Which Team Is Most Likely to Win Super Bowl LIII?
With less than a month to go before the big showdown at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, we take a look at the playoff picture to assess the competing teams’ chances and pick our winners of Super Bowl 53.
Regular Season Recap
After yet another pulsating season with its fair share of upsets, record-breaking performances, sparkling individual brilliance and unexpected retirements midway through the campaign, the 12-team playoff lineup was completed in December 2018. There were some great games along the way.
Be it the Chicago Bears’ 48-10 thumping of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, widely considered to be the best game of the year, or the Buccaneers’ own involvement in a high-scoring affair at the start of the season (knocking off the New Orleans Saints 48-40 in a nail-biter), there was no shortage of drama, emotions, and edge-of-the-seat moments.
One of the season’s best stories was the Cleveland Browns finally getting that elusive W, their first in 635 days, after trailing 14-0 to the New York Jets early in the game. And remember that encounter between the L.A. Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs, where both combined for a total of 105 points? This was the first time that both teams had scored more than 50 points in an NFL game
The competition was thrilling, nerve-wracking, unexpected and remarkable; a perfect reminder of why we love this sport.
The WILD Wildcard Weekend
It is safe to say that the 2019 NFL Playoffs Wildcard Weekend was one for the underdogs. Three teams went on the road to pull off spectacular upsets which gave us a Divisional Round that will now feature just 3 of the usual suspects along with 5 newcomers. Three of the four favorites (the Chicago Bears, the Baltimore Ravens, and the Houston Texans) are out of the picture. If that isn’t a serious plot twist, then we don’t know what is.
So, with the playoff picture pretty much turned on its head, we now have a thoroughly intriguing Divisional Round to look forward to. Clear your schedules for this weekend because there is some serious football to be enjoyed.
Divisional Round Bracket
With 8 teams left and the Divisional Round of the Playoffs set to get underway this Saturday (January 12, 2019), we have some cracking football to look forward to. Let’s take a brief look at how the remaining eight contenders rank with regards to their chances of going all the way.
The NFC field looks relatively straightforward for the Saints after the Wildcard Weekend. On paper, only the Dallas Cowboys seem to have a defense good enough to stop an offensive line that is firing on all cylinders. The Saints are one of the most complete teams in the NFL with an offense that is hard to stop and a defense that can be a brick wall when needed. And with them being unbeaten at home in the playoffs with Sean Payton and Drew Brees in the lineup, few would bet against this team taking the field at the Mercedes Benz Stadium come Super Bowl LIII.
Perhaps the second most complete team in the NFL at the moment, the L.A. Chargers are a finely balanced side. They have one of the best offenses in the league. And if any team can go on the road and turn the New England Patriots over, it is the L.A. Chargers. Some are even giving the Chargers the edge in this one because of their experience and better overall balance.
The Chiefs have undoubtedly one of the most fluid and high-octane offenses in the NFL, which was on full display in that 54-51 defeat to the Rams back in November 2019. They are top seeds in the AFC and while that defense can be shaky at times, they have enough firepower at the other end to make up for it.
Home field advantage should not be underestimated, even if the Wildcard Round this season would have us believe otherwise. And the Rams can make home advantage count because they have players who can do some serious damage to the opposition at any point in the game. Running back Todd Gurley is considered the best in his position when fit while Aaron Donald is the league’s number 1 defensive player. So, watch out for them.
Experts say they haven’t quite been the swashbuckling team of previous seasons and have struggled at times this campaign while the inevitable question marks on superstar quarterback Tom Brady’s age are back again. That, combined with a dip in his supporting cast’s performance, is the reason why we have ranked the Patriots at number 5 in this evaluation. They are dangerous on the offence but don’t quite have the fluidity of the Chiefs or the Rams, on paper at least. While that defense hasn’t exactly been rock solid this season either. But, all things said and done, write the Patriots off at your own peril.
The Colts have a pretty good offensive line that has all the tools needed to breach a top-tier defense. However, their defense is yet to be tested against the league’s elite offenses, and what better offence than that of the Chiefs to do so.
The Dallas Cowboys are undoubtedly an elite defense with an attack that can lock horns and succeed against the best of them. And they don’t let leads slip very often. But that defense is also quite vulnerable to good deep passes and there are quite a few good deep passers left in the fray, starting with the Rams’ Jared Goff.
The defending champions were the last team to qualify for the playoffs and aren’t quite the force they were last season. But in Nick Foles, they have a quarterback who is on an absolute tear, having just destroyed the best defense in the NFL (Chicago Bears).
In the AFC, we think that the New England Patriots will prevail over the Los Angeles Chargers in a closely fought encounter. In the other game, the Kansas City Chiefs will beat the Indianapolis Colts.
In the NFC bracket, the Los Angeles Rams will triumph over the Dallas Cowboys while the New Orleans Saints will prove to be too strong for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Who Will Win?
American Football Conference
New England Patriots v/s Kansas City Chiefs
The high-octane offense of the Chiefs against a Patriots’ defense that hasn’t been as good recently, but we expect Tom Brady and co. to come good when it matters most. This might sound strange but the experience of the Pats will help them get the job done.
National Football Conference
Los Angeles Rams v/s New Orleans Saints
The Los Angeles Rams are a dangerous unit but the New Orleans Saints are considered the most complete team in the NFL for a reason. And we expect them to show everyone why by lifting the NFC Championship.
Many sane minds would consider this to be the year of the New Orleans Saints and with good reason too. This team has got everything but Tom Brady and Co. are hungry for a record 6th Super Bowl win. The Pats have been there and done it more consistently than any other side over the last decade and a half. There is no substitute for big game experience and that should be enough to push the Patriots over the line.