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Sun., Oct. 4
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Top Secret Fyles: Chiefs most surprising, Texans most disappointing


From the drawers of the Top Secret Fyles:

With two weeks left in the NFL regular season, it’s time to look at the top-five most surprising and disappointing teams this season.

Most surprising:

1 — Chiefs. Coach Andy Reid was a fresh start and fresh approach to the franchise. They went 2-14 last season and have already clinched an AFC playoff berth this year.

2 — Eagles. Philadelphia (4-12) has responded to new coach Chip Kelly’s uptempo style. Defense is still a work in progress, but team has chance to win the NFC Least.

3 — Dolphins. Miami was a public relations mess just six weeks ago with the Richie Incognito fiasco. But players have rallied around coach Joe Philbin. They won three games in a row, and either them or the Ravens should grab the AFC’s final playoff berth.

4 — Cardinals. Arizona has gone under the radar, thanks to head coach Bruce Arians, and the steady play of QB Carson Palmer and WR Larry Fitzgerald. They’re in the running for an NFC wild-card spot.

5 (tie) — Lions and Panthers. Talent-laden Detroit can win the NFC North if it doesn’t self-destruct in the final two weeks. Carolina has gotten a bounce-back season from QB Cam Newton.

Most disappointing:

1 — Texans. Their two-year window of going to the Super Bowl closed in a massive hurry. Coach Gary Kubiak was fired and QB Matt Schaub has had a miserable season. Houston’s active 12-game losing skid puts team in line for overall draft pick.

2 — Falcons. Atlanta lost WR Julio Jones to injury, and along with losing close games, the team never recovered. The Falcons should be stronger in 2014 with a softer schedule.

3 — Giants. Have the New York players quit on coach Tom Coughlin? The 0-6 start killed them. No run game, offensive line in shambles, and QB Eli Manning (25 INTs) is having the worst season in his 10-year career.

4 — Redskins. Another train wreck. Last year’s division winners decided to shut down QB Robert Griffin III and it’s a good thing. I fear for this man’s life on the gridiron. He has taken a lot of body punishment.

5 — Steelers. Pittsburgh, whose last losing season was in 2003, is hanging tough, despite terrible defeats. All but mathematically eliminated from playoffs.

Richie Rich’s Top 10 in NFL: 1. Seahawks; 2. 49ers; 3. Broncos; 4. Panthers; 5. Saints; 6. Chiefs; 7. Patriots; 8. Bengals; 9. Cardinals; 10. Eagles.

Times sports copy editor Richard Fyle can be reached at

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