Every year we see Cinderella teams that were never given a chance of making it deep into the playoffs not only make it to the tournament, but they sometimes make deep runs, occasionally even winning the big game. Right now, we have a pretty good notion of who will be at the top and bottom of each conference, but it's the Cinderella teams that are hard to figure out. With so many sports betting options on football available, it's important to know when to put your money where your mouth is. Here's the leading scenarios that could produce a Cinderella team in 2014.
The Lions will be entering 2013 with a high powered offense and extremely low expectations. But what if that defense starts holding up? What if Reggie Bush adds another dimension to their offense? What if the Lions can hold it together mentally for the duration of the season? The Lions will be playing in a relatively tough, but not unmanageable, NFC North. If Matthew Stafford can put it all together on offense and their defense learns to do their jobs, the Lions could become a very legitimate playoff contender.
At this point in the offseason, everyone is assuming the Carson Palmer no longer has what it takes to lead the Cardinals to the playoffs, but even in Oakland, Palmer was solid. If he can develop a consistent attack in Arizona, the Cardinals suddenly have a great chance to compete for the playoffs. Arizona's defense is a solid group, and even though they play in a very tough division, they have the opportunity to surprise a lot of people. Last season, Bruce Arians led the Colts into the playoffs. The Colts overachieved a great deal under Arians, and that's what the Cardinals are hoping for this season.
The Dolphins finally look like a competitive football team. Ryan Tannehill now has weapons to work with, and an extra year of maturity should make the Dolphins competitive. They'll likely lose two divisional games to the Patriots, but the Jets and Bills are both very weak divisional rivals. That should allow the Dolphins to steal a wildcard spot, and once they're in the playoffs, it's a free-for-all. This season hinges on Tannehill's development at the quarterback position. If he raises his game, the Dolphins suddenly look like a dangerous team.
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