With the 2012 NFL Preseason just over a month away, its time to start talking about the NFL teams who are going under the radar in 2012.
Philadelphia – After a disappointing 2011, the Eagles will rebound with vengeance. They let go of players like Nnamdi Asomugha who were under performing, and re-signed Desean Jackson to a long term deal. The Eagles turned to the draft to bolster their lineup on defense. Coach Andy Reid has the players support and Vick, McCoy, Jackson, and Maclin should pump life back into that Eagle Offense that was lacking last season. Only thing left to do is win over fans, with a solid 2012.
Dallas – Dallas traded up to draft Morris Claiborne from LSU. Dallas has been under performing for years, and Jerry Jones is not playing around this year. He wants expects to win. Tony Romo is in his prime, and needs to put up or shut up. With a break out season, from Demarco Murray last season, and a healthy Felix Jones in the back field the Cowboys will have options. Add on to that the talented receiving corps with Dez Bryant, and Miles Austin you have reason to believe the Cowboys could win the Super Bowl. Now if only they can get solid play from their O-line, and Rob Ryan’s defense. This team will be a serious contender. “IF ONLY”.
Arizona – The Arizona Cardinals have stacked their roster with big time play makers. The one problem down in the desert is the play at Quarterback. 3rd year QB John Skelton has made progress, and has continued to fill in for the multi-million dollar man Kevin Kolb, who lacked heart, and accuracy all 2011. The Cardinals re-signed their All Pro Mega receiver Larry Fitzgerald, and drafted another raw talent in Michael Floyd. RBs Beanie Wells, and Ryan Williams should make for a strong backfield to boot. Play-makers like Darnell Docket, Adrian Wilson, and Calais Campbell anchor the D with young stand-outs Daryl Washington, and Patrick Peterson. The Cardinals will have to get through the Almighty 49ers to get their division back however.
Carolina – Second year Quarterback Cam Newton did everything last year except win. This year we should expect to see that stellar play translate into Wins. A lot of them in fact. The Panthers were close in many of their games and had too many heart breakers to count. All Pro Receiver Steve Smith is back to his Play-making ways, and is ready to win. RB’s DeAngelo Williams, and Johnathon Stewart will ensure the Panthers have a strong Rushing attack. Head Coach Ron Rivera is a defensive specialist and it is the Panthers division for the taking, with the Saints reeling, the Falcons unable to breakout, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lingering in the background.
Tampa Bay – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers still have one of the youngest teams in the NFL, along with one of the youngest coaches, and a top flight young Quarterback in Josh Freeman. Add All Pro receiver Vincent Jackson from the San Diego Chargers, and the Buccaneers might just make the NFC South a division worth watching down to the end. Legarrette Blount is a power running back who when healthy can dominate the defense as well as any back in the league. The Bucs are young, talented, and in position to claim the NFC South.
Buffalo – The Buffalo Bills have come out the gates in 2010, and 2011 like they were ready to make a Playoff run. Then both seasons its almost as if Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick gets frostbite, up in the Frozen Tundra of Buffalo. Fred Jackson is getting old, and C.J. Spiller has yet to live up to his high prospects out of College. The team drafted Stephon Gilmore at # 10, and signed Mario Williams away from the Texans. With Wide Receiver Stevie Johnson, and Ryan Fitzpatrick locked in for the long term this Buffalo Bills team appears to be on the verge of making some ruckus in the AFC through more than just 6 games.
Oakland- Last season the Oakland Raiders traded away their future to re-invest in their immediate future with Carson Palmer at Quarterback. The team lost Michael Bush to the Bears, but have the blazing running back in Darren McFadden ready for his best season yet. If he can stay healthy that is. The young Raiders have skill at receiver that appears endless. Jacoby Ford, Denarius Moore, Darrius Hayward Bay, and Louis Murphy were all gifts from the late Al Davis. With the hard hits from Richard Seymoore, and Aaron Curry on defense, and the big boot of Janikowski this team should be set for a break out season. If only Manning was running the offense in Denver! Can you say Wildcard?
Kansas City Chiefs – The Kansas City Chiefs are a team built for success. With Jamaal Charles and Jackie Battle at Running back the Chiefs should rebound to their 2010 success on the ground. Combine that with, Jon baldwin, Steve Breaston, Dexter Mcluster, and Dwayne Bowe at wideout it would appear the offense just needs Matt Cassell to do what he is getting paid the big bucks to do. WIN! The Chiefs defense is anchored by their head coach Romeo Crennel, who helped us all discover that the Green Bay Packers were in fact mortal, last season. They return a strong defense, and top draft pick Dontari Poe. This Chiefs team is another AFC West team that could certainly make big waves.