NFL Teams Most Likely to Emulate the Los Angeles Kings
The Los Angeles Kings finally got the monkey off their back and the silverware into the trophy cabinet (it will have to be a tall one) with their maiden Stanley Cup win over the New Jersey Devils.
It got me thinking about which of the 14 teams who have not yet reached the promised land that is the Vince Lombardi trophy will get there first.
It is no easy feat to go all the way, and there's a trio of quarterbacks that will have something to say about it.
Whether the teams and QB's featured in this list can emulate their achievements to secure a big shiny ring remains a mystery, but these franchises are in great shape.
On a side-note, Cleveland fans can save the heartache by looking away now.
You guys aren't on it.
5: San Diego Chargers
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If you ask the current Chargers roster whether they want to make a Super Bowl or not, they will all unanimously respond with a resounding ''YES."
After the unfortunate happenings to various members of the team of 1994, they might want to review their answer.
In reality, though, the Chargers are in somewhat decent shape.
Offensively, last year, they ranked in the top six for points per game, total yards and passing yards, which is a reflection of the ability of Philip Rivers.
Their poor defensive performances were one of the reasons why they finished with an 8-8 record.
They have gone some distance to this being addressed judging by their 2012 draft picks, with a DE, DT and SS being drafted.
It won't happen this year for them, and getting out of a stacked AFC will be hard, but it will some time in the near future, Charger nation.
4: Philadelphia Eagles
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This team has the potential, but fulfilling it is another matter altogether.
The Eagles are not one to do things the easy way and forever seem like they are teetering on the verge of self-destruction.
The Philadelphia dressing room is more explosive than Adam Richman's toilet trips, and the circus that coach Andy Reid seems to indulge is worrying.
That said, there is some fantastic talent at his disposal, as reflected in their offensive stats from last season.
Top 10 in points, yards, passing yards and rushing yards. It reads well for a team that was missing Michael Vick for part of the season.
Their defence wasn't abominable, but the franchise as a whole was plagued with inconsistency.
Michael Vick's time to step up and lead the ''Dream Team'' is upon us.
3: Houston Texans
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It's saying something that the first two slides here feature quarterbacks, but the Texans' image shows their star running back.
This could be the difference between getting close and winning a Super Bowl, as the Texans need an elite level of performance from Matt Schaub.
Injuries obviously played a huge part last season after losing Matt Schaub; they subsequently lost Matt Leinart and were dependent upon T.J. Yates at QB.
Defensively, they were monstrous in 2011/12, ranking top four in points, pass yards and rush yards conceded.
If they can continue this work-rate come September, they will edge closer to an AFC Championship game.
The Colts have picked up Andrew Luck, and it remains to be seen how much of an impact he can have in his rookie year.
For this reason, the AFC South should be their's again.
2: Detroit Lions
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''Loose lips sink ships;" just ask the New Orleans Saints.
In the case of Detroit Lions, I'll apply the phrase ''A leaky defense put pressure on the offence."
While nobody is doubting the arm of Detroit stud QB Matthew Stafford, their indiscipline in defense detracts from a offence that has touchdowns written all over it.
Their 29th place ranking of 95.2 rushing yards per game shows a reliance on Calvin Johnson, and it's not something they've appeared to address in the 2012 draft.
Defensively, they have added well with an offensive tackle, two cornerbacks and three outside link-backers.
Judging by their shootout with New Orleans in last year's playoffs, they're going in the right direction.
As soon as they stop the opposition going in the wrong direction, they'll be a considerable step closer to a first win.
1: Carolina Panthers
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I was going to start this slide with a request for a drumroll, but the suspense of which team is most likely to emulate the Kings was evident from the introduction picture.
Although the other four teams mentioned previously have quarterbacks ranging from good to excellent, the Carolina Panthers have the trump card in rookie record-breaker Cam Newton.
The ex-Auburn man smashed Payton Manning's previous records and in more aspects than you thought possible.
His 432 passing yards against Green Bay in September was a rookie record, as were his five rushing touchdowns and five passing touchdowns in his first five games.
The 2010 Heisman Trophy winner can lump the ball up-field and run it if the pocket collapses, and for that reason, the Panthers are most likely to get their hands on the Vince Lombardi Trophy sooner than any other team.
The addition of Luke Kuechly at inside linebacker will make a huge difference to a defense that gave up 377.6 yards per game on average.
Carolina finished in third spot last year, and if Cam Newton can avoid the second-season-syndrome, they might just make the playoffs.
The future looks excellent for Carolina.