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For Eight Straight Years, an NFL Team Has Gone From Last Place to First Place. Who Does it in 2011?

Pretty amazing NFL stat: Over the last eight seasons, one team in the NFL has gone from last place (or tied for last place) to first place the following year. Here’s what has transpired:

(with previous year’s record in parens)

2003: Carolina Panthers (7-9)/Kansas City Chiefs (8-8)
2004: Atlanta Falcons (5-11)/San Diego Chargers (4-12)
2005: Chicago Bears (5-11)/New York Giants (6-10)
2006: Philadelphia Eagles (6-10)/New Orleans Saints (3-13)/Baltimore Ravens (6-10)
2007: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12)
2008: Miami Dolphins (1-15)
2009: New Orleans Saints (8-8)
2010: Kansas City Chiefs (4-12)

A lot of people (cough) could have pegged the Chiefs last year. But this year’s task is much more difficult.

Here are your options (with 2010 record in parens)

Buffalo Bills (4-12)
Cincinnati Bengals (4-12)
Houston Texans/Tennessee Titans (6-10)
Denver Broncos (4-12)
Dallas Cowboys/Washington Redskins (6-10)
Detroit Lions/Minnesota Vikings (6-10)
Carolina Panthers (2-14)
Arizona Cardinals (5-11)

You can toss out the Bills, Bengals and Panthers, as their divisions are far too difficult and neither has a shot in hell of turning it around this quickly. I think the Broncos will be improved, and could finish as high as second in the West. But the Chargers have that division locked up. The Lions have the talent to make a run at the division … but over the Packers?

Your best bets are probably the Texans/Titans (since Peyton Manning’s health is still a question), followed by the Cowboys and then the Cardinals (though that would never be my pick, the division is still a joke).

If I had to rank them: Texans, Titans, Cowboys.

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