The NFL will be starting another season soon as teams are preparing to start preseason practice and preseason games will be played during August.
To reach the playoffs is a difficult thing to do in the NFL, let alone two straight seasons. Typically, close to 50% of the 12 teams earning a spot in the postseason the prior year will not make it the next season.
Therefore, that means there will be new faces in the playoffs come December. Just who will be those new faces is the interesting question.
Four teams finished 8-8 or lower last season that should be able to turn things around and reach the postseason this season.
The Pittsburgh Steelers according to data taken from Bovada were 8-8 in 2013. The defense looked weak last season. In the eight games the Steelers lost, their opponents scored an average of 30 points a game.
Following a start of 0-4, the Steelers finished strong at 8-4. During the draft, the club focused on defense, including their number one pick Ryan Shazier at linebacker.
The Steelers needed another wide receiver to join Antonio Brown as a top target for Ben Roethlisberger and Martavis Bryant a rookie from Clemson could fit the bill.
Pick: 10-6 winner of AFC North
The Baltimore Ravens according to topbet finished their 2013 season 8-8. The Ravens had been the defending Super Bowl champions but their offense let them down in 2013.
The team signed Steve Smith to a free agent contract giving quarterback Joe Flacco a much needed possession receiver.
Dennis Pita the team’s tight end will once again be healthy giving Flacco yet another target to throw to. Michael Campanaro was drafted by Baltimore, which gives the Ravens a talented slot receiver.
Pick: 9-7 AFC Wildcard
The Washington Redskins, according to betonline, were 3-13 last season. To turn around their season in a fashion that they will reach the playoffs will not be easy, but the Redskins have the talent to do so.
Robert Griffin III will be 100% healthy to start the season. In the offseason, the Redskins signed DeSean Jackson the former wide out for the Philadelphia Eagles.
The schedule this season favors the Redskins with Minnesota, St. Louis, Houston, Tampa Bay, Tennessee and Jacksonville all on the schedule besides the usual rivalries in the NFC East.
Pick: 10-6 NFC Wild Card
The Chicago Bears according to sportsbook.com finished last season 8-8 in the NFL.
Chicago was successful in its draft and free agent signings this past offseason. Chicago signed Jared Allen a free agent from Minnesota, which will give Chicago a much needed pass rush, as the team was last in sacks and rushing yards give up.
The Bears also picked up Willie Young and Lamar Houston, which should help their defense as well.
The first three draft picks were defensive players including Kyle Fuller a cornerback.
On offense, keeping Jay Cutler their quarterback healthy is a top priority.
Pick: 10-6 NFC Wildcard