Thank goodness it's Friday. Which means it is time to take our usually weekly look both back and ahead when it comes to the eight teams that finished a year ago, ranking the clubs 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.
This week's battle between 2012 bottom-dwellers takes place at Arrowhead Stadium, where the Kansas City Chiefs host the Cleveland Browns. The two teams combined for seven wins last season. A year later, the Chiefs have already won seven games on their own.
8. NFC South: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-7)
Since we last met, Greg Schiano's team has managed to lose a pair of games in the span of five days, first to the Atlanta Falcons (31-23) and on Thursday night at home to the hot Carolina Panthers (31-13). The Bucs are now a disturbing 1-12 in their last 13 games and the only thing they've done consistently in recent weeks is give up exactly 31 points in three straight games…
7. AFC South: Jacksonville Jaguars (0-7)
It is really amazing when you consider that both the Chiefs and Jaguars finished with identical 2-14 records in 2012 and that Kansas City is a perfect 7-0 and Jacksonville is 0-7. It is also mind boggling to consider that Gus Bradley's team has allowed nearly three times as many points (222) as the team has scored (76) this season. The Jaguars now head over to London to face the red-hot 49ers in what may prove to be a not-so-jolly time in good old England.
6. AFC North: Cleveland Browns (3-4)
Rob Chudzinski's team has three wins and on Sunday against the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs, they will wheel out their third different starting quarterback this season in veteran Jason Campbell. The Cleveland defense certainly has the capabilities to give Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith some problems. But the bottom line is that the team lacks offensive play-makers with the exception of tight end Jordan Cameron and wideout Josh Gordon. The Browns have been limited to 17 points or less in all but two games this season…
5. NFC West: Arizona Cardinals (3-4)
Bruce Arians' team has been off for a little over a week, their last outing a Thursday night loss to the Seattle Seahawks which saw quarterback Carson Palmer sacked seven times. Fortunately for the Cardinals, they get another bird this week in the Atlanta Falcons. And that's pretty good news for the team just considering the fact that this team doesn't reside in the NFC West, which has become a nightmare for Big Red…
4. NFC East: Philadelphia Eagles (3-4)
It was hard to tell what was more surprising last Sunday; the Eagles defense limiting the Dallas Cowboys to 17 points or Chip Kelly's attack managing only a field goal in the loss. Even more shocking is the fact that these Birds have lost nine straight home games. Fortunately for the Eagles, the last time they won a game in their own building was last season…against the New York Giants…
3. AFC East: Buffalo Bills (3-4)
Buffalo's impressive and not-so-impressive streak continues as the team prepares for a date with the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome. Last week's 23-21 victory over the Miami Dolphins made it seven games in as many tries this season that the Bills have scored at least 20 points and allowed 20 points in the same contest. Thaddeus Lewis has held his own as the team's quarterback and defensive end Mario Williams has been hot as of late…
2. NFC North: Detroit Lions (4-3)
Jim Schwartz's club stubbed their toes last week at home against the Cincinnati Bengals. But this is a very potent team on offense and it looks like quarterback Matthew Stafford and wideout Calvin Johnson have got that mojo going again. And veteran running back Reggie Bush has added a dimension to the attack as well. But stopping the opposition on a consistent basis remains an issue. Only the Philadelphia Eagles are giving up more total yards per game in the league this season…
1. AFC West: Kansas City Chiefs (7-0)
They say it's lonely at the top. But it also beats the "you-know-what" out of being at the bottom. A year ago, the Chiefs managed a pair of wins. Seven weeks into 2013 and Kansas City is the lone unbeaten team in the NFL. They have held each opponent to 17 points or less, totaled a league-high 35 sacks and are tied for the NFL lead with 19 takeaways. And quarterback Alex Smith and productive running back Jamaal Charles key the offense…
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.
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