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Falcons, Texans Lead Worst-To-First Candidates For 2014 Season


birdz4i
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At this time last season, the Philadelphia Eagles held unwanted real estate in the NFC East cellar, having limped to a 4-12 finish. The Carolina Panthers, meanwhile, ended up mired in a three-way tie for last in the NFC South at 7-9.

Now both squads are preparing for the playoffs after rising, in just one season's time, to first place in their respective divisions, completing what seemed like stunning turnarounds.

Not to take anything away from either the Eagles or Panthers, but their worst-to-first journeys were hardly an anomaly. In fact, in each of the past 11 seasons, at least one squad has gone from division chump to division champ.Now both squads are preparing for the playoffs after rising, in just one season's time, to first place in their respective divisions, completing what seemed like stunning turnarounds.

With that in mind, I thought I'd take a look at the nine teams that finished last in 2013 -- yes, nine, not eight, because the NFC South featured a tie at the bottom between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons. Who's most likely to go from worst to first in 2014? Least likely? Here are my rankings:

1) Atlanta Falcons

Matt Ryan is a very good quarterback who had an off season on the road, where he threw 14 of his 17 picks. With Ryan and a healthy Julio Jones -- who missed most of 2013 with a foot injury -- the Falcons have a chance to take back the NFC South next season. Atlanta, which will pick sixth in the draft, needs to add a pass rusher and an offensive lineman. Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, who did a good job with young players in 2013, should help that unit improve.

Of course, the division still figures to be tough, as it contains four teams that are close together, three of which -- the Falcons, Panthers and Saints -- have proven quarterbacks.

http://www.nfl.com/n...for-2014-season

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