Today is the day football fans have been dreaming about for seven months. After an offseason full of trades, holdouts and big free-agent signings, the NFL regular season officially begins. The first game will see the Green Bay Packers take on the Chicago Bears and fans couldn’t be more thrilled.
The season may only be just beginning but pundits are already debating who could potentially win the Super Bowl this season. Sports can be unpredictable but when it comes to this year’s field, there are certainly some teams that stand out more than others.
If you haven’t been paying attention this offseason and need a primer on some of the teams to watch out for, we’ve got you covered.
Kansas City Chiefs
Dylan Buell/Getty ImagesIf you were to make a list of the best teams to not win a Super Bowl last season, the Kansas City Chiefs would have to be at the top. With a regular-season record of 12-4, the Chiefs were an undeniable force that imposed their high-flying offense on opposing teams. The only thing keeping the Chiefs from the Super Bowl last season was their defense which they made strides to fix in the offseason.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes has proven himself to be a monster out on the field and with 50 touchdowns last season, the sky is the limit moving forward. Not to mention, the Chiefs have big-name targets like Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce who always keep defenses guessing.
The team was an overtime possession away from a Super Bowl win last season so they’ll be hungry to get back there, this season. If there was one team to bet on, it would most certainly be the Chiefs.
Los Angeles Chargers
Elsa/Getty ImagesUnfortunately for the Chargers, quarterback Philip Rivers can never seem to beat Tom Brady and that very fact has kept the team out of the Super Bowl for years. Last year, this trend was no different as Brady bested the Chargers in the Divisional Round. In the regular season though, Rivers and the Chargers were phenomenal, matching the Chiefs record of 12-4.
Much of the team’s offensive success centered around running back Melvin Gordon who might sit out the season due to a contract dispute. If this is the case, we could see a dip in production from the team. Meanwhile, Rivers and wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams seem poised for a great season.
Don’t forget the Chargers defense who is expected to be one of the best in the league this season. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram are a dynamic duo that opposing quarterbacks should be fearful of. If the Chargers can make the playoffs and get a better draw in the bracket, they could be well on their way to an AFC Championship game.
New England Patriots
Maddie Meyer/Getty ImagesEven if they don’t look like a Super Bowl team on paper, you should always keep an eye on the New England Patriots. For the last few seasons, they always seem to get off to a slow start but by December, they’re on the hunt for yet another championship.
The Patriots have been the AFC representative in the last three Super Bowls and have won three of the last six championships. Tom Brady is back for his 20th season in the league and he seems as determined as ever to win his seventh championship. Even without Rob Gronkowski, Brady will find someone new to throw the ball to and it’s going to frustrate every football fan outside of Massachusettes.
Jason Miller/Getty ImagesOkay, hear me out. Have the Browns been a disaster for the last 20 years? Yes. Did they go 0-16 just two seasons ago? Also yes. Is thee team showing immense improvement and promise heading into this season? One thousand times yes.
We haven’t been able to see it yet but if the Browns offense comes together properly, they will be nothing short of explosive. Quarterback Baker Mayfield will have Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. to throw to and after eight games, he will have Kareem Hunt in the backfield. This offense should scare every team to its very core. Just thinking about it gives me goosebumps.
As for the defense, the team is shaping up to be solid and with some speed in the backfield, they should be able to shut down opposing receivers. But while the Browns are a promising team, they also have the highest bust potential. It’s go big or go home with this squad.
Todd Olszewski/Getty ImagesIf the Cleveland Browns falter and have a subpar season, watch out for the Baltimore Ravens to emerge from the AFC North and make a run in the playoffs. There is plenty of room for improvement from last season and the team could benefit from some of the stronger AFC teams beating up on each other.
Quarterback Lamar Jackson was a bonafide star last season as he dazzled fans with his rushing abilities and game management skills. Jackson could certainly stand to improve his throwing technique which has definitely been the weak point of his game. If Jackson were to become more of a gunslinger, he could surpass Mahomes as the most entertaining QB in the league.
Last season, the Ravens had the best yards-allowed in the league and second-best points-allowed. While there have been quite a few personnel changes this season, there is no doubt the Ravens are poised for yet another great year defending their territory.
New Orleans Saints
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty ImagesMoving to the NFC now, the Saints are probably the most obvious Super Bowl contender in the conference. Thanks to a horrible no-call in the NFC Championship Game, the Saints were robbed of a spot in the Super Bowl and they’ll be out for revenge. Quarterback Drew Brees hasn’t missed a step even though he recently turned 40 years old and the offense is one of the scariest in the entire league. If they can keep up their pace from last year, there is no denying they will dominate the NFC from start to finish.
The Saints defense is fairly middle of the road as they finished 14th in yards-allowed and points-allowed. Regardless, when your offense is so powerful, you luckily don’t have to rely on the defense as much. If the Saints were to win a Super Bowl, it would have to be now- before Brees hits his decline.
Los Angeles Rams
Alika Jenner/Getty ImagesOf all the teams on this list, the Rams were the closest to winning a championship last season, making it all the way to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, their high-octane offense was abysmal scoring only three points against a New England defense which was good but not that good.
Pretty well everyone from last year’s team is coming back which means the Rams are in a great spot to be repeat representatives of the NFC in the Super Bowl. Quarterback Jared Goff is poised for yet another great season and if Todd Gurley’s knee is 100 percent, the Rams will be deadly.
As for the defense, Aaron Donald is an absolute monster on the defensive line and opposing quarterbacks will continue to fear him. If the pieces come together again this season, the league will be on notice.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesIf it weren’t for the infamous double doink in last year’s NFC Wild Card Game, the Bears would have had a legitimate chance at going to the Super Bowl. While quarterback Mitch Trubisky has plenty of room for improvement, he has weapons at his disposable that lend to a successful offense. The Bears offense can only go but up this season and when paired with their defense, they’re a scary squad to go up against.
It wouldn’t be stretch to predict the Bears have the best defense in the league this season especially when you consider they’re led by Khalil Mack. If the Bears defense has a repeat performance of last season, the NFC North is going to be a scary place.
Abbie Parr/Getty ImagesAfter losing Earl Thomas to the Ravens this offseason, hopes weren’t very high for the Seahawks defense. Well, thanks to the addition of Jadaveon Clowney, things are starting to look up. With Bobby Wagner and Poona Ford standing tall on the defensive line, the Seahawks have a real shot at being a serious threat this season.
Since they play in a division with the Rams, they’ll probably have to settle for a Wild Card spot but the Seahawks have thrived from this spot before. Quarterback Russell Wilson excels under pressure and has plenty of offensive weapons around him to make some noise. If there was one sleeper team to look out for this year, it would be Seattle.
Mitchell Leff/Getty ImagesAfter winning the Super Bowl back in 2018 and putting together yet another impressive season last year, the Eagles are poised to be a contender this season. Luckily, the Eagles play in a division with the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins which means their competition is fairly weak. Their only real challenge is the Dallas Cowboys but even then, the Eagles seem to have an edge when it comes to that matchup.
The defense is about as middle of the road as it gets but thanks to Carson Wentz and the team’s high-flying offense, the Eagles have as good a shot as anyone to make it out of the NFC. Who do you have winning the Championship this season? Let us know in the comments.