4 NFL Teams That Must Gain Respect in 2012
Some teams in last year's NFL season left much to be desired and lost a lot of respect that now needs to be recovered before they can be considered legitimate contenders.
The best thing about this league is the amount of parity involved, and there are certainly teams this year that will have success and capitalize on the failure of previously successful teams.
This is the cycle of life in the NFL.
Here's a look at teams that have a lot to gain from this season.
New York Jets
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Last year wasn't as fun for the Jets or their fans.
This year could get even crazier, with "Tebowmania."
While the Jets can continue trying to keep the limelight on them, they'll eventually have to build on the two AFC Championship games they reached.
It became much harder this season after the Patriots seemingly got deeper in their areas of weakness, and the Bills revamped their defense to push for contention.
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They've done a lot of revamping on defense and brought in more talent for their offense. Now it's time for them to make substantial improvement in the win column.
The Bills currently hold the longest playoff drought in the league, at 12 seasons.
Last year's fast start raised hopes for Bills fans and other well-wishers, but injuries and complacency on offense contributed to their quick fall from grace, ultimately leading to another disappointing season.
They have a lot to prove, but their activity this offseason indicates that they're serious about making the leap.
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Perhaps no team in the NFL has faced more pressure than the Dallas Cowboys have, and they don't have much to show for it.
Last year's collapse at the end of the season can't be followed by another disappointment in 2012.
What makes it more disappointing is that the division was up for grabs last year, almost for the Cowboys' taking.
The Giants will be back to defend their title, and the Eagles will most certainly try to redeem themselves after falling short last year.
The pressure is on the Cowboys to fight for a way into the playoffs and get back to the way it was.
San Diego Chargers
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The Chargers are probably as strong an example there is of falling short of expectations.
Norv Turner is back for another chance, and he may be on his ninth life.
One can argue the Chargers had their chance in seasons past when the rest of the division was weak and not competitive enough to stand in their way.
Things have changed now. Drastically.
It's only going to become more difficult with the arrival of Peyton Manning, Kansas City getting healthier and deeper and the Raiders looking to make some noise.