NFL's 10 best-positioned teams for 2014

This could be just the start of the Seahawks' NFL supremacy. Lui Kit Wong/Tacoma News Tribune/MCT

Imagine your disbelief if an NFL clairvoyant had told you back in August that Rex Ryan would salvage his job, Gary Kubiak would lose his and the Cleveland Browns would dump Rob Chudzinski less than one calendar year into his tenure.

Imagine if someone had told you the Arizona Cardinals, 1-11 to close 2012, would finish this season 10-6. Or that defending division champions Washington and Atlanta would combine for a mere five victories. Or that the AFC West would send three teams to the playoffs. Or that a Dallas Cowboys quarterback other than Tony Romo would throw a killer interception in a Week 17 elimination game.

Imagine if someone had told you that Bill Leavy, the referee who apologized for errors that helped Pittsburgh defeat Seattle in Super Bowl XL, would be on the scene in Week 17 this season when an officiating gaffe helped knock the Steelers out of the postseason.

The steady flow of surprise storylines makes projecting the future seem futile in the NFL. There simply aren’t many sure bets beyond the New England Patriots winning 10-plus games as long as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are part of the equation. We're left to set reasonable expectations based on what we know and think. So, with yet another unpredictable regular season ending Sunday, I set out to identify the 10 teams I consider best positioned for success in 2014. It was tough finding 10 -- even though a dozen teams are marching into the playoffs with at least a shot of Super Bowl glory