Three NFL teams that could go from worst to first in 2024

    With free agency and the draft in the rearview, teams will begin piecing together their 2024 rosters with training camp approximately six weeks away. It’s during that time fans will have a more clear picture of how much their team actually improved (if at all) this offseason.

    With so much roster turnover across the last few months, here are three teams that improved their chances of going from last to first place in their respective divisions in 2024.

    Chicago Bears (7-10 record last season)

    Acknowledging this one is going out on a limb, but stay with it. The Bears played well against both the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings last season, beating each team once before losing a one-score game in their second respective meetings. And despite an 18-point blowout to the Packers in the season opener, the Bears’ second game against Green Bay was much closer (also a one-score game.)

    The Bears this offseason improved upon that roster that won seven games in 2023, drafting quarterback Caleb Williams, receiver Rome Odunze, offensive tackle Kiran Amegadjie and edge-rusher Austin Booker, trading for WR Keenan Allen and signing 1,000-yard running back D’Andre Swift, former Chargers starting tight end Gerald Everett and two-time All-Pro safety Kevin Byard. In addition, the Bears locked up defensive cornerstones Montez Sweat and Jaylon Johnson.

    Chicago has the third-easiest schedule in the NFL this coming season, while Green Bay has the fourth toughest, Detroit the 11th toughest and Minnesota the 16th toughest. The Lions may go from 12 wins to 10 or 11 in 2024 and it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for the much-improved Bears to be right there with them.

    Cincinnati Bengals (9-8 record last season)

    Playing in arguably the best division in the NFL, Cincinnati was just one win away from sneaking into the playoffs last season despite not having quarterback Joe Burrow for the final seven games of the year.

    This winter and spring, the Bengals have upgraded their offense by improving their O-line with free-agent tackle Trent Brown and first-round pick Amarius Mims, keeping receiver Tee Higgins around (if only for one season) on the franchise tag, drafting a suitable Tyler Boyd replacement in third-round rookie WR Jermaine Burton and getting younger and faster at running back by swapping Joe Mixon for Zack Moss.

    Defensively, the Bengals bolstered their defensive line by drafting defensive tackles Kris Jenkins and McKinley Jackson and signing free agent Sheldon Rankins and elevated their secondary by signing safety Geno Stone (who ranked second in the NFL in interceptions in 2023). The revamped Bengals with a healthy Burrow could (and should) give the Baltimore Ravens a run for their AFC North money in 2024.

    Tennessee Titans (6-11 record last season)

    The AFC South may just be the most winnable division in the NFL and with the 10th-easiest schedule in 2024, the Titans could shock a lot of people with a quick turnaround from the 6-11 year they had under Mike Vrabel in 2023.

    Tennessee Titans QB Will Levis showed a lot of promise in nine games as a rookie last year and the front office did its best this offseason to surround him with as much help as it could. He’ll have better blocking after the additions of left tackle JC Latham, guard Saahdiq Charles and center Lloyd Cushenberry, he has two dual-threat runners in his backfield in Tony Pollard and Tyjae Spears and he has one of the top receiver trios to throw to in DeAndre Hopkins, Calvin Ridley and Tyler Boyd.

    Not to mention the Titans added some key pieces to shore up its defense in cornerbacks L’Jarius Sneed, Chidobe Awuzie and Jarvis Brownlee, defensive tackle T’Vondre Sweat and linebackers Kenneth Murray and Cedric Gray. The Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t really improve much at all this offseason and if the Texans stay complacent or take a step back, the Titans could sneak up on a division crown.

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