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Jun. 04, 2019 - Michael Stewart

Which Last Place Team ( NFC) in 2018 Makes the Playoffs in 2019

Introduction: Last week we took a look at the four teams in the AFC that finished last in their respective division in 2018 and determined which team would have the best chance of making the playoffs in 2019. The Jacksonville Jaguars eventually edged out the New York Jets based on talent on the roster and strength of schedule. This week, we’ll take a look at the NFC and breakdown the four teams that unfortunately finished last in their division and who has the best chance of making the playoffs in 2019. 



New York Giants: The New York Giants finished last in the NFC east with a 5-11 record. GM Dave Gettleman had a very active off season in 2018; which included the addition of several new faces through trades, free agent signings and the draft. The biggest question is “did he do enough” Below are some key factors.

  • Opposing teams in 2019 had a combined record of 120-134—2 in 2018.
  • Key free agent signings; wide receiver Golden Tate and Defensive End Markus Golden.
  • Traded wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., outside linebacker Olivier Vernon and a 5th round pick to Cleveland for Offensive Guard Kevin Zeitler, safety Jabrill Peppers and a 3rd round pick (Oshane Ximines).

Verdict: The Giants lost three games in 2018 on the final drive and three others by less than five points. The offensive line has added an upgrade on the right hand side with Zeitler and Remmers and the defense has added more depth and talent in the secondary and along the front seven. If Eli Manning can dip into the fountain of youth once more and at least duplicate his 2018 performance and running back Saquon Barkley doesn’t suffer a sophomore jinx or injuries; the Giants could surprise everyone in 2019.


Detroit Lions: The Detroit Lions were 6-10 in 2018 and finished in last place. The Lions always seem to be a team with a talented roster, but never able to put it all together in a season. In arguably the toughest division in the NFC that features the Vikings, Packers and Bears; the Lions will have to play their best. Below are some key factors.

  • Opposing teams in 2019 had a record of 125-127-4 in 2018.
  • Signed Defensive end Trey Flowers, cornerback Justin Coleman and wide receiver Danny Amendola.
  • Drafted Tight End T.J Hockenson with the 8th overall pick in the 2019 draft.

Verdict: The Lions have enough talent to put it all together and surprise people in 2019. It all starts at quarterback with Matthew Stafford, who could be primed to have one of his best seasons. The addition of Flowers and Coleman on defense will give the Lions infusion of talent and also leadership; which could help them win close games. Unfortunately; overtaking  the Vikings, Packers and Bears could be too much for the Lions to accomplish.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished with a 5-11 record in 2018; which was last in their division. New Head Coach Bruce Arians has a great resume and looks to make some noise in 2019. In a division that in recent years has been dominated by the New Orleans Saints, the Buccaneers must out-perform the Falcons and Panthers to have any shot of getting a wide card spot. Below are some key factors.

  • Opposing teams in 2019 had a record of 130-126 in 2018
  • Drafted inside linebacker Devin White with the 5th overall pick.
  • Free agent signings; Offensive Tackle Donovan Smith, Defensive Tackle Ndamukong Suh, linebackers Shaquil Barrett and Deone Bucannon.

Verdict: Head Coach Bruce Arians will be sticking with quarterback Jameis Winston and a lot could hinge on his performance if the Buccaneers are a serious threat to make the playoffs.  Another major factor for the Buccaneers will be how effective their defensive front 7 will be throughout the season; as they will need to play well.


Arizona Cardinal: The Arizona Cardinals finished in the cellar in their division with a 3-13 record and are all in with their 1st overall pick quarterback Kyler Murray. New Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury has a reputation of a creative offensive coach and he will employ an offensive game plan that will utilize his young quarterback talents. Below are some key factors.

  • Opposing teams in 2019 had a record of 129-125 in 2018.
  • Drafted quarterback Kyler Murray 1st overall and had an overall solid draft.
  • Signed free agents linebacker Terrell Suggs, Offensive Guard J.R Sweezy, inside linebacker Jordan Hicks and defensive lineman Darius Philon.

Verdict: Lots of new faces and lots youth will be featured on the 2019 Arizona Cardinals roster and in a division that features powerhouse Los Angeles Rams and the 49ers with a healthy quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo returning and the Seahawks with Russell Wilson at quarterback will be no easy task to win a playoff spot.

Final Thoughts: For me, it boils down to two teams who have the best shot of earning a playoff spot in 2019, based on talent on the roster and strength of schedule. These two teams are the New York Giants and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who in my opinion can make some noise in 2019 if they can get a few breaks along the way.  Both teams must finish with the best record within their own division and stay relatively healthy throughout the season.  These two teams will play one another on September 22nd and that could determine which team earns a playoff spot.

Final Verdict: After reviewing the additions of each team and the strength of schedule in the upcoming season for each team; it was extremely close. Tampa Bay did a lot in the off season to improve their team; with the Saints projected to win the division, it might be too much to ask the Buccaneers to win one of the wild cards. However; the New York Giants have a better chance to win the division in the NFC east if they can get some breaks along the way.  With a much improved Offensive line and a revamped defense (especially in the secondary) to go along with a seasoned veteran quarterback in Eli Manning and a running back (Saquon Barkley) who will more than likely have another highlight reel season; the Giants could make some noise. Winner: New York Giants