On Monday night, all sports-loving eyes were on NRG Stadium. No, the Texans haven't extended their season into April. The home of J.J. Watt played host to college basketball's national championship game between North Carolina and Villanova. The Wildcats beat the Tar Heels 77-74 with a buzzer beater by Kris Jenkins.
Some years, the title game is littered with future NBA lottery picks and high-profile stars. That just isn't the case this time around. Both UNC and 'Nova got to this point due to their all-around qualities. These are two deep, balanced, collaborative teams.
With that in mind, let's relate this back to the NFL: Heading into the 2016 campaign, which franchise boasts the most well-rounded roster in the league?
Last year, based on combined rank in scoring offense and scoring defense, Seattle was the most balanced team. (The Seahawks were No. 1 in scoring defense and No. 4 in scoring offense.) But right now -- with the losses of Marshawn Lynch, Russell Okung and J.R. Sweezy -- I think the offense will take a step back.
At the moment, I believe Carolina is the most balanced team. The
Panthers will return basically the same team that just went to the
Super Bowl. They were No. 1 in scoring offense last year -- and that was
Kelvin Benjamin, who'll be back in the fall. Carolina ranked sixth in scoring defense and returns most of the same players on that side of the ball, as well.
Even though New England's defense
lost Chandler Jones, it added a nice component in
Chris Long. The
Patriots have enough veterans to jump-start a defense that was already good
in 2015. When adding the coaching element to the pieces in place, I think the
Patriots are one of the front-runners to get to
Super Bowl LI, without question.
The 'Hawks lost
Russell Okung in free agency, so they have a hole to fill on the offensive line. But the team has a veteran O-line coach on staff, Tom Cable, who can fix that. Another big question mark is if
Thomas Rawls can replace
Marshawn Lynch full time at running back.
Jaguars are headed in the right direction after signing
Malik Jackson and
Prince Amukamara. They are getting back to the recipe that worked on both sides of the ball in the mid-2000s. This team is about to get a lot better.