The last two seasons saw the Super Bowl Champions struggle at first, just make the playoffs, then march through competitors to the Super Bowl. That's what these nine teams are hoping to accomplish.
19. Miami Dolphins (2-3): Rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been better than expected and the Dolphins rush defense is ranked in the Top 5 in the league. If Reggie Bush can get fully healthy after his team's bye, this team will make some noise in the second half of the season.
18. Indianapolis Colts (2-2): Who would have thought that Andrew Luck would have similar numbers to Aaron Rodgers at this point in the season and beat him going head to head? Reggie Wayne looks as good as ever and this team has proven to be much more than just a re-builder.
17. Washington Redskins (2-3): If this team can somehow shore up its passing defense, they can soar to the top of the NFC East. Rookies Alfred Morris and Robert Griffin III lead one of the most potent rushing attacks in the league.
16. Dallas Cowboys (2-2): After looking absolutely amazing in defeating the defending champion New York Giants on opening night, Dallas has looked putrid. The Cowboys' biggest issue is with the offensive line giving no time to Tony Romo to throw or no lanes for the talented DeMarco Murray to run through. They have some of the best talent in the league, but can't put it all together.
15.San Diego Chargers (3-2): Phillip Rivers has had a nice bounce back season thus far, but all of San Diego's wins have been against weaker opponents. If Ryan Matthews can stay healthy and hang onto the ball, they will be a force to be reckoned with, however.
14. Cincinnati Bengals (3-2): The emergence of AJ Green has really made an impact on this team, but the Bengals have taken advantage of a weaker schedule thus far. They are in the middle of the road in most categories.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-3): The Steelers are dealing with some age and injury issues, but when you have Ben Roethlisberger and his weapons, you are going to be in the playoff conversation. They will not go winless on the road this season, either.
12. Minnesota Vikings (4-1): The Vikings are one of the biggest surprises so far this season, and it remains to be seen if they can keep it up. The health of Adrian Peterson is crucial, obviously, but it's good to see they are finally starting to take full advantage of Percy Harvin. The emergence of Christian Ponder and strong special teams play have also helped this team.
11. Denver Broncos (2-3): Slow starts in games and a tough schedule thus far have limited the Broncos to two wins. Peyton Manning is starting to figure out his new team, though, and a favorable schedule down the stretch makes Denver a team to watch.