In 16 of the last 18 NFL seasons, at least one team who finished last place in their division bounced back to claim the top spot in the following season.
On Thursday, NFL Network insider Andrew Siciliano pointed out this “worst to first” trend.
If this pattern continues, one of these division losers from 2020 will come out on top at the end of this coming season:
Here’s your annual reminder that at least one @NFL team has gone “worst to first” in 16 of the last 18 seasons.
— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) September 8, 2021
Each of these teams are a stretch to win their divisions in 2021, but the three teams with the best chances seem to be Philadelphia, San Francisco and Jacksonville.
The Eagles are heading into a new era in Philly behind first-year head coach Nick Sirianni and QB1 Jalen Hurts. If Hurts can put together a breakout year in his first season as a full-time starter, the team that went 4-11-1 this past season could have a chance to make waves in 2021.
That being said, the Eagles will be challenged by an improving Washington Football Team (2020 NFC East winners) and a Dallas Cowboys squad with the return of Dak Prescott.
Much of the 49ers’ struggles in 2020 came from a major injury bug that swept the organization throughout the season. With almost all of the roster back at full health prior to this coming season, a Jimmy Garoppolo/Trey Lance-led QB room could help the Niners to a much-improved year.
The Cardinals, Rams and Seahawks all pose legitimate chances to win the NFC West as well, but no team stands out as the obvious favorite.
Finally, the Jaguars, who notched a league-worst 1-15 record in 2020, could see vast improvements behind a brand new QB/coach combo of Trevor Lawrence and Urban Meyer. While winning the division is a lot to put on the No. 1 overall pick’s shoulders, the expectations for Lawrence are already sky-high in Jacksonville.
The Jags’ AFC South rival Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts may be better equipped to win heading into 2021, but they aren’t nearly as dominant as some competition in other divisions.
Who do you think has the best shot at going “worst to first?”