The Superbowl may have just ended, but that doesn’t mean we can’t look ahead to the teams who have a great chance to win it all next year. Usually, predicting Super Bowls are hard to do. How many people picked the Ravens to go all the way this year? The Giants last year? I didn’t hear of anyone pick the Packers when they won it all a few years back. The beauty of the sport is that we just don’t know who will play in the big game next year, but it is fun to guess.
1. Denver Broncos: The Broncos were 30 seconds away from advancing to the AFC championship game, until Joe Flacco threw up a prayer that was caught by Jacoby Jones. The Broncos should return better than ever in 2013, and early signs are pointing to
Denver having one of the easier schedules. The Broncos have a stacked defense led by the ever improving linebacker Von Miller, and seem to be have a perfect balance of defense and offense. Peyton Manning should still be his usual self at 37, and will lead the Broncos back to the playoffs. Look for the Broncos to easily win the AFC West, but come playoff time will Peyton be taking his team to the promised land, or be home selling Papa Johns pizzas?
2. New England Patriots: Of course, you have to include the Patriots. The Patriots are probably the 2013 AFC East Champions before the season even begins, that is just the sad truth. The Patriots play in the easiest division in the NFL, and having a QB as great as Tom Brady only makes things easier on everyone else. The thing about the Patriots is, we know what they can do in the regular season, but the past few years they have been defined by what has happened in the playoffs. While the team is able to mask its problems during the regular season, it is not as easy to do in the playoffs. However, with Bill Belichick as coach, there is always a chance for the Pats to run the tables.
3. San Francisco 49ers: I admit it, I am on the Colin Kaepernick bandwagon. I love what the kid has done, and how he can make plays. He has the speed, the smarts and the arm to help lead Jim Harbaugh’s team back to the big game. As for the rest of the team, they are stacked. On offense you got Frank Gore and Vernon Davis, but the Niners could use another wide receiver to help Kaepernick excel even more. The defensive side of the ball has Patrick Willis, Navorro Bowman and Justin Smith leading the way. If the Niners can add a decent cover safety to the mix, watch out NFC.
4. Seattle Seahawks: A lot of people are on the Seahawks bandwagon. They have an exciting young QB in Russell Wilson, a beast in Marshawn Lynch, and a great defense stacked with great, young talent led by Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman. The Hawks definitely need another wide receiver to help spread the field. My only concerns are based off Russell Wilson continuing to improve his play, and this team staying out of trouble. Whether it was a failed drug test or DUI, it was always something with this team. Pete Carroll has them mentally tough, and look for the Seahawks to make a push in the NFC. It is extremely important for the Seahawks to get home field advantage, where they are nearly impossible to beat due to the noise level of the Seattle fans.
5. Atlanta Falcons: I know, all 5 teams on this list were playoff teams from this past year. But there is no denying the Falcons can take it to the next level next year. They have a division that is there’s for the taking, the best wide receiver duo in Roddy White and Julio Jones, and a QB who finally got the playoff monkey off of his back in Matt Ryan. The Falcons need to add a pass rusher desperately and look for a replacement for when (if) Tony Gonzalez retires. Still, the Falcons have all the talent to make it to MetLife Stadium this time next year.