Best of the Rest: Top Four Underrated Teams to Make the 2009 NFL Playoffs

Adam LawrenceContributor IMay 13, 2009

SEATTLE - JANUARY 05:  Defensive end Patrick Kerney #97 of the Seattle Seahawks listens from the field in the first quarter against the Washington Redskins during the NFC Wild Card game at Qwest Field on January 5, 2008 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Seattle Seahawks:

Okay so Seattle didn't have a decent season by any stretch of the imagination, but the team did have to deal more injuries than a major hospital. Kerney? Hasselbeck? The list goes on and on.

What I like about this year's team however, is that there have been some major changes within the organization. While I have always supported Mike Holmgren as the coach and general manager of the team, I think that a changing of the guard with Jim Mora stepping in will do nothing but benefit a team that currently has no distinct direction.

But let's look at the defense. Kerney is back, healthy, and ready to tear down opposing offenses. The linebacker core is arguably one of the strongest in the league; LeRoy Hill is a legitimate stud, and no one is questioning what Lofa Tatupu has done in the past several years.

Did I mention Aaron Curry? In my opinion, Curry was the most sure-thing player out of the draft that I have seen in years. His impact on defense will be felt immediately, and you can bet that his work ethic and intensity on the field will have positive effects on the team in the first game.

Finally, with a healthy Hasselbeck, the offense should regain some form of confidence and although the team has no perennial all-stars at running back, they will most definitely be able to succeed with the addition of Housh at wide receiver and an improved O-Line to boot.

Oh, and did I mention they play in the NFC West? While the Cardinals did play terrifically down the stretch of the playoffs, the West is years for rebuilding, and the Seahawks should have no problem winning the majority of their region's games.


New Orleans Saints:

Alright, the Saints have been arguably the most disappointing team over the past few years. Reggie Bush is looking like he not only has the ability to stay healthy for a whole season, but also that he can't carry the load as a standout back. That aside, Drew Brees is a terrific quarterback, and the team has some decent players on defense.

While the Saints will struggle to keep opposing offenses under 20 points, the offense is talented enough to produce some good wins, and possibly enough to get to the playoffs.

Aside from the Falcons, their division has gotten weaker with the departure of Gruden in Tampa and the rebuilding of their offense, and the Panthers continuing to age and lose crucial pieces to their defense.

The Saints have an opportunity, especially with their schedule to win some games this season, and while the playoffs may be somewhat of a stretch for a team that has consistently disappointed, the cards may be right for this roller coaster team next season.

I like the Saints in their current predicament this season. They have guys like Colston and Henderson who are capable offensive players and with that they have a very aggressive scheme which could finally work for this team.


Cleveland Browns:

The Browns have a few things going for them. For one, they finally have a coach who won't switch quarterbacks nearly every game like Romeo did last season. Secondly, there is A LOT of talent on this team.

Braylon Edwards is one of the most powerful wide receivers in the game, and while Kellen Winslow leaving will tear a gaping hole in the team's offense, losing a Tight End is something the Browns can recover from.

While I don't see any championships for this team, even down the line, Mangini is a solid coach, and there are pieces for this team to make the playoffs and succeed.

While I still don't like what the Browns have done on defense, and I really dislike what they did in the draft, the are a capable team, and have a fairly competent quarterback to rely on in Brady Quinn.

The Browns are a fun team, they have a lot of entertainers on their offense, and while their defense is far from being even remotely sufficient, there are enough play makers on this team for a playoff run.


Minnesota Vikings:

Forget Favre. Seriously, there is no way he would improve this team, and realistically, the league needs to move on without Brett. That said, the Vikings actually have some pieces to make a run at the playoffs.

Although Detroit has improved, they are years from even thinking about a championship, and while teams like Green Bay and Chicago added key components to their teams, so did the Vikings.

Sage Rosenfels is just what this team needed, and that is saying something. Yeah he isn't a stud quarterback who is going to take this team deep into championship contention, but he is a giant step above guys like Tarvaris Jackson at the position.

Bernard Berrian is also not a player to sleep on, the guy has talent and Sage is going to help him find a little more of it.

We all know that with the addition of Jay Cutler, the Bears will succeed immensely next season, and that's why they aren't on this list. Teams like Minnesota who have talent, and the possibility of moving in the right direction can prove a lot of haters wrong this season.