The 2013 NFL regular season came and went faster than you could say "Super Bowl," and the final standings don't necessarily match up with preseason predictions.
Of course, there are some stalwarts atop the league that were expected to finish where they did. That said, teams like the Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans and Washington finished the season as cellar dwellers after making huge statements in 2012 that seemed to indicate a different result.
There were 11 teams that finished with at least 10 wins in 2013, but not all made it into the postseason tournament.
Thanks to the rule that seeds by division winners instead of overall records, the Arizona Cardinals missed the playoffs despite the team's 10-6 record, while the Green Bay Packers made it in with eight wins.
Here's a look at where all 32 teams finished the 2013 season:
|New England Patriots||12-4|
|San Francisco 49ers||12-4|
|New Orleans Saints||11-5|
|Kansas City Chiefs||11-5|
|San Diego Chargers||9-7|
|Green Bay Packers||8-7-1|
|New York Jets||8-8|
|New York Giants||7-9|
|St. Louis Rams||7-9|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||4-12|
Here's a look at the NFL playoff bracket, as shared by Michael Castillo of FanSided.com:
Heading into the season, many experts expected the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks to finish the season atop their respective conferences. After 16 games, both teams lived up to expectations and will host playoff games throughout the postseason—not to mention a first-round bye will help them get healthy.
The San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers both feature teams capable of taking down the mighty Seahawks at CenturyLink Field, provided they can avoid getting blown out of the water in the first quarter.
Green Bay sneaked into the playoffs with a huge win in Week 17 over the Chicago Bears. Aaron Rodgers was sketchy in his first game back from a broken collarbone, throwing two first-half interceptions. However, he bounced back in the second half with two touchdowns to lead the Packers into the playoffs.
Over on the AFC side, the Cincinnati Bengals and New England Patriots appear to be the biggest challengers to Denver. Cincinnati's defense is especially tough, and the Patriots are always a threat as long as Tom Brady is slinging passes and Bill Belichick is scheming up plays.
Miami was oh, so close to making it into the postseason. This Dolphins team has a terrific core group of young players who have the potential to become formidable in the years to come.
The team that really could spell trouble as an underdog is San Diego, which sneaked into the postseason with a big win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 17. Much like Green Bay, this is a team with nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Teams like the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will finish the season with more questions than answers heading into next year. Rebuilding is a dirty word in this league, but it appears these teams, among others, are knee-deep in that process.
Houston is an interesting team to keep an eye on this offseason. Featuring one of the league's most dominant defenses and a talented group of offensive playmakers, all the Texans are missing is a top-tier quarterback and the head coach who will get them over the top.
While the regular season is over, the NFL is still chugging along into the month of January, ending ultimately at MetLife Stadium when the two top teams meet up to play in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Teams that didn't make it into the tournament will now shift focus, devoting all their time and effort into scouting for the 2014 NFL draft and making decisions about which free agents to keep and which to pursue.
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