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2013-14 "Under the Radar" and Surprise Teams?

If I had to throw out a short list combining this year's potentially under-the-radar and surprise teams, I'd probably list the following:


1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Under the Radar)

Despite all the acquisitions, there really hasn't been a lot of talk about the Bucs. I think their season will come down to how well Josh Freeman plays -- or really, how mistake-free he plays. The defense has be COMPLETELY revamped, and looking at their current roster, it's hard to ignore the amount of talent on this team. Among the key players...

QB - Freeman
RB - Doug Martin, Michael Smith, Jeff Demps, Mike James
WR - Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, Kevin Ogletree, Tiquan Underwood, Eric Page
TE - Zach Miller, Luke Stocker, Nate Byham
OL - Donald Penn, Carl Nicks, Jeremy Zuttah, Davin Joseph, Jamon Meredith

DE - Da'Quan Bowers, Adrian Clayborn, William Gholston, Steven Means, Aaron Morgan, Daniel Teo-Nesheim
DT - Gerald McCoy, Akeem Spence, Derek Landri, Andre Neblett, Gary Gibson
LB - Lavonte David, Jon Casillas, Mason Foster, Dakota Watson, Najee Goode
CB - Darrelle Revis, Jonathan Banks, Eric Wright, Myron Lewis, Anthony Gaitor, Leonard Johnson
S - Dashon Goldson, Mark Barron, Keith Tandy, Ahmad Black, Cody Grimm


2. St. Louis Rams
(Surprise)

While the Rams are praised for adding a lot of good pieces this off-season, all the talk is still about the 49ers and Seahawks, and I think most pundits aren't seriously considering the Rams a playoff contender yet. Keep in mind, this is a Rams team that went 2-1-1 against the 49ers and Seahawks last year, and their only loss on the road against Seattle was only by one score. On the other hand, we were obliterated by Seattle in their house. With this influx of talent and outstanding coaching, I would not be shocked at all to see the Rams end up with a better record than Seattle. Rams main roster pieces:

QB - Bradford
RB - Daryl Richardson, Isaiah Pead, Zac Stacy, Terrance Ganaway
WR - Chris Givens, Brian Quick, Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, Austin Pettis
TE - Jared Cook, Lance Kendricks
OL - Jake Long, Harvey Dahl, Scott Wells, Barrett Jones, Rodger Saffold, Brandon Washington, Joe Barksdale

DE - Chris Long, Robert Quinn, William Hayes
DT - Michael Brockers, Kendall Langford, Jermelle Cudjo
LB - Jo-Lonn Dunbar, Alec Ogletree, James Laurinaitis, Jabara Williams, Josh Hull, Sammy Brown, Jonathan Stewart
CB - Cortland Finnegan, Janoris Jenkins, Trumaine Johnson, Brandon McGee
S - T.J. McDonald, Darian Stewart, Cody Davis


3. Miami Dolphins (Surprise)

Some may think the Jets have a better shot, but I think the Dolphins have a better QB and better weapons on offense. With a rookie QB and NO legitimate starting receiver really after trading away Brandon Marshall, somehow the Dolphins still managed to get to 7-9. This Dolphins team beat Seattle last year. Their defense is vastly underrated, and I think with an improved Tannehill and another year under coach Philbin, this roster could have a winning record. These are their main peices:

QB - Tannehill
RB - Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas, Mike Gillislee
WR - Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson, Rishard Matthews, Armon Binns, Jeff Fuller
TE - Dustin Keller, Michael Egnew, Dion Sims
OL - Tyson Clabo, Richie Incognito, Mike Pouncey, John Jerry, Jonathan Martin

DE - Cameron Wake, Dion Jordan, Olivier Vernon
DT - Kheeston Randall, Paul Soliai, Jared Odrick, Randy Starks
LB - Koa Misi, Dannell Ellerbe, Austin Spitler, Philip Wheeler, Jelani Jenkins, Josh Kaddu
CB - Richard Marshall, Brent Grimes, Jamar Taylor, Nolan Carroll, Will Davis, R.J. Stanford, De'Andre Pressley
S - Jimmy Wilson, Chris Clemons, Reshad Jones, Kelcie McCray
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Good list, but the Chiefs should be an honorable mention
I like the Bengals. Dalton just needs some gamechanging WRS , a RB and that team is set.
Originally posted by TonyStarks:
I like the Bengals. Dalton just needs some gamechanging WRS , a RB and that team is set.

They made the playoffs and they're set up for a five year run IMO FWIW. A solid organization is what they have become.




My surprise team is the titans for the first half of the season.
I wouldn't be surprised to see the Brown's turn heads this year. They play good def and Richardson will be great. I think they could fight for a wildcard
I think Miami. Tannehill very 'game' on the field. With Wallace to help out, Miami is no slouch.
Rams, Browns and Bills are mine..bills are young but very talented ..could surprise
Originally posted by AUniner:
I wouldn't be surprised to see the Brown's turn heads this year. They play good def and Richardson will be great. I think they could fight for a wildcard

Don't tell that to this guy:

i think the cardinals will be able to turn heads next year.

they'll still most likely be under .500, but that's more to do with the depth of the NFCW rather than their own level of play.
Originally posted by pdizo916:
Originally posted by TonyStarks:
I like the Bengals. Dalton just needs some gamechanging WRS , a RB and that team is set.

They made the playoffs and they're set up for a five year run IMO FWIW. A solid organization is what they have become.




My surprise team is the titans for the first half of the season.

You never know. Maybe with bolstered protection and the addition of Justin Hunter, Shonne Greene, and some other defensive pieces, Tennessee could win some games. It'll be tough against Indy and Houston though.
I think the Dolphins pick is good. I have them getting the 6th spot in the AFC. But the Rams and Bucs have to battle...

SF, GB, NO, ATL, SEA, NYG, and WAS. I just don't see them cracking that list.
Carolina Panthers.

Adding Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short to play next to defensive ends Greg Hardy (11 sacks in 2012) and Charles Johnson (12.5 sacks in 2012) is going to be scary.
I can see the Dolphins making some noise as well as Tampa. Carolina to me falls more into the definition of a surprise team because they did not make front page news in free agency the way the Dolphins and Bucs did. The Chiefs are also in the mix.
Not sure about being "under the radar", but the vikings should be pretty tough
Very good list and totally agree on the Rams.

I think the Eagles w/their Chip offense will take a lot of teams by surprise.

Bengals have had 2 very successful back-to-back drafts and are looking very tough.

I think Chiefs make the playoffs w/2nd best record in the AFC West 10-6.