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NFL Dark Horses

It's that time again and the football season is about to get underway so start to polish off the crystal ball and look for those teams who are going to surprise us, wow us and maybe even sneak under the radar and get to the Super bowl. Rarely did many jump on the Patriot bandwagon when they won the first championship to start the dynasty and the same could be said for the Ravens when they came out of nowhere to win a title and surprise many.So who is it going to be this year? It's easy to say the Patriots and Eagles are going to the Super bowl, but if you're looking for point spread value, especially early in the year not to mention bragging rights come January you have to find that sleeper that can surprise us all.I have looked at a few teams that will perform better than a year ago and some that will fare worse not to mention pair of dark horses that may just surprise everyone and win the whole thing!.On the way down.New England Patriots.

Hard to go anywhere but down with these guys who lost both coordinators, and solid players especially on defense with Law and Bruschi. The division is tough enough to give the Patriots some losses and have the season be a tough one for the defending champs.Green Bay Packers.

Lambeau field always gives this team an edge in the regular season, but this Walker / Favre thing can be a big issue in the early going and the defense has too many weak spots. Favre once again will have to carry this team if they have any kind of shot at making the playoffs. This year they will be on the outside looking in and the end of the season will be filled with Favre retirement rumors.Other teams that could be on the way down include Seattle, Pittsburgh and Denver.

On the way up.Miami Dolphins They get Rickey back and although he will have to sit out the first four games if he plays with heralded rookie Brown in a tandem back set they could restore the fish to playoff level. Ferrotte should win the job since he is familiar with the offense and with a solid defense look for the fish to move up.Cincinnati Bengals.Now that Palmer has a year under his belt and is surrounded by a very talented offensive team all you need is a defensive effort to put this team in the playoffs.

Who better to pull that off than Marvin Lewis? They still have a tough division but with a few clutch wins they can make noise and finish better than the Ravens or even the Steelers in the Central.Other teams who could be on the way up: Dallas, Giants, Carolina.Dark horse Special.

Okay here it is my dark horse special to go to the super bowl.In the NFC it is.Minnesota Vikings.At 8-8 last year they were not a Super bowl team but getting rid of Randy Moss was a huge improvement, now they have showed Daunte Cullpeper it is his team and has vastly improved the defensive side of the ball which is what they needed. With a division that is up for grabs getting to the playoffs should not be a problem and Cullpepper and a surprising defense will do the rest.

In the AFC it is.Oakland Raiders.It may be tough to picture a five win team going from the cellar to the Super bowl, but they still have plenty of pieces from the last team that went to the Super bowl and the acquisition of Randy Moss was a big plus for this team and will make Kerry Collins and Jerry Porter much better. The weakness on defense was answered in the draft where they took corners and linebackers to help add youth and speed to a defense that was overmatched in much of last season. Add this to the fact that I look for Denver to plummet allows this division to open right up.That is my dark horse specials for the upcoming season.

Hopefully some of the dark horses will have dog point spreads to start the season and increase the value if I am correct! Scour the NFL and come up with your teams to go with and against way before the season starts and watch them through the preseason, it will lead to profit and bragging rights.


By: Ryan Rozycki


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