The NFL's most disappointing teams of 2016
As the first playoff game of the season approaches, many teams that missed out on the postseason are reflecting on a lost year. Five teams in particular should be discouraged by how 2016 turned out.
Here are the most disappointing teams of the 2016 season:
The en vogue preseason pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl didn't even make the playoffs. A team as chock-full of individual talent as the Cardinals should never make this list, but they fell flat on their faces.
Arizona finished the year 7-8-1 and only managed to win three games outside of their division.
The Cards appeared to be on the verge of greatness after reaching the NFC title game last season, but Carson Palmer regressed and the team couldn't take advantage of an all-time year by running back David Johnson.
They'll likely take one last crack at it next year with Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald still in tow, but they'll have to get over the disappointment that was the 2016 edition of the Cardinals.
Another team that entered the year with Super Bowl aspirations, the Vikings made good on that promise early in the year when they were the last remaining undefeated team entering Week 6.
After racing out to a 5-0 record, a playoff spot seemed a mere inevitability, but the Vikings crashed and burned, winning just three of their final 11 games. Despite their hot start, they didn't even challenge for a playoff position at the end of the year.
The offensive line was porous, the running game was even worse as a result, and there were rumors the defensive backs revolted against the coach's defensive game plan in a late-season matchup.
Fans in Minneapolis can only hope Teddy Bridgewater returns to health, Adrian Peterson returns to form, and the Vikings can pick up the pieces in 2017.
New York Jets
The Jets also began the campaign hoping to build on a year in which they just missed out on a playoff appearance.
New York signed veteran rusher Matt Forte in hopes of plugging one clear area of need and providing Forte with a shot at the Super Bowl. It became evident very early that the Jets wouldn't be making the trip to Houston at the end of the season, however.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, signed to a one-year, prove-it deal, completely bombed by throwing for the third-most interceptions in the league. He was benched and the Jets were bickering behind the scenes. Darrelle Revis was another veteran who turned in a career-worst performance.
The Jets finished the year at 5-11 and now have the sixth pick in the 2017 draft in hand.
They were supposed to make the leap this season. The Jaguars were penciled in as playoff contenders after Blake Bortles showed impressive chemistry with receivers Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns last year. Instead, their head coach was fired before the season ended as the Jags finished the year with just three wins.
Rather than taking the next step, the offense was in shambles, ranking 23rd overall. The new-look defense gave up the eighth-most points in the NFL.
The franchise will once again be hitting the reset button as general manager Dave Caldwell admitted he will be looking for a new coach who will be able to provide an honest assessment of Bortles' potential.
Not much good came out of this season, but Jacksonville does own the fourth pick in the draft and a chance to add a player that can make an immediate impact.
The Panthers' fall from grace was as inelegant as they come.
After stunning the league with a 15-1 season that included a trip to Super Bowl 50, Carolina went from first to worst in the NFC South.
The fall was precipitous, as the team lost five of its first six games to start the season. The Panthers scratched and clawed the rest of the way but went 5-5 to end the year.
Cam Newton's MVP year was quickly followed by one in which he set career lows in all rushing categories. After throwing for 35 touchdowns a year ago, he threw 19 this year and 14 interceptions.
The defense also flailed early and often after allowing cornerback Josh Norman to walk in the offseason. His absence was felt most in Week 4 when Julio Jones posted 300 receiving yards on a collection of rookie corners.