Buying or selling Super Bowl LVI contenders

Are the LA Rams really Super Bowl contenders?

By: Chris Thomas

From the minute the Super Bowl ends speculation begins about who could make the Super Bowl the following year. The odds change throughout the offseason as hirings, signings, and the draft happens. At this point of the offseason, the Super Bowl odds seem pretty firm, barring anything crazy. 

Recently Sportsline came up with their Super Bowl odds for the 2022 NFL Season. According to CBS Sports, they simulate every NFL game 10,000 times to figure out their odds for who will win the Super Bowl. CBS Sports also reported that those who have bet $100 on their model since its inception six years ago are now up almost $7,900.

Even though there are so many talented teams around the league only two teams can make the Super Bowl and only one team can win it. There are a lot of loaded rosters across the league, but only a hand few could be considered Super Bowl contenders. Sportsline has set the odds for every team’s chance of winning the Super Bowl next season. Here is whether to buy or sell Sportsline top-10 Super Bowl contenders as teams who could win the Super Bowl. 

1. Kansas City Chiefs (+525)

Despite losing the Super Bowl last year, many believe the Kansas City Chiefs do have the best odds of winning the Super Bowl next year. It’s pretty hard to argue against it. Kansas City did not have many major losses across their roster this offseason. The Chiefs invested a lot of capital into their biggest weakness displayed during the Super Bowl which was their offensive line. They added veterans like Orlando Brown Jr. (via trade), Joe Thuney, Kyle Long, and Austin Blythe. Then drafted high upside interior offensive linemen Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith. Also, veteran guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff and 2020 third-round pick tackle Lucas Niang are returning to the team after opting out last season due to Covid-19. That unit is deep enough to ensure that former MVP Patrick Mahomes plays behind a top-10 offensive line all year. 

Kansas City does not have any major holes across its roster. They have done a great job retaining veterans and filling voids on their roster with high draft picks over the last couple of seasons. The combination of having an MVP caliber quarterback, consistency in the roster, and fantastic coaching is what makes the Chiefs a potential Super Bowl contender this season.

Verdict: Buying

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+650)

It would be shocking to not have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers high on this list. The reigning Super Bowl champs did the impossible this past offseason and managed to retain every single player that started during the Super Bowl for them. Tampa Bay somehow managed to retain Shaquil Barrett, Chris Godwin, Ndamukong Suh, Leonard Fournette, and Rob Gronkowski in free agency. They also retained veterans Steve McLendon, Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Succop, and signed veteran running back Giovanni Bernard to join their running back committee. During the draft, Tampa Bay took the best player available and Jason Pierre-Pauls potential replacement next offseason Joe Tryon. Adding a prospect like Tryon to a defense that was capable of holding Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs to nine points during the Super Bowl was a great move. 

After last season it seems that anytime Tom Brady is a team’s starting quarterback they have a chance of winning the Super Bowl. Another season of Brady in that system with the outstanding weapons he has including Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski, (A healthy) O.J. Howard, a plethora of great running backs, and outstanding defensive play could result in the Buccaneers winning back-to-back Super Bowls. 

Verdict: Buying

3. Buffalo Bills (+1300)

After the two teams who played in the Super Bowl last year, there is a cluster of teams that could prevent one of them from getting to the big game. Sportsline has the Buffalo Bills as the team most likely to take down the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC and win the Super Bowl. At times last season the Bills looked like the best team in football. Quarterback Josh Allen took a massive leap and asserted himself as a top-10 quarterback and finished the season as the runner-up to the MVP. Last year they also added Stefon Diggs who was arguably the best receiver in all of football. Diggs led the league in receptions and receiving yards last year. On top of that, the Bills have an extremely solid roster with a couple of former Pro Bowl defensive players including Tre’Davious White and Tremaine Edmonds. They let go of John Brown who missed most of last season and replaced him with Emmanuel Sanders. 

The Bills are a really good team, but it is important to ask, how much better did the Bills get this offseason. Buffalo retained a lot of their starters from the year prior and brought in Sanders, but they did not bring any fresh blood who can make a major impact on this roster. During the draft, the Bills spent their first two selections on defensive linemen Gregory Rousseau and Carlos “Boogie” Basham. Both help fill the need Buffalo has for a premier pass rusher. But with all the veteran depth on this roster both in the interior and on the edge, how often are they going to be seeing the field next season? The answer is not extremely likely unless they show immediately that they are better than veterans Jerry Hughes, Mario Addison, Efe Obada, and 2020 second-round pick A.J. Epenesa. The sad truth is that Buffalo didn’t add enough to their roster to potentially become the sole favorite in the AFC and defeated the Kansas City Chiefs. 

Verdict: Selling

T4. Baltimore Ravens (+1400)

Since Lamar Jackson became the starting quarterback of the Ravens during the 2018-19 NFL season the Ravens have been one of the most dominant teams in the league. The Ravens are expected to continue that this season and may go farther this year than they have in Jackson’s previous three seasons. A couple of veteran players left Baltimore in free agency this offseason including Mark Ingram, Willie Snead IV, Matt Skura, D.J. Fluker, Matthew Judon, and Yannick Ngakoue. But the Ravens did a great job reloading their roster with more veteran and young talent this offseason to replace those players. In free agency, Baltimore added Kevin Zeitler, Alejandro Villanueva, Sammy Watkins, Ja’Wuan James (expected to miss the entire 2021-22 season), and Justin Houston. In the draft, Baltimore added both wide receiver Rashod Bateman and Odafe “Jayson” Oweh in the first round after they acquired a second first-round pick in the Orlando Brown Jr. trade.

It is hard to argue against Baltimore having one of the deepest rosters in the league, even after the roster turnover. The biggest factors for how Baltimore will perform this year will be the Ravens passing game and pass rush. The Ravens have gotten below-average play from their wide receivers in recent years, Baltimore hopes the additions of Rashod Bateman and Sammy Watkins could boost the team’s production from that position. The pass rush may have been a concern, but after adding Odafe Owey and Justin Houston to this loaded defense the Ravens should be able to generate enough pressure from the outside to play at a high level. Since Lamar Jackson’s contract is looming over the Ravens’ future this may be Baltimore’s best opportunity to win a Super Bowl with Jackson under center on a rookie contract. 

Verdict: Buying

T4. Los Angeles Rams (+1400)

The Los Angeles Rams started the offseason making a huge trade to upgrade their quarterback position. Before the Super Bowl, the Rams agreed to trade Jared Goff, their 2022 first-round pick, and 2023 first-round pick to the Detroit Lions for Matthew Stafford. This trade signals that the Rams believe they are a quarterback upgrade away from being a Super Bowl contender. A lot of notable players left the team in free agency including Josh Reynolds, Samson Ebukam, Gerald Everett, Malcolm Brown, Austin Blythe, John Johnson III, and Troy Hill. Not to mention they traded away Michael Brockers to free up salary space. The biggest addition the Rams made to this roster is DeSean Jackson who joins a deep receiving core including Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and Van Jefferson. The Rams didn’t have a first-round pick due to the Jalen Ramsey trade. They did not add any players who are expected to have an immediate impact, instead, they could likely develop into contributors in year two or three with the team. 

The Rams have a few players on the roster that are considered elite at their position including Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey. Then they have a couple of players who are great including Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Leonard Floyd, Matthew Stafford, and Andrew Whitworth. But after those guys, the Rams are relying on a bunch of unproven players who at best couple be solid. This roster is extremely delicate. One injury to a Rams star and they could miss the playoffs. Already the Rams have lost 2020 second-round pick running back Cam Akers to a torn Achilles before training camp. Everything for the Rams would have to go perfectly for them to have a shot at the Super Bowl with their current roster construction.

Verdict: Selling

T4. San Fransisco 49ers (+1400)

It is easily forgotten that the San Fransisco 49ers were in the Super Bowl two years ago. After a season derailed by multiple injuries, the 49ers made the most discussed transaction of the offseason. The 49ers traded two future first-round picks to acquire the third overall pick in this past draft. They used that selection of quarterback Trey Lance. The 49ers lost Richard Sherman and few depth pieces but overall had a positive offseason adding solid pieces in Alex Mack, Samson Ebukam, Maurice Hurst, Arden Key, and Wayne Gallman. Their best signing may be the extending left tackle Trent Williams to a six-year $138 million deal. 

Looking at their roster it is clear that the 49ers can be one of the league’s best if they stay healthy. On offense, they have an elite running game and three outstanding pass catchers in George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, and second-year receiver Brandon Aiyuk. Behind their offensive line, it may not matter if Jimmy Garoppolo or Trey Lance is under center. Then the 49ers’ defense still can be as elite as it was two years ago with all their premier talent. If the 49ers could stay healthy and make it out of the NFC West they are as dangerous as any team in the NFL. 

Verdict: Buying

7. Green Bay Packers(+1600)

Since the NFL Draft, the most talked about team in the league has been the Green Bay Packers. The reasoning is that it became public knowledge that league MVP Aaron Rodgers wants to be traded from the team. He felt he has been mistreated by management and would rather go to a situation where he feels he will be treated as he should. Besides that, the Packers have had an okay offseason. Green Bay lost All-Pro center Corey Linsley and running back Jamaal Williams in free agency. They brought in free agents De’Vondre Campbell and Dennis Kelly to fill voids on their roster. Green Bay also retained cornerback Kevin King on a one-year deal and Pro Bowl running back Aaron Jones to a four-year $48 million deal. During the first round of the draft, they added Eric Stokes to upgrade their CB2 spot that was exposed during the NFC Championship.

In all honesty, the Packers have an extremely loaded roster. But their biggest problem this season may be what happens in the locker room. After negotiating with Packers brass Aaron Rodgers agreed to come to training camp under the condition that the Packers trade him following this season. Since he has returned he has been extremely passive-aggressive about all that has happened and seems to have the Packers organization doing his bidding. That bidding included traded for veteran receiver and former Packer Randall Cobb who will now likely start over third-round pick rookie Amari Rodgers in the slot. On top of that All-Pro receiver Davante Adams has now expressed that he may leave the Packers this offseason, especially if Aaron Rodgers isn’t there. Both Rodgers and Adams are under the impression that this is the “last dance” and this is their last shot to win it all before they both split from Green Bay this offseason. It is hard to recall a time where a team with this much dysfunction in the locker room won a Super Bowl. 

Verdict: Selling

8. Cleveland Browns (+1800)

After their outstanding performance, last season the Cleveland Browns are being recognized as a potential Super Bowl contender last season. Cleveland had a fantastic offseason as well. The Browns signed John Johnson III, Troy Hill, Jadeveon Clowney, Takk McKinley, Malik Jackson, Anthony Walker Jr., and resigned Rashad Higgins. They also had a great draft taking two first-round talents in cornerback Greg Newsome II and linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in the first two rounds. 

It is hard to find a major hole across this roster. The biggest factor for the Browns this season is the play of Baker Mayfield. So far throughout his career, he has played well but is considered an average NFL quarterback. In year two playing for Kevin Stefanski, Mayfield hopes to make that leap. A healthy Odell Beckham Jr. should help Mayfield realize his potential as long as he doesn’t feel pressure to force plays to Beckham as he has in the past. What may hold this team back at the end of the day is the team’s inexperience in huge games. Last year the Browns managed to pick up a playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers and came close to beating the Kansas City Chiefs. But it is hard to call the Browns a contender without evidence that they can defeat the teams at the top of the AFC let alone the entire league. 

Verdict: Selling

9. Denver Broncos (+2000)

The most shocking team to appear on this list is the Denver Broncos. According to Sportsline, the team that went 5-11 a season ago has the ninth-best odds of winning the Super Bowl. That sounds crazy but after acknowledging all of the Broncos offseason moves it doesn’t seem entirely impossible. They let go of a few veterans including Phillip Lindsay, Jurrell Casey, A.J. Bouye, and Ja’Wuan James. But Denver added to Pro Bowl-caliber cornerbacks in Kyle Fuller and Ronald Darby to go with their star-studded secondary that features Bryce Callahan, Justin Simmons, and Kareem Jackson. Simmons and Jackson received extensions from the Broncos this offseason as well as Garrett Bolles and Shelby Harris. During the draft, Denver elected not to draft a quarterback and took cornerback Patrick Surtain II in the first round. 

The most impactful move the Broncos made this offseason can be the acquisition of former Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. He is engaged in a quarterback competition with Drew Lock. That uncertainty at quarterback is what holds Denver out of conversations as legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Denver has a very exciting young offense and premier defensive talent. But their below-average quarterback play likely caps their ceiling at around .500. If Drew Lock wins the quarterback job and breaks out then the Broncos may have a chance of making the playoffs. The only way Denver becomes Super Bowl contenders is if Lock plays at least at a Pro Bowl level or possibly an MVP level.

Verdict: Selling

T10. Indianapolis Colts (+3000)

So far the Indianapolis Colts have not had an outstanding training camp. Freak foot injuries to their new franchise quarterback Carson Wentz and All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson have tempered the expectations for the team. However, both may be able to return from their injuries around Week 1. Earlier the Colts made the trade to acquire Wentz from the Eagles to replace the recently retired Philip Rivers. They gave up a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second-round pick for Wentz. That conditional second-round pick would become a first-round pick if Wentz plays 75% of the snaps or if he plays 70% of the snaps and the Colts made the playoffs. This offseason Colts lost both of their starting edge rushers Denico Autry and Justin Houston, veteran quarterback Jacoby Brissett, linebacker Anthony Walker Jr., and former first-round pick Malik Hooker. But they managed to retain Xavier Rhodes, T.Y. Hilton, and Marlon Mack. The Colts also signed former Chiefs left tackle Eric Fisher. During the draft, the Colts took pass rusher Kwity Paye towards the end of the first round. 

The Indianapolis Colts have a nice blend of younger players and veterans throughout their roster. But they feel like they’re missing another x-factor player to make them legitimate contenders. That player could be Carson Wentz if he returns to his form during the 2017-18 season. Besides Jonathan Taylor behind the Colts’ elite offensive line, there are a lot of questions about their offense. What Carson Wentz will the Colts get, Is T.Y. Hilton still a threat on offense, and can Michael Pittman Jr. emerge as the Colts’ number one receiver. Defensively the Colts have enough to be legitimate Super Bowl contenders. It all comes down to the offense that would need to take a big leap forward for this team to become a Super Bowl contender. 

Verdict: Selling

T10. New Orleans Saints (+3000)

As it stands right now it appears the New Orleans Saints missed their Super Bowl window over the last four seasons. But they still have an extremely talented roster. The Saints lost some of their major contributors from a season ago including Emmanuel Sanders, Trey Hendrickson, Sheldon Rankins, Janoris Jenkins, and Jared Cook. They also brought in a couple of solid veterans in Nick Vannett, Tanoh Kpassagnon, J.R. Sweezy, Jeff Heath, and Brian Poole. Their first-round pick this past year was a puzzling one. They reached on edge rusher Payton Turner who many had a Day 2 grade on. 

The biggest storyline in New Orleans has been what the Saints do at quarterback in the post-Drew Brees era. New Orleans retained both Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill who are both expected to compete for the starting quarterback job. It doesn’t help that their number one receiver Michael Thomas is expected to miss a huge amount of time due to a lingering ankle injury. The Saints are not very deep at receiver after Thomas. New Orleans still has a lot of talent across this roster but will need trustworthy play at quarterback to make the playoffs next season let alone win the Super Bowl. 

Verdict: Selling

Which all time great quarterback is more likely to win another Super Bowl: Rodgers or Brady?

Is Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers more likely to win another Super Bowl?

By: Jeremy Trottier

Two of the greatest quarterbacks of this generation still remain in the NFL playing to this day, that being Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.  These two quarterbacks have had extremely successful careers from an individual standpoint, and Brady has had an extremely successful team career as well with his seven SuperBowl victories.  With that said, both quarterbacks seem to be in a good position to make a deep playoff run again in the 2021-2022 season.  In this article, I will be going over each team in depth and coming to a conclusion as to which of these two elite QBs has a better chance to get another ring this year.

Tom Brady – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The reigning SuperBowl champions return into next season with all 22 of their starting lineup from last season, which is a huge feat as this is extremely uncommon.  The Bucs are the first team to return all 22 starters to an SB roster during the salary cap era, and the first to do it overall since 1979 when the Pittsburgh Steelers did the same thing and repeated as SB champs the next season.  The chances of this happening with a salary cap now are very, very slim, but the Bucs were able to do it with franchise tagging Chris Godwin and signing the rest of their free agents.

They will also be returning Antonio Brown to the team, who after a solid showing in 2021 with them should be looking to have a breakout season as WR3 on the roster behind Mike Evans and the previously mentioned Chris Godwin.  They will also get Alex Cappa back at offensive tackle from the IR, a full-strength Ali Marpet after his mid-season injuries, O.J. Howard from his almost full season of IR, as well as A.Q. Shipley and Brad Seaton to bolster the O-line off IR.

Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers

One of the main things we see with Rodgers that we do not with Brady is his improvisational skills outside the pocket and even his mobility at times.  This gives the Packers the benefit of not necessarily needing an elite offensive line but more focusing on the defense and weapons around Rodgers.  The Packers have a good secondary, even great with the addition of a true CB2 in Eric Stokes, but their linebacking core and edge rushers are relatively lacking at the moment outside Preston Smith.  De’Vondre Campbell is definitely a quality starter, but nothing elite, and with Kingsley Keke injured at the moment their next option at DE is Tyler Lancaster or Delontae Scott alongside Dean Lowry.

The Packers have more upside from their top receiver, however, as Davante Adams is arguably the top receiver in the NFL currently, top three at the least.  They also brought back Randall Cobb and drafted Amari Rodgers to have alongside Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling.  Robert Tonyan at the TE spot will definitely also be a high-quality starter after his extremely strong efficiency in the red zone last season.

Overview

After reviewing the two rosters at their current states before the pre-season, and where they will likely be with their rookie and free-agent additions/losses, I would say the Buccaneers and Tom Brady have the edge to take home another Super Bowl ring.  The main contributing factor is the Packers struggles in the front seven outside Kenny Clark and Preston Smith, while the Bucs have an absolutely amazing front seven and solid secondary. 

If the Packers were able to add at least one more quality linebacker and edge rusher, then they could be significantly closer to the likes of Tampa Bay, but for now it seems that Brady is firmly in the drivers seat in terms of which of the two QBs has better odds to win another ring.

Why the Saints are still Super Bowl contenders

Saints roster is still very talented

By: Reese Nasser

The New Orleans Saints could be one of the most intriguing teams heading into this upcoming season. The team returning will be very similar to the team that won the NFC South for the past four seasons and finished 2020 with a 12-4 record. 

There is just one glaring difference for this team heading into 2021; longtime quarterback Drew Brees is now retired. After leading the Saints since 2006, the QB1 decided to call it a career. The 13-time pro bowl quarterback had a career that will cement him among some of the greatest ever. But the Saints may be ready for life post-Brees. 

In the past two seasons, Brees missed nine games. In those nine games, New Orleans had a record of 8-1. They have proved that they are capable of still winning games without Brees and this upcoming season will be where they fully get to showcase that. 

The Saints will be a competitive team in 2021. The culture that they have created within the team will allow for nothing less. New Orleans could be a super bowl contender this season. Here’s why. 

Talented Defense

The Saints have a defense with veterans at every level. With Cameron Jordan leading the defensive line, Demario Davis leading the linebackers, and Malcolm Jenkins leading the secondary, this defense has capable playmakers at every point. 

The group that they have assembled is proven and will be nearly identical in 2021. They finished last season allowing 310 yards per game and 21.06 points per game, ranking fourth and fifth in both categories. They held opponents to less than 20 points on six occasions last season. 

If the defense is able to play at the same level as they did last season, this team will have a fighting chance in any game that they play in. An above average defense can also be enough to get a team to a SuperBowl appearance. That has been seen throughout NFL history. 

Top Offensive-Line

The New Orleans offensive line is one of the best in the NFL. Led by Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramcyzk, the Saints have put out a group that has been consistent for years. 

When running on all gears, this is arguably the NFL’s best group in the trenches. An elite offensive line can take a team far. And it can help diminish the other problems that the offense may have. 

Star wide receiver Michael Thomas may miss significant time due to off-season surgery. If Thomas is out for sometime, this offense could struggle in the beginning. Losing a player of Thomas’s caliber and having younger wideouts in a position where they have to make a play could be an issue for this offense. The o-line being able to hold blocks and let plays develop could keep this offensive unit alive at points. 

Alvin Kamara

Running back Alvin Kamara could be the x-factor for this team. His offensive presence alongside the elite offensive line could take this team far. 

Kamara has proven to be one of the most versatile players in the NFL. He reached the end zone 16 times on the ground and another five times through the air. His 21 touchdowns led the NFL. 

It would come at no shock if Kamara has a similar workload in 2021. This Saints team could go as far as their veteran running back takes them. If he is able to play at a high level, as he has for most of his career, he could be the leagues best running back this season. 

While a Super Bowl appearance could be slim to none, this team could still be competitive and at least have a fighting chance. Having a reliable defense, a top offensive line, and a star running back, paired with a veteran quarterback in Jameis Winston, this team will always have a fighting chance. Don’t count the Saints out in 2021. 

Why Wentz’s Colts are really Super Bowl contenders

Carson Wentz will return to being a star QB as an Indianapolis Colt

By: Adam Hulse (@AdamHulseSports)

The Indianapolis Colts are one of the teams with Super Bowl hopes heading into the 2021 NFL season. According to the Draft Kings Sports Book, they have the ninth best odds to win the Super Bowl this season and the fifth best odds to win the AFC Conference. After the Tampa Bay Bucs, Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills, who are clearly the top three most likely teams to win it all this year, the Colts are one of the teams in that second tier who can be real contenders this season. Here are some reasons why they are right in the mix.

Favorable Schedule

According to the strength of schedule rankings based on team records from last season, the Colts have the ninth easiest schedule in the NFL heading into this upcoming year. They also play in an AFC South division that appears to be a two team race right now between the Colts and the Tennessee Titans. The Houston Texans are a mess right now while rebuilding and might not even have star quarterback Deshaun Watson this season, or at least for part of it, because of the off the field issues he is currently dealing with. The Jacksonville Jaguars are an improving team in the middle of their own rebuild but probably are not ready to really compete yet. All of these factors combined give the Colts a very favorable schedule situation this season with a relatively easier path to the NFL postseason as either a division winner or even a wild card.

Solid Roster

The Colts are a well balanced team that do not have any real weaknesses. Last season, their offense ranked 10th in total yards, 9th in points scored, 11th in passing yards, and 11th in rushing yards. Their defense ranked 8th in yards allowed, 10th in points allowed, 5th in turnovers forced, and 12th in sacks. This shows that they were firmly in the top half of the league for almost all measures on both sides of the ball. They win in a wide variety of ways and have no real weak spot for an opposing team to expose.

They have a very solid roster that is talented at all of the position groups. They have one of the top offensive lines in the NFL lead by the best overall blocker in guard Quentin Nelson. Their stable of multiple running backs is lead by a young emerging star in Jonathan Taylor and they have many contributing wide receivers and tight ends that can spread the field. They are solid at all three levels on defense and even have a good special teams unit as well. Position for position on paper, they match up with any team in the league.

The Quarterback Situation

In theory, the Colts believe they made a major upgrade at quarterback this season by acquiring Carson Wentz from the Philadelphia Eagles to replace the now retired Philip Rivers. The Colts were already a playoff team last season, and came very close to upsetting the Bills, so if they did in fact improve at quarterback then they definitely increase their chances of a Super Bowl run greatly. Wentz has struggled in his last couple of years but he was playing at an MVP caliber level before his major injury.

The best version of Wentz was back in 2017 where he was a favorite to win MVP before going down with an injury. Through 11 games that season he threw for 3296 yards with 33 touchdowns against just 7 interceptions and a strong 78.5 QBR. That’s a big difference from his 2020 campaign where he eventually lost his starting job to Jalen Hurts. Last year across 12 games played he threw 2620 yards with just 16 touchdowns against an alarming 15 interceptions and a very disappointing 49.6 QBR.

In comparison, Rivers last season for the Colts played all 16 games while throwing for 4196 yards with 24 touchdowns against 11 interceptions and a 62.5 QBR. That’s definitely better than what Wentz was able to do for the Eagles last year but nowhere near as good as the 2017 Wentz. In Fact, Rivers has never in his very solid career had a season as good as Wentz was having in 2017. It’s that version of Wentz that the Colts believe they can revive this upcoming season and why they believe it is a huge upgrade at the quarterback position.

Interestingly, when Wentz was playing his best football it was under the offensive scheme of Frank Reich, who is now the head coach of the Colts. The belief of the organization, and the reason why they went out and got Wentz, is that pairing him back up with Reich will get him back on track. It is surely a gamble considering how far he has fallen off, but if they are right then the Colts instantly become a serious Super Bowl contender. After all, the Eagles team that won the Super Bowl was not as talented as this Colts team is now. The fate of the Colts this season is directly linked to what version of Wentz is playing quarterback.

How the Chiefs learned from their Super Bowl mistakes this offseason: evolution of the OL

By: Brady Akins

The Kansas City Chiefs, the champions of 2019’s Super Bowl 54 and the back-to-back champions of the AFC, are not stupid.

Perhaps you don’t need anyone to tell you that, but regardless, it bears repeating. The Kansas City Chiefs, a model of consistency for years in the NFL and more recently the model for championship-level success, are not stupid.

Rather, the Kansas City Chiefs are well built, from top to bottom. Andy Reid has never been the kind of coach who attempts to fit square pegs into round holes. You will never see Reid attempting to force an outdated style of offense into the modern NFL simply because it’s how things used to be done. Rather, Reid adapts. His offenses change as the personnel changes. Because of this, Kansas City thrives.

Similarly, Brett Veach has never been the type of general manager who sat on his hands when an opportunity presents itself. He was in the front office when the team traded an arm and a leg to trade up 17 spots and draft Patrick Mahomes when they had the chance. He was the man in charge when they offered Mahomes a historically high-value contract, and he’s been in lock-step with Reid since day one, building a roster that has recognized its championship window and capitalized on it. 

One more time, for those in the back of the room, the Kansas City Chiefs are not stupid.

And so, it comes as no surprise that the smart, well-coached, well ran Chiefs have had an offseason for the ages. It’s no surprise that a coach as sharp as Reid and a general manager as aggressive as Veach were able to identify their roster’s most glaring weakness, address it in a variety of ways over the span of months, and transform that weakness into a strength.

That weakness of course being the offensive line. 

It doesn’t take a football mastermind to figure that out. You don’t need hours of film study to identify the holes in the Chiefs’ near-perfect roster.  One look at one game, Super Bowl 55, will show you all you needed to know. One glance at the stat sheet, one that shows that Patrick Mahomes was pressured on nearly half of his total dropbacks, lets even the most casual of NFL observers know that this line was a problem.

But not anymore.

Patrick Mahomes is an All-Pro, and possibly the best player in the league at his position. Tyreek Hill is an All-Pro, and possibly the best player in the league at his position. Travis Kelce is an All-Pro, and, well, you get the idea.

And that’s just on offense. Look toward the opposite side of the ball and you’ll see more of the same. Players like Chris Jones and Tyrann Mathieu are established NFL superstars, while players like L’Jarius Sneed and Willie Gay are fast approaching that level. 

All of this star power is what drove the Chiefs to a 14-2 regular-season record, the best in the NFL. It’s the star power that propelled Kansas City to win yet another AFC Championship with relative ease, despite that nagging issue on the line.

But all the star power in the world couldn’t mask that weakness when the chips were down. Super Bowl 55 was a blowout, and not in the favor Kansas City had come to expect with their recent playoff success. 

But Kansas City’s offseason overhaul happened. Their efforts to address the offensive line weren’t a patchwork job, but rather a top to bottom remodeling. Combine the superstars from the 2020 Kansas City Chiefs with the solidity of the 2021 Chiefs offensive line, and what you have is a perfect storm brewing in Kansas City.

This team was one game away from back-to-back NFL titles. Now, they’ve fixed their only issue. And they’re coming for the throne. Not just for another Super Bowl, but for the honor of the greatest football team in decades.

Who Were the Kansas City Chiefs in 2020?

A wrecking ball. A nearly unstoppable force. Perfect? No. Well, actually, they were pretty close to perfect. At least as perfect as you could expect.

Football is the ultimate team game, one where all 11 offensive starters, all 11 defensive starters, all the backups, all the coaches and coordinators and just about every member of the franchise in the stadium on game day needs to be constantly on their game. One position group, one player, or any deficiency whatsoever can be the difference between winning and losing.

And the Chiefs weren’t just better than any team in the AFC, or better than every team in the regular season, but they were among the best in just about every conceivable metric.

Despite having a quarterback who earned a reputation as a gunslinger in college, one who threw 29 interceptions through 32 college games, the Chiefs finished top five in the NFL in total turnovers, and were top ten in turnover differential.

Despite having a rushing attack that ranked toward the middle of the pack, the Kansas City offense as a whole flourished, finished ranked sixth in points per game and first yards per game. No other team in the league averaged more than 400 yards per game. The Chiefs broke that mark with room to spare, averaging over 415 in 2020.

Somehow, the individual stats are even more impressive.

Mahomes in 2020 was, once again, among the league’s best quarterbacks in just about every aspect you could ask for from a burgeoning Hall of Fame player. Not only was he first in wins, but Mahomes finished second in passing yards, second in quarterback rating, third in passer rating, fourth in total passing touchdowns and first in interception percentage. And after rewriting the standard for quarterback greatness in 2018, winning MVP honors in just his first year as a starter, this 2020 season was considered a relatively down year for Mahomes.

Of course, the quarterback had help, namely in the form of Kelce and Hill, two pass-catchers who have proven to be elite in their own right. Kelce, a tight end, finished second overall in 2020 for receiving yards with 1,416. The next highest tight end, Darren Waller of the Raiders, ended the season with 1,196 yards, despite playing one more game than Kelce. In fact, Kelce’s season marked the first time that a tight end has ever had more than 1,400 receiving yards in one year.

Hill had an impressive season himself, albeit in the shadow of Kelce’s historic 15-game stretch. On 87 catches, only the 17th most in the league in 2020, Hill ended the year with 1,276 receiving yards, the eighth-best in the league. Hill outdid himself in his ability to reach the endzone too, ending the year with 15 receiving touchdowns, the most behind only Davante Adams.

The offense is the bread and butter of the Kansas City Chiefs’ well-oiled operation, but it’s far from the only standout part. The Kansas City defense also finished as a top ten unit in points allowed per game, as well as quarterback rating allowed and turnover percentage.

The defense will never be mistaken as the strength of the Kansas City roster during the Reid era, but it’s far from a weakness. With an offense as star-studded as the one the Chiefs wield, the defense can afford to allow some touchdowns,  but they don’t even do that. Finishing top ten in both scoring offense and defense, Kansas City ended up second in point differential following the regular season.

And remember, all of this statistical dominance and offensive spectacle came before the moves made to address the offensive line. Kansas City retained all of their key contributors from the team that made the Super Bowl in 2020, the team that played so brilliantly for so long. The one thing holding them back from immortality, that pesky offensive line. 

Heading into 2021, the Chiefs made it their mission to make sure that one issue was addressed.

Fixing The Offensive Line

The Chiefs’ depth chart for Week 1 listed these five men as starters on the offensive line. From left tackle to right, the list went Eric Fisher, Kelechi Osemele, Austin Reiter, Andrew Wylie and Mitchell Schwartz.

Only Wylie remains on the Chiefs roster of those original five. Replacing them, a series of trade assets, free agent signings, and even draft picks looking to prove themselves. After the remodel, the Kansas City line has the chance to ascend from the group that gave away a Super Bowl, to a group that can help carry a team to a Super Bowl.

Fisher is gone. Stepping into his place at left tackle, the much younger Orlando Brown, a player who has made two Pro Bowls in his first three seasons. Brown fell all the way to the middle of the third round in the 2018 NFL Draft, and the Baltimore Ravens took him and made him a star. After trading a collection of draft picks to Baltimore, that star power is now coming to Kansas City.

Osemele is gone. Likely to replace him is Kyle Long, one of Kansas City’s free-agent acquisitions. Long is an NFL veteran, but a plug-and-play talent with three Pro Bowls to his name. After not playing for the entirety of the 2020 season, Long is back, and looking to prove himself. 

Reiter is gone, but a rookie steps in to potentially take his place as a starter. Creed Humphrey, Kansas City’s second-round pick in 2021, comes from the Oklahoma Sooners after a decorated college career. Humphrey finished as a freshman All-American in 2018, a Second-Team All-American in 2019, and a Third-Team All-American in 2020. He was the Big-12 co-offensive lineman of the year in 2019, and the sole winner in 2020. All this to say, the big guy can play. And he could be just the right player to put the Chiefs’ offensive line back on track.

Wylie isn’t gone, but he might be gone from the opening week starting spot. Joe Thuney comes in from New England as another free agent guard signings. Thuney has played five seasons in the NFL, has never missed a start, and was a part of two Super Bowl-winning Patriots teams. 2016 and 2018, New England’s two championship seasons with Thuney, the guard started on an offensive line that finished top five in sacks allowed.

The depth behind these new potential starters might be even more solid than the starters themselves. Lucas Niang will be a second-year tackle for the Chiefs and is a player with a decorated college resume that rivals Humphrey’s. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif rejoins Kansas City as a more than capable guard, one who sat out the 2020 season, but actually started for the Chiefs in their 2019 Super Bowl victory. And Austin Blythe, another Chiefs free agent signing, could even be Kansas City’s starting center himself, coming off the Rams roster where he started all 16 games at the position for Los Angeles.

The influx of talent on the Kansas City roster is concentrated nearly entirely on the offensive line, and in a way that covers all their bases. If the team needs youth and high ceilings, they have that in Brown, Humphrey and Niang. If they need seasoned veterans to come in and be solid, above-average players, Long, Thuney and Blythe will be there.

The Kansas City Chiefs were a couple of offensive line offseason acquisitions away from building an NFL superweapon. A Death Star of an offense, ran by Sith Lord Patrick Mahomes and all the toys he could need to wreck shop on a regular basis.

What Kansas City did instead of making a couple of moves was go all the way in. The Chiefs have completely remodeled their biggest weakness, and it could spell trouble for the rest of the league. 

The Ascension of Kansas City

As a reminder, the Kansas City Chiefs are not stupid. They are not a stubborn team that simply seeks to run it back. 

The Chiefs got close, and how could they not? Their control over the rest of the NFL shows up on the stat sheets. Kansas City players constantly found their names on the top of the stat sheets, some of them even made history, and it all came together to form a complete group that coasted to 14 wins. 

And rather than chalking up their Super Bowl defeat to bad luck, rather than sitting on their hands and opening the dice roll better for them next year, Kansas City took action. The Chiefs identified their weakness after that Super Bowl loss, and moved Heaven and Earth to fix it. The near-perfect team, with Hall of Famers lining the roster like it’s a Madden Dynasty, just got a whole lot better at roster spot that needed the most attention.

All of a sudden, that near-perfect team from 2020 is looking about as close to perfect as you can get for 2021. 

The Colts are the Super Bowl Darkhorse in the AFC

The Indianapolis Colts are a real Super Bowl contender in the AFC

By: Noah Nichols

The Indianapolis Colts finished the 2020 NFL regular season in disappointing fashion. It started with a 21-0 lead on the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second-to-last game of the regular season. The Steelers would rally, and the Colts would falter, ultimately losing to the Steelers 28-24. The Colts would then wallop the Jacksonville Jaguars the following week, but then lose the week after in the playoffs to the Buffalo Bills. The loss against the Bills showed that the Colts had mostly everything they needed to win playoff games. And perhaps even win a Super Bowl. But Phillip Rivers retired in the off-season, which led to Carson Wentz being brought in to be the starting quarterback.

This leads to a few questions. First of all, can Carson Wentz play to the same level as Phillip Rivers did in 2020? Can the Colts improve on being good everywhere, and ascend to great? There are a few reasons to believe that the answer to those questions might be yes. And if the Colts can improve in those areas, then the Super Bowl is certainly not out of the question. And the fact that almost no one is talking about the Colts should provide a little fuel to the fire. The Colts have been pushed aside, left aside by the media in favor of flashy teams like the Bills, or Tennessee Titans.

That might be a mistake.

“You move teams. You go through what Carson has gone through, and an opportunity like this presents itself you use it for what it is. It’s time to hit the reset button. If you know Carson the way I know him, he’s embracing that.” Frank Reich knows that Carson Wentz struggled in 2020. Reich was not going to ignore it, probably because there was no way he could deny how awful Wentz was in 2020. But that does not mean that Reich no longer believes in Wentz. If that was the case, Wentz would not be a Colt.

Wentz could be, scratch that, is the x-factor for the Colts in 2021. His job is to replace Phillip Rivers’ level of play with something similar, and hopefully, better. A new situation is good for Wentz. He needed out of Philadelphia. Especially after these stats which he posted last year. Wentz led the NFL in interceptions (15) and sacks (50) while posting career-lows in completion percentage (.574), touchdown-to-interception ratio (16-to-15), and yards per attempt (6.0). Not looking so good.

But the Eagles had drafted a quarterback in the second round, and faced injuries on offense that, at times, seemed insurmountable. But that begs the question, can Reich fix Wentz? Possibly. But Reich doesn’t need to fix Wentz. He just needs Wentz to produce like Rivers did in 2020. Rivers threw for roughly 4,200 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. His completion percentage was 68 percent, a career high by four points.

Wentz does not have to play that much better to reach those stat lines. He wont be running for his life in 2021. Instead of playing behind the worst offensive line in the NFL last year, he will be playing behind one of the best. To make this clear, the Eagles gave up 65 sacks in 2020. The Colts gave up 21. With the statue at quarterback that is Phillip Rivers. The pressure wont be all on Wentz. He not only will be able to have more than 0.3 seconds to throw the football, but have a capable running back to hand the ball off to. Jonathan Taylor will lead a Colts rushing attack that is growing to be one of the best in the league. Taylor will most certainly improve in 2021, and he had the 3rd most rushing yards in the NFL in 2020.

To switch gears momentarily, that rushing attack will certainly propel the Colts into the dark-horse-Super-Bowl- contender category. With one of the best offensive lines and running backs, in the NFL, the Colts could be a lot to handle on the ground. Taking even more pressure off Carson Wentz and allowing him to succeed. Admittedly, there is no way to prove that Wentz will be better in 2021 and near the level of Rivers. However, with the way 2020 went, there seems no place for Wentz to go than up, because he definitely hit rock-bottom in 2020. Hopefully.

Sarcasm aside, the pieces surrounding Wentz in Indianapolis are much better then in Philadelphia. There is little real pressure on Wentz, because expectations are so low. And he has been reunited with his old quarterbacks coach. Wentz should perform better in 2021, and there is little reason to expect that he will be as bad in 2021 as he was in 2020.

But Wentz playing at an average level, or even above average, might not be enough to take the Colts to the Super Bowl. The Colts are searching for players on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball that can be star players. Not pretty good, or really good players. They need stars. And they have some.

To begin with, Jonathan Taylor looks like he might be one of the best running backs in the NFL in 2021. He was third in the NFL with roughly 1,200 yards rushing and had 11 touchdowns. He also caught the ball 36 times- something he never did at Wisconsin, for 299 yards. He averaged exactly five yards running the ball, and eight catching it. Heading into 2021 Taylor looks to be ready to explode onto the scene. He will have a year under him to learn the nuances of being a running back, and there is almost no reason for the Colts to limit his touches. Most likely, the Colts will increase his touch total from 268 to over 300.

The Colts also are expecting, and rightly so, that their passing game improves. At least, they are right to expect their receivers to improve. T.Y. Hilton is still a good receiver, but he has never been a true number one. However, the Colts have high expectations for second-year player Michael Pittman entering into 2021.

“There was a conscious effort to get the ball to him in the way that we did,” Reich said of Pittman. “We saw this in his college days. I remember Chris (Ballard) and I talking a lot about this, but this guy is fearless, now. He’s fearless in every way, but when the ball is in his hands, he wants to hurt somebody. ” Reich continued to heap the praise on Pittman. “That wasn’t possession-type stuff, that was big-play receiver stuff,” Reich said. “And we need to see more of that.”

The 6″4 223-pound wide receivers certainly should improve from his 40 receptions, 503 yards, and one touchdown. Pittman looks to blossom into a star on offense. And that’s all the Colts really seem to need. Darius Leonard leads a solid defense. The Colts are looking for first-round draft pick Kwitty Paye to add to their pass rush. If Paye can compliment Leonard, the Colts could suddenly have a darn good pash rush tandem. Their secondary is deep, but with no real star player.

But the Colts cannot have everything, like every team in the NFL. And the Colts don’t need everything to win the Super Bowl. If Carson Wentz can play like an average NFL quarterback, then the Colts passing game will not really lose its luster. Pittman should take a big jump in year two, and become the clear number one wideout that T.Y. Hilton never was. And Jonathan Taylor should become one of the best running backs in the NFL.

What more does it take? Not much. The Colts nearly beat the Bills in the playoffs last year, and the Colts have certainly improved at almost every position since that point. The biggest question is really Carson Wentz. The Colts Super Bowl hopes ride on his shoulders. His expectations are low and perhaps he will use that to his advantage.

The Colts certainly are being forgotten in the Super Bowl discussion. Probably because of Wentz. But all the Colts need is for Wentz to be OK. Throw the ball up to Pittman on crucial downs, and hand the ball off to Jonathan Taylor every-other snap. The rest will take care of itself. The media has forgotten the Colts. Don’t make the same mistake. They are too strong of an organization, head coach, and team, to fall off a cliff. If Anything, they will improve from 2020 and could potentially win the Super Bowl in 2021. They wont be the most flashy team in the NFL. But they have the playmakers, potential and determination to do it. And that’s all it takes.

Ranking the Top 3 Super Bowls of the last decade

Which 3 Super Bowls top the list?

By: Adam Hulse (@AdamHulseSports)

The annual Super Bowl is the greatest game in sports. A do-or-die game to determine the champion of the NFL season. There are no second chances and one bad decision can be the difference between who wins and loses. It’s so pure in its win-or-go-home philosophy. The anticipation and excitement surrounding this game every year are unmatched and that is why it is the most viewed event, and not just for sports, pretty much every year. Even people who don’t particularly care about football still tune in for the game.

Over the years there have been many epic Super Bowls. From wild comebacks to legendary performances, it’s demonstrated the entire spectrum of possibilities. This article will look at the last decade only and rank the top 3 Super Bowls from that time frame. Competitiveness and epic moments, among many other factors, were considered when making these rankings. Let’s start at third and count down to first.

3. Super Bowl LIV

The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 but the final score does not at all tell the story of this game. With less than ten minutes remaining, the 49ers were up by ten points with the ball and a chance to all but end it. After some missed opportunities, they were forced to punt and everything changed from there. Over the final six minutes plus of game time, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs would put together three quick drives that resulted in touchdowns. They not only quickly erased a double-digit deficit but would end up winning the game by double digits themselves. This victory was fitting for the spectacular postseason run put together by the Chiefs, coming from behind by double digits to win all three of their games.

2. Super Bowl XLIX

In what was a tightly contested game from start to finish, the New England Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks by a score of 28-24. This game is really defined by the epic fourth quarter that went back and forth. The Patriots entered the final quarter trailing by ten points but after two touchdown passes by Tom Brady they would take a four-point lead with just two minutes remaining. Russell Wilson would get an opportunity to put together a game-winning drive for the Seahawks and would march them all the way down the field to the goal line. It looked like Wilson was going to be the hero, but the tables turned when Malcolm Butler jumped a slant route and snagged a game-winning interception for the Patriots. It was a wild fourth quarter with a jaw-dropping ending, capped off by one of the most iconic plays in NFL history.

1. Super Bowl LI

After the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, the Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons in overtime by a score of 34-28. With less than three minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Falcons lead 28-3 and looked like they were on their way to a victory. Instead, Tom Brady lead the Patriots to score 25 straight points in regulation to force overtime, where they would score another touchdown and end the game. It was not only the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history but also the only time the game ever went to overtime to decide a winner. All things considered, this is the best Super Bowl in the last decade and one of the best individual games in the history of the NFL.

Three reasons why the Buccaneers wouldn’t return to the Super Bowl

44 year old Tom Brady faces obstacles in 2021

By: Reese Nasser

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2020 season was historic, to say the least. Led by 43-year old Tom Brady, the Bucs pulled off the improbable. An 11-5 season came to an end with the Lombardi trophy making its way to Tampa Bay. Everything went right for this team. A near-perfect draft, a solid free-agent class, and everything else that needed to happen happened for this squad.

But a super bowl run is no easy thing to accomplish. Even with the Bucs returning much of their roster, and all 22 starters, another trophy may not be in their future. A team hasn’t won back-to-back super bowls since 2003 and 2004. Which team was that you ask? The 2003 and 2004 New England Patriots, led by Tom Brady himself.

Would it be impossible for the Bucs to repeat? No, it wouldn’t. But that doesn’t make it any more likely. Here are three reasons why the Bucs won’t be back to the super bowl next season. 

More Talent in the NFC

Many other teams have made strides to be better this upcoming season. Either through free agency, the draft, or players returning from injury, the conference will undoubtedly be better than it was in 2020. 

When looking ahead, a team such as the Los Angeles Rams, at least on paper, has become much more of a threat than they were last year. The addition of longtime Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford could make this team the true #1 group in the NFC. This squad was 10-6 last season and the addition of Stafford should attribute at least two to three more wins. 

The teams that the Bucs face in their own division may prove to be a true problem. While the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons both had down years in 2020, they have proven to be valiant opponents of the Bucs. Both of these teams will also be much improved from last season.

The Panthers will have star running back Christian McCaffrey back in their backfield. McCaffrey, who played in only three games last season, will give this Carolina team at least a chance in every game that they play in. 

The Atlanta Falcons have added tight end Kyle Pitts, the fourth-overall pick in the 2020 draft who will look to make an instant impact. He will be put into an offense that has star wide receiver Julio Jones (at least for now) and wide receiver Calvin Ridley. This offense, led by veteran quarterback Matt Ryan, should be explosive and could give this Bucs defense real problems. 

And then there is the New Orleans Saints. This Saints team finished first in the division with a record of 12-4. Longtime quarterback Drew Brees has finally stepped away from the game of football and retired. Brees appeared in 12 games last season and had a record of 9-3. In the four games played by the other rostered quarterbacks, the Saints went 3-1. Led by whoever the Saints choose to play at quarterback, most likely being Jameis Winston, this team will still have a valid shot at beating out the Bucs. Star wide receiver Michael Thomas will also make his return. Thomas played in just seven games last season due to a lingering ankle injury. And Alvin Kamara will still be on the team, and that alone makes this offense a problem. 

Age

This team will not be getting any younger and at times last season, injuries were an issue. Tight End Rob Gronkowski is 32 years old. Antonio Brown will be 33 come to the start of the season. And Tom Brady will be 44. Brady has lasted this long and looked incredible at points last season. His age has not stopped him yet and it might not next season, but there is always a chance.

While a majority of this team is young and has plenty of football in front of them, it can be difficult to dictate how a season will go when some prominent players are getting older. There is no guarantee that injuries won’t derail their 2021 season. 

The Likelihood of Making it Back

Simply put, nobody makes it back to the super bowl. Just seven teams in NFL history have gone back to back. As previously noted, Tom Brady did happen to lead a team on back-to-back trips in 2003 and 2004 but it is something that simply does not happen. 

With other teams improving and the Bucs getting another year older, there is no guarantee that this team will play near the level that they did in 2020. As the saying goes, the Bucs may have found “lightning in a bottle” last season. Their improbable run could also have been a thing of luck. 

All signs point to this team still being a legitimate threat in 2021 and they will certainly make another run. But it is incredibly hard to win the Super Bowl twice. It’s hard to even return twice. The Bucs will have a target on their back next season and the road to another Lombardi Trophy will be no easy one to go down. 

Yes, Tom Brady could win more Super Bowls

Despite Brady’s age, he has shown no signs of slowing down

By: Adam Hulse (@AdamHulseSports)

Tom Brady will be 44 years old when the 2021 NFL season begins and his quest for an unbelievable 8th Super Bowl ring kicks off. After all, he did just win his 7th last season so there is no reason to believe that he can’t do it again. He is crushing all of the usual trends when it comes to age and peak performance in the league. For most players, at 44 years old they would be long retired by now, or at the very least they would be performing as a much less version of their prime. For Brady, he is still just as good as he’s ever been.

Traditional standards can’t be applied when looking at the career and trying to predict the future of Brady in the NFL. He is in a league of his own when it comes to accomplishments, and he continues to prove the doubters wrong about how long he can perform at the level he is on. Not only could Brady continue to be competitive on every level of the NFL, but he could even win more Super Bowls before the conclusion of his historic career. Here are some reasons why.

No Regression

Not only did Brady have a good season at the age of 43 last year, but it was actually one of the best of his entire career statistically. He threw for his most passing yards in a season since 2015 and his most touchdowns since 2007. In fact, it was only the second time in his career that he threw 40 or more touchdown passes in a season. His efficiency was impressive as well, completing 65.7 of his passes with a 102.2 passer rating, both of which are significantly higher than his career averages.

Obviously, compared to himself in previous seasons he was as good as ever last year and even better than most years. When comparing him to the rest of the current NFL, his numbers stack up just as well. His 4633 yards ranked third in the league while his 40 touchdowns ranked second. This proves that he is not just serviceable at his age, but he is still among the top quarterbacks in the NFL.

Elite Team

Not only is Brady a good enough quarterback currently to continue to compete for Super Bowls, but the Tampa Bay Bucs are an elite team. They have one of the best rosters in the NFL paired with a solid coaching staff lead by Bruce Arians. Brady operates behind one of the best offensive lines in the league and has an abundance of weapons as well. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are one of the best wide receiver tandems in the league while Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones are a very respectable backfield. As a team last year, they ranked 7th in the NFL in total yards per game and 3rd in points per game.

To go with their top-tier offense, they also had one of the best defenses in the league last year. They ranked 6th in yards allowed per game and 8th in points allowed per game. What makes the Bucs one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl again this year, is the fact that they could justifiably be an even better team this upcoming season than they were last year. They are returning all of their key players, so another year of chemistry may raise their production even higher. When Tom Brady is leading the way there is always a shot to win it all, but with this solid of a team around him, the Bucs are a real threat to repeat.

The Reign Continues

Until somebody can knock him off of his throne, the reign of Brady in the NFL will continue. To put the cherry on top of his seventh Super Bowl championship run last season, he beat the elite class of quarterbacks in the playoffs to get it done including Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, and Drew Brees. Brady has shown absolutely no signs of slowing down any time soon and there’s no reason to believe that he will not be elite once again this year.

The Bucs are one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl again, and nobody should be surprised if they do exactly that. At this rate, it appears that the only thing that can stop Brady is if he ever decides to just retire. He’s still here for now and just as capable as ever of winning more Super Bowls. He is truly a legend, and his story is not yet finished.

The Chicago Bears are top NFC Super Bowl Sleepers in 2021

The top Super Bowl sleeper is the Chicago Bears

A few short months ago I was writing articles about general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy’s impending firings, so I understand as well as anyone that a Chicago Bears Super Bowl run sounds a bit farfetched right now, but NFL franchises often flip the script overnight in this league and it can all start with one move.

Now I know I just finished saying that Chicago’s chances aren’t reliant on Fields’ immediate stardom, and they’re not, but his potential as a generational quarterback talent is certainly the conductor of the hype train.

Truth is, I have been against this regime for quite some time. The trade up for the unproven Mitchell Trubisky, the horrid playcalling by Nagy that seemed to stunt the growth of not only Trubisky but running back David Montgomery, the indecision at QB and the miserable ideas to bring in Nick Foles and Andy Dalton as “saviors” when every NFL fan under the sun knows that these veterans are no more than underwhelming game managers. Yes, I know Foles won a Super Bowl, but that Philadelphia Eagles roster was built like a tank and this Bears one is not.

It’s been a tough road for Bears fans ever since Vic Fangio’s defense (led by Khalil Mack) shattered expectations in 2018. Not tough like 1-15 record tough, but more “what could have been” tough. The knowledge that your putrid offense is holding back and possibly wasting a championship caliber defense is difficult to stomach (especially when you traded a ton of your future draft capital for the catalyst of that unit in Mack).

This defense has a window, and that window is closing fast. Mack is under contract till 2025, but his cap hit is exorbitant after 2021 (unless Chicago takes the potential out next offseason at a $24 million dollar hit). That 2018 group has already seen losses like Fangio (DC), Kyle Fuller (CB1), Adrian Amos (S), Prince Amukamara (CB2, age caught up fast here), Bryce Callahan (slot), Leonard Floyd (edge) and more. Mack’s departure could be the final nail in the coffin, sealing that window for good.

The emergence of a unique prospect like Fields at QB gives Chicago a shot in 2021, but there are a few other factors that have a Jets fan like me all aboard the Bears bandwagon.

1. NFC in Decline

With Drew Brees retiring, the NFC East in total dissarray, Aaron Rodgers wanting out of Green Bay, and the NFC West all beating up on eachother, there aren’t many Super Bowl favorites in the NFC outside of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In what has become a conference shift in strength, we now see a lot of the bright young quarterbacks in the AFC (Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, Baker Mayfield and Deshaun Watson should he return to Houston) while the NFC is left wanting.

An Aaron Rodgers trade to a franchise like the Denver Broncos could totally blow the doors off this conversation. Not only that, it would leave a gaping hole in the NFC North with the Detroit Lions rebuilding and the Minnesota Vikings as a playoff bubble team at best. The Green Bay Packers are one of the NFC’s (and Bears’) strongest competitors left, and if there’s any truth to the rumors, that Cheesehead locomotive may have already flown off the tracks.

2. Phenomenal ’21 Draft

We all know about the Justin Fields selection, but the Bears 2021 draft went much further than that. Pace was drafting like his job was on the line and he answered the bell with some really solid picks.

Just after trading up to get the franchise QB, Pace was able to nab the left tackle to pair with him for years to come, in Teven Jenkins. Many thought the Oklahoma State Cowboys 6’6″ tackle would go in the first, but he slipped to day two and the Bears did not hesitate. Later on he bulked the offensive line again, drafting upside guard prospect Larry Borom out of Missouri.

One trouble area may be cornerback with Fuller gone, but sixth rounder Thomas Graham Jr. had sleeper grades from many analysts out of Oregon. The former Duck could help fill the void, but Chicago will also need something from 2020 second rounder Jaylon Johnson (just turned 22 in April), and free agent flier Desmond Trufant.

3. Key Vets Returning After 2020 Season

I wasn’t particularly high on the 2020 Bears defense, in part because I knew the offense would struggle, but also because some instrumental pieces were missing.

One major cog to account for was nose tackle Eddie Goldman, a 2020 COVID opt-out. Goldman had 40-plus tackles in 2017 and ’18 as one of the premier run-stuffers in the game. 2021 is only his age-27 season, so Chicago will count on the DT to return with avengeance after a year on the pine.

Alongside Akiem Hicks, Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn, this unit is still very formidable up front. The linebacker core also flaunts Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan in the middle, with free safety Eddie Jackson over the top. LB Christian Jones joins this crew, and they’ll also look to re-sign or replace strong safety Tash Gipson before preseason begins. Gipson started all 16 games with the Bears a season ago, and is currently an unrestricted free agent.

Let’s not forget the offensive side of the ball, as Pace held onto wide receiver Allen Robinson for dear life. New faces like Damien Williams, Damiere Byrd, Dazz Newsome, Khalil Herbert and Marquise Goodwin add some versatility to a group that needs to get more creative behind Fields and Nagy.


This defense may be slightly diminished from 2018, but it’s still pretty darn good, and this offense could theoretically become much more dynamic with a quarterback like Fields at the helm. Am I slightly worried that Nagy may just be a terrible coach? Absolutely. This is a make or break season for the HC though, so I expect him to pull out all the stops.

At the very least, I see the Bears as a playoff team again in 2021, but at +4800 odds right now on FanDuel Sportsbook, Chicago may just be the biggest sleeper pick to win Super Bowl LVI.

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