Super Bowl Predictions
There are few football games out there that are more exciting than the Super Bowl. The 2013-14 season features 32 teams that all have a clean slate and high hopes of making it to the most coveted game of the year. The reality is, of those 32 teams only 12 will have a realistic chance to make a trip to MetLife Stadium in 2014. Even though 12 teams will make the playoffs, several can usually be ruled out as legitimate contenders before they even play in their first post season game.
The Super Bowl has been dominated by the NFC recently, taking home the Lombardi Trophy in four of the last six years. After Baltimore’s victory last season the Broncos hope to work that trend back in the favor of the AFC. Also worth noting, the Ravens did not make this list as they are 10th on the odds to win the Super Bowl ranking.
Teams Contending for a Super Bowl XLVIII Title
1. Denver Broncos – The talent is there, and the schedule is easy enough that the Denver Broncos should have no problems locking up home field advantage throughout the playoffs. They made several key acquisitions in the offseason that will provide an immediate boost to this team that is already loaded with Hall of Fame caliber players. The expectations are high as Denver is a clear favorite to win the Super Bowl this year.
2. New England Patriots – The Patriots always have to be considered contenders, even though they made some very questionable moves in the offseason. Letting Wes Welker go made Denver that much stronger, but if the Patriots and Broncos meet in the playoffs you have to like Tom Brady’s chances of beating Peyton Manning given the history between these quarterbacks. Bill Belichick has made several questionable moves in his tenure with the Patriots and it seems to work out just fine every year.
3. Seattle Seahawks – If you have already looked at the “other notable contenders” section you see that I excluded Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers due to his lack of experience. Russell Wilson does not fall into that same category for several reasons. Wilson was able to score points and move the ball without the talent that Kaepernick had in San Francisco. The Seahawks made a great offseason pickup of Percy Harvin, and he will have an immediate impact on this team. The defense is also primed to be one of the best we have seen in recent NFL history.
4. Green Bay Packers – The Packers did not make a lot of big-name veteran additions in the offseason, but they did have a few key losses at the wide receiver position. It may shock many to hear this, but the Packers are actually a better team now. Several of Green Bay’s receivers had issues with dropping balls, and they got rid of some of their aging defensive players. Eddie Lacy should provide a much needed boost to the running game, and that will help open up the passing game for Rogers.
5. Houston Texans – I look at Matt Shaub and the Houston Texans as being comparable to last year’s Baltimore Ravens team. People question Shaub’s ability to win the big game in the same way they questioned Joe Flacco. Shaub is just as talented as Flacco and Arian Foster is, in my opinion, just as good as Ray Rice. The defense has JJ Watt playing Ray Lewis’ role as defensive leader on a unit that held opponents to 20.7 points per game last year. The Texans picked up Ed Reed and Alan Ball in the secondary and should have no problem making a deep run in the playoffs.
Other Notables Contenders
San Francisco – The 49ers strike me as a one-hit-wonder type of team. Colin Kaepernick does not have the experience that many of the real contenders have at the quarterback position, which is why they did not make my top five list.
New Orleans – The Saints have too many obstacles to overcome as they adjust to getting their former head coach back. Even though Sean Payton is not new to the organization or its players, adjustments will still have to be made after playing for a full season under Aaron Kromer and Joe Vitt.
Worth a Mention: Cincinnati Bengals and Atlanta Falcons.