Ceiling ... *You can be a U.S. Senator one day! *
Floor ... Will you be moving out before you're 28?
The highs and lows of expectations -- they're all around. From our parents. From our employers. And, of course, we turn around and project the same on our favorite football teams. If everything breaks right, the Kansas City Chiefs will go 12-4. If everything breaks down -- that is, Justin Houston misses too much time and Jamaal Charles isn't himself -- maybe 7-9 is on the horizon. With the margin of victory so slim in today's NFL -- the realization of former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue's vision of parity -- a five-game swing is actually a pretty narrow range. And the cool thing? We can do this for every franchise, you and I.
Well, I did. Below you will find the hypotheticals -- the hot-dogs-and-apple-pie version as well as the doom-and-gloom scenario -- for every team in the NFC, with the AFC coming Wednesday. Bear in mind, these scenarios include eventualities where everything either goes very right or very wrong. In other words, don't get upset at the mere mention of the possibility that the Packerscould go 8-8. Much would have to go awry -- like the return of Brian Brohm. Yet, if you still have an issue with these narratives, @HarrisonNFL is the place.
Let's get the dual-universe predictions going...
NOTE: Check back for the AFC on Wednesday.
Floor: 3-13. The bottom falls out with Cutler, who sorely misses free-agent defector Martellus Bennett (at least, as a target in the passing game). Second-year pro Jeremy Langford can't hold down a full workload at running back. Harold Jones-Quartey and Adrian Amos and whoever else don't turn out as Hall of Fame safeties ... or starter ilk.
Floor: 4-12.Matthew Stafford looks like a man devoid of the best wide receiver this side of Larry Fitzgerald. Pass rusher Ziggy Ansah fails to repeat his stellar 2015 campaign with no one up front picking up his All-Pro slack (Devin Taylor? Haloti Ngata? A'Shawn Robinson?).
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Ceiling: 14-2. While the defense frankly isn't good enough for the Packers to go 15-1 like they did in 2011, the offense is. Or it can be. Receiver Jordy Nelson puts up 1,400 yards and 14 TDs in his return from a season lost to injury. Running back Eddie Lacy keeps the weight and the tacklers off, balancing the offense.
Floor: 8-8. Barring something terrible, it is very hard to see this Green Bay team posting a losing record. (We're mostly avoiding the QB injury outcome.) Aaron Rodgers has to have his worst season. Sam Barrington and Jake Ryan are wholly ineffective inside. Youngsters Damarious Randall and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix take a step backward.
Ceiling: 13-3.Teddy Bridgewater plays like the most efficient quarterback in the league. Not in terms of fantasy numbers, mind you, but more like the 25 TDs and seven INTs variety. Rookie receiver Laquon Treadwell becomes a top-flight red-zone target, and Adrian Peterson doesn't slow down. (UPDATE: Bridgewater suffered a "significant" knee injury at practice on Tuesday, per Mike Zimmer. If backup Shaun Hill has to play for any length of time, the Vikings' ceiling will be 10-6, even if absolutely everything else goes right for them.)
Floor: 6-10. Peterson hits the Shaun Alexander/Larry Johnson Wall. Jerick McKinnon proves to be a career backup. Bridgewater misses the majority of the season. The top-five defense posts not one, not two, but a string of paltry showings.