I know this is very premature, but it wouldn’t be football season without a contenders list. This list will be updated weekly so please try not to crucify me. This list will be based on weekly performance, injury, if I believe their play is sustainable and or built for the super bowl, and any other circumstances surrounding the team.
NO.5 Baltimore Ravens
Coming in at no.5 the Baltimore Ravens. I was hesitant to put them here for a multitude of reasons. Their running backs are all out for the year, their no.2 corner Marcus Peters is out for the year, Ronnie Stanley their all-pro tackle is dealing with his ankle still, and their number 3 corner is dealing with an ankle problem. In addition to this, I don’t really like anyone on their offense not named Lamar Jackson. However, they have things to like about them that give me hope for them. Lamar seems to have figured out the chiefs and got that monkey off his back. He has won 80 % of his games outside of the chiefs and has now shown an ability to out dual Patrick Mahomes. Their first-round pick Odafe Oweh seems to be a great pick for them, and Anthony Averett did a great job as the no.2 corner against one of the most explosive wide receiver groups in the league. In addition to always, great special teams and a somehow still elite run game the Ravens are legit.
No.4 the Seattle Seahawks
Coming in at no. 4 I have the Seattle Seahawks. Despite being owned by Derrick Henry I still believe in this defense. In the first half, they held him to 30 yards rushing and the titan’s offense couldn’t put the ball in the end zone. The second half King Henry took over and did what he does to every defense, which is why I don’t see it as a cause for concern. The biggest concern to me is that I don’t trust anyone on that defense outside of Jamal Adams and Bobby Wagner to stop the run. Their defensive line also had an inconsistent push against a shaky Titans offensive line. Offensively I have no doubts about the Seahawks any different from any year. Their offensive line while much improved still is not an elite group. I do, however, like their running game more than most teams despite the bad run game this past week, and Russ is still Russ. While DK Metcalf has worried me a bit this year Tyler Lockett seems primed for his best year yet. With Pete Carroll at the helm, I expect the Super Bowl to be in play this year.
No. 3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa bay has been so good it seems blasphemous to have them 3. I think this speaks to their talent. On the defensive side, while they have made some big plays, they have not been consistently productive. They have only 2 sacks on the year which is a huge concern. The Bucs are also 23rd in yards allowed. While they have the potential and showed it last year, they can be a dominant defense and they returned all of their starters but they haven’t shown it yet. With that being said I do expect them to improve their defense I just have doubts it will be as good as last year’s. a quick side note for them as well, Vita Vea looks like a top 3 nose tackle this year. On the offensive side, they look unstoppable. The Offensive Line looks just as good as ever Gronk even looks like his prime self. Tom Brady is on pace to be better in his 40’s than his 20’s and doesn’t appear to slow down at all. Tom could also be on the path to another super bowl ring.
No. 2 Kansas City Chiefs
Let’s not get crazy over this past week’s loss. The chiefs are still the team to beat when healthy. Honeybadger looks like the best safety in the league. Chris Jones also appears to have a career year at the defensive end ahead of him. Their run defense is a cause for concern though. Obviously, Baltimore is the best running team in probably the last quarter century but the Chiefs’ run defense was still flat out embarrassing. Anytime they needed a stop they couldn’t get it or even when they knew Baltimore was running, they couldn’t stop it. On the Brightside they will likely be playing with a lead most games and almost no teams can run like Baltimore. They also improved their run defense in the second half of last year as well. I have zero concern with their offense. The offensive line is revamped with a lot of great players. They have the same weapons and the best player in the most important position.
NO. 1 Los Angeles Rams
This may come to a shocker a lot of people, but I think the rams are legit. The Rams play the Bucs this Sunday so I will either be proven very wrong or very right. While their running back injuries scare, I think Michel and Henderson will make up most of the loss of Cam Akers. Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods look like a top 3 wide receiver duo in the league as of now. Matthew Stafford also appears to finally be able to display his talents with a competent team. The real reason however I think they will be great is their defense. While I don’t think they will be as good as last year, and they will miss John Johnson. This defense still has the potential to be a top-five defense in the league. I think their use of Jalen Ramsey in a more versatile nickel role is going to pay dividends later on. Not to mention they have probably the best defensive player ever in Aaron Donald. The only thing this defense was missing was a productive offense when the game matters they now have that and a chance to cement themselves as an all-time defense with a super bowl win.