Note: This is not a Power Rankings article. This is listing what teams have the best chance at winning the Super Bowl.
1) New England Patriots
Is there really any debate here? They are the heavy Super Bowl favorites for a reason – they are that good. Do I have my concerns? Sure. The defense, offensive line and Tom Brady’s recent struggles all provide them. However, I don’t think anyone in the AFC can exploit them.
This leads me to saying the Patriots will cruise through their conference and at least get to the Super Bowl if not win it which isn’t something you can say about any other team on this list.
2) Pittsburgh Steelers
A lot of this list has to do with what path do you have to take to reach the Super Bowl and that through the AFC is a lot easier than the NFC. They are going to have to get past the Patriots which I don’t believe they can. However, they will face the Chiefs, Titans or Bills in the Divisional Round and you are going to have to tell me who they are losing too.
This has me saying the Steelers will cruise to the AFC Championship game and probably lose, but if they win, their explosive offense will provide a challenge for anyone.
3) Minnesota Vikings
They are the odds on favorites in the NFC for a reason – this defense is legit…period. I do think there are some flaws that could get exploited by a really good team, but it will take a really smart game plan and loads of talent.
My concerns come on the offensive end. I get they have been putting up points and we’ve seen defenses carry mediocre quarterbacks before, but I just have a hard time trusting Case Keenum to put the Vikings any higher on this list than they already are.
4) Los Angeles Rams
I am the first to admit that there are a lot of question marks here. Namely the fact that Jared Goff, Todd Gurley and Sean McVay all haven’t been in their current positions in the playoffs. This can be a big deal as we saw with the young, inexperienced Cowboys in the playoffs last year.
However, I trust their defense more than most and they have the best defensive player in football: Aaron Donald. Plus, as I talked about with the Steelers, your path the Super Bowl can be just as important as the team. If the Rams beat the Falcons (plausible) tomorrow, they would then face a Wentz-less Eagles team in the Divisional Round. Plain and simple, this team has the easiest path through the NFC.
5) New Orleans Saints
The Saints are good, real good. I trust Drew Brees, who isn’t getting enough credit for what he did this year at the age of 38, and that offense. With that said, their defense scares me a bit. I have seen the potential for them to be really good, but haven’t seen enough of a sustained stretch for me to fully buy in which is why they remain behind the Rams.
6) Atlanta Falcons
The team that choked away the Super Bowl is going to have a tough time getting back there. A challenging first round matchup against the Rams is on the low end of my list of reasons to be concerned about this team. They failed to close the season out on an impressive note and their defense continues to look susceptible against good offenses. They also clearly miss Kyle Shanahan.
However, they have a ton of talent and, as we saw last year, this team can make a run if they get clicking at the right time which is why they are as high as they are on this list.
7) Philadelphia Eagles
The Wentz-less Eagles are in big time trouble. I said on the show a couple days ago that they shouldn’t be afraid to bench Nick Foles and I stand by that. He hasn’t been a good quarterback in this league since 2013 and maybe Nate Sudfeld could give this struggling offense the spark they so desperately need.
Their defense is good, but not good enough to carry this limp offense and unless that drastically improves, they aren’t winning more than a game.
8) Carolina Panthers
Two words: Cam Newton. He is the reason this team can be so good and so frustrating all at the same time. If he doesn’t step up his play and keep it consistent, the Panthers have no shot of winning their first round game against the Saints never mind anything more than that. Again, just like the Eagles, their defense is good, but not good enough to carry a bad offense.
9) Kansas City Chiefs
At this point I hope everyone knows what the Chiefs do, they build up your hype and confidence every year just to let you down. This year that seems to have come earlier than usual and while they have a 50-50 matchup against the Chiefs tomorrow, there is no way in hell that they are beating the Patriots or the Steelers in the next round despite what happened earlier in the season.
10) Tennesse Titans
They barley snuck into the playoffs for a reason. While I have my concerns outside of what I am about to say, it really is quite simple: Marcus Mariota has to play better for this team to win a game never mind multiple or what the rest of the team does won’t ever matter.
11) Buffalo Bills
It was a real feel good story for them to get in and as I said on Monday’s show, I’m not suppose to have rooting interests (and don’t) but how can you not want Buffalo to have some success? And listen, they have a good chance of making some noise against the Jaguars on Sunday, but that’s where the noise will end — they aren’t going into Pittsburgh or New England and beating them.
12) Jacksonville Jaguars
I get they have a really good defense, but I just can’t trust Blake Bortles who showed his true colors in the last two games of the season: 2 TDs and 5 INTs. Sure their defense might carry them over Bills, but they aren’t getting any further than that.
-Article by Nick Friend
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