The Washington Redskins just won the NFC East with a 9-7 record. They weren't great, but in that division you don't have to be, so they went from worst to first in just one year. That's just sort of been the nature of the NFC East, where no team has won back-to-back division titles since the Philadelphia Eagles in 2003-04.
That alone should give Redskins fans pause before printing any "Repeat" t-shirts.
Each season teams surprise, for better or for worse. The Dallas Cowboys swapped places with Washington, the Minnesota Vikings won the division for the first time since 2009, the San Diego Chargers and San Francisco 49ers both folded out west, and even the Houston Texans Hoy-sted a division banner. Even if it seems crazy now, there will be at least one team that goes from the bottom to the top quicker than Drake.
Of the last-placers, who is most likely to scratch their way out of the cellar? Who is among the living dead once again in 2016? Yes, we have a loooong way to go before the picture comes into focus for the 2016 season, but, as free agency begins and draft prep ramps up, it may be useful to take a snapshot as to where things stand right now.
Teams listed in order of the ones most likely to rebound, with 2015's record in parentheses.
8. Cleveland Browns (3-13)
As usual, it's pretty easy to point to the Browns as the team that has no shot of winning their division, even seven months from Week 1. Cleveland still lacks a quality quarterback, has no truly elite players on defense, and is losing four of it best players: Alex Mack, Mitchell Schwartz, Travis Benjamin and Tashaun Gipson.
They are rebuilding again, and even if Hue Jackson is finally the answer at head coach, not even Bill Belichick himself could get the Browns more than four wins next year, probably.
The Browns could draft a franchise QB, get Josh Gordon back, get a healthy season out of Joe Haden, and they'd still probably be picking in the top five in 2017.
7. San Francisco 49ers (5-11)
Let the 2015 season for the 49ers be forgotten. They hired a lame-duck coach to replace Jim Harbaugh and did nothing to replace their departed starters, so San Francisco is really in year one -- not year two -- of a rebuilding phase.
And new coach Chip Kelly won't have as easy a time turning the Niners around as Harbaugh did.
The division is a lot tougher than it was in 2011, and San Francisco has a weak roster with plenty of starting spots up in the air, including all of that uncertainty at quarterback. The 49ers will finish in last place again.
6. Miami Dolphins (6-10)
Don't let another flashy offseason by the Dolphins distract you from the fact that they're doing more spending than improving. They make huge moves every year but have made the playoffs once in the last 14 seasons.
The Dolphins added Mario Williams, but he didn't play well last season. They added Byron Maxwell, but he didn't play well last season. They added Kiko Alonso, but he didn't even play last season. They also lost Olivier Vernon, Lamar Miller and Rishard Matthews, and they've already cut Brent Grimes. Cameron Wake could be next.
Worst to first? Miami might not even go from worst to third.
5. Tennessee Titans (3-13)
In a division with so many awful teams, of course Tennessee has a shot at winning the AFC South. The Titans have added DeMarco Murray and Rishard Matthews, they'll likely grab Laremy Tunsil at the top of the draft, and Marcus Mariota seems like he could make a big second-year jump.
But this was still a really bad team in 2015.
After beating the Buccaneers in Week 1, the Titans squeaked out just two more wins (overtime against the Saints and a nail-biter against the Jags) and have maybe one true star on defense (Jurrell Casey) and little in the way of receiving talent. They also made the least-inspiring head coaching hire of the decade in Mike Mularkey.
We've seen teams go from picking first overall to the playoffs the same year, but that seems highly unlikely with Tennessee.
4. San Diego Chargers (4-12)
Oddly enough, the Chargers might have the best quarterback in the division, but they still could finish fourth again. They have to compete with the defending-champion Broncos, the improving Chiefs and the fast-rising Raiders, who've already added Kelechi Osemele and Bruce Irvin in free agency.
San Diego lost a lot of close games in 2015, but it lost those games because they have a terrible rushing offense, a bad offensive line and a mediocre-to-awful defense. It added Benjamin and Brandon Mebane, but lost Eric Weddle. Even if the Titans win an additional five games next season, they still wouldn't finish in first place.
3. Tamp Bay Buccaneers (6-10)
What does Tampa Bay having going for it? More than you might think.
Reorganizing the coaching staff by firing Lovie Smith and promoting Dirk Koetter may resolve some issues the Buccaneers had. They also have several elite players like Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David, Doug Martin and Mike Evans -- more than you'd expect from any last-place team. Plus, there was nothing not to like about Jameis Winston's rookie season.
But it's a "tough division," right? Maybe not.
The NFC South didn't have a winning team in 2014 and was called the worst or second-worst division in football. The Panthers suddenly win 15 games in 2015 and people think everything is different, but NFC South teams played the easiest schedules in the league last year -- including against each other -- and Carolina was still the only team to finish above .500. Assuming the Panthers regress a bit and the Bucs improve a bit, that gap can close awfully quickly.
Should you bet on it happening this way? No. But would it be surprising? Also no.
2. Chicago Bears (6-10)
The Bears will be adding three key players: Danny Trevathan, Kevin White (the seventh overall pick in 2015 who missed the year with a stress fracture in his shin) and whoever they take with the 11th overall pick this year. Meanwhile, the rest of the division appears to have no huge weaknesses -- but also no clear leader.
How will the Packers rebound from a disappointing campaign? What will the Lions do without Calvin Johnson? Can the Vikings really repeat with Teddy Bridgewater?
Overall, coach John Fox has a quarterback who can be OK at times and a young team around him that may or may not be ready to blossom. At 6-10, Chicago also has one of the shortest distances -- of these teams -- to go to get to a good record. Fox may have the Bears back in the playoffs next season, but a lot still rides on how much Green Bay does to improve beyond just getting Jordy Nelson back.
1. Dallas Cowboys (4-12)
As noted in the intro, this is the NFC East, where any given team can win the division any given year. Just ask Dallas, which won the division in 2014 before flopping all the way to fourth in '15.
However, with presumably healthy seasons from Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, a rebound from the best offensive line in football, and making the right choice with the fourth overall pick, the Cowboys most definitely can win the division next year. When you think about how overrated Washington was last year, how messed up everything seems to be in Philadelphia, and the chaotic nature of the Giants, it actually seems like Dallas should be the favorite.
For that to happen, though, the Cowboys have to go back to being the team everyone expected them to be before last season.