Ranking the Early Contenders to Be 2016’s Surprise NFL Playoff Team

July 10, 2016   ·     ·   Jump to comments

It happens every year: A team defies dismal preseason expectations and stuns the National Football League by making the playoffs.
OK, so that isn't always how it happens. Sometimes there are teams "on the rise" who spend the preseason talked up as dark-horse playoff contenders. More often than not, those horses fail to come in. But every now and again, one does.
In 2015, we had a little bit of both.
The Minnesota Vikings received a lot of preseason hype as a club ready to challenge for a playoff spot. They did just that, winning the NFC North and coming a chip-shot field goal short of knocking out the two-time defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks in the postseason.
The Washington Redskins, meanwhile, weren't expected to do much. Many preseason prognosticators picked them to finish last in the NFC East. Instead, they won the division.
So, who are this year's surprise contenders? Who's about to head from the outhouse to the penthouse? Who is on the verge of pl...

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