Published On: Sun, Aug 21st, 2016

3 teams that will underachieve in 2016

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As every season begins anew, 32 teams restart their calendar in hopes of winning an elusive Lombardi Trophy.

Although the dialogue in summer helps build excitement and fanfare, once the regular season begins, it’s an entirely different story.

Without further ado, here are three teams that will underachieve in 2016.

Denver Broncos

After Peyton Manning retired in March, the defending Super Bowl champions are in a unique position. Mark Sanchez is currently slated to start at quarterback, and while he’s better than his reputation suggests, there’s ample reason to be worried about the team’s most important position.

Returning almost all of the components from last year’s top-ranked defense, the Broncos will almost certainly keep their opponents under 20 points per game once again. However, after losing Malik Jackson, Danny Trevathan, and David Bruton in free agency, there’s reason to believe the defense will regress in 2016.

With the proverbial target on their back, along with some key departures at quarterback and linebacker, the Broncos will likely take a laborious road to playoff contention.

Houston Texans

After rotating through a carousel of quarterbacks last season, the Texans finally secured their long-term answer by signing Brock Osweiler in the offseason. Osweiler is expected to provide the Texans with stability, but their faith in him is based off a decidedly small sample size, as the 25-year-old attempted 305 career passes. It’s eminently possible Osweiler was rewarded due to an anemic quarterback market this summer.

Led by reigning Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt, the Texans are expected to put together a formidable pass rush. Whitney Mercilus finally tapped into his potential last season, recording 12 sacks, while 2014 first overall pick Jadeveon Clowney lost nearly 20 pounds in order to stay healthy for the first time in his pro career. However, the secondary fails to inspire confidence as Quintin Demps and Andre Hal represent one of the worst safety pairings in the league, while Kareem Jackson and Johnathan Joseph are prone to erratic stretches.

The Texans released Arian Foster in March, the long-time face of the offense. In a year that’s marked by drastic transitions, Houston may be hard-pressed to repeat as AFC South champions.

New York Giants

New York spent lavishly this summer, trying to revamp last season’s worst-ranked defense. Acquiring Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, Janoris Jenkins, and Leon Hall in free agency and drafting defensive backs Eli Apple and Darius Thompson with their first- and third-round picks, respectively, the Giants aggressively attempted to patch myriad holes. Whether the team will be better than the sum of its parts remains a major question in 2016.

The Giants promoted offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo to head coach in the offseason, after Tom Coughlin resigned in January. While McAdoo was highly regarded as a coordinator, he’s never been a head coach at any level and his relative lack of experience may be exposed during his first year at the helm.

With a top-heavy roster and new regime in place, the Giants’ rebuilding project could hit a proverbial roadblock in 2016, and the team could be in line to miss the playoffs despite an abundance of talent.

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