Think for a minute about all of the preparation and sacrifice NFL players go through during the offseason. In the end, all they get are 16 games to prove themselves worthy of a playoff spot and a chance to win a Super Bowl.
Those 16 opportunities aren’t that much when you think about the hours of work they put in and the endless blood, sweat, and tears. The only thing worse than putting in all of that work and falling short after 16 games is putting in the work and everything being for naught after just four games. Sadly, that is the case for a few NFL teams this year. It’s with a heavy heart that we name the six NFL teams that can call it quits in 2020 and start looking ahead toward 2021.
New York Jets
Even if the Jets were a decent team, it’s hard to see a path back into contention in 2020. They still have to play the Patriots twice and have another game with the Bills. On top of that, they will play the Chiefs, Seahawks and Rams, all on the road. Of course, the Jets aren’t a decent team, which was confirmed with their Thursday night loss to the Broncos. New York was +3 in turnovers and still couldn’t get a win. Against a banged-up Denver defense, the Jets scored just two touchdowns, one on a pick-six by the defense and the other on a once-in-a-career run by Sam Darnold.
After four weeks, the Jets have scored the second-fewest points and allowed the third-most points in the NFL. The worst part is that Adam Gase is still employed by the team, taking away any optimism the fanbase might be clinging to at 0-4.
New York Giants
In theory, the Giants have a chance at 0-4 because the NFC East leader, the Philadelphia Eagles, is 1-2-1. But the G-Men have scored the fewest points in the NFL through four weeks and don’t have Saquon Barkley at their disposal.
Daniel Jones isn’t getting much help from the players around him and hasn’t shown that he’s good enough to lift up the players around him. The running game is non-existent and the offensive line remains subpar. New York’s schedule through the end of November isn’t all that daunting. But with zero touchdowns in their last eight quarters, there’s little reason to think the Giants will be playing meaningful games at any point in 2020.
For what it’s worth, the Broncos aren’t a bad team. Keep in mind that their first two losses of the season came by a total of seven points. However, injuries have made it impossible to think that Denver can rebound from a 1-3 start and become a factor in the playoff race.
The Broncos managed to overcome three turnovers to beat the Jets, but they aren’t going to be able to do that against most teams. Even with optimism that Drew Lock could return to action soon, Denver is all but finished in 2020. The offensive line continues to struggle and the running game isn’t making enough of an impact. Plus, while the team likes Lock, he remains largely unproven as a starter.
With the strong play of Bradley Chubb and a solid effort from the defense thus far, the Broncos can feel a little better about 2021. But their chances of making noise in 2020 are nearly nonexistent.
The Jags fooled us in Week 1 by beating the Colts, but they’ve started to show their true colors in recent weeks. Back-to-back losses against the Dolphins and Bengals tells you everything you need to know about Jacksonville. Even with seemingly winnable games against the Lions, Chargers and winless Texans on the horizon, the Jags don’t look like a team that’s capable of rattling off a string of wins. Instead, they are a lot closer to who we thought they were coming into the season. Granted, they might not be the worst team in the NFL and a lock for the top pick in next year’s draft. But the Jags have allowed at least 30 points in three consecutive games, and Gardner Minshew isn’t good enough to win games like that week after week.
Even if they’ve been a little better than expected, the Jaguars are still done a month into the season.
Washington Football Team
Much like the Giants, Washington is mathematically very much alive in an absolutely horrible NFC East. Seriously, six wins might be enough to win this division. But unless Ron Rivera’s team can win four or five games within the division, Washington isn’t going to be able to compete in 2020.
Through four games, Washington has scored the third-fewest points in the NFL and has one of the league’s worst rushing attacks. Dwayne Haskins doesn’t look like the answer at quarterback for the present or the future. Even when he takes a step forward, he quickly takes a step back.
In the long run, don’t be too quick to bet against Rivera finding a way to turn things around. But 2020 is not going to be Washington’s year.
A month ago, few would have believed that Houston’s season would be over after four games. But in a division in which both the Titans and Colts have played well, starting 0-4 is virtually a death sentence for the Texans. Losing at home to the previously winless Vikings confirms that it’s over for Houston in 2020.
Deshaun Watson has already been sacked 16 times behind a poor offensive line, which is why the Texans are scoring a measly 20 points per game, which is the fourth-lowest in the league. Meanwhile, the defense has conceded over 30 points in three of their four games, albeit against quality teams.
In addition to two games with the Colts and one more with the Titans, the Packers, Browns, and Patriots all loom on Houston’s schedule. The path back is slim and the schedule is far from easy, creating little hope for the Texans to overcome their 0-4 start.
The Texans seem to agree as they fired coach and general manager Bill O'Brien on Monday.
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