Last year, the Miami Dolphins became the first team ever to produce a 10-game swing in just one year, going 11-5 and winning the AFC East after posting a 1-15 record in 2007.
The Falcons, and Ravens also bounced back from 4-12, and 5-11 records respectively to go 11-5, and 10-6 respectively, and make the playoffs. Here are three teams that have a chance to do the same thing this year.
Cleveland Browns 4-12
A huge disappointment last season the Browns have the personal to make some noise in the 2009 season. Solid QB options in Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson—the latter is a former pro bowler.
They have a good offensive line and a superb left side with Joe Thomas and Eric Steinbach.
A productive rusher who came within 39 yards of the single season rushing record in Jamal Lewis, a hard nosed, psychical back who can do just about anything. Besides Braylon Edwards and Donte Stallworth, there is nothing there in terms of depth at receiver. Trading TE Kellen Winslow is a vote of confidence in Martin Rucker.
The defense has some question marks, but is anchored by All Pro DT Shaun Rogers, and DE Corey Williams. Recently acquired LB Eric Barton should help shore up the LB corps, and will fit in nicely alongside their young stud ILB Dqwell Jackson. Tthey should be looking for a replacement to S Sean Jones in the draft.
Green Bay Packers 6-10
This team is one Year removed from an NFC Championship, they know how to get there and there's no question they could do it.
They have a solid OL anchored by T Chad Clifton, and a great young QB in Aaron Rodgers who benefited from learning from the games greatest QB. Ryan Grant had an off year but is just one of those guys who looks poised for a comeback year, and has shown he can run the ball effectively on many occasions.
The defense is lead by Aaron Kampman who is one the leagues top DE's, as well as one of the top CB tandems in Charles Woodson and Al Harris, Atari Bigbi is a very young and talented safety who is a brutalizing hitter. Look for them to shore up depth a CB and D-Line through the draft and second wave of free agency.
Seattle Seahawks 4-12
Seattle was bitten badly by the injury bug which decimated the receiving corps (seven injuries) and the offensive line (all five starters finished the season on IR), QB, eight games, and that's just on offense.
With the addition of T.J. Houshyourmama to the offense, that opens up Deion Branch and Nate Burleson to thrive while TJ draws doubles, and vice versa. This should be an effective three-WR set, and with someone like Joe Jurivicius, who caught 10 TD's for the team in 2005 on the market, could deepest set in the league potentially.
Implementing a run-first offense is a good fit for RB Julius Jones, and a quick offensive line will benefit from a new zone blocking scheme, which the Denver Broncos just shat on people with (Selvin Young, Payton Hillis???).
On defense, adding Redding in the mix to pair with Kerney and Mebane makes this line formidable. The LB Corps is solid, even without Julian Peterson, and the prospect of adding Wake Forest LB Aaron Curry, who is the drafts top rated prospect, is strong now and would make the LB's the best trio in the league for the near future.
The secondary is suspect but CB Marcus Trufant and S Deon Grant are play makers, and Grant still performed decently in 2008 with a torn muscle in his leg. Trufants' stat sheet took a hit largely because teams avoided him. look for them to address DB in the draft and in free agency, maybe a Ken Lucas Homecoming, that and a Derrick Brooks signing would go a long ways.
Just purely speculation, feel free to sound off about it