Written by Cody Manning, @CodyTalksNFL
Recently, the sports world saw the St. Louis Blues in the NHL and the Toronto Raptors in the NBA win the first championship in their respective franchise’s history. Currently, the NFL has 12 teams that are looking to win their first Super Bowl: the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, and the Tennessee Titans. In celebration of the Blues and Raptors, I have decided to rank the top five teams that I could see holding up the Lombardi trophy in Miami come February.
1. Los Angeles Chargers
Philip Rivers has had a stellar career, but the one thing that is missing from it is a Super Bowl appearance. That window is slowly closing on him and the Chargers organization, but they have one of their better teams to help get them to the promised land. Los Angeles has players like Melvin Gordon and Keenan Allen on offense while having studs like Joey Bosa and Derwin James on defense. This well-rounded roster is led by Anthony Lynn, who has proven that he can win in this league. With all the veteran leadership on this team, I like their odds to win that first championship in the upcoming season. It’s a Super Bowl-or-bust year for Rivers and company.
2. Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings were supposed to go on a deep playoff run last season but fell short due to injuries and poor offensive line play. Minnesota has a fully-loaded roster coming back healthy that includes players like Dalvin Cook and Mike Hughes. Their first-round selection of Garrett Bradbury immediately improves the interior of the offensive line, and this team is littered with talent on both sides of the ball. With their coaching staff, the expectation should not only make it back to the playoffs but get back to at least the NFC Championship game. If the Vikes can put everything together, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them finally win their first Super Bowl.
3. Cleveland Browns
How are the Browns not #1 on this list? I can imagine some people had that thought, which I understand, but I have my reasons. There is no doubt that Cleveland has some stars on both sides of the ball and their roster has the talent to go on a Super Bowl run. But a couple of reasons why I have them ranked at #3 is that they don’t have the veteran leadership that has been to the playoffs and their coaching staff is young. Also, they don’t have the postseason experience as well. Could they win their first Super Bowl this year? Yes, but let’s start by ending their playoff drought first, then let’s see what this exciting team can do next.
4. Atlanta Falcons
I’m sure the Falcons are dying to get back to the Super Bowl so they can erase that 28-3 debacle from their memories. Atlanta is primed to get back into the playoff picture after dealing with an injury-riddled season in 2018. They addressed the offensive line through the draft, and if they hit on those players, then they should expect their running attack to help Matt Ryan out with Devonta Freeman returning. Their biggest question mark is if Dan Quinn can get their defense back to what it was before everyone was on IR last year. If he can and the offense is clicking, then it’s possible the Falcons could go on a run in the upcoming season.
5. Houston Texans
The Texans are a hard team to figure out. They have superstars like Deshaun Watson and JJ Watt, but they’re hampered by a poor offensive line and a questionable secondary. This team is built to either go on a playoff run and capture their first Lombardi trophy or be a let-down, which leads to analysts question if Houston is wasting the early years of Watson. If they can go deep into the postseason, they will need players to stay healthy and their offensive line needs to keep their franchise quarterback standing on his two feet. It’s a make-or-break year for Bill O’Brien.