The 8 Teams Best Positioned To Win Super Bowl LVI
The NFL managed to complete a pandemic season last year, but with few to no fans throughout the five-month journey from Week 1 through the Super Bowl.
This season, large crowds will return to professional football. The Los Angeles Rams and Chargers will both play their first NFL regular-season games with fans in SoFi Stadium – site of Super Bowl LVI – this September.
With this and other plot points in mind, let’s look at Stats Insider's eight favourites for US sport's most famous trophy.
Let's start at the top.
Super Bowl Projection: 14%
The Chiefs are Stats Insider’s Super Bowl favourite, winning their second Lombardi trophy in three seasons in 14% of simulations.
Two words: Patrick Mahomes. Four more words: Chiefs lineman Joe Thuney.
Kansas City addressed its offensive line in the offseason adding Thuney who started in the Super Bowl in each of his first three seasons in the NFL, protecting Tom Brady with the Patriots. Now he’ll protect Mahomes. The Chiefs still have the right players in the right places, and they still have Eric Bieniemy on their staff.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Super Bowl Projection: 12%
The reigning Super Bowl champs are Stats Insider’s second favourite and are currently pegged as a 12% chance of going back to back. All one needs to look at with the Bucs is their comprehensively dominant performance against the Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. That was the mark of a complete team which was strong in the trenches and athletic on the edges, blessed with a great coach on the field – Tom Brady – and an elite coach on the sidelines, Bruce Arians. The Bucs will be heard from in the NFC, in part because the New Orleans Saints’ loss of Drew Brees will make the NFC South a lot more winnable for Tampa Bay.
Super Bowl Projection: 7.7%
The Buffalo Bills are third on Stats Insider’s list of Super Bowl favourites at 7.7%. Josh Allen has made exponential leaps in each of his last two seasons. Last year, he entered the stratosphere by topping 4,500 passing yards and firing 37 touchdown passes. One interesting question: What is Allen’s ceiling? Another interesting question: Will 2020 become his floor for the next few years of his prime, or will he noticeably regress as the NFL adjusts to him? If Allen can raise his ceiling even more, the Bills have a chance to make their first Super Bowl since the Marv Levy-Jim Kelly-Bruce Smith glory days of the early 1990s.
Green Bay Packers
Super Bowl Projection: 6%
Aaron Rodgers is back, presumably for his last season as a Packer. Green Bay has reached the NFC Championship Game in each of the last two seasons, three of the last five, and four of the last seven. Rodgers hasn’t been able to get over the hump. Have the Packers blown their last best chance to get Rodgers a return trip to the Super Bowl (he has been there only once), or will the urgency of the moment galvanise this team and bring out its very best? Rodgers making the Super Bowl and then leaving the Packers before the 2022 season – or retiring – would be a vintage guns-blazing exit from No. 12.
Super Bowl Projection: 5.6%
The Ravens keep drafting receivers to help their young, superstar QB Lamar Jackson out, but their newest first-round draft pick, Rashod Bateman, will miss several weeks of regular-season play. That’s a point of concern for a franchise who’s gone an incredible 35-13 in the regular season over the last few years, yet lost 3 of its 4 playoff games in that time-span.
Los Angeles Rams
Super Bowl Projection: 5.6%
Matthew Stafford leaves the purgatory of Detroit and finally gets to play for a fully-resourced team. Jared Goff held back the Rams the past two years. If Stafford is as good as his advocates say he is, the Rams could easily vault past the Bucs and into the Super Bowl. Interestingly enough, one year after the Bucs won the Super Bowl in their home stadium, the Rams have a chance to win the Super Bowl in their own home ballpark, SoFi Stadium. SoFi hosts SB LVI on February 13, in the middle of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
San Francisco 49ers
Super Bowl Projection: 5.6%
The 49ers drafted Trey Lance, ostensibly as their QB of the future, which makes for plenty of drama where incumbent Jimmy Garoppolo is concerned. Will he thrive in the face of Lance’s competition, or will he wobble? That’s the question everyone will want to get an answer to this season. Jimmy G could either strengthen his hold on the job or make it very easy to find a new NFL place of employment next year.
Super Bowl Projection: 5%
The Browns nearly reached the AFC title game last season without Odell Beckham, who was injured early in the 2020 season. Last season, Cleveland ranked fourth in the NFL in rushing attempts and 28th in passing attempts. How much will OBJ’s return influence that play mixture?
The best of the rest
The Seattle Seahawks are next best with a 3.7% chance of winning the franchise's second-ever Super Bowl. The Tennessee Titans, New Orleans Saints and LA Chargers are all next up with a 2.7% chance of glory.
The Miami Dolphins currently have a 2.3% Super Bowl projection. They'll be piloted by QB Tua Tagovailoa which for many presents a red flag. Miami’s AFC East foe the New England Patriots are also at 2.3%. Cam Newton had a horrible 2020 season, throwing 10 interceptions and just eight touchdown passes. If he can’t rebound from 2020, the Pats’ additions – tight end Jonnu Smith and receiver Nelson Agholor – won’t mean much.
The Arizona Cardinals are an interesting prospect at 1.8%. J.J. Watt and A.J. Green are big-time names, but if they are past their primes, or can’t stay healthy, their value to the BirdGang might be overstated. We'll see how much production these huge names bring to the Valley of the Sun.
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