6. New York Jets (8-8 in 2013)
How on earth did the Jets go 8-8 last year, scoring less than 300 points across a 16-game season? The other four teams in the league that fell into that category went a combined 17-47. That shows just how good New York’s defense is, as Rex Ryan had them playing at a high level once again. So an offseason that saw quarterback Michael Vick, running back Chris Johnson and wide receiver Eric Decker arrive in the Big Apple is reason to be optimistic.
5. Arizona Cardinals (10-6 in 2013)
They went into CenturyLink Field in Week 16 and beat the Seahawks on their home field; that’s really all anyone needs to know about how good the Cardinals can be. They have a defense that can be suffocating at times and an offense that got better in the second half of the season, as Carson Palmer got comfortable. That 7-2 finish wasn’t a mirage; Arizona is a legit threat to win (yes, win) the NFC West in 2014.