In the last 11 seasons, we have seen two teams finish the year without a single win. The 2008 Detroit Lions and 2017 Cleveland Browns hold the dubious record of being the only teams in NFL history to finish a season 0-16, but they could have company at the end of this season. The gap between the elite teams and the abysmal teams in the league is widening, and there are a few franchises that look set to bottom out this year.
Will Any Team Go 0-16 During the 2019 NFL Season?
The three teams that have the best chance of finishing this season winless are Miami, Cincinnati, and Arizona. All three teams have odds to win the Super Bowl of more than 250-1, and the oddsmakers all believe that these franchises stand no real chance of making the postseason. Let’s assess their chances, starting with Miami.
Miami fully confirmed it was tanking last week by trading offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil to Houston, but you can’t blame the office considering the haul they received in return. The Dolphins are now loaded with picks in the next two drafts, and they have the chance to become an elite franchise once again next decade.
This year is going to be abysmal though. Journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick will be the Dolphins’ quarterback for at least the start of the year, and that’s never a sign of success. The Fitzpatrick formula has teams succeeding only if he is the back-up, but if he’s your starter, that’s not a good thing.
There is no real talent on the roster either. All the playmakers have left on the offensive side of the ball, and the front seven on defense has been completely overhauled. Miami does have some young, promising players up front, but it will take time for Christian Wilkins and other to have a real impact without much around them.
To make matters worse, the locker room is already in shambles. Brian Flores did not ingratiate himself with his new team by how he handled the Kenny Stills situation, and local newspapers have said the locker room is in a state of revolt following the Tunsil trade. All signs point to this being a miserable year in Miami.
Cincinnati is set to be awful too. The defense was one of the league’s worst last year, and the Bengals made a puzzling hire by bringing in Zac Taylor to replace Marvin Lewis. Taylor is an unproven assistant that only spent a little bit of time under Sean McVay before landing a head coaching gig, so he could be the most unqualified head coach we have seen in some time.
Andy Dalton is not a great quarterback, and there is no depth behind him. If Dalton goes down, this team could totally bottom out and be one of the league’s worst.
The Cardinals will be bad in 2019, but at least this is a team heading in the right direction. Arizona still has a lot to do with a new quarterback and a new head coach, but this franchise is at least showing signs of life.
That being said, the first half of the season is sure to be rough for Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray. There are going to be a lot of growing pains for Arizona, and the Cardinals are likely to be the worst team in the NFC.
While tanking has not been a problem in the NFL like it has been in other professional sports, we might start seeing a shift towards bottoming out. It has helped teams like the Houston Astros and Kansas City Royals go from pretenders to World Series winners in baseball, and the Philadelphia 76ers’ NBA success has front offices of moribund franchises considering emulating that strategy.
Miami looks set on tanking in order to land a star quarterback in one of the next two drafts, and Cincinnati might be on the verge of something similar. I think there is a decent chance one of these teams ends the year winless, so the ‘Yes’ might have some value here.
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