Posted on February 3, 2020, by Bryan Zarpentine
With Super Bowl 54 in the rearview mirror, it’s time to take a way-too-early look at Super Bowl 55, which will be held in Tampa next February. Obviously, there is a full offseason of trades and free-agent signings, not to mention the draft, before the start of the 2020 NFL season. However, it doesn’t hurt to take an early look at what teams are well-positioned to reach and win next year’s Super Bowl. Here are some of the top contenders, at least for now.
Not surprisingly, the Chiefs are the lead favorites to win next year’s Super Bowl. Obviously, repeating as Super Bowl champs is no easy task and hasn’t been done in over 15 years. But it’s not like we’re going to expect any drop-off from Patrick Mahomes. Kansas City won this year with a so-so running game and an average defense. If the Chiefs can somehow improve the supporting cast around Mahomes, they’ll continue to be contenders.
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Despite their loss, the 49ers aren’t going anywhere. Keep in mind that this was Jimmy Garoppolo’s first full season as a starter in the NFL. He’s going to get better, especially if San Francisco can upgrade the receivers around him. More importantly, the San Francisco defense is in good shape moving forward, which should make them tough to beat in the NFC.
Don’t think that Lamar Jackson and the Ravens are going anywhere. Jackson was a far better passer than most anticipated in 2019, and his receivers weren’t that good, so that’s one area where the Ravens can improve. Plus, the Baltimore defense underwent some serious renovations last offseason, which means that unit could continue to get better in 2020.
In fairness, a lot of this hinges on whether Drew Brees decides to return for another season or retire. But it’s not like the Saints were overly reliant on Brees this past season. New Orleans will have a good roster no matter who plays quarterback next season, so don’t count them out no matter what happens with Brees.
The oddsmakers obviously think that Tom Brady is going to stay in New England this offseason. They also think that Brady has plenty left in the tank. Obviously, it was a rather ugly ending for the Patriots this season, but they didn’t win 12 games during the regular season by accident. New England won’t be the favorite for once, but that might work in their favor if Brady stays with the Patriots.
Aaron Rodgers managed to lead a solid but unspectacular Green Bay roster to the NFC Championship Game, and he didn’t even have his best season. Keep in mind the Packers had a rookie head coach who went 13-3 in his first season. If Rodgers can get a little more help, he can make the Packers a Super Bowl contender.
Think about all that Carson Wentz accomplished before he got hurt in the playoffs. The Eagles were ravaged by injuries all season, especially at receiver, yet Wentz willed them to the playoffs. To be fair, betting on the Eagles is risky given Wentz’s injury history. But if he stays healthy, he can be as good as any quarterback in the NFC and help get Philadelphia back to a Super Bowl.
Russell Wilson is another guy who’s good enough to take a team to the Super Bowl if he can just get a little more help around him. The Seahawks had a subpar offensive line and an unimpressive defense in 2019. Yet, Wilson carried them to 11 wins and a road playoff win. With the right moves this offseason, Wilson and the Seahawks are not to be overlooked.
Can a new head coach make all the difference for Dallas? It’s not the craziest thing. The Cowboys were outstanding offensively for long stretches of the 2019 season. Despite being 8-8, they had the third-best point difference in the NFC. All of the pieces are there if Mike McCarthy can figure out how to use them, making the Cowboys an intriguing dark horse for next year’s Super Bowl.