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Top 10 Pro Sports Teams of 2013

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The 10 Best Sports Teams of 2013

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

What a difference a year makes. That's a common saying in life, but it's especially true of the world of sports. For better or worse, a year can make all the difference for our favorite teams.

You always hear people talk about 'windows' in sports. Usually, it's in regards to the window to win. It never ceases to amaze me how small the window to win in the major American sports can be. Take for example the Atlanta Falcons. They were the class of the NFC in 2012. Now a year later, they're in last place and positioning themselves for a top pick in next year's draft.

It's tough to say exactly what went wrong for the Falcons, but obviously the injuries to Julio Jones, Roddy White and Steven Jackson played a big part in their demise. However, the Falcons struggled from the get-go in 2013. White labeled this season as 'Super Bowl or bust' and it's been certainly been nothing but a bust in the ATL.

In this slideshow we'll rank the best professional sports teams of 2013. In order to make the list, the teams had to at least make the playoffs. Most of them made it to the conference finals and obviously the top teams won it all. I chose not to do a list that included college teams, because you could argue that the best college team still isn't even half as good as an average pro team. It's difficult to rank college and pro teams on the same list, so I just stuck with the highest level of competition. Enjoy:

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10. Los Angeles Dodgers

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USA Today Sports

The Dodgers were a last place team until July, when they decided to turn things around in a big way. They would end the 2013 regular season in first place in the NL West and ultimately lost in the NLCS in six games.

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9. Indiana Pacers

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

The Pacers improved by leaps and bounds in 2013. They took the Heat to seven games in the ECF and they're on pace to get back there and beyond in 2014.

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8. Seattle Seahawks

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

The Seahawks went from a .500 team to an elite team in 2013. Russell Wilson and company are nearly unbeatable at home and it looks like the road to SB 48 could run through Seattle.

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7. Denver Broncos

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

The Broncos are a really good team, but can they get over the hump in the playoffs? They didn't in January of 2013, so as a result, they're only the seventh best team of the year.

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6. San Francisco 49ers

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

Not many teams can switch QBs during the middle of a season and make the Super Bowl. The 49ers got to the big game in 2013, but fell just short of their ultimate goal.

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5. St. Louis Cardinals

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

The Cardinals nearly won 100 games in 2013 and they made it all the way to the World Series. For fans of the legendary franchise, that's just another season.

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4. Miami Heat

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

The Heat won their second consecutive title in 2013. It wasn't in the most convincing of fashions, but they got the job done.

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3. Chicago Blackhawks

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

It wasn't easy, but the Blackhawks hoisted the Stanley Cup for the second time in four years in 2013. Along the way they brought lots of positive attention to the sport of hockey.

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2. Baltimore Ravens

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

The Ravens went on in improbable Super Bowl run in the winter of 2013. Ray Lewis' last ride was certainly one for the ages.

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1. Boston Red Sox

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

The Red Sox posted the best record in the AL in 2013, but they didn't stop there. The bearded Sox kept the momentum going all the way to the franchise's third title in the last 10 years.