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27-08-2018 08:17 AM
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huangjian123
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The Philadelphia Eagles went from playoff spectators to hoisting the Lombardi Trophy Isaiah Oliver Jersey Falcons , an impressive one-season turnaround that was far from unprecedented in the modern NFL.

The Eagles were the seventh team in the past 19 seasons to pull off that trick in a sport that always goes through some significant playoff turnover each season.

There have been at least four new playoff teams each year since the NFL went to the 12-team format in 1990, including eight new postseason participants last season when the Eagles won it all.

With new blood coming into the playoffs each year, there are just as many teams heading another way, doomed by injuries, age, bad luck, poor coaching or other reasons.

Here's a look at three teams that could go from playoff spectators to participants, and three others that could go the opposite direction:

TRENDING UP

Houston Texans: Deshaun Watson showed flashes of becoming a star quarterback in six starts as a rookie before getting hurt. With the dynamic Watson on offense and a healthy J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus back on defense, the Texans could be in position to get back into the playoffs after a one-year hiatus. The Texans scored at least 33 points in Watson's final five starts and then went 1-8 after he had a season-ending injury in practice. Keeping Watson healthy will be necessary it the Texans are going to rebound.

Green Bay Packers: Green Bay's run of eight straight playoff appearances ended last season thanks mostly to a collarbone injury that limited star quarterback Aaron Rodgers to seven games. With Rodgers again healthy, the Packers should be among the contenders in the NFC Cheap Rasheem Green Jersey , as they usually are. Green Bay was much more active this offseason under new GM Brian Gutekunst, adding prominent free agents like Jimmy Graham and Muhammad Wilkerson. New defensive coordinator Mike Pettine should bring a more aggressive approach that could help support Rodgers and the offense.

San Francisco 49ers: San Francisco won its final five games last year after making the switch to Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback. With Garoppolo signed long term and poised to take his 7-0 career record into his first full season as an NFL starter and coach Kyle Shanahan having much more talent in Year 2 at the helm, the Niners could have the pieces to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2013. Free-agent running back Jerick McKinnon should spark the offense, and the defense has some key building blocks in DT DeForest Buckner and LB Reuben Foster. Richard Sherman could provide a defensive boost at cornerback if his Achilles tendon injury is healed.

TRENDING DOWN

Buffalo Bills: The Bills ended the longest playoff drought in North America's four major sports leagues when they made the postseason for the first time since 1999. Repeating that in coach Sean McDermott's second season will be a more difficult trick, especially with the change made at quarterback this offseason. Tyrod Taylor was traded to Cleveland, leaving either career backup A.J. McCarron or raw rookie Josh Allen as the top two options. Making the playoffs with one of those two at the helm would be a long shot, even in the weaker AFC.

Tennessee Titans: The Titans also ended a playoff drought last season, making the postseason for the first time since 2008 under third-year quarterback Marcus Mariota and coach Mike Mularkey. Even winning a postseason game wasn't enough for Mularkey to keep his job and Tennessee is now retooling under new coach Mike Vrabel. The Titans are in a tough division with Houston and Indianapolis likely taking big steps forward if Watson and Andrew Luck are healthy, and Jacksonville having one of the league's most talented rosters. That makes a return to the postseason a difficult proposition in Tennessee.

Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons took a step back last year after their Super Bowl collapse the previous season but still made the playoffs as a wild-card team. The offense regressed a bit after losing Shanahan as coordinator. There still is plenty of talent in Atlanta led by quarterback Matt Ryan and receiver Julio Jones, but the NFC is stacked Adidas Logan Couture Jersey , leaving little margin for error.

Jordan Zimmermann looked like a $110 million pitcher in his last start. The Detroit Tigers hope the oft-injured Zimmermann can produce like that on a regular basis.

Zimmermann, who will start for the Tigers against the Texas Rangers on Friday in Detroit, has been a huge disappointment since signing a five-year, $110 million free-agent contract in November 2015. His first two seasons with the club were marred by injuries and ineffectiveness.

He took another trip to the disabled list in May because of a shoulder impingement. He has made three starts since his return and was sharp at Toronto on Sunday, holding the Blue Jays to one run on five hits in seven innings. He didn’t issue a walk while striking out six.

His curveball and slider neutralized Toronto’s lineup as the Tigers ended an 11-game losing streak.

“My off-speed stuff was really good (Sunday),” Zimmermann said afterward. “I think the slider’s coming back.”

If Zimmermann (3-0, 3.91 ERA) can string together some quality outings, he could help the Tigers on two fronts. He could provide stability to a rotation that hasn’t gone deep into games often enough. He could also enhance his trade value, which would provide financial relief to a rebuilding franchise.

He lost his only career start against the Rangers despite holding them to three runs in eight innings in 2016.

Detroit’s roster has been in a state of flux since losing first baseman Miguel Cabrera to a season-ending biceps injury last month. Center fielder Leonys Martin and closer Shane Greene are on the disabled list, and Opening Day second baseman Dixon Machado has been designated for assignment.

Niko Goodrum Authentic Marquez Valdes-Scantling Jersey , who has taken over second base, hit a solo homer Thursday but Texas took the opener of the series 7-5. The Tigers have lost 14 of their last 16 games.

Zimmermann, 32, is 13 years younger than his mound opponent in the second game of the four-game series. Bartolo Colon (5-5, 4.76) will make his 16th start this season for Texas.

Colon lasted just long enough to collect the victory in his last appearance, when he gave up three runs in five innings to the Chicago White Sox on Saturday.

With another victory Friday, he will surpass Dennis Martinez for the most wins by a Latin American pitcher. They are tied at 245.

“Tying Dennis Martinez, it’s such an accomplishment,” Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre told MLB.com after Colon’s last outing. “It takes him a long time, 45 years Authentic Martavis Bryant Jersey , but it’s nice that he was able to get that, and hopefully he can break it in his next start.”

Colon is 9-10 with a 5.20 ERA in 29 career appearances (28 starts) against Detroit.

Texas designated hitter Shin-Soo Choo did not play in the series opener, so his on-base streak remains at 44 games. He is dealing with tightness in his right quadriceps.

“I don’t want to push it,” Choo told the Dallas Morning News. “Do this until the All-Star break, and the rest will help.”

Joey Gallo and Ronald Guzman picked up the slack Thursday, delivering two-run homers as the Rangers built a seven-run lead and held off Detroit’s late surge.

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