The 2018 National Football League season is still some way off but all 32 teams will have started to dream of Super Bowl glory. American football’s showpiece event is the ultimate objective for every franchise at the beginning of the season but only one side can prevail.
In the most recent Super Bowl, the Philadelphia Eagles won their first championship, pipping Tom Brady and the New England Patriots to the title. We’ve looked at five prominent teams in the hunt for the Vince Lombardi Trophy ahead of the 2018 campaign.
The only AFC team to make this list, Pittsburgh will be desperate to make amends after their woeful effort against the Jacksonville Jaguars earlier this year – the Steelers are well placed to push for another Super Bowl title.
With Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown at the top of their game, Mike Tomlin’s men can go all the way to the NFL’s showpiece event.
Everybody expected the Steelers to topple the Patriots in 2017 but it wasn’t to be; this could be their year though. Ben Roethlisberger isn’t getting any younger and newly drafted Mason Rudolph is waiting in the wings to take over.
He may have to sit for a couple of seasons but there is a bright future ahead for the Heinz Field faithful. 5/1 for an AFC Conference triumph is tempting; as is the 10/1 for Pittsburgh to win it all.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Surrounding Drew Brees with talent has always been a top priority for the Saints but New Orleans are now also blessed with a competent defensive unit.
Fortune favours the brave and this ball-hawking secondary could make a few big plays in 2018. Marshon Lattimore will be the face of this Saints defence for many years to come.
Sean Payton’s dynamic running back duo of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara could flourish again this year. The rest of the NFC will be wary of New Orleans' offensive prowess.
The two combined for 3,088 scrimmage yards and 25 touchdowns in 2017 and punters will fancy New Orleans to feature prominently in the Super Bowl battle. The Saints are worth backing at 20/1 for a second Vince Lombardi Trophy.
LOS ANGELES RAMS
On paper, the Rams are STACKED on both sides of the ball. Sean McVay’s men were the most exciting team to watch in the 2017 regular season but Los Angeles crumbled during the playoffs.
That cannot happen again this year. This team is far too talented to fall short in their pursuit of Super Bowl glory; a real push at the big prize looks likely.
If Todd Gurley is as prolific this year as he was last year, Rams fans are in for a real treat. It is now Jared Goff’s time to step up and mature into an elite NFL quarterback; Los Angeles have the blueprint for future success.
11/1 could seem very long indeed if the Rams are able to hit top form in the early stages of the campaign.
NEW YORK GIANTS
Okay, labelling the Giants as ‘contenders’ is something of a reach. But at 50/1, they are well worth considering as dark horses.
Results in the NFC East will determine whether Pat Shurmur’s men reach the playoffs or not; the former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator will be expecting an improved effort from this Giants outfit in 2018.
New York had no reservations over taking running back Saquon Barkley with the second pick in this year’s draft and he could have an Ezekiel Elliott-esque impact for Big Blue.
In 2017, he recorded over 1,700 scrimmage yards whilst scoring 23 touchdowns. That kind of impact on offense should help Odell Beckham Jr to flourish in the passing game.
Shurmur’s departure will have a negative effect on this Vikings side but Minnesota’s Super Bowl aspirations revolve around their defensive qualities.
For me, the Vikings are the most complete side in the NFC North and free agency acquisition Kirk Cousins can lead the team to greatness. 12/1 isn’t bad when you consider the amount of talent on this roster.
Dalvin Cook’s return from injury will give the running game a much-needed lift after Jerrick McKinnon decided to move on.
John DeFilippo is Minnesota’s new offensive coordinator – he was Philadelphia’s quarterback coach last year and we all know how that turned out. Can he lead the Vikings to the Super Bowl? Only time will tell…