In the NFL, we like to talk about teams' championship "window." The term basically points to the time frame that a team has a legitimate chance of winning a Super Bowl. That window of time can close for a number of reasons. The salary cap can catch up to a team while others suffer from simply growing older. Here's a few teams that are watching their window close in front of them.
The Ravens are beginning to see their own window close based primarily on a prevalence of mediocre talent. Their receiving corps. still doesn't impress anyone, and their age on defense will be catching up with them sooner rather than later. They aren't going to fall to the bottom of the league in the foreseeable future, but I don't see them making a Super Bowl run following the 2012 campaign. In other words, this is it for the Ravens.
The Steelers' window is about to close, if it already hasn't, but it won't stay shut long. The Steelers' are experts of the science of retooling their roster instead of rebuilding. I expect them to go slightly down hill over the next couple of seasons, but they'll be back in contention in short order.
New England Patriots
The Patriots are beginning to remind me of the 2010 Colts. That is, they're a team without a lot of talent and an exceptionally great quarterback. I wonder if this year's version of the Patriots could survive losing Tom Brady for the season. My gut is telling me they wouldn't have a chance.
The Bears are clinging to their championship window. Jay Cutler hasn't been the elite quarterback the Bears had hoped he would be, but it's not entirely his fault. He doesn't have the best set of receivers, and his offensive line is dreadful at best. The addition of Brandon Marshall should help Cutler out in a big way. Chicago's defense is also becoming an area of concern. The simple truth is that their age is becoming a major factor, and at the same time, they're not the same intimidating defense that they've had in the past. Throw on the fact that their division is one of the toughest in football, and their window is all but closed.
San Diego Chargers
The Chargers are praying that their championship window is still open, but to be honest, I'm not sure it was ever truly open since the departure of LaDainian Tomlinson. Philip Rivers needs to step up his game to give the Chargers any chance at all of making a playoff run, and asking for a Super Bowl would seem to be asking too much from this Chargers lineup.
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