After the Wild Card Weekend, none of the games were really that close in terms of score. From watching these games, you could tell that each losing team needed to improve in certain areas. This is where each team could get better.
Unfortunately for Miami, they were missing their starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill for the Wild Card game, which definitely was a major factor in them losing versus Pittsburgh. But, where improvement can be made for the Dolphins is in their secondary.
Now, they didn’t have Byron Maxwell for the Wild Card game as well, which did prove to hurt them because Antonio Brown had a field day against them, but that means that they were lacking depth at that position. Expect the Dolphins to either look in free agency or the draft to address this need. Other than that, the Dolphins have showed that they are a young team that has talent on both sides of the ball, now they just need depth.
The same unfortunate accident that happened to the Dolphins also hap
pened to the Raiders. They were missing their starting quarterback, Derek Carr, for the Wild Card game and if he would’ve played, the result could’ve been different.
As far as improvements, the only spot I see where Oakland needs to improve is the defensive line. Now, Oakland is solid on the ends because they mix it up and have Khalil Mack play end, now they just need to improve in the middle of the defensive line. In terms of rushing, the Raiders defense was solid against the run, now they just need to find a defensive tackle that can bring a pass rush to compliment Khalil Mack and then they could be every Quarterback’s worst nightmare.
Now, they did spend lots of money on the defense last year so don’t expect a big name signing, but definitely expect Oakland to find somebody who can play a factor at that position and fill their role to help benefit Mack.
For the Lions, what really hurt them in their game was a lack of threats on offense. Now, Matthew Stafford did his best to work with what he had, but drops and injuries started to take its toll on him and it really showed the in the Wild Card game against the Seahawks. Wide receivers were dropping easy passes and they couldn’t really establish a running game.
So, what the Lions need to do when going into the off-season is look for a big time threat to help bolster the offense. If the running backs, Theo Riddick and Ameer Abdullah, can stay healthy, then they won’t need to go find a big time running back. As far as wide receivers, they do need to find a name that can be a reliable target. For Stafford’s case, he always had a different guy be the leading receiver for the team that week, which can be helpful during the regular season, but not in the playoffs. Overall, the Lions need to find a play-maker on offense to give Matthew Stafford some help.
New York Giants
As far as the Giants, the defense doesn’t really need any improvements because they signed so many big names last year (Janoris Jenkins and Olivier Vernon) even though they got burned against the Packers in the Wild Card game.
The real improvement needed for this team is in the running game. The Giants have not had an established running back in their system since Brandon Jacobs (maybe?). It definitely showed that they needed one in their Wild Card game because they were only able to rush for 70 yards on 17 total attempts. Having an effective rushing attack is vital in the NFL and the Giants need to find somebody that can be a workhorse and carry the ball 20+ times for them.
Now, Paul Perkins showed some flashes during the season that he could be the guy who could carry the ball for this team, but I think fans are expecting something more consistent and not see glimpses of what could be a good running back.
Overall, these teams will need to find improvement in order to get over that obstacle that is the next round in the NFL Playoffs. Expect one of these teams to be featured in talks with either big name free agents or big name NFL picks in order to improve their team and try their best to make it to the Super Bowl.