17. San Francisco 49ers: Garoppolo, Mullens, Beathard
Hard to imagine a quarterback from the previous year’s Super Bowl would be this far down the list but here we are. Why? Remember, the 49ers made the Super Bowl on the legs of their running game and their defense.
The 49ers gave up a lot to get Garoppolo, it’s about time they start getting what they paid for. He showed last year that he’s beginning to be that guy, but Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard have proved they can step into the void if Jimmy G isn’t up to it.
Projected Record: 11-5
16. Pittsburgh Steelers: Roethlisberger, Rudolph, Hodges
We saw exactly what the Steelers are like without Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback. The problem is that time is coming whether they want to admit it or not. Roethlisberger has been on a steady decline for the last few years.
Maybe taking most of last season off with the injury will make him better this season, but it isn’t likely. In fact, it’s just as likely Big Ben will get injured yet again. He is 38 years old after all. Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges showed last year they weren’t up to the task in Ben’s absence.
Projected Record: 9-7
15. Indianapolis Colts: Rivers, Brissett, Eason
Philip Rivers joining the Colts would be the story of the offseason if it wasn’t for Tom Brady’s migration south to Tampa. The Colts were a legit AFC contender without him, just think what they’ll be with him.
Worried about his aging body? He’s playing 11 of 16 games indoors or in Florida in this upcoming NFL season. Also, the Colts built one of the best offensive lines in the league for Andre Luck, now Rivers gets to enjoy it. Besides, Jacoby Brissett has proven to be a capable backup when called upon.
Projected Record: 10-6