Positioned as potentially the biggest Super Bowl to date, the upcoming clash of the AFC and NFC champions next February at SoFi Stadium will be a star-studded battle. The game will be the first Super Bowl at the brand-new stadium in Inglewood. With that kind of mass appeal behind it, what better time than to look at which teams have positioned themselves as contenders for the Lombardi Trophy.
Below we take a look at the top three contenders vying for the title along with an off-the-beaten candidate trying to steal the show.
Led by future NFL Hall of Famer, and potentially the greatest player of all time, Tom Brady, the Bucs are vying to become back-to-back Super Bowl champions. If they are successful in doing so, they would be the first team since Brady’s almost ancient New England squads of 2003-04 (hello Deion Branch!) In addition to Brady, Tampa Bay’s weapons on defense have helped them stand out from a crowded NFC. The Bucs used this vaunted unit to their advantage when they blasted Kansas City 31-9 in last season’s Super Bowl.
Though the Chiefs got off to a slow start earlier this season, they are now rounding into form as the main contender in the AFC. Led by another all-world quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City still has the vaunted offense to make any defensive coordinator lose sleep at night. However, their Achilles heel this year has been their defense which has been cut to ribbons at times by the likes of the Chargers, Ravens, Titans, and Bills. Since K.C. seems to have gotten past their early-season slump, those early losses might not seem as damning, but still something to keep in mind as the Chiefs make another playoff run.
Behind the Chiefs and Tampa Bay are the surprising Arizona Cardinals. Mired as one of the NFL’s most lackluster franchises, Arizona has an opportunity to reach its first Super Bowl since Super Bowl XLIII. Led by a dynamic young roster headlined by quarterback Kyler Murray, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, linebackers Isaiah Simmons and Chandler Jones, the Cardinals have made a strong push for their first NFC West title since 2015. The one thing that is working against Arizona though is their relative lack of experience when it comes to the postseason. Though they do have some savvy veterans on the roster, the Cardinals might have a hard time dealing with the added playoff pressure in January.
Further down the list of contenders, you will find the “other” Los Angeles football team, the Chargers. While the former San Diego Chargers are not as highly regarded as the other teams on the list, they do have one thing in common: a game-changing quarterback. Reigning rookie of the year Justin Herbert has certainly lived up to the accolades in season two at the helm of the Bolts. Also, the Bolts have been able to stay relatively healthy on the season and already boast wins over playoff contenders Kansas City, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh.
Another team to keep an eye on would be New England (+1200). Buoyed by rookie quarterback Mac Jones, you can never truly count out a Bill Belichick squad and the Pats finally seem to be rounding into form.
Prediction: Though it would be reasonable to pick Brady as the favorite to win it all again, I mean he has done it more than any human in history, I like Arizona to emerge from the NFC and knock off Tampa Bay in the process. The Cardinals have the dynamic star power to hang with any team and should enjoy a straightforward stroll through the NFC West which should set them up for a first-round playoff bye.
|Odds to Win Super Bowl LVI (2022)|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+550|
|Kansas City Chiefs||+700|
|Los Angeles Rams||+850|
|Green Bay Packers||+1000|
|New England Patriots||+1200|
|Los Angeles Chargers||+2500|
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