1. Tennessee Titans. With the Titans, a postseason win could instantly make you beloved as both Jeff Fisher and Mike Munchak set the bar very low over the last decade or so. The young nucleus on the team includes RB Chris Johnson, WR Kendall Wright, QB Jake Locker, KR Marc Mariani (one year left), TE Jared Cook (one year left), SLB Akeem Ayers and MLB Colin McCarthy. The most appealing thing after the core of young players is that the division has two teams with big holes on defense – the Colts and Jags – and Jacksonville has yet to get consistency out of its offense.
2. Cleveland Browns. Head coaches will want to be cautious before stepping into the yearly dogfight of the AFC North. That said, the Browns have started rookies all over their offense, have been in all but one game this year, and have a loyal fan base and a dedicated owner. An offensive coach familiar with spread concepts, wishbone, and downhill running would love the ability of a team with size and speed at WR (Josh Gordon has 646 receiving yards and 5 TDs despite not starting until week 3) and TE, along with the ability to hit a team with a bowling ball at RB in Trent Richardson who also has the ability to take a screen pass the distance.
3. Carolina Panthers. While most head coaches like to find their own QB and sync up in their first year, a lot of those coaches and others would be totally fine with the stability of having Cam Newton. There are some nice prospects on both sides of the ball with WR Brandon LaFell, DE Greg Hardy, and MLB Luke Kuechly, but the main appeal here is having Cam Newton, who’s quietly strung together 4-TD and 3-TD performances in back-to-back weeks. It doesn’t hurt that the Saints and Buccaneers are really suspect on defense.
If Dallas were to open up, that could take the top spot. Minnesota has a good young nucleus of RB Adrian Peterson, WR Percy Harvin, SS Harrison Smith, and OLB Chad Greenway, but also a lot of holes and more uncertainty at QB than the Browns.
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