I’ll try to place teams in various tiers at some point, but for now I just want to give a few general thoughts about the upcoming season.
1. Nothing else matters if the OL sucks. That applies to Seattle, but, no, I’m not only talking about them. When I read about the excitement of the upcoming season, primarily the impact that new players and coaches can have for teams, lurking under that is the hard reality that none of this matters if the team’s OL stinks. For the league, overall, too many teams have mediocre or even terrible OLs, will lead to a bad season–at least from my vantage point.
2. Will there be any great defenses? There really hasn’t been a defense at the same level as the 2013 Seahawks or the 2015 Broncos. That’s not a fair standard, but feel like the defenses haven’t been as good as 2013 Panthers or Harbaugh’s best Niner defenses, either. The Vikings have been a very good defense, but not quite dominant. Same with the 2017 Jaguars. (In my view, the latter gives up way too many explosive plays, particularly in crucial moments.) Both are close to being dominant, so it could definitely happen in 2018. I love great defense, so I hope so.
One point about this. The presence or absence of this type of defense will say a lot about which teams can and will win it all. Once you have a 2-3 good teams with dominant defenses, that will significantly reduce the chances of a number of good teams from winning it all. That’s how important this question is.