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I thought I'd take a break from talking about the Bears, and talk about some of the other stories around the NFL, and who I think are going to have good or bad seasons in 2019.

Let's start with the biggest news of the recent draft: the selection of Kyler Murray first overall to the Arizona Cardinals. This pick gave me flashbacks to the Bears trading up one spot to draft Mitch Trubisky in 2017. This move by the Cardinals wreaks of desperation! The Cardinals had just selected Josh Rosen 10th overall with their first-round pick in the previous year's draft. And now they're dumping him in favor of Kyler Murray?

2019 NFL Draft - Cardinals select Kyler Murray
The Cardinals appeared desperate when they selected Kyler Murray, despite having drafted Josh Rosen last year.

Rosen didn't have a particularly good year in 2018 -- in fact, you could probably say that he had a bad year. But he was also playing QB for a bad team. Very few quarterbacks can single-handedly turn a team around. When you draft a guy to be the QB of the future, you've got to at least give the kid a chance!

Yeah, sure, the Bears may have cut Mike Glennon's knee-caps out from under him after drafting Trubisky, but Glennon was only signed to a one-year contract anyway. It was apparent that (unless he proved to be a superstar) he would not be the QB of the future for the Bears. Rosen had every expectation that he'd be "the guy" in Pheonix for at least a few years. He had the expectation that he'd have time to develop and improve. Not so.

The lack of faith in Rosen isn't even the problem here. The problem is that the Cardinals didn't even bother to trade Rosen away until after they had drafted Murray! From what I understand, they hadn't even been shopping around for a possible trade. After selecting Murray, it was apparent that Rosen would not be on the team moving forward, and his trade value plumeted. The Cardinals were able to trade him to the Miami Dolphins, but probably for a fraction of the value that they could have gotten had they performed the trade even just one day before.

And it isn't like they had to pretend they didn't want to trade Rosen, in order to hide the fact that they were going to take Murray. They had the first overall pick. Nobody could sneak in ahead of them without the Cardinals willingly giving up that pick. This isn't like the Bears in 2017, sitting at number three overall, and feeling like they had to trade up one spot to prevent someone else from trading up to take Trubisky. There was no risk of Murray being poached by another team. I can only assume that even the Cardinals didn't know who they were going to draft until it came time to announce the pick.

Bears trade up to draft Mitch Trubisky
Unlike the Bears in 2017, the Cardinals were at no risk of losing Murray to another team trading up.

Stuff like this is why the Cardinals are the Cardinals, and why the Cardinals aren't very good.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, props to the Redskins for having the patience to not trade up to draft Dwayne Haskins. They got a great deal when Haskins fell to them 15th overall.

One team's losses are another team's gains

Maybe Rosen actually will turn out to be a quality quarterback in the league. In that case, the Dolphins definitely got a great bargain. They're not the only team that stands to benefit from a trade or acquisition from another team.

I already wrote about Bears' offseason Vic Fangio moving to the Broncos as their new head coach. I think he'll be a great fit with the Broncos' defense. With even a half-way competent offense (now lead by Joe Flacco), that team will likely win a lot of games in 2019. They'll still have to deal with the division favorites, the Chiefs, which will be a tall order. But then again, the Chiefs are going to have some locker-room distractions due to potential domestic abuse allegations against Tyreek Hill. The Broncos may split games with both the Chiefs and Chargers, making this division open for either of the three teams to win.

As for the Raiders: I think they'll be better this year (with Derek Carr throwing to Antonio Brown), but I don't think they'll win the division or make the playoffs. I think they still have another year of rebuilding before they beat 8 wins. That being said, this division might also very well see two wildcard teams.

Vic Fangio hired by Broncos
The Broncos got a hell of a coach in Vic Fangio.

I also mentioned my frustrations with the Bears trading Jordan Howard to the Eagles. This move was a punch in the gut for me that immediately kicked the Bears out of contention for being an elite offense in 2019. After reading about this trade on Twitter, I considered immediately running down to the sportsbook to place a futures bet on the Eagles winning the SuperBowl. Then when I heard that they had trade Nick Foles to the Jaguars, my excitement for the Eagles died down quite a bit. Carson Wentz is good, but Foles just seemed to have some magic with that team. Had I been in charge in Philly, I probably would have kept Foles, and traded away Wentz.

A second chance for Jacksonville?

This brings me to Jacksonville themselves. The Jaguars were only one game out from the SuperBowl in 2017, with Blake Bortles under center. With Foles and Leonard Fournette running the offense, and Jalen Ramsey still in the defensive backfield, this team could make another run into the playoffs in 2019. It seems like every year, there's some team that goes from "worst-to-first" in a division. Last year, it was the Bears. I don't think any team is better suited to such a turn-around than the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2019.

2018 AFC Championship - Bortles fumble
Remember, the Jaguars were one game from the SuperBowl in 2017.
And now they have an actual good quarterback!

Jumping over to the AFC North, the Steelers and Ravens look like they may both be in messy, rebuilding situations this year. The Steelers lost two of their biggest stars over the past year. Receiver Antonio Browns went to the Raiders, and running back Le'Veon Bell was sent off to the Jets following his season-long holdout last year. Bell is apparently skipping voluntary workouts with the Jets, with doesn't bode well for his chemistry with his new team. I won't be jumping on the Jets bandwagon any time soon.

The Jaguars may also be boosted by transition in Baltimore. The Ravens traded veteran QB Joe Flacco to the Broncos, leaving them with Lamar Jackson and Robert Griffin III. Jackson showed a lot of promise last year, and Griffin is certainly a better backup for Jackson than Flacco would have been, so I don't think the Ravens are in as much of a mess as the Steelers are. I just don't think the Ravens' read option offense is going to be nearly as effective in 2019 as it was in 2018.

Baker Mayfield - hats off
I'm expecting a playoff run from the Browns in 2019.

As such, I'm looking for the Browns to finally break through into the playoffs in 2019. Will they win the division? Maybe not. The Ravens or Steelers may still pull that off. But the Browns are a strong contender for a wildcard berth (if the AFC West doesn't take both wildcard slots), since they'll likely split games with the Steelers and Browns, and will likely sweep the Titans.

Look out for the Browns, Jaguars, and Broncos!

In general, I feel like a lot of bad teams got some really good deals in the 2019 offseason. Except for the Cardinals. I think a lot of divisions around the league are going to be a lot more competitive this year. In summary, I'm looking for the Browns, Jaguars, and Broncos to all have break-out seasons in 2019. I'm not saying that I think they'll all make the playoffs, or that any of them will win the SuperBowl, but I think all three of these teams has the potential now to break .500 for the season. I'll definitely be putting a lot of money on these teams as underdogs on my parlay cards this year.

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Welcome to Mega Bears Fan's blog, and thanks for visiting! This blog is mostly dedicated to game reviews, strategies, and analysis of my favorite games. I also talk about my other interests, like football, science and technology, movies, and so on. Feel free to read more about the blog.

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