A Look Ahead to the Playoffs

Overall, the Chiefs may even go down as one of the best teams of all time and are most certainly the odds on favorite to be crowned Super Bowl champions at the end of this season.

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Even with all of the uncertainty of 2020, the NFL has persevered and managed to complete three quarters of an NFL season with only two COVID-19 outbreaks within two teams, the Tennessee Titans and the Baltimore Ravens. We must all tip our hats to Roger Goodell and the NFL for persisting and giving us a season during these tough times. Looking ahead to the playoffs, there are many possible contenders for the Super Bowl and potentially a few dark horse teams that can win a couple of games in the playoffs.

The Heavy Favorites:

Kansas City Chiefs: The defending champions may be even better this year than they were last season, and that’s saying a lot. As Patrick Mahomes said during the offseason, he has just started learning how to read defenses, which is resulting in him at the forefront of the MVP race, and the addition of Clyde Edwards-Helaire has greatly improved the running game. On defense, Chris Jones has the most QB pressures on the year and is arguably the second best interior defensive lineman behind Aaron Donald. Overall, the Chiefs may even go down as one of the best teams of all time and are most certainly the odds on favorite to be crowned Super Bowl champions at the end of this season.

Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers started out going 11-0, a top 15 win streak of all time, behind the best defensive unit in the league. The trio of pass rushers in T.J. Watt, Cameron Heyward, and Stephon Tuitt make the best defensive line in the league. According to Pro Football Focus, these are three of the five best lineman in the league. At wideout, the Steelers have arguably the best trio with stars JuJu Smith-Schuster, Chase Claypool, and Diontae Johnson. This team just seems to always find a way to win behind the leadership of Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethilsberger, (albeit given a relatively easy schedule) an extremely valuable asset come playoff time.

Green Bay Packers: With an elite rushing attack and a top three quarterback in the league, this Matt Lafleur led offense is an all around success week in and week out. Rodgers has only five turnovers all year, and the greatness of Davante Adams is on display week in and week out, now securing a touchdown in a franchise record eight straight games. The Packers defensive line is an elite unit led by Preston and Za’Darius Smith on the outside and Kenny Clark on the interior, a truly formidable unit. The Packers also have a true shutdown corner in Jaire Alexander and an emerging safety in Darnell Savage. While the offense is the clear focal point of this unit, the defense can also make huge stops when needed. All in all, this team may be the most complete in the NFC, so don’t be surprised if you see them in Tampa Bay on Super Bowl Sunday.

New Orleans Saints: Led by a stellar all around defensive unit headlined by D-lineman Cameron Jordan, the Saints are a top team in the NFC. The offensive unit, led by future Hall of Famer Drew Brees, is also top tier with two superb weapons in Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas. Though Brees went down with a rib injury a few weeks ago, New Orleans hasn’t missed a step, and under the leadership of Sean Payton and Drew Brees, the sky is truly the limit with this team.

Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks offense is loaded with offensive weapons, led by a top tier QB in Russell Wilson. With a top three wide receiver duo, DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, in the league and the great physical running and pass-catching abilities of Chris Carson, the Seahawks offensive unit has all the tools to lead them to the Super Bowl. Defensively, the Seahawks have a great linebacker duo in the league with Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright, as well as a great playmaker Jamal Adams, who just broke the sack record for any safety. Though the defense is quite honestly a poor unit and the weakness of this team, it has potential in their stars, and Russell Wilson has the ability to put the team on his back. Overall, the Seahawks have both the offensive and defensive firepower to make a deep run in the playoffs.

Underdog Teams That Could Make A Super Bowl Run:

Buffalo Bills: While Buffalo hasn’t been great nor successful in recent years, their revamped team has been outstanding so far this season. Quarterback Josh Allen is having a career year, already surpassing his passing yards last year in only 13 games. Wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley prove to be deadly for opposing defenses, and Devin Singletary is there to cement the Bills’ run game. On defense, cornerback Tre’Davious White, safety Micah Hyde, and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds are cornerstones for a solid defense that puts the team in first place in the AFC East. However, the Bills aren’t the best team, as they have lost three games to the Titans, Chiefs, and the Cardinals at the last second, but Bills’ fans have something to be excited about this season. They’re no longer a top team on defense nor do they have the flashiest run game, but the Bills made it up in their passing game. The Bills haven’t seen this much success in years, and have made a strong case that they could go to the Super Bowl either this season or sometime in the future.

Los Angeles Rams: The Rams, after a 13-3 loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl 53, have come back two years later for their shot at the prestiged title once again. Effective play calling by Sean McVay, a deadly wide receiver corps in Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp, and an up and coming run game all contribute to a successful offense reminiscent of the Super Bowl contending team. On defense, however, is where the Rams shine the most, with Aaron Donald still dominating offensive lineman and imposing fear into quarterbacks as the best defensive tackle in the league while Jalen Ramsey shuts down opposing wide receivers. They’re one of the top teams in the competitive NFC West for a reason, and they aren’t afraid to show opposing teams how complete they are on the gridiron.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Buccaneers were one of the more hyped-up teams coming into this season with the arrival of Tom Brady, but they haven’t proved to be the dominant team they were supposed to be. However, their superb roster shouldn’t be overlooked just yet. Brady is still showcasing the talent that brought him six Super Bowl rings at 43 years old. Tom Brady isn’t alone, as the three wide receivers he’s throwing to, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and the infamous Antonio Brown, are effective at creating separation to catch passes from the future Hall of Famer. The defense flourished this season, with dominant linebackers in Devin White and Lavonte David, a talented safety in Antoine Winfield Jr, and solid pass rushers in edge rusher Jason Pierre-Paul and veteran defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to cement one of the best man-coverage defenses in the league. With this much talent on the roster, the only question is if head coach Bruce Arians and the rest of the coaching staff can use this talent to win games.