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Cowboys among non-playoff teams primed to bounce back in 2016

With a healthy Tony Romo back, the Cowboys are set up nicely for next season. Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions no longer look like a lost cause after quarterback Matthew Stafford tossed 19 touchdown passes with two interceptions during a 6-2 finish to the season. The organization could still misplay its hand -- history has conditioned Lions fans to expect it -- but as the situation stands now, the Lions look like one of the 2015 non-playoff teams set up best for next season.

The Lions made my short list, but they weren't No. 1. That distinction went to one of the teams welcoming back a Pro Bowl QB.

One quick note before we dive in: Much will change in the coming months as teams tweak their coaching staffs, venture into free agency and add players through the draft. This initial look focuses on non-playoff teams that should have the best shot at improving, with special consideration for the ones that finished below .500.


1. Dallas Cowboys (4-12)