Last season, it was the New England Patriots who claimed the title of Superbowl Champions for the third time in five seasons after they emerged from the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia with the Vince Lombardi trophy following a battling and low-scoring 13-3 victory over a Los Angeles Rams team severely hampered by an injury to key player running back Todd Gurley.
Not that a fully fit Gurley would have made a massive difference anyway as once again Bill Belichick masterminded another outstanding performance in the biggest game of the year and Tom Brady and company followed their head coach’s plan to the letter to earn their record-equalling sixth Superbowl win from 11 appearances.
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So can any of the other 31 teams in the NFL challenge the unrelenting dominance that the New England Patriots have shown over the past four years, reaching four Superbowl’s and winning three of them? Who do we rank as our best bets to at least reach the post-season and maybe make a run at winning the Superbowl?
Let’s take a look now at four contenders from each of the two conferences, the AFC and the NFC with a view to perhaps deciding which team is the best to back for Superbowl glory in 2020.
NFC Superbowl Contenders
- Philadelphia Eagles – 14/1
The Eagles last won the Superbowl in 2018 and although they have lost the MVP in that game Nick Foles, who is now with Jacksonville, they still have a very strong offense led by Carson Wentz. The Eagles defense is probably not as strong now as it was back then and that could be their achilles heel this season. However, if their offense, which the returning DeSean Jackson, as well as Nelson Agholor, Jordan Howard and the impressive Zach Erts is a top quality outfit and they should certainly be in contention in the playoffs this season.
- Los Angeles Rams – 15/2
Last year’s beaten Superbowl finalists were hampered by injury to their key running back Todd Gurley and they will know that keeping Gurley and Goff healthy is going to be key for their offense. The defence is led by the incredible Aaron Donald, pound for pound the best player in the NFL at the moment, and when you add to that a strong receiving corps, Aqib Talib at cornerback then that is a strong set up. The Rams also benefit from one of the weaker divisions in the NFC with the Cardinals and 49ers unlikely to put up much of a battle against the Rams and Seahawks.
- New Orleans Saints – 8/1
With Drew Brees still very much at the helm and Sean Payton calling the plays, the New Orleans Saints proved last season they still have what it takes to challenge at the highest level. They’ve added some smart offensive help in Jared Cook at tight end while their defence should be anchored by the excellent Cameron Jordon on the line and Marshon Lattimore at cornerback. With Alvin Kamara providing real pace at Running Back, this is a well-balanced team that will prove to be a tough test for any NFC opponents.
- Chicago Bears – 14/1
The Bears reached the playoffs for the first time since 2010 last season and while their interested ended somewhat prematurely, there is a real belief that this young team is going to be even better positioned this season for a genuine Superbowl run. Mitchell Trubisky is a real talent at quarterback and with Khalil Mack marshalling the defence, the Bears should be very hard to score points against, especially at home. This is a young team and if the Bears can keep the nucleus together, they could be a real threat for several years to come.
AFC Superbowl Contenders
- New England Patriots – 7/1
What are New England going to do when the incredible Tom Brady, the most decorated quarterback in the history of football, calls it quits? Fortunately, even at the age of 41, Brady doesn’t seem set to hang up his boots any time soon. Bill Belichick works wonders with his squad and no team is better prepared or better coached for the 16 games regular season, plus ths post season than the Patriots. They do have the benefit of a ridiculously easy division with Miami, Buffalo and the New York Jets hardly any competition for the Pats. If they can claim home field advantage in the playoffs once again, expect them to be the AFC’s representatives in the Superbowl next year.
- Cleveland Browns – 14/1
After many years of being the laughing stock of the NFL, the Cleveland Browns now have the semblance of a very good young team taking shape. Although they didn’t reach the playoffs last season, their performances were much improved and with the Steelers and Ravens fading in their division, plus some very smart off-season moves, such as signing Odell Beckham Jr and signings from the NFL Draft, I really feel the Browns could take top spot in their division this season. Whether they can go any further in the playoffs though remains to be seen.
- Indianapolis Colts – 16/1
The Colts operate I one of the toughest divisions in the NFL, the AFC South, but for the first time in many year, they have some fine protection for their outstanding quarterback Andrew Luck. Beset by injuries, often caused by a lack of protection, the Colts have realised protecting their best player is vital and they reaped the benefits last season by reaching the playoffs and I feel they have improved significantly since then with some shrewd moves in the off-season. The AFC South will be tough but if they can qualify from it, even as a Wildcard team, then they could surprise a few teams.
- Kansas City Chiefs – 8/1
The explosive offense of the Kansas City Chiefs, combined with a generally strong defence, means that I feel Patrick Mahomes and his team mates are the team most likely to rival the Patriots in the AFC once again. On home soil, the Chiefs can look invincible at times with the number of explosive playmakers they have on their team. I feel home field advantage is crucial for them if they are to beat New England in the playoffs, but I have every confidence they will reach the post-season and if they can clinch home field advantage, they could be on their way to the Superbowl.