2011 Surprise Teams

2 of 2
  • Tennessee Titans – This is contingent on Chris Johnson coming back SOON and not missing too many games if he happens to injure himself shortly after returning (as the Jets’ Darrelle Revis did last season).  I like the Matt Hasselbeck pickup as well.  I believe he’s got at least one more good season in him.  He’s a smart, veteran player and having a solid offensive line and running game will make him even more effective.  In his best days with Seattle, Hasselbeck had the same combination.  Even with the moves made by Philadelphia, Arizona, New England and others, this could end up being the best move by any team by season’s end.  If he can stay upright for the whole year, the Titans will have a chance to make some noise.
  • Denver Broncos – The Kyle Orton experience isn’t over just yet.  As expected, Orton has looked very good in the preseason and Denver has really shown improvement in two areas that were in need of major overhaul – the defense and the running game.  It also appears that the moves the team has made since hiring John Elway and John Fox have brought an air of confidence to the team that were not apparent with the previous regime.  While the division title might not be in the future for this season, the Broncos now seem to have the look of a team that could challenge for a wild-card spot, or at the very least be a major player in determining how the playoff picture will look in the AFC.
  • Minnesota Vikings

    – Like Matt Hasselbeck in Tennessee, Donovan McNabb has brought a solid veteran influence

    to his new team.  McNabb had a bad year by anybody’s standards last season.  That was painfully obvious.  This is a great opportunity for him to show he’s still got something left and now he doesn’t need to be the center of the offense.  With Adrian Peterson as the main cog in the offensive machine, and with a new philosophy under former interim, now full-time head coach Leslie Frazier, this could be turning point in the future of the franchise.

    So that’s my view.  You never know how the season’s going to play out.  A team’s improvement from one year to the next might not always be reflected in the win-loss total.  Injuries, bad bounces, coaching decisions, blown calls – all of these can make or break a team’s season.  One thing’s for sure though – there WILL be a surprise or two (or more) along the way.  I can’t wait to see who that’s going to be.