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Top 10 NFL teams we think can win Super Bowl LVI

10 Jan 2022

By Dan Ippolito
With the National Football League’s playoff picture finally set, we are ready to dive into some predictions on who will be crowned champion at Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on 13 February.

Fourteen teams have punched their ticket to the playoffs after a tough 17-game season that was drenched in COVID-19 cases and issues. As we gear up for Wild Card Weekend, let’s take a look at 10 teams we think can make a run at raising the Lombardi Trophy come Super Bowl Sunday.

All Super Bowl odds courtesy of Everygame Sportsbook

10. Cincinnati Bengals +1800
The Cincinnati Bengals finished the regular season with a 10-7 record in fourth place in the AFC and captured the AFC North division title.

The young talent on the Bengals team is what needs to be highlighted. Rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase broke the record for most receiving yards in a rookie season and finished with 1,455 yards in 17 games to go along with 13 touchdown receptions.

Pair that talent with second-year quarterback Joe Burrow, who tossed 34 touchdowns and more than 4,600 yards this year, and you already have a dynamic duo. Now you add two other very exceptional pass catchers in Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd, and pile on with Joe Mixon who rushed for 1,205 yards on the ground, and you have a serious offensive threat on every down.

The biggest question mark will be can these young stars be ready for the playoff atmosphere and pressure that looms large as the NFL hits January and even February.

They have shown toughness and productiveness through the first 17 games. Both Burrow and Mixon were out yesterday dealing with injuries but both are expected back for Wild Card Weekend next week when the Bengals host the upstart Raiders as a 6.5 favorite.

9. Arizona Cardinals +2500
The Arizona Cardinals were the last remaining undefeated team in the league after starting the season with a 7-0 record and it seemed nobody could stop them. So, you may be wondering why are they are so low on the list. Well, the Cardinals finished the season by losing four of their last five games.

The offense has the players to create electric highlights in QB Kyler Murray and WR A.J. Green. A great midseason addition was tight end Zach Ertz who is a sure-handed target for Murray to find in key situations, especially the redzone.

You also have to include running back James Conner in this conversation as he found the end zone 15 times on the ground this season and has been a force for run defenses to deal with.

But the loss of All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to a torn ACL in Week 14 is a killer for this offense. Hopkins had surgery and is doubtful to return for the playoffs, unless the Cards make a deep run.

Consistency has been the issue for Arizona this season but with the big playmakers ready to go on the offensive side of the ball, they have what they need to make a deep run come playoff time, which begins Monday night when they head to LA to face the Rams as a 4.5-point underdog.

8. New England Patriots +2000
There was serious talks about the Patriots during their seven-game win streak in the middle of the season, but they seem to have come back down to Earth in the last few weeks, losing three of their last four games, with the only win coming at home to lowly Jacksonville while the losses came in road games to Indianapolis, Buffalo and Miami.

This adversity could be beneficial in the long-run for New England as it gave rookie quarterback Mac Jones a sense of the competition that the playoffs will hold for the Pats, who head back to Buffalo for Round 3 in this weekend’s wildcard round as a 4.5-point underdog.

The two-headed monster in the backfield of Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson will play a major factor in the success of the Patriots in the postseason. Jones will need to make smart decisions and avoid turning the ball over in order to be victorious in each game.

The New England defense has been a bright spot all season and will need to be on its A-game if the team wants to move to the divisional round. Highlighted by defensive end Matthew Judon and cornerback J.C. Jackson, this defense has depth and players with playoff experience that will go a long way in helping this team get to where they want to be.

7. Dallas Cowboys +1200
Most likely the Comeback Player of the Year, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and his team finished in third in the NFC with the NFC East division title.

Dallas had some troubles in the middle of the season, but they are getting hot at the right time as they have come out with wins in five out of their last six games.

A big loss happened last week for the Cowboys offense when wide receiver Michael Gallup had his season end early with a torn ACL, but do not count of the rest of the offense.

CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper are the team’s leaders in receiving yards and can change the game with the ball in their hands. Pair those talents with Ezekiel Elliott, who just had enough to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards on the season, with Tony Pollard, who had more than 1,000 scrimmage yards, and you have a high-powered offense that is tough for any team to stop.

On the other side of the ball, the Dallas defense has rookie sensation Micah Parsons, who is always in the backfield pressuring QBs and has 13 sacks on the year. Move over to the secondary and you have the NFL leader in interceptions in Trevon Diggs, who picked off the ball 11 times this season.

If the Dallas team keeps trending in this direction, they will be a team that not many will want to face. It all starts with a visit from San Francisco on Sunday afternoon in Dallas, where the Boys are a 3-point chalk.

6. Buffalo Bills +750
As mentioned above, the AFC East champs host the New England Patriots in the Wild Card round this Saturday. Led by QB Josh Allen, the Bills split the season series against the Pats with both road teams coming away with victories.

The main focus will be on stopping Patriots run game for the Bills. In the first meeting in Buffalo with wind gusts reaching over 30 mph, the Pats threw the ball just three times all game to beat the Bills, but they responded with a convincing win in New England just a few weeks later.

Allen will look to get the ball to Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley as much as possible as they have combined for nearly 190 receptions this season.

The biggest trouble that defenses have to worry about when facing the Bills is containing Allen. With his arm strength and weapons he has on the outside, that is enough to keep defenses busy but Allen is one of the best in the league at his position at getting out of the pocket and picking up first downs with his legs.

5. Tennessee Titans +800
The top seed in the AFC, the Tennessee Titans have the lone bye in the conference and will face the lowest seed still alive in the Divisional round.

The Titans managed to lock up the top seed without their most valuable weapon and arguably the most dangerous running back in all of football, Derrick Henry.

In just eight games, Henry finished with 937 yards on the ground and 10 rushing TDs. He suffered a broken bone in his foot and has been out since Week 8, but, with the week off, is hopeful to return in the playoffs.

With one of the best running games in the NFL, the defensive run stoppers for Tennessee have been off the charts this year, ranking second in the league allowing just over 84 rush yards per game. Teams will have to win through the air if they want to compete with the Titans.

Titans’ QB Ryan Tannehill hasn’t been outstanding, but he has done enough to put his team in position to win. Both receivers A.J. Brown and Julio Jones are back and healthy for the team, which will make a world of difference in the passing game.

If this team gets a lead, they are very difficult to stop because of how productive their run game is.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers +800
The defending Super Bowl champion Bucs have been the headlines since last week but some for the wrong reason with the Antonio Brown drama after he took off his jersey and pads in the middle of the game against the Jets and left the stadium.

The departure of the talented wide receiver does hurt because the Bucs lost their leading pass catcher, Chris Godwin, to a season-ending injury a few weeks ago. The starting running back, Leonard Fournette was also placed on the injured reserve list with a hamstring injury. The main targets will now be Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski, who have both proven time and time again in their careers that they are stars.

Even with the loss of several key pieces to the offense, it is never a good idea to bet against Tom Brady and his track record speaks for itself with seven Super Bowl rings.

No matter who else is on the field with him, you cannot count Brady out as we saw when he lead his team 93 yards in under two minutes to score a game-winning touchdown against the Jets with limited weapons.

Tampa Bay begins its quest to win a second consecutive Super Bowl on Sunday when the Eagles head to Florida as a 9-point underdog. The Bucs are trying to become the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since the Patriots did it in 2004 and 2005 with, of course, TB12 behind center.

3. Los Angeles Rams +900
This is arguably the most well-rounded team, in my opinion, but I will get to why they aren’t the top spot on my list in a moment.

Cooper Kupp is the face of the offense since he leads the NFL in receiving yards (1,947) and receiving TDs (16). If you have single coverage on Kupp, it is going to be a long day for the secondary because once he gets the ball in his hands, he is going to pick up extra yards after the catch.

On defense, the Rams are stacked and that may even be an understatement. With Aaron Donald and newly acquired Von Miller together on the pass rush, a quarterback is in danger of being flushed out of the pocket or sacked on every down.

If the offensive line does manage to keep those two out of the backfield, the Rams have one of the best cornerbacks in Jalen Ramsey lurking in the secondary who will most likely be locking up the top target of the opponent.

Here is where I am slightly worried about the Rams. The Rams probably have the toughest matchup in the opening round of the playoffs by having to host the Arizona Cardinals. Kyler Murray and company can be an electric offense so it will be a tough task to keep the Cardinals out of the 20s in points but if anyone can it is the Rams.

Also, Matthew Stafford in his first year with the Rams after being traded from the Detroit Lions, has only seen the playoff atmosphere three times in his career. In those three games, Stafford has failed every time to come away with a victory for his team. Granted he has a much better supporting cast in this Rams team but you have to wonder if that 0-3 playoff record sits in the back of his head going into this weekend’s game, especially when you consider how poorly Stafford has played in the last four weeks, throwing eight interceptions and posting a 52.3 quarterback rating.

2. Green Bay Packers +375
The heavy favorite (-500 on Everygame Sportsbook) to win the MVP for this season, Aaron Rodgers led his Packers to the top seed in the NFC and picked up a bye by doing so.

Rodgers knows how to protect the football as he tossed 34 touchdowns and only gave up four interceptions all season.

Similar to Cooper Kupp, the Packers have a great weapon who is arguably unstoppable in Davante Adams, who snagged 1,553 yards through the air.

The Packers also have a forceful ground game with AJ Dillon and Aaron Jones, who combined for 1,600 yards on the ground. Both of these backs are able to get out and run routes to catch passes as well to become a dual threat.

The stat that stands out the most for this team is the turnover margin. The Packers gave the ball up only 13 times all year which is tied for the league’s best. With a +13 turnover margin, the Packers are extremely tough to beat because they do not give extra possessions to opponents but they do gain extra possessions through interceptions and fumble recoveries.

The Packer defense has been suspect at times this season, allowing 30 points to both the pedestrian offenses of the Bears and Ravens during the last quarter of the season, so that has to be a concern. But Lambeau Field is one of the best home field advantages in football and all the Pack needs to do is win two games on the Frozen Tundra and they will be off to LA for the Super Bowl.

1. Kansas City Chiefs +450
It only makes sense to have the most dangerous offense in football as the top spot on my list. When you look across the offense, there are just too many weapons for a defense to handle.

In the second month of the NFL season, the Chiefs showed signs of struggle and actually had a 3-4 record. The team put those issues to bed by finishing the season by winning nine out of the last 10 games.

The Chiefs will host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night in the Wild Card Round as the largest favorite in Wildcard Round history a 12.5 points and I do not think this game will be very close.

Everyone knows the arm strength of Patrick Mahomes and his ability to make plays out of nothing by scrambling and throwing at obscure arm angles at times. Pair that special gift with two of the most difficult pass catchers to defend and you have an offense that is going to score points whether you like it or not.

The speed of Tyreek Hill is borderline unfair. When Hill gets the ball, even if it is a checkdown for two yards, the possibility of him getting to the endzone is never out of the question. Then you look at the tight end Travis Kelce, who at 6-foot-5 and 256 pounds, is an absolute force on the field. At his size, the speed he has is incredible and he is nearly impossible to tackle in the open field because of his size and strength.

If you want to add even more, Mecole Hardman is another impressive wide receiver because he is nearly as fast as Hill, giving secondaries headaches to have to deal with this many weapons and explosive playmakers.

I haven’t even gotten to the run game. This team doesn’t run nearly as much but when they do they have two options in Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Darrel Williams, who are both more than capable of picking up a first round on third and short.

The defense was the issue for the Chiefs in the beginning of the season, but as it progressed, so did the defense. The team held the Dallas Cowboys and the Las Vegas Raiders to just nine points each in their meetings so they have shown they can come to play and give their offense a very good chance of winning.

The Chiefs are my pick to win this year’s Super Bowl and lift the trophy. This would be the team’s third straight Super Bowl appearance after they lost to Brady and the Bucs last season and hoisted the Lombardi trophy the year prior when they beat the San Francisco 49ers.
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