These teams have some combination of youth, a quarterback, solid coaching, defense, and room for upward growth on their side. They dominate some phase of the game which will always give them a chance to win. Something as small as an injury or home-field advantage could twist the order.
A MOVE OR TWO AWAY
I feel like if health is restored then these teams could be a draft class or a wise free agent signing or two away from jumping up into the next group. They aren’t teams I’d bet on today, but could be in 4 months.
(ALMOST) EVERYBODY ELSE
One of the reasons everyone loves the NFL is you are never too far off from competing. Ask Kansas City. Or Philadelphia. It’s the land of opportunity.
15 teams were within 2 games of .500 either direction this season.
8 teams were below that threshold. What is weird is that 4/8 teams in that group were playoff teams a season ago! Teams like Houston and Atlanta thought they were on the cusp of something great at this time a year ago. They’ll draft first and fifth. The penthouse and outhouse aren’t separated by much.
These are the longest playoff droughts in the NFL.
Bills- 14 years!
Browns- 11 years
Raiders- 11 years
Rams- 9 years
Bucs, Jags- 6 years
Dolphins, Titans- 5 years
I’d be bold enough to say that at least one of these 8 teams are playoff bound in 2014. The Rams might have the best team, but the most impossible division. The Raiders appear least-likely. You could make a case for all the rest.
Onto free agency and the draft! Everybody is trying to catch Seattle.