3 NFL Teams That Were Contenders in 2011, but Will Fade in 2012

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3 NFL Teams That Were Contenders in 2011, but Will Fade in 2012
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Now more than ever, the winner of the Super Bowl is often the hottest team in football.

When it comes to the playoffs, if you're in it, you're really in it.

After winning two must-win games to end the 2010 regular season, sixth-seeded Green Bay defeated Pittsburgh and won Super Bowl XLV as a Wild Card. The New York Giants followed suit in 2011 by winning their final two regular season games, before rolling through the playoffs and defeating New England in Super Bowl XLVI.

In years past, all playoff teams weren't necessarily "contenders" to win the whole thing. However, in the current NFL, parody is at an all-time high.

Once the postseason field is set, teams cannot afford to overlook any opponent.

Fresh off their Super Bowl XLV victory, the Packers won their first 13 games last season and finished 15-1. Headed into the postseason full of confidence, Green Bay was upset at home by the 9-7 New York Giants.

While all 32 teams enter a new season with specific expectations, many will fail to get to where they want to be at season's end.

Let's take a look at three contenders from 2011 that will take a step back in 2012.

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