and defense and are in line to have Joey Bosa and Hunter Henry healthy in Week 1. The Bolts still lack a comparable home-field advantage compared to their contender peers but compensated last year by going 8-0 outside of Los Angeles.

In returning nearly every starter from last season, the Colts (who have the fourth-best AFC title odds) carry a similar profile to the Bolts. Chris Ballard again resisted major free agency spending, despite his team holding more than $100MM in cap space entering March. Indianapolis did re-sign multiple starters and have a new T.Y. Hilton supporting cast in Devin Funchess, third-rounder Parris Campbell and 2018 draftee Deon Cain, who missed his rookie season. The Colts were No. 2 in weighted DVOA entering their second-round loss last season.

They of one winning season in the past 16, the Browns loaded up this year and hold Bovada’s third-best odds to win the AFC. Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon, Sheldon Richardson and Kareem Hunt stand to play pivotal roles in Cleveland’s pursuit of its first playoff berth since 2002, and John Dorsey‘s two-offseason overhaul has this roster in much better shape. The Browns do have some questions on their offensive line, and new HC Freddie Kitchens brings only a half-season’s worth of coordinator experience. But this certainly profiles as one of the most fascinating contenders in years.

Vegas predicts the Texans and Ravens will take steps back, after each underwent sweeping 2019 changes. And for the first time in several years, the Steelers (sixth-best odds in the AFC) hover off the top tier. Are oddsmakers sleeping on the perennial contenders? The Steelers made multiple moves (in adding Devin Bush, Steven Nelson and Mark Barron) to patch up their defense but lost arguably this era’s top receiver, whose $21.12MM dead-money number limited them this offseason.

Lastly, what surprise team will emerge? Will the Raiders’ spending spree translate to 2019 success? Will Nick Foles stabilize the Jaguars’ offense enough? Will the collectively rebuilding AFC East prevent another five- or six-win Patriots divisional stroll (and the likelihood of the Pats earning a bye in every season this decade)?

Click below to vote in PFR’s latest poll (link for app users) and weigh in with your AFC thoughts in the comments section.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: Which New Head Coach Will Experience Least 2019 Success?

This year, eight NFL teams decided to make a head coaching change. The teams that hire a new head coach are rarely in a position to win – these are not gorgeous new condos, these are fixer-uppers with creaky floorboards and cobweb-filled basements. 

As a quick reminder, these are the NFL’s new head coaches for the 2019 season:

Recently, we asked PFR readers to choose which coach would have the most success in 2019, and Kitchens got the vote of confidence with LaFleur as the runner-up. Now, we want to know which coach you believe will have the least success in 2019.

Kingsbury finished at the bottom of the aforementioned poll, which is understandable given the Cardinals’ last-place finish in 2018 and Kingsbury’s lack of NFL experience. However, one has to think that Flores has his work cut out for him in Miami as well – the Dolphins are clearly rebuilding and are not in a position to win in 2019.

Which of these eight coaches do you think will have the toughest 2019? Click below to cast your vote (link for app users) and back up your choice in the comment section.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: Who Will Texans Hire As Their Next GM?

The NFL news cycle over the past few weeks has been largely dominated by surprise GM vacancies, and while the Jets filled their opening with Joe Douglas, who has quickly generated a great deal of excitement in New York, the Texans are still looking for their next GM.

Of course, the club had zeroed in on Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio, but Houston abandoned its pursuit shortly after New England filed tampering charges against the Texans. Houston may have been successful if it had elected to fight those charges and the provisions in Caserio’s contract with the Patriots that may prohibit him from interviewing with other clubs, but it chose to take the path of least resistance.

So where do the Texans go from here? Aside from Caserio, the only other candidates that Houston has definitely expressed interest in are former Browns GM Ray Farmer and former Lions GM Martin Mayhew, both of whom have already interviewed with the club. However, neither one seems like a home run hire.

Farmer’s two years as Cleveland’s top exec (2014-15) did not do much to inspire confidence, as he generally failed in both free agency and the draft. Some of his draft picks (Joel Bitonio) and free agent signings (Andrew HawkinsJosh McCown) did work out. But he also handed $9MM in guaranteed money to receiver Dwayne Bowe — who had five catches in his first and only year with Cleveland — and used first-round picks on Johnny Manziel and Justin Gilbert.

Mayhew, currently the 49ers’ vice president of player personnel, had his ups and downs in Detroit, but he did construct several playoff rosters — not an easy thing to do for Lions’ GMs — and he remains well-respected in front office circles. If the Texans’ choice ultimately comes down to Farmer and Mayhew, Mayhew would appear to be the superior candidate.

Other names that have been floated as potential targets include Reggie McKenzie and Scott Pioli. McKenzie enjoyed some success as the Raiders’ GM for seven years — including an executive of the year award in 2016 — and he currently serves as a senior personnel executive with the Dolphins. His ouster from Oakland had more to do with the club forcing him to cede most of his authority to head coach Jon Gruden than anything else, and there has been plenty of speculation that he could return to the GM ranks at some point.

Pioli, meanwhile, recently stepped down from his post as Falcons assistant GM, and he said he did so simply to “pursue other opportunities.” At the time, the Jets’ GM job had just come open, though Pioli was never named as a candidate for that position. He served as the Chiefs’ general manager from 2009-12, which was a mostly forgettable stretch of time in Kansas City franchise history, but he does have over 20 years of front office experience.

Although the Texans were interested in Patriots director of college scouting Monti Ossenfort when they were looking for a GM in 2018, New England denied the club’s interview request at that time. Houston did not request an interview with Ossenfort in 2019, and given the Caserio debacle, it would be quite surprising if they reversed course. In fact, the Texans may not hire a GM at all this year.

So how do you think this situation will be resolved? Let us know whom you think the Texans will name as their GM in 2019 (if anyone), and feel free to explain your thoughts in the comment section.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.