One of the great things about the NFL is that nearly every team can make a case for the upcoming season being “their year.” That’s because every campaign sees plenty of worst-to-first turnarounds, where non-playoff teams from the year before suddenly find themselves in postseason contention down the stretch.
Conversely, that also means that there are plenty of franchise that go into a season with playoff aspirations that fail to meet those expectations. Atlanta and Houston are two prime examples from 2013. Nearly every year, half of the teams who made the postseason the year before find themselves on the outside looking in when the NFL’s tournament commences again.
Thus, there are certainly going to be plenty of franchises who find 2014 to be disappointing. Right now, they consider themselves contenders, viable candidates to make the playoffs, win a game or two and perhaps even make a Super Bowl run. But when the dust settles on their 16-game odyssey, they’ll have come up short of their dreams for one reason or another.
With that in mind, it’s time to take a look at the teams most likely to fall into that category in 2014. Here are 10 NFL “contenders” that won’t make the playoffs this season:
10. Detroit Lions (7-9 in 2013)
As is typically the case, the offensive talent the Lions boast has people thinking that they can make the leap in 2013. With Jim Schwartz out and Jim Caldwell in, the optimists believe that Detroit finally has the leadership in place to put all those weapons to good use. But the problem that has plagued Detroit, namely their undisciplined play at inopportune times, won’t just magically go away; they’ve developed some terrible habits. And Caldwell hasn’t exactly proven to be a task master during his career.
9. Dallas Cowboys (8-8 in 2013)
To some extent, this could be summarized in two words: No defense. The Cowboys are a team loaded with offensive talent, but completely devoid of assets on the other side of the ball. That’s why they continually finish 8-8; they’re a team that is only 50 percent built. In an effort to fix what ails them, Dallas re-assigned defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin during the offseason, replacing him with Rod Marinelli. That’s not enough. At some point, Jerry Jones and his boys need to add some talent to that side of the ball.