Which NFL Teams Are Trending Upward as the Season Ends?
With only a few weeks left, some teams are seriously kicking it up a notch, vying for a run in the playoffs. While New Orleans, Green Bay, San Francisco and Houston have already clinched their spots in the playoffs, teams like the Giants and the Broncos are making big wins to get ahead of the other contenders.
Other teams, like the Panthers and the Bengals, who really have no shot at the playoffs are still making great improvements as a whole as the season is coming to an end.
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One of the biggest questions of the year has been which rookie QB is better, Andy Dalton or Cam Newton? The Bengals are now 7-6, while the Panthers are 4-9, but that doesn't necessarily mean Dalton is the first pick.
However, the Bengals have been doing work out there on the field and should have an easy home game this weekend against St. Louis to continue their stride.
New York Giants
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After losing four straight games, the Giants have made a serious comeback. They've had some close calls in the last few weeks, particularly Sunday night when they defeated Dallas in the last minutes of the game. Eli Manning has been proving himself to be more than just the other Manning.
Offense and special teams got the job done but defense will have to step it up if they want to move on to the playoffs.
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They're still only 4-9, but it's a great improvement from their 2-14 season last year. Cam Newton has changed the energy in Carolina and brought Steve Smith back to life. While they still have some great players out due to injury, like Jon Beason, the Panthers will hands down be one of the toughest teams to beat next season.
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Since Tim Tebow replaced Kyle Orton as the starting quarterback, the team has gone 7-1. As many people like to joke, Tebow is "On God's Fantasy Team," and I think John Elway and John Fox will be right there backing him up.
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Not too long ago Arizona was in last place of their division, and they have slowly been making a comeback. Sunday they beat division-rival and first-place seed San Francisco 49ers. Early Doucet and Larry Fitzgerald were huge playmakers for the team and will roll their momentum right over Cleveland Sunday.
San Diego Chargers
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The Chargers were expected to be 10 times better this year than they actually are, but they are coming back strong these last few weeks. They are currently on a two-game win streak, over Jacksonville and Buffalo, and are set to host the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday Night Football.
It will take a lot for the team to overcome Baltimore, but if they win there are still playoff hopes for the team.