Seven NFL Teams That Could Surprise Everyone This Year

Sam SnyderCorrespondent IJune 15, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 21:  Owen Daniels #81 and Andre Johnson #80 of the Houston Texans look on against the Oakland Raiders during an NFL game on December 21, 2008 at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Most of these seven teams are considered down for the count when it comes to the playoff run. But, that doesn't stop them from shocking everyone, and possibly making the playoffs. Most of these teams are currently rebuilding, meaning that they are in the midst of a change, be it a new coach or a complete team overhaul.

These seven teams are all predicted to do worse than they are displayed here, so don't get mad at the records.

1. Houston Texans

The Houston Texans are a classically underachieving team. They have ridiculous amounts of talent, but haven't broken the .500 mark

This is the only team on the list that isn't going through a rebuilding stage.

The Texans, have a red hot offense. They have Andre Johnson, who is one of the top receivers in the league, paired with Owen Daniels. The young Steve Slaton turned heads last year, and is likely to make an even better impact in '09.

Houston has made improvements on defense, and if Matt Schaub can stay on the field, then they are going to have a surprise season.

Most people don't expect much because they are in the same division with the Colts and Titans, but they don't get enough credit. Prepare to be shocked.

Likely Record: 9-7

Best Case Scenario: 10-6

Worse Case Scenario: 9-7

Playoffs: AFC South Division contender

2. Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks had a very poor season last year, which centered around the injury of Matt Hasselbeck, which led to even more QB problems. But Seattle is coming in with a lot of talent. T.J. Houshmenzadeh is a great addition, and will compliment a healthy Hasselbeck.

The best addition, however, is Aaron Curry, who I think is a contender for the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award. He will work great with one of the most intimidating men in football, Lofa Tatupu.

Likely record: 9-7

Best case: 9-7

Worst Case: 8-8

Playoffs: NFC Wild-Card hopeful.

3. Cincinnati Bengals

This is Marvin Lewis's make-or-break year, and he may have just gotten lucky. The Bengals had a very disappointing season last year, with a 3-11-1 record. But this year they may turn some heads in their favor.

Carson Palmer is one of the elite QB's in the league, and the best in the AFC North, provided he doesn't blow out one of his knees again. Chad Ochocinco has shown some maturity recently, starting with admitting his own failure last year. He still has a ridiculous name, but it's a start. They lost T.J. Houzmenzadeh, but replaced him with Levaurance Coles.

They are still lacking on the defensive end, but they have an offense to pick up the slack.

Likely record: 7-9

Best case: 8-8

Worst case: 5-11

Playoffs: Unlikely, but possible.

4. Denver Broncos

People fail to realize that the Broncos only lost Jay Cutler, not their entire offense. They still have the components to their No. 2 offense, specifically Brandon Marshall, despite his "eccentricity."

Denver addressed their running back needs with Knowshon Moreno and helped their poor defense by adding former Eagle Brian Dawkins. But, the Broncos are still lacking a D-Line, and Josh McDaniels isn't looking too good.

Likely record: 7-9

Best Case: 7-9

Worst Case: 5-11

Playoffs: Unlikely, but possible.

5. San Fransisco 49ers

The Niners are close to becoming a contender against the Cardinals and Seahawks. They were fortunate enough to draft Michael Crabtree, who dropped down in picks. They also have great returning talent.

Frank Gore, a very physical running back, returns on the offensive side of the ball. On the defensive end, the Niners have Patrick Willis achoring the unit. San Fransisco is only lacking in the QB position, with Alex Smith, who is an incapable option and Shaun Hill, who is unreliable.

Likely Record: 7-9

Best case: 7-9

Worst case: 5-11

Playoffs: Unlikely

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccs were victim to the late season meltdown, as were many other teams last year. But they do have a small chance to surprise. They added quarterback Josh Freeman to their roster, but it will likely take some grooming for him to fully emerge.

Tampa also added Kellen Winslow, who will be a great passing option. The addition of Byron Leftwitch adds more depth to the QB position, as well. The Bucs also return with Ronde Barber and Antonio Bryant.

Likely record: 6-10

Best Case: 6-10

Worst Case: 4-12

Playoffs: No

7. Jacksonville Jaguars

Jax has been plagued with a poor locker room, drugs, and other off-field issues. But they have a bright spot with Maurice Jones Drew, who is among the top ten running backs in the. David Garrard gets more heat than he deserves; he is a great scrambler, but has weak options to throw too.

The Jaguars are still a year or two away from being a playoff contender, or at least a hopeful. However, with Maurice Jones-Drew, they can shock some people

Likely record: 5-11

Best case: 6-10

Worst case: 3-13

Playoffs: No