Whilst some teams and players are underachieving this year, some have been pleasant surprises in the 2013 season
Buffalo Bills QB's
Sure, the Bills have a 3-5 record so far this season, but rookie head coach Doug Marrone has done a good job of getting production out of inexperienced quarterbacks EJ Manuel and Thaddeus Lewis. Manuel is obviously the future of the franchise after being drafted in the first round, and flashed ability before getting injured, but in his absence, Lewis has carried the team well and has guaranteed his place in the NFL.
Last year's displays were disappointing for the Lions, and another top five pick reflected that. The loss of left tackle Jeff Backus and pass rusher Cliff Avril threatened to hurt the team, but youngsters Riley Reiff and Ezekiel Ansah have stepped in and performed well so far. Quarterback Matt Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson remain one of the most dangerous QB-WR tandems in the NFL, and their play against the Cowboys last week clinched a dramatic win.
Poe was poor for the Chiefs in 2012, failing to impress at nose tackle under Romeo Crennel. However, under Andy Reid, Poe has been a dominant force on the defensive line, wrecking offenses with his ability to stop the run as well as rush the passer. Nobody really expected Poe to improve so much in his second season, but he is now a vital part of the Chiefs' defense.
Kansas City Chiefs
Speaking of the Chiefs, it isn't just Poe who has been a pleasant surprise. Last year's worst team in the league are now the only team to not lose this year. Tamba Hali and Justin Houston have been ferocious pass rushers, whilst Jamaal Charles has scored eight touchdowns in total this year, taking the pressure off Alex Smith at quarterback, who continues to be an efficient passer. The Broncos should still clinch the AFC West, but the Chiefs' turnaround has been great to see.
The Carson Palmer trade was a disaster, and free agency signing Matt Flynn couldn't win the starting job. 2012 supplemental draft pick Terrelle Pryor wasn't expected to become an NFL quarterback, but he has been a revelation this season, making plays with his feet and with his arm. Whether he becomes the Raiders' long-term solution at quarterback remains to be seen, but Pryor has taken a poor Raiders roster and got them more wins than anticipated – which bodes well for the future.
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