5 NFL Teams That Could Make Surprise Trips To The Postseason In 2014

5 NFL Teams That Could Make Surprise Trips to the Playoffs in 2014

New York Giants
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Each year, the NFL playoff picture changes. While elite teams like Green Bay, New Orleans and Indianapolis have been mainstays in the playoffs, the rest of the playoff picture constantly shifts. Last season, five new teams became division champions and three more earned Wild Card berths after missing the playoffs in 2012. So as the 2014 season gets closer and closer, here are five squads that can be surprise playoff teams this season.

5. Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys
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5. Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys
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Before all of the Cowboys hate begins, let me remind you that the only team to play for the NFC East title in the regular season finale for the past three years has been the Dallas Cowboys. With a potent offense in Tony Romo, Demarco Murray, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, the Cowboys can overcome any obstacles provided by the defense. Speaking of the defense, the unit doesn't have to turn into a top-five unit -- they just have to show improvement.

4. Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals
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4. Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals
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At 10-6, the Arizona Cardinals were the best team in the NFL that did not make the playoffs last year. Being in the NFC West with San Francisco, Seattle and St. Louis will hurt the Cardinals to a degree, but given what happened last year in the AFC West with three teams making the postseason, the NFC West could have the same outcome with the Cardinals, 49ers and Seahawks.

3. Detroit Lions

Detroit Lions
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3. Detroit Lions

Detroit Lions
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The Lions finished 7-9 last season after starting at 6-3. The main culprit of that collapse is now gone as former head coach Jim Schwartz was fired. With a new head coach in Jim Caldwell and new coordinators this season, the Lions will be a more disciplined team that won't beat itself. Detroit also has some of the division's best players in Calvin Johnson and Ndamukong Suh. Outside of Green Bay, the Lions only face three 2013 playoff teams.

2. New York Giants

New York Giants
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2. New York Giants

New York Giants
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The New York Giants are poised for a bounce-back season following two consecutive non-playoff seasons. New York won seven of its last 10 games after an 0-6 start in 2013. With an improved running game in Rashad Jennings, an explosive receiver in Odell Beckham, and defensive additions like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Robert Ayers and Walter Thurmond III, the defense got younger and much faster.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers
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1. Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers
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The Pittsburgh Steelers seem ready to rebound following two consecutive non-playoff seasons. Pittsburgh won six of their last eight games in 2013 that gave the team some momentum heading into this offseason. With an improved running game in Le'Veon Bell and a younger, faster defense, the Steelers can easily get back to their winning ways and take back control of the AFC North.


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