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article imageOp-Ed: NFL teams to watch in 2014

By Zach Gilliland     Mar 23, 2014 in Sports
Next season is a clean slate and an opportunity for many to prove that they are Super Bowl worthy. Some teams will attempt to live up to expectations, while others will set out to prove their critics wrong.
There are the obvious teams that will be in contention next year such as Denver, Seattle, San Francisco, New England, and Green Bay. I have put together a list of four teams that I feel should catch an extra glance heading into next season. These teams would be good bets because while people are watching the obvious contenders, these four will fly under-the-radar.
New York Jets
The Jets haven’t had much success the last couple of seasons, but they have a solid foundation built for success now. New York has a defense that should be among the best in football next season led by Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson. Those two, along with Quinton Coples, helped lead the Jets defense to having the third best rush defense in the NFL last season.
The quarterback situation will be the deciding factor, but Geno Smith will have another whole offseason to get better. The secondary for the Jets also needs to get better, but Dee Milliner will be in his second year with the Jets next season and should continue to develop as a player.
Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals were very close to making the postseason last year, and surprised a ton of people with their 10-6 season. The Cardinals aren’t just a one-hit wonder though. Even in a tough NFC West, I believe this team will be serious contenders next season. Carson Palmer has to cut down the interceptions for Arizona to be a legitimate playoff team, but their defense will help keep the team in the playoff race. Last season the Cardinals had the best rush defense in the NFL, and if the offense can further develop under Bruce Arians, they will be a good team to put your money on.
Houston Texans
Okay, Houston is a bit of an obvious pick even coming off a nightmare season. Their roster is loaded with guys like Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, and J.J. Watt. They have a new head coach to get momentum started, and still have one of the best defenses in the league. With the first overall pick they can go a couple of different routes; go with Jadeveon Clowney and further build up the defense, or go with a quarterback. Either way, Houston should still have a great roster and be in contention as long as Foster stays healthy.
St. Louis Rams
The Rams are another team that has built a solid foundation on defense, led by Chris Long and Robert Quinn. St. Louis also helped themselves in last year’s draft with the selections of Tavon Austin and Zac Stacy. Sam Bradford staying healthy will be another vital factor of the Rams’ chances, but with a high draft pick, this team will be a solid bet.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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