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Which seven teams make the 3-win jump? Texans, Eagles, Broncos look best

A healthy Matt Schaub may help the Texans get to 13 wins this season. (Getty Images)

As the season approaching, most fans are optimistic, and it made me think of a conversation with a coach this past weekend, punctuated with: "We're all undefeated right now."

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True, but intrigued me was when that same coach offered this: How many teams are going to win three or more games than they did last year? I decided to answer that question by applying it to teams that had at least a three-win jump the past four seasons.

Over that span, an average of seven teams has won at least three more games than the previous season, roughly 22 percent of the league making such an improvement. So I wanted to indentify seven teams that could improve by three or more wins this season.

As I looked through the four years of results I discovered only two teams have ever gone from 10 wins to at least 13 the following season:

Patriots: 10 wins in 2009, 14 wins in 2010
Packers: 10 wins in 2010, 15 in 2011

Every other team to make a three wins or more jump had single-digit wins the year before, and that makes sense. There were 22 teams that had single digit-wins in 2011. To follow the two-year trend, I decided to select six teams coming off single digit wins in 2011 and one team coming off at least a 10-win season. While researching for this exercise, I discovered a few more points of interest.

Only six teams over the past four seasons have 40-plus wins:

Patriots: 48
Steelers: 45
Saints: 45
Ravens: 44
Falcons: 43
Packers: 42

Eleven teams did not have a three-win jump over the past four seasons.

One team made a seven-game jump (2011 49ers went from six wins in 2010 to 13 wins last season.

The point is miracles don't usually happen in the NFL. Teams take time to build and success, which is usually measured in small increments.

After wading through all that, here are my seven teams with the best chance to make a three-wins jump this season:

My double-digit-win team from 2011 to make the jump is the Texans. They were 10-6 in 2011 and could get to 13-3 if Matt Schaub stays healthy. It also means sweeping Tennessee and overcoming losses along the offensive line.

The six other teams I like to win three more games than last year:

Bills: 6 to 9 wins
Chiefs:
7 to 10
Broncos:
8 to 11
Eagles:
8 to 11
Redskins:
5 to 8
Panthers:
6 to 9
Rams:
2 to 5

Of course, what goes up must come down. Since 2008 the NFL has also averaged a little more than seven teams per season that lose at least three more games than the previous season.

We all know how the 2011 Colts went from 10 wins in 2010 to two in 2011. Did we see the Jets, Bears, Falcons, Bucs, or Chiefs falling into the three or more loss category before last season?

Finding seven teams you think will lose at least three more than they did last year is always a tougher question to answer because optimism reigns supreme this time of year. Name them if you can.

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