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5 NFL Teams That Could Improve Next Season

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5 NFL teams that could make a surprise playoff push next season

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Every year we see turnover in the NFL with teams going from basement dweller to playoff contender. Perfect examples of this last season were the Minnesota Vikings and the Indianapolis Colts. These were two teams that struggled to win many games at all two seasons ago and found a way this past year under an improved draft and solid play on both sides of the ball to make the playoffs last season. Let's take a look at five teams that fall under that category for the upcoming 2013 campaign

The. St. Louis Rams finished at 7-8-1 last season. Despite playing the San Francisco 49ers as tough as any team in the league last season, the Rams struggled to tread above or at .500 last season mainly because of a lack of offensive play makers and a run game that at times really struggled in late-game situations. The Rams have given bright young QB Sam Bradford a new toy in the form of Tavon Austin, the electric play maker out of West Virginia, which should help stretch the field and boost a struggling offense on a team that already has a solid young defense. Watch out for the Rams in 2013.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had the worst secondary in the league last season. Finishing 7-9, they got torched on a regular basis with the safety and corner position in flux all last year. The Bucs have gone above and beyond to improve this unit and they may go from worst to first. They have added Darrelle Revis, arguably the best corner in the league when healthy. They also picked up safety Dashon Goldson, a key member of the Super Bowl runner-up 49ers. Both these players should really sure up a struggling secondary and transform the Bucs into solid playoff contenders.

The Miami Dolphins also had a rough go of it last season despite some bright moments from rookie Ryan Tannehill. The main reason for their 7-9 record was that there was just no one for the young QB to throw the ball to. The Dolphins really had no threats on offense to speak of and it left a defense that was solid for most of the season out to dry. The Dolphins went out and fixed this desperate need right away in free agency by adding Mike Wallace, arguably the best field stretcher in the league. Wallace has speed to burn; the speedy wideout will finally give Tannehill a no. 1 target to connect with on intermediate and deep throws for the Dolphins. I believe this Dolphins squad with Wallace and an improved Tannehill can battle for a wildcard in the AFC this season.

The Philadelphia Eagles had a dysmal 4-12 season in what was a turmoil filled year both for the former coach Andy Reid and many of the players. Gone are a few of the cancers in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha and the old coach whose act had run stale in Reid. In with a new culture change is Chip Kelly, who runs practice and holds his press conferences at a blistering pace and won't accept some of the loafing and apathy that went on with some self-entitled players last season. The offense boasts threats across the board with LeSean "Shady" McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Bryce Brown, and tight ends Brent Celek and Zach Ertz, who reminds some of Rob Gronkowski with his size, speed, and athleticism. The offense will no doubt score points under Coach Kelly, and if Billy Davis' defense can play even average football, I believe this team is one to watch come September.

The Kansas City Chiefs were the worst team in the league last season at 2-14 despite boasting some Pro Bowl talent, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Andy Reid has taken over the reigns in Kansas City and while his last few years in Philly were a struggle, he is still known as one of the better coaches in the league. He never sells himself short at QB, the most crucial position in football, so he brought in Alex Smith from the Niners. Smith has proven he can lead his team deep into the playoffs and win games with a solid supporting cast something he has with the Chiefs with a stud wideout in Dwayne Bowe, an ascending running back in Jamaal Charles, and a sured up o-line with the drafting of Eric Fisher. The Chiefs' defense is loaded with talent with players like Tamba Hali off the edge and Brandon Flowers and Eric Berry patrolling the secondary. With Reid and Smith at the helm. I believe this is a team that can improve quickly and possibly see themselves as a wild-card contender in 2013.

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Kansas City Chiefs could fight for AFC West crown

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs should be improved next season with a proven coach and QB in Andy Reid and Alex Smith, respectively, to go along with an already stingy defense.

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Darrelle Revis and company could help the Bucs win the NFC South

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

An improved secondary featuring new additions Dashon Goldson and Darrelle Revis could be the push the Bucs need to get them the coveted NFC South crown.

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Mike Wallace and an improved Ryan Tannehill could give Fins fans hope for the playoffs

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Wallace finally gives young quarterback Ryan Tannehill the deep threat he needs. An improved offense could be all the Dolphins need to vault them into being a wild-card contender.

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St. Louis rams could be a surprise team in the NFC

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Rams already boast a solid young defense. They have finally given Sam Bradford the electric down-field weapon he has long coveted in the form of Tavon Austin. Watch out for the Rams in the West.

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Philadelphia Eagles could contend for the NFC East crown

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

It is a new era for the Philadelphia Eagles and their fans as Chip Kelly has taken the reigns and promises to bring an explosive high-scoring offense with him. The real question is can the defense hold down the fort? If they do, watch out for the Eagles as a dark horse playoff contender in Kelly's first season on the job.