It's Friday and we continue to take our weekly look both back and ahead when it comes to the eight teams that finished in the bottom of their divisions a year ago and rank them from worst to best.
Nearly every season, we see a team in the National Football League rise from the basement to win a division title. It used to be an almost annual event in the NFC South.
So are both the Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions on their way to becoming the Washington Redskins of 2013? Last season, the 'Skins became NFC East champions after four straight last-place finishes.
Well, both the Chiefs and Lions find themselves tied atop their respective divisions. And this week, they both host teams that reached the playoffs in 2012.
8. NFC South: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-5)
Yes, the Jacksonville Jaguars have lost one more game than the Bucs this season but Greg Schiano's team has been bumped to the bottom spot on this list while we're all trying to figure out which direction the club is actually headed in. There's talent with running back Doug Martin and wideout Vincent Jackson and the defense looks much better. But this is a club that was 6-4 a year ago and is suddenly in the midst of a 1-10 stretch…
7. AFC South: Jacksonville Jaguars (0-6)
Losers of 11 games in a row dating back to last season, the Jaguars gave the undefeated Denver Broncos all they could handle last Sunday before wilting a bit in the fourth quarter. The return of wide receiver Justin Blackmon has certainly made a difference and would it actually be a shock if Gus Bradley's team surprised the up-and-down San Diego Chargers this Sunday at Jacksonville? We are indeed in a never-say-never league…
6. AFC East: Buffalo Bills (2-4)
Doug Marrone's team has certainly impressed at times and last week rallied in the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals only to fall short in overtime. Three of the Bills' four losses this season have been by seven points or less. But the bottom line here is that entertaining football doesn't necessarily guarantee wins. In all six of their outings this season, Marrone's club has scored at least 20 points and also given up 20 points…
5. NFC West: Arizona Cardinals (3-4)
Bruce Arians' team has been surprising at times and is certainly much better than the club that dropped 11 of its final 12 games last season. Unfortunately, this is also a club that has forgotten how to beat the teams within its own division. Thursday night's 34-22 loss to the Seattle Seahawks not only saw the Cards run for only 30 yards and quarterback Carson Palmer sacked seven times, it was the eighth straight setback to an NFC West rival…
4. AFC North: Cleveland Browns (3-3)
With second-year pro Brandon Weeden as the team's starting quarterback the Browns are 0-3 and have scored a combined 33 points, including 17 points or less in each game. With Brian Hoyer as the starter, Rob Chudzinski's club totaled 85 points in three games. The Browns make a rare visit to Lambeau Field this week and may be hard pressed to generate any offense against an injury-plagued but improving Green Bay defense…
3. NFC East: Philadelphia Eagles (3-3)
Two wins in a row isn't usually anything to get too excited about. But Chip Kelly is back at .500, which is good enough to earn a tie for first place in the struggling NFC East. And speaking of the being tied atop the division, the Eagles host the 3-3 Dallas Cowboys this Sunday. Both clubs are struggling these days on defense but home has been anything sweet for the Birds, losers of eight straight in their City of Brotherly Love…
2. NFC North: Detroit Lions (4-2)
The Lions' reversal of fortune hasn't gotten the attention of the Kansas City Chiefs 180-degree turn but Jim Schwartz has his club playing with confidence. One reason for the turnaround is an aggressive and opportunistic club that has already forced 13 turnovers this season. A year ago, Detroit was 4-12 and totaled only 17 takeaways in 16 outings. And don't underestimate what running back Reggie Bush has done for the offense…
1. AFC West: Kansas City Chiefs (6-0)
Talk about being in the midst of history. For the first time in the Super Bowl Era, two teams in the same division have opened 6-0 in the same season. Of course, that means that the Chiefs' great start has amounted to "nothing more" than a first-place tie with the 6-0 Denver Broncos. Of course it is far from "nothing" for a team that finished a combined 9-23 record the previous two seasons combined. It's safe to say head coach Andy Reid has done a terrific job with a team that has limited each of its six opponents to 17 points or less.
Russell S. Baxter has been covering the NFL for 30-plus years on all platforms. He is the founder of ProFootballGuru.com, writes for numerous websites and publications across the country and is blessed with an encyclopedic memory. Ready to talk NFL? Follow him on Twitter at @BaxFootballGuru.
- Sports & Recreation
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- Kansas City Chiefs
- Detroit Lions
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Seattle Seahawks
- Denver Broncos
- Doug Marrone
- NFC South
- Washington Redskins
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers