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Top 5 NFL Teams That Impressed This Preseason

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5 Teams That Impressed In 2013 Preseason

Brad Penner- USA Today Sports

It’s just the preseason but as the dog days of summer wind down, the smell of fall and football permeates the air. The CFL whet our appetite — more like a dull amuse-bouche — but we were finally rewarded with some preseason football. The great thing about preseason is that while the win-loss records mean nothing, there is more to the score.

Not only that but certain trends emerge. A team’s same or new patterns show themselves. We can all tell the Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders will be god awful this year. We also saw Mark Sanchez throwing more errant passes and picks while his understudy Geno Smith duplicated the effort with three turnovers himself. These are trends that rear their head in preseason games that don’t matter. Speaking of things that don’t matter, it really was the year of the backup quarterback wasn’t it?

This year, some of the most-talked-about quarterbacks will likely wind up holding clipboards when the season starts. Geno Smith could have leapfrogged Sanchez but took two steps backward in some truly awful games. That setback keeps Coach Rex Ryan on the hot seat as he probably wanted Geno to win the spot to save face. By comparison, EJ Manuel of the Buffalo Bills all but played himself out of the regular-season opener but looks to be the starter now because Kevin Kolb is out with a concussion.

All in all, I’m grateful football is just about back and it counts this time. I think it’s going to be a great season with some great teams leading the pack. There are a couple new ones and maybe some surprises. I’ve compiled a list of the top five teams I like going into this last week of preseason games.

Karim Akbar is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kuhreem , “Like” his RantSports page on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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5. St. Louis Rams

Ron Chenoy- USA TODAY Sports

Although the St. Louis Rams are 0-3 this preseason, they still improved in all phases of the game. Silence those chuckles. Many people like Alec Ogletree as the player who will have the biggest impact. But for me, it's all about the passing game with Tavon Austin and Sam Bradford who will need to continue to build their chemistry going forward for the Rams to make some noise. The signs of life are there and for the Rams, that’s promising.

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4. Buffalo Bills

Evan Habeeb- USA TODAY Sports

Nobody circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills; no one also causes their fans more grief and heartache than the Bills; this year, the team has managed a 2-1 record heading into its last preseason game Thursday against the Detroit Lions. With wins over the Minnesota Vikings and the Indianapolis Colts, the Bills, who will likely have EJ Manuel under center, look strong, maybe strong enough to make the playoffs. Playoffs?!

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3. Washington Redskins

Brad Mills- USA TODAY Sports

For the Washington Redskins, the biggest storyline coming out of the nation’s capital this offseason were the supposed ‘trust’ issues’ between quarterback Robert Griffin III and Coach Mike Shanahan. But a new story emerged in that the Redskins defense looked mighty impressive this preseason. Their 41 points against are currently third best in the league, tied with the Green Bay Packers this preseason.

RG3 has every right not to trust Shanahan, it was Shanahan and his brain trust that settled on Kirk Cousins, kind of a reach for a team that already proved it ran just fine with a healthy RG3 leading the attack. At the moment, it’s a mess of epic proportions but all will be well once the games start to matter.

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2. San Francisco 49ers

Kelley L Cox- USA TODAY Sports

It’s kind of hard to make this list when you’re the San Francisco 49ers. I mean, you’re not exactly sneaking up on anyone this year. We all know the Niners are a legit lock for the Super Bowl but we didn’t know exactly how scary they could be. What we soon learned is that San Francisco is very scary.

Colin Kaepernick looks to have another banner year. Colin told ESPN Magazine last week he’s haunted by that NFC Championship Game and replays the decisions he made. That’s a driving force this year for Kaep and this team.

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1. New Orleans Saints

Thomas Campbell- USA TODAY Sports

Who dat? I think many teams would like to skip the question and maybe the game as well this year. Sean Payton is back after the fallout from his lengthy suspension. Payton was laser-focused upon returning and really seems to have this team firing on all pistons. Drew Brees looks like he’s going to make a run at some records this year.

And it would be a good use of his playmaking skills because the New Orleans Saints have shown that they still have weapons on offense if you get greedy. This team will be a tough defeat every Sunday if you ask me. I’ll even go out on a limb and say they lock up the NFC South this year.