The NFL is finally seeing some new teams at the top over the last few years. It’s nice to see more parity within in the league and different Superbowl contenders as the years go by. Hopefully, it sticks around a while longer
The Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, and Atlanta Falcons all made it to the Superbowl over the last few years.
We saw the Philadelphia Eagles knock off the defending champion New England Patriots in 2018. Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs won last year but now it’s time to take a look at which teams are the top Superbowl contenders for the 2020 season.
In the Running
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
If you’ve been living under a rock and you haven’t heard that Tom Brady is heading to the Bucs then this is me telling you. Although the team went 7-9 last year, adding the best quarterback in the history the game to you team improves your odds. With top tier wide receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin (who gave Brady the number 12 jersey), this offense could light up.
The defense seems to be the real concern for Tampa Bay. Last year they were 29th in points allowed but only 15th in total yards per game given up. What that says to me is they were middle of the pack in holding opposing offense from driving the football.
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Jameis Winston accounted for 35 turnovers, which is probably why the scoring average was so high against the defense. They’d be higher up on the countdown but there’s just too many variables and unknown chemistry between Brady and crew.
What a year for the Titans right? In early November they were 4-5 and looked dead in the water. But second year coach Mike Vrabel made sure to turn the ship around before the season was lost. Tennessee finished the season on a 5-2 clip and rode that high all the way to the AFC Championship game.
“Why not us?” is something that was being said out of the Titans’ camp during the playoffs and I think that carries over. They just signed Ryan Tannehill to a huge deal, Derrick Henry’s back, and they have a stud defense. Henry and Tannehill could barely be stopped last year, and I think that continues and then some in 2020. Expect them to edge out the Texans and Colts for the AFC South crown.
Two years removed from the Superbowl victory against the Patriots, the Eagles still have their core intact. They’ve made the playoffs the last 2 seasons, going 9-7 in both years which proves this is still a great team. It’s not easy to make the postseason three straight years in this league.
Carson Wentz is one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL and being paired with head coach Doug Pederson makes him even better. His unique play calling and aggressive game plans has won the Eagles many games since he arrived, including Superbowl 52.
Unless the Dallas Cowboys somehow get their footing, the Eagles should be the first back-to-back champion in the NFC East since they did it back in 2004.
Surprised to see the Buffalo Bills this high on the list? You shouldn’t be. The Bills had a breakout season in 2019 and Bills Mafia has every right to be excited about what’s to come. I mean how about that Thanksgiving upset in Dallas!!
Although struggling with the deep ball last year, quarterback Josh Allen threw for 20 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. The previous year? 10 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. His completion percentage jumped from 52% to 59% and he also ran for over 500 yards and nine touchdowns in 2019.
Expect another big jump this upcoming season, especially with the acquisition of bona fide number receiver Stefon Diggs. Adding Diggs to the mix with Cole Beasley and John Brown, who both had career years last year, could spell great things for this offense.
Buffalo’s championship window was slightly cracked after this season but as Marcel Louis-Jacques of ESPN said, “Beane threw it wide open”, referencing the Diggs trade. It might make them one of the actual Superbowl contenders for the first time in 20 years.
Now, Josh Allen is an important piece to their 2020 success, but the real strength is their elite defense. This Buffalo defense finished 3rd in yards against and 2nd in points against, only giving up 16.2 points per game. Shutdown corner Tre’Davious White and safety duo Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer make this defense difficult to throw against in this pass-heavy league.
Green Bay Packers
Someone told me recently that Green Bay was the worst two-seed in the NFL Playoff in history. Maybe that’s a stretch, but 13-3 might’ve been a little high for the team’s overall quality. They were run over by the San Francisco 49ers twice in one season, the second time in the conference championship.
The reason they remain fairly high on this list is the obvious fact that they have Aaron Rodgers under center. One of the most, if not the most skilled quarterbacks of all time is all you need. Their defense started off hot and was sturdy throughout the season, except didn’t do well with stopping the run when they needed to most.
Top Superbowl Contenders
New Orleans Saints
Fresh off a new two-year $50 Million deal for Drew Brees, the Saints are ready to roll again. After a disappointing loss to the Minnesota Vikings in the Wild Card round, this team should be poised to bounce back. New Orleans has won 11 or more games in three straight seasons, including 13 the last two.
They were robbed in 2019 when the referees missed a blatant pass interference call deep into opposing territory which would have essentially given them a trip to Superbowl 53. Stefon Diggs pulled off a miracle touchdown to strip them of a shot at the Eagles in the NFC Championship in 2017, where they would’ve been favored.
The Saints are still very, very good but the division is much tougher than before. The Carolina Panthers just signed New Orleans’ backup QB Teddy Bridgewater to start for them. The Buccaneers just signed the greatest quarterback ever (see above). Plus, don’t knock me for saying this but the Atlanta Falcons are no slouch with Matt Ryan.
The statistics prove how important bye weeks are for a deep playoff run in the NFL. With the improving teams in their division, wins won’t come as easily for the Saints. So yes, the Saints are still one of the most likely Superbowl Contenders. But no, I don’t think it will be a 12- or 13-win year for New Orleans.
The Seahawks were so close to stealing the division from the San Francisco 49ers last season. How close? Literally inches away on the last play of the last game of the year. Yeah, that close.
Their season fell flat when they came up short in the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field in Green Bay. This is after they survived a first-round matchup with the Eagles 17-9, where workout fiend DK Metcalf put on a show for the world. Metcalf has the strength and speed to be a problem for defenses for years to come.
Russell Wilson finally looks to have a legitimate deep threat since Doug Baldwin parted ways with the team in 2018. If it weren’t for Lamar Jackson’s insane season, Wilson’s 4000+ yard, 31 touchdown, 5 interception season might’ve landed him the MVP.
Wilson has shown his competitive spirit on and off the field by putting serious extra time into his fitness and nutrition and has become the face of the franchise since the Legion of Boom broke up.
The only downfall for Seattle, like New Orleans, is their challenging division, which includes the reigning NFC Champion.
San Francisco 49ers
Let’s keep it right in the high contested NFC West for the next true Superbowl contender for next season. The 49ers had a breakout year which many actually did see coming even after a 4-12 record in 2018. This is probably due to Jimmy Garoppolo missing most of the 2018 year due to a torn ACL.
Their offense wasn’t anything spectacular last year but there will be improvement with third-year starter Jimmy G at quarterback. Combining the expected improvement with Kyle Shanahan’s killer play calling, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a noticeable jump on this side of the ball.
Drafting Nick Bosa number 2 overall in the 2019 NFL draft was a huge move alongside other key acquisitions in the offseason for their defense. They have perhaps the best pass rush in the entire NFL. They have a stout secondary led by All-Pro corner Richard Sherman. Two important aspects of a lights-out defense, which is what they were last year as the NFC’s top-ranked defense.
A lot of people think that the Baltimore Ravens will fall back to earth a little next year. Not to say they’ll have a bad year but just not a juggernaut 14-2 year like in 2019. The NFL has some great defensive minds and you know they are watching film and trying to figure out Lamar Jackson and that offense.
I think they will to a point, but Jackson is so talented the team won’t have much of a setback. Jackson threw for over 3000 yards and rushed for another 1200. He accounted for 43 touchdowns and 8 turnovers en route to the MVP. Good luck completely shutting that down.
Now on to the defense. Baltimore’s unit was 4th in the NFL in yards allowed and 3rd in points allowed. This is the backbone of this team that was somewhat forgotten due to Jackson’s big year. A great pass rush that only needs four on the line to create pressure. Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters combine to be maybe the starting cornerback duo in the league. The Ravens probably have top to bottom the best overall roster in the NFL.
Most Likely to win the Superbowl
Kansas City Chiefs
We have finally made it through all of the Superbowl contenders and only one remains. The Kansas City Chiefs have the best shot to win Superbowl 55. There’s no reason why this team can’t repeat as Superbowl Champions in 2020.
They just resigned Sammy Watkins and Chris Jones for big money. They have key players on cheap rookie deals. Travis Kelce is still the best tight end in the league and a target who defenses struggle to defend. Tyreek Hill is an absolute burner. Andy Reid is still of course the veteran play-caller next season.
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But the biggest reason of all is the obvious one – Patrick Mahomes. You can’t say enough about this guy. He’s a gamer through and through. Without his injury he might’ve challenged for the MVP. The difference with Mahomes is that the season he had is just par for the course (26 TD, 5 INT). Mahomes threw for 50 touchdowns in 2018, which he could easily do again in the 2020 season. Although he’s only three seasons into his career, he’s proven that he can be consistent.
The offense is solid now let’s move on to the defense – the Chief’s Achilles heel the last few years. After a slow start, they finished 7th in points against and provided their electric offense more opportunities to win games. That was the big difference in last year’s team that won it all and the 2018 team that fell short.