Each year in the NFL, there are some teams that are able to make the jump into the playoffs after missing them the previous season. There are also teams that make the playoffs that look to improve on their results in the next season. Every team wants to make the playoffs, and teams will consider changes in coaching and management, as well as their players.

Pretender to Contender:

Detroit Lions

One team to watch next year as a team that might get back into the playoffs would be the Detroit Lions. After having made the playoffs the previous season, the Detroit Lions took a step back this season and fell flat on their way to a 4-12 season, including losing their last eight games. This offseason will be focused on finding talent to fill any holes in the lineup, while also working to mature as a team so that they are ready when they are in close games next year. On a positive side, the Lions have cut ties with trouble maker Titus Young, who was the cause of much controversy over the year.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay is another team that has a shot at getting into the playoffs next year after falling to make it this season. They made lots of progress towards becoming a great team this year with lots of impressive games. If you can, you will want to buy some Tampa Bay Buccaneers tickets, as they look like a team that can transform from a non-playoff team into a legitimate team next season.  Josh Freeman will need to further develop his ability to make plays at the quarterback position, while head coach Greg Schiano will need to find a way to improve the team’s pass defense.  Vincent Jackson had a monster season, but Mike Williams proved too inconsisent at the WR2 position. This will be a key point to address for the Tampa coaching staff.

Staying Elite

Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers are a team that has enjoyed success in the NFL playoffs that will continue to do so. They have an elite offense led by Aaron Rodgers that can score from any position on the field despite what their circumstances are. They are potent and powerful, and have no problem competing with whatever team they are playing. The glaring hole in the Packers game is their inability to find a consistent running back. Cedric Benson was starting to develop into that threat, before suffering a season ending foot injury. Steven Jackson seems to be the popular name. He could be a perfect fit. The Packers will also need to bring in some more playmakers on a defense that got chewed up by Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers offense.

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New England Patriots

The New England Patriots are another team playing at a high level that will continue to do so for years to come. Tom Brady is still an elite quarterback that plays at a high level, and as long as he is doing that, the Patriots will be a contender to win the Super Bowl. This year looked to be different, as the Pats finally developed a threatening running game, along with some solid defense players. However, both of these aspects of the team fell flat in the AFC Championship. Not only that, but New England fans have to be worried about Rob Gronkowski and his inability to stay healthy, especially in the playoffs.

What’s Happening in the NFL?

Team’s are scrambling to find coaches and general managers suited to lead their teams to victories for years to come. Many candidates will be interviewed as every franchise evaluates who the right people are to lead their teams to playoff berths and Super Bowl championships. The searches will continue for a long time, as each team knows having the right people in place is essential for success.

The NFL has more parity then any other sports league.  Not since 2004 has their been a back-to-back Super Bowl Champion, and considering the Ravens are getting older, and losing Ray Lewis, we don’t see them getting back to the big game next year. That means that whoever can make the right moves in the offseason can set themselves up for a huge improvement.

As of right now, Chip Kelly is the hot new name in the NFL. Kelly left behind a legacy at the University of Oregon to give the NFL a try, and if there was a team built to run Kelly’s style of offense, the Eagles would be at the top of the list. They have speed at every position, including the all important mobile QB in Michael Vick.  However, they still have glaring, gaping holes on the defensive side of the ball that must be addressed in the free agent market, as well as the NFL draft.

Ashley Roberts is a sports enthusiast, and has been following football and the NFL for years!