Being stuck in the NFL's middle ground — not tanking for high draft picks, but not contending for a Super Bowl title either — is a frustrating place to be for NFL fan bases. Particularly in the immediate aftermath of another unsuccessful season.

But sometimes mediocre franchises become excellent across a single offseason. The top playoff seeds in 2019, of course, were unremarkable in 2018. The Ravens went from a 10-6 group demolished in the wild card round by the Chargers to a powerhouse led by an MVP-caliber season from Lamar Jackson. The 49ers didn't make the postseason a year before taking control of a stacked NFC West division that featured the reigning conference champions Rams and ever-dangerous Seahawks.

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It's likely, then, that at least a couple of this season's underperformers will break through next campaign. Who will that be? It's impossible to say with confidence. Some teams, though, do seem more prepared to progress than others, based on in-house talent and/or draft positioning.

Here are a handful of organizations that project as possible 2020 playoff contenders:

Why Dallas could make the postseason in 2020

The Cowboys were an absolute disaster in the second half of this season, becoming the laughingstock of the NFL as they slumped to five losses in their final eight games. They dropped the NFC East to the middling Eagles. And yet, their roster is loaded with high-end talent and their front office has proven adept at building through the draft, suggesting a 2020 turnaround is on the horizon.

Few teams that didn't make the playoffs in 2019 can boast an offensive core as good as the Dak Prescott/Ezekiel Elliott/Amari Cooper trio operating in Dallas. The Cowboys will need to pay up to keep free-agent-to-be Cooper moving forward, of course, but they also have breakout 23-year-old pass catcher Michael Gallup (1,107 yards, six touchdowns) around should Cooper depart. Receiving depth will likely be an emphasis for Dallas in the 2020 NFL Draft regardless of Cooper's outcome. They're in luck there: Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, Tee Higgins and Henry Ruggs III lead a deep class of wideouts available for selection.

While the Cowboys have mostly failed to meet expectations over the past two decades, moving on from longtime coach Jason Garrett — which is expected but not yet executed — could be the extra boost that pushes them back into the playoffs and gives them greater hope once they get there.

Why Chicago could make the postseason in 2020

The Bears — appearing poised as annual NFC threats in 2018 behind a ferocious defense — regressed this campaign mostly because of their inept play on the other side of the ball. The good news is that things can't get much worse offensively: They ranked bottom three in yards and points scored, and even a marginal step forward could get them back in the playoffs.

Chicago must decide whether to move on from quarterback Mitch Trubisky this offseason. If it does cut its losses with the underwhelming signal-caller and pursues the likes of Cam Newton or Philip Rivers, there's a chance of rapid improvement. Or the team could just be so good at shutting down opposing attacks that keeping Trubisky under center doesn't matter. After all, the Bears went to the Super Bowl in 2006 with Rex Grossman.

Not having a first-round pick in the upcoming draft does sting a bit, but the existing pieces are still in place to brush aside a frustrating 8-8 season.

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Why Las Vegas could make the postseason in 2020

The Raiders have an opening to make their first season in Vegas a successful one with the division rival Broncos and Chargers unknown commodities. Despite plenty of drama this year, they went 7-9 and had two offensive rookies shine in Josh Jacobs and Hunter Renfrow. The team also possesses a pair of top-20 draft picks, which could net it a much-needed impact defender.

Why both Los Angeles teams could make the postseason in 2020

The Rams clearly have the talent to be a playoff team, having gone to the Super Bowl last year. But competing in the NFC West makes it a challenge to rack up the necessary victories. They also have a huge chunk of their allotted salary devoted to Jared Goff and Todd Gurley, which could limit their options in free agency. Still, any team loaded with receiving talent and defensive playmakers like the Rams should be considered legitimate postseason contenders.

Like the Rams, the Chargers hope their 2018 was more reflective of their talent than 2019. They have the benefit of playing in the much weaker division AFC West. Their defense continues to be above average. But can they stop blowing games late? What happens at quarterback with the potential departure of Philip Rivers will largely determine their fate there — and play a leading role in a promising but uncertain 2020.