The past few NFL seasons have featured the Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers dominate the NFL and eventually win their respected divisions, easily. This season though has allowed many teams to break through and compete at higher than expected levels.
I’ve compacted together a list of five teams that have overachieved what was expected of them and why I think they’re overachieving. Also, I’ve given reason to why I think that specific team could end up winning the biggest game of them all come February.
5. The Indianapolis Colts: After losing Peyton Manning a few years back many folks expected the Colts to perform above par. Although, following Andrew Luck, Quarterback, had his rookie season and developed with the Colts they’ve become a decent NFL team. Luck’s thrown 15 TD’s and 8 INT’s through the season and has a chance to clinch a playoff berth for the Colts this season. The Colts currently lead the AFC South by three games over the Tennessee Titans. Their chances of making the Superbowl will rely of what seed they have entering the playoffs. They’re currently the third seed tied with the Cincinnati Bengals entering the final four weeks of the season.
4. The Miami Dolphins: Surprisingly the Dolphins are tied with last year’s Superbowl Champions, The Baltimore Ravens, for the final seed in the AFC conference. Ryan Tannehill, Quarterback, has thrown 17 TD’s and 13 INT’s this season to lead the Dolphins to a possible playoff berth. Although, they’ll have to go through the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field next week and the New England Patriots in two weeks which could crush their playoff hopes. They’re currently three games behind the Patriots for the lead in the AFC East. They will first have to make the playoffs before we talk about them making the Superbowl.
3. The Arizona Cardinals: Despite losing their last game on Sunday to the Philadelphia Eagles they’re only a game back from the San Francisco 49ers for the final playoff spot. Carson Palmer, Quarterback, has thrown 19 TD’s and 17 INT’s this season which has propelled the Cardinals to a possible playoff berth. The Cardinals will have to finish off the season strong facing the St. Louis Rams and the Titans the next two weeks. Their playoff hopes could easily be crushed if they suffer a loss in the next four weeks. They’re in the same boat as the Dolphins; they will have to make the playoffs before we discuss their Superbowl chances.
2. The Philadelphia Eagles: Michael Vick was taken out because of injury and replace by Nick Foles and suddenly the Eagles found life. Foles performed stellar giving them 7 TD’s, NFL record, against the Oakland Raiders which has propelled the Eagles into a possible post season spot. Foles has now thrown 19 TD’s without and INT which means one more TD and he’s tied with Peyton Manning for most TD’s thrown to start a season without a pick. The Eagles are tied with the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East, Cowboys have the tiebreaker. The Eagles, like the Cardinals, are one game out of a Wildcard in the NFC, The 49ers hold the final spot. Philly closes out the year against the Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears and an important season finale against the Cowboys. If Nick Foles performs like he has the last few games, the Eagles could be very dangerous down the stretch.
1.The Carolina Panthers: Starting the season 1-3 will quickly bury your hopes of a playoff berth but the Panthers and Cam Newton, Quarterback, have fought back to win nine straight games and now they find themselves in the division lead. Newton has 19 TD’s on the year with 11 INT’s as well as six rushing TD’s. The Panthers after the nine straight wins currently find themselves in position to make the post season. They’ll have an all-important game against the New Orleans Saints this weekend followed by a terrible New York Jets team. If the Panthers can close out and impressive season and make the playoffs they’ll have a great shot to reach the Superbowl.