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View Poll Results: Which team will make the playoffs in 2013?
Jacksonville 0 0%
Oakland 1 1.15%
Cleveland 9 10.34%
Buffalo 5 5.75%
NY Jets 4 4.60%
San Diego 9 10.34%
Kansas City 33 37.93%
Arizona 8 9.20%
Philadelphia 11 12.64%
Tennessee 7 8.05%
Voters: 87. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-26-2013, 01:37 PM    (permalink
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Default 2013 Surprise Playoff Team

2007: Giants (9-7, won Super Bowl* maybe doesn't qualify because they did make the playoffs the year prior - they squeaked in and everyone was questioning Eli after a poor season - my rationale was that NO ONE was picking them after they lost Barber)
2008: Saints (8-8, missed playoffs)
2009: Bengals (10-6, won division)
2010: Rams (7-9 after 1-15 year prior)
2011: Dolphins (6-10, missed playoffs)
2012: Colts (11-5, made playoffs)

This year, I have some ideas but I need to lay out the ground rules for everyone.

1) A surprise team is a team that would surprise people who know football. The Rams this year would not be a surprise at all.

2) Teams that made the playoffs last year don't qualify. Even though Minnesota and Washington would be surprises akin to picking Carolina or Tampa, they don't count. We are looking for last year's Colts - there's at least one every year.

3) No one in the NFC qualifies as a true surprise team other than the Eagles and Cardinals. Every other team is too talented for someone to get credit for picking. The Panthers and Bucs are stacked.

4) The AFC is the way to go because of the strength of the NFC. Unless you really believe in Chip-Vick/Foles/Barkley or Palmer/Arians. It's the weaker conference and you have many more options.

With that said, here are your options for true surprise teams in 2013:

You have BALLS tier:

Jacksonville
Oakland
Cleveland

You might think you have balls, but you really don't tier:

NY Jets
Buffalo

Navigating through treacherous waters tier:

Arizona
Philadelphia

Who everyone's gonna pick because Jake Locker apologists exist for some reason and these teams aren't that bad tier:

Kansas City
Tennessee
San Diego

Borderline shouldn't-really-qualify tier:

Miami

***Miami's not on the poll because the max is 10 and I debated even having them on this list in the first place (they aren't making the playoffs anyway so it's irrelevant and just gives the majority of voters a chance to make a correct ballsier pick).

Last edited by gpngc : 06-26-2013 at 06:07 PM.
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Old 06-26-2013, 02:09 PM    (permalink
mightytitan9
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I'm pretty confident the Titans will make the playoffs, they're a better team than last year, have an easier schedule, better coaching staff etc.

A less talented team went 9-7 two years ago and narrowly missed the playoffs, so I think to many we are further away than people think. We just need to pull out some division wins.

We should have a good run game and a good defense, so Locker shouldn't have to do much, but that doesn't mean he won't.
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Old 06-26-2013, 02:10 PM    (permalink
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I'm glad Miami didn't make it on to the poll. They're clearly better than the rest of these.

I'm gonna go with Arizona. They have an averageish QB, a starting-caliber RB, a top wideout, an excellent wideout prospect, a much improved O line, a coach who knows offense, and defense that was good last year.

Yeah, they're in a brutal division and brutal conference...but now they at least have all of the pieces there to take advantage of a few lucky breaks should they occur.
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Old 06-26-2013, 02:30 PM    (permalink
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First off, the Giants went 10-6 in 2007. The past couple months I see plenty of people saying 9-7, I don't know where it came from but they're wrong. Now...

My pick is Cleveland. I think their Defense is going to be very improved this year, I like Richardson and Gordon a lot. I see the Ravens and Steelers regressing this year and I would not be surprised to see the Browns go 9-7 or 10-6 and be a wild-card team. Last year most of their loses where pretty close too


Plus, their schedule this year is not that bad. I could see them beating 7 teams outside their division, and then it's not that unrealistic to say they'll get 2-3 wins in the division
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Old 06-26-2013, 02:36 PM    (permalink
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Buffalo- The defense should be better (can't get much worse). I think a new offense and a new QB will really help out the defense. I'm not ready to predict them in the playoffs, but of the teams you included, I think they have the best chance. They have many winnable games. Two against the Dolphins and Jets, Browns, Panthers, Chiefs, Jaguars, and Buccaneers.

I could be cheap and say the Chargers, but would the be a surprise? They made the playoffs 5 of 6 seasons. Then the last three seasons, they've averaged 8 wins.
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Old 06-26-2013, 02:49 PM    (permalink
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So many of these AFC teams just can not get away from being terrible. I know it's even more of a trap for me to lean towards Philly and Tennessee as I am tempted to do. I've tried to sort things out with my Bills and I still have no idea what to expect. It's probably not good, though. Some good elements to the offense and a new system but I don't know what to think of half of our line and the play under center. I know better than to expect anything from the defense before I see it by this point. It got better as the season wore on, but then you still saw things like the Russell Wilson Show. Shudder.
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Old 06-26-2013, 03:00 PM    (permalink
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I guess the hype train's gone off for Miami if they don't qualify for this poll.
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Old 06-26-2013, 03:16 PM    (permalink
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Eagles get the easy vote from me. Arizona would have been second with Tennessee being third.

I was soooo ready to be a homer and go with Miami, haha
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Old 06-26-2013, 03:21 PM    (permalink
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Went with KC. Miami would of been the easiest choice on the board if they were there.
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Old 06-26-2013, 03:52 PM    (permalink
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Voted Arizona after considering Kansas City. But I have a feeling Carson Palmer is going to have a big season and their defense is already really good.
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Old 06-27-2013, 02:02 AM    (permalink
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Voted Arizona after considering Kansas City. But I have a feeling Carson Palmer is going to have a big season and their defense is already really good.
Really? I feel for Carson since he was one of my favorite players 6 or 7 years ago, but that was also the last time he had a big year. I don't see why folks still have faith in him.
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Old 06-27-2013, 06:04 AM    (permalink
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Really? I feel for Carson since he was one of my favorite players 6 or 7 years ago, but that was also the last time he had a big year. I don't see why folks still have faith in him.
He was pretty good in Cincy in 2009 after losing 2008 to the elbow injury, leading the team to a 10-6 record while being credited with 5 game-winning drives. Things really just went off the rails in 2010 when they brought in Terrell Owens to go along with the Bengals other resident clown, and Palmer basically said "**** Cincinnati" after the season was over. Not condoning his attitude or supporting the decision to "retire" as a rebellion against management, but they gave him two receivers who were more interested in their celebrity statuses than the playbook, and of course that's going to affect how well Carson can play. The defense was mediocre and their running back was Cedric Benson (3.5 ypc). I'll give him a mulligan for 2010. (still had almost 4000 yards and 26 TDs, but hit the 20-INT mark - comparable to his 2007 season, though, when most people still considered him pretty good. Just from a statistical standpoint.)

Then he goes to Oakland and his best receiver is Darrius Heyward-Bey. Think about that for a moment. Last year he was kind of inconsistent, but after a whole offseason and some gelling with the offense put up another 4000-yard season throwing to... who? Brandon Myers?

Now he's going to a team that was 4-1 before losing Kevin Kolb, and along with a good defense and what should be at least as good a rushing attack as he had behind him in Cincy, he's going to be throwing to the most talented pair of wideouts he's ever had in his career in Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. Rob Housler's a legitimate weapon at tight end, too. Carson isn't washed up, he's just been in football purgatory for a few years.

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Old 06-30-2013, 05:28 AM    (permalink
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He was pretty good in Cincy in 2009 after losing 2008 to the elbow injury, leading the team to a 10-6 record while being credited with 5 game-winning drives. Things really just went off the rails in 2010 when they brought in Terrell Owens to go along with the Bengals other resident clown, and Palmer basically said "**** Cincinnati" after the season was over. Not condoning his attitude or supporting the decision to "retire" as a rebellion against management, but they gave him two receivers who were more interested in their celebrity statuses than the playbook, and of course that's going to affect how well Carson can play. The defense was mediocre and their running back was Cedric Benson (3.5 ypc). I'll give him a mulligan for 2010. (still had almost 4000 yards and 26 TDs, but hit the 20-INT mark - comparable to his 2007 season, though, when most people still considered him pretty good. Just from a statistical standpoint.)

Then he goes to Oakland and his best receiver is Darrius Heyward-Bey. Think about that for a moment. Last year he was kind of inconsistent, but after a whole offseason and some gelling with the offense put up another 4000-yard season throwing to... who? Brandon Myers?

Now he's going to a team that was 4-1 before losing Kevin Kolb, and along with a good defense and what should be at least as good a rushing attack as he had behind him in Cincy, he's going to be throwing to the most talented pair of wideouts he's ever had in his career in Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. Rob Housler's a legitimate weapon at tight end, too. Carson isn't washed up, he's just been in football purgatory for a few years.
I remember that season. Carson was up and down. He wasn't great. He was barely decent. Like Alex Smith. Palmer didn't even average 200 yards passing per game that season. Yeah the Bengals made the playoffs, and won the division, but at the same time it's almost like they weren't even in the tournament. Palmer's accuracy and strength faded down the stretch and it was evident in the game against the Jets when he couldn't hit anything. He was just a shell of his former self up to that point. The only two dominant years he had were 2005 and 2006. After the injuries started mounting up he just seemed washed up.

Now it's 2013 and yeah he's with a new team. I think the things going against him are going to be too insurmountable to overcome. He'll have to develop chemistry with new receivers, and that will take time. Fitzgerald is the only proven receiver on that team. Even though they took Johnathan Cooper, I don't think that is going to fix that terrible offensive line. They actually may have screwed themselves over by adding Chilo Rachal through free agency.Then there is of course the new head coach Bruce Arians. The defense was solid last season, but a few of pieces have left (Wilson, Rhodes, Toler). Tyrann Mathieu is a nice addition, but it remains to be seen how he'll impact the secondary as a rookie. Same with Kevin Minter. Daryl Washington is also suspended the first four games of the season. Oh and there is no running game to speak of in Arizona and I don't see that changing. And to top it off they play in the NFC West, arguably the hardest division in the entire league (especially on defense) which is also in the more dominant conference at the moment.

I think Palmer is more likely to get hurt this upcoming season or he'll just play poorly. His best days are clearly behind him and I wouldn't be surprised if he retired soon. But we'll see.
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Old 06-30-2013, 01:10 PM    (permalink
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He was pretty good in Cincy in 2009 after losing 2008 to the elbow injury, leading the team to a 10-6 record while being credited with 5 game-winning drives. Things really just went off the rails in 2010 when they brought in Terrell Owens to go along with the Bengals other resident clown, and Palmer basically said "**** Cincinnati" after the season was over. Not condoning his attitude or supporting the decision to "retire" as a rebellion against management, but they gave him two receivers who were more interested in their celebrity statuses than the playbook, and of course that's going to affect how well Carson can play. The defense was mediocre and their running back was Cedric Benson (3.5 ypc). I'll give him a mulligan for 2010. (still had almost 4000 yards and 26 TDs, but hit the 20-INT mark - comparable to his 2007 season, though, when most people still considered him pretty good. Just from a statistical standpoint.)

Then he goes to Oakland and his best receiver is Darrius Heyward-Bey. Think about that for a moment. Last year he was kind of inconsistent, but after a whole offseason and some gelling with the offense put up another 4000-yard season throwing to... who? Brandon Myers?

Now he's going to a team that was 4-1 before losing Kevin Kolb, and along with a good defense and what should be at least as good a rushing attack as he had behind him in Cincy, he's going to be throwing to the most talented pair of wideouts he's ever had in his career in Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. Rob Housler's a legitimate weapon at tight end, too. Carson isn't washed up, he's just been in football purgatory for a few years.
Palmer's only had 1 dominant year, 1 good year and the rest have all been average at best. I just don't see how bringing in an average/above average QB behind a crap OL will do much for the Cards. People keep on thinking Palmer is a fantastic QB that just needs more help. No, he's not that good.

honestly, my surprise playoff team I feel will be someone coming from the AFC East. I just feel the Pats may slip this year after all thats going on up there, and say Miami will come up and win the division.
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Old 06-30-2013, 01:20 PM    (permalink
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I don't see a Detroit option.
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Old 06-26-2013, 03:53 PM    (permalink
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Had to vote NYJ. I couldn't let them have zero votes
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Old 06-26-2013, 04:26 PM    (permalink
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Had to vote NYJ. I couldn't let them have zero votes
Jets would surprise me if they didn't finish last in the division. I actually wouldnt be surprised at all to see us dethroned this season by Miami (I was tempted to think Buffalo, but I mean lets be honest now...)

So I'll go with the safe pick and say miami.
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Old 06-26-2013, 05:07 PM    (permalink
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3) No one in the NFC qualifies as a true surprise team other than the Eagles and Cardinals. Every other team is too talented for someone to get credit for picking. The Panthers and Bucs are stacked.
How are the Panthers "stacked"? Sure they have some pieces to build around, but they also have some major holes and question marks on their roster.
Just from a quick glance, I would say that at least half of the teams listed are more talented than Carolina. (On paper.)
And their schedule could end up being brutal this year.

As for the poll, Im rolling with the same surprise team I picked last year: KC Chiefs.
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Old 06-26-2013, 05:34 PM    (permalink
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Half of the teams are more talented than Carolina? No chance.

First of all they have a better QB than all of those teams save maybe SD.

They have terrific ends, improved at DT drastically, one of the best mike backers in the lg, potentially Beason, good RBs, Steve Smith, a good TE, one of the best centers in the league. Their OL isn't dominant but it's not a weakness. And their CBs are talented just not proven. I'd be worried about S opposite Godfrey- that would be the only "hole" on paper.

Basically, if you watched them down the stretch you would not be surprised to see them make the playoffs this year. Whereas it would be very surprising to see any of the other teams make it.

Their coaching staff was the problem last year. They're definitely wayyy more talented than all the teams on the list from top to bottom, save maybe the Chiefs, Phins, and for some reason the Titans Andy Levitrw difference-making kool aid.

Most impoetant Difference being the Panthers have a much better QB Than those teams..:
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Old 06-26-2013, 07:20 PM    (permalink
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Half of the teams are more talented than Carolina? No chance.

First of all they have a better QB than all of those teams save maybe SD.

They have terrific ends, improved at DT drastically, one of the best mike backers in the lg, potentially Beason, good RBs, Steve Smith, a good TE, one of the best centers in the league. Their OL isn't dominant but it's not a weakness. And their CBs are talented just not proven. I'd be worried about S opposite Godfrey- that would be the only "hole" on paper.

Basically, if you watched them down the stretch you would not be surprised to see them make the playoffs this year. Whereas it would be very surprising to see any of the other teams make it.

Their coaching staff was the problem last year. They're definitely wayyy more talented than all the teams on the list from top to bottom, save maybe the Chiefs, Phins, and for some reason the Titans Andy Levitrw difference-making kool aid.

Most impoetant Difference being the Panthers have a much better QB Than those teams..:
Yes, Cam is a more talented than any QB from the teams on the list, but having a talented QB (Who still needs to show he can perform on a high level consistently throughout a whole season) does not make a team "stacked" as whole.

- We agree on the defensive ends and Luke Kuechly. No arguing there.
- Improved drastically at DT? Sure, Dwan Edwards was good last year. Those two rookies havent played a snap yet though. Lets see Star and Short actually do something in the NFL, before we start singing their praises.
- Beason have played 5 games in the last two seasons combined. Thomas Davis made an impressive comeback, but will his knees hold up? Furthermore they have no depth whatsoever at the position.
- Deangelo Williams is a 30 year old RB, who havent had a season with 1K rushing in more than 3 years. Jonathan Stewart is not a productive RB either. They are nothing but wasted cap space.
- Greg Olsen is a nice weapon.
- Steve Smith is getting older, and beside him there is not much to be excited about at WR.
- The o-line will probably get better this year, but once again that is a projection not a fact. It was downright awful at times last year.
- After the retirement of Chris Gamble, they dont have anything remotely close to a starting quality CB. I dont know which of those CBs you think are "talented just not proven", but I couldnt disagree more with the general statement. As you mention yourself, they dont have a safety besides Godfrey as well.
Add to that, that they face 3 very potent passing attacks in their division alone, and I could easily see the Panthers secondary get absolutely shredded next year.

- And finally, we agree about the coaching staff not being very good.

You only see one hole on the Panther roster. By my estimation they have holes on at least 6 positions, as well as below average coaching.
And Im not trying to make it sound like the Panthers will be one of the 5 worst teams next year. They have legit talent on important positions.
But they are not a "stacked" team by any stretch of the imagination.

... And they have a very tough schedule next year. Just wanted to repeat that one.
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Old 06-26-2013, 05:37 PM    (permalink
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The afc west trio of KC/OAK/SD all have a good shot at making the playoffs in one of the wild card spots. The Broncos have that division locked up but all 3 of those teams have a decent shot if they get good QB play, especially KC. They have lots of talent and Smith is a obvious step up from what they had.

I have incredibly little faith in Arians at Arizona. Palmer is gonna get killed on the deep drops Arians forces with that OL. Luck made Arian look better than he is. Luck took a beating last year but he is a tank and thankfully didn't get injured. Palmer on the other hand has had a history of injuries and isn't nearly as mobile. I can't see him being healthy enough all year.

I went with the Eagles on a whim. I think if Kelly can get his high tempo offense straightened out he can surprise teams enough to make the playoffs. The NFCE isn't that strong and any one of those teams can win it. Heck the Giants won it with a 9-7 record the other year. The offense might not work over the long haul but it can really surprise teams this year at least.
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Old 06-26-2013, 05:51 PM    (permalink
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+1 for KC. Underrated and talented roster, Alex Smith, and Andy Reid.

If Fisher plays even decent I think they're in store for a huge turnaround.
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Old 06-26-2013, 06:05 PM    (permalink
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I don't think picking San Diego is "cheap." Their roster is really weak aside from their embattled QB who hasn't played well in two years.

There isn't a player on the team aside from Weddle that can be called above average.

If you're picking them, you're picking McCoy to get a lot out of replacement-level talents. Plus a big comeback from Rivers.

They aren't actually good at anything on paper. Passing, running, pass D, run D. Weak pass rush, weak secondary. Yuck.
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Old 06-26-2013, 06:30 PM    (permalink
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imo, the answer is one of the AFC teams at the least. In the NFC, assuming last years division winners repeat, there's still the Seahawks, Saints, Bears, Vikings, and Giants who are competing for 2 spots. So even if 1-2 of those teams falter, there's still good teams competing.

In the AFC, an average/above-average team can sneak into the playoffs, but the NFC teams would have to earn it.
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Old 06-26-2013, 06:33 PM    (permalink
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I'm going with cleveland. No explanation... just going with it
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