The Super Bowl chase is upon us! We have our 14 teams gearing up for an early February run to Glendale. Who's going to make it to the Super Bowl this year?
To answer that, we must identify which teams can (or can't) make a run. These teams are ranked from favorites to hopeless. It'll range from their injury reports to just how good the teams are. Here's how it'll be broken down.
Let's get the three teams that are the heavy favorites out of the way. It's Kansas City, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati. These three squads are strong at nearly every position and are capable of making a deep run. They're also led by MVP candidates, ranging from Patrick Mahomes to Jalen Hurts to Joe Burrow. You can't go wrong with this trio, especially if you're betting in Las Vegas.
We're looking at the Buffalo Bills and the San Francisco 49ers. For Buffalo, nearly losing Damar Hamlin to death will motivate this team beyond measure. You saw that when the Bills defeated New England in Week 18 behind two kickoff returns for touchdowns (both by Nyheim Hines). I'm picking Buffalo to win the Super Bowl for this playoff run, especially since this team is on a clearcut mission to hoist the Lombardi trophy.
As for San Francisco, the team is motivated by Mr. "Irrelevant", Brock Purdy. The seventh-round pick has already thrown for 13 touchdowns and four interceptions this season (with only two interceptions coming in the Miami game, which he didn't start). Purdy looks comfortable in Kyle Shanahan's offense, which is promising for a team looking to win their sixth Super Bowl.
The Dark Horses
Now, let's look at the teams that could make a deep run. That consists of Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Jacksonville. You must keep an eye out for these squads come late January.
Despite the tribulations that he went through, Tom Brady still had a decent season. He was third in the NFL in passing yards (4,694) and still has solid receiving targets in Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. The Vikings have an awesome offense that can compete with anybody. Justin Jefferson should be in the MVP running and Kirk Cousins has been better. Dallas can make a deep run if two people get out of the way: Mike McCarthy and Dak Prescott. That means no miscues and poor playcalling.
The Chargers are getting healthy at the right time and have plenty of playmakers on their own. Jacksonville is seeing the uprising of Trevor Lawrence. However, it isn't just him: Foyesade Oluokon (league leader in tackles with 184) has been a good anchor for the defense. Plus, it helps to get rid of Urban Meyer in favor of a more seasoned coach in Doug Pederson.
The rest of the field has no hope (at least on paper). Either they're devastated by injuries or aren't built like the other contenders. Still, you can't help but root for them to make some noise in January.