The NFL is a complex sport simply due to the sheer number of variables. The hundreds of different factors that a franchise must interact with over the course of a season can play a significant role between success and failure. Whether it be weather, player relationships, personnel issues, injuries, strength of schedule or simply just the sheer size of an NFL roster, there isn’t one definitive factor in determining the inevitable Super Bowl Champion. Franchises are made of a plethora of moving pieces, some of which they have no control over. When it all clicks together, it means confetti, trophies and rings; however, when it doesn’t, it can mean heartbreak, devastation and sadness for all those involved. Here are the 5 best teams in the NFL- teams who have partially eliminated the negative variables or maximized the positive ones to put them in the driver’s seat for success. These teams have the most complete rosters and are primed for glory and fame this upcoming season.
1. New England Patriots:
I understand that they lost a dynamic playmaker in Rob Gronkowski, but until another team can do what they have recently, they have earned the right to sit atop the throne. The Patriots have been to four of the last five Super Bowls and have won 3 of those four games. They boast the best player of all time, Tom Brady, and the best coach of all time, Bill Belichick. The Patriots have the unique ability to transform nobody’s into somebody’s; one example is Chris Hogan. Chris Hogan was a lacrosse player at Penn State, and he is now has multiple Super Bowl Championships under his belt. The Patriots squeeze the most out of their talent, and they are simply the best dynasty we have seen in a while- even better than the Golden State Warriors. The Patriots simply play the game and achieve their desired results. The team isn’t flashy, glamorous or exciting; however, they do what no other team can: win and stay winning.
2. Philadelphia eagles
Is this my Eagles bias showing- no, it’s honestly the truth. The Eagles are close to the top of the NFL. They have a solid defense that continues to improve, one of the best special teams units in the NFL and a dynamic offense. The Eagles almost made another run at the Super Bowl despite again not having Carson Wentz. The biggest detriment for the Eagles last season was injuries. The Eagles were bit hard by the injury bug, and it is an astounding feat that they were able to do everything they did with such a limited roster. In addition to losing Wentz, the Eagles lost Jay Ajayi, Mike Wallace and countless other players, which included most of the secondary. A fully healthy Eagles roster may just be the scariest in the NFL. I truly believe if this roster stays healthy, the Eagles have a great chance to go back to the Super Bowl. After adding two running backs, defensive talent and strength on the offensive line, the Eagles made a great roster just that much better. While the injuries scare me, this team is the team to beat in the NFC as long as their health holds up. The Eagles are solid in every area, and they have major potential this season.
3. Kansas city chiefs
The Chiefs did something unthinkable last season: win a lot with practically zero defense. The Chiefs defense was ranked dead last, or pretty much dead last, in multiple categories last season. Poor defensive play was the reason the Chiefs eventually missed the Super Bowl. If the Chiefs had any type of defense that was formidable, I truly believe they would have defeated the Patriots. That being said, it’s just a testament to how good their offense was. Patrick Mahomes, the NFL MVP, is a wizard with the football, and he generates offense with his strong arm and quick feet. The Chiefs showcase multiple star offensive pieces including Travis Kelce and Damien Williams. They obviously won’t be at full strength if their playmaking WR, Tyreke Hill, has any suspensions handed down, but even if they lose him, they still will have a potent offense. The Chiefs got better defensively this offseason, and Mahomes has another season of experience under his belt. Look for the Chiefs red-hot offense to continue where it left off last season right out of the gates. If this team can get it together defensively, they eventually will surpass the Patriots as the dynasty to beat in the AFC.
4. LOS ANGELES Chargers
Despite not being the best team in their division, the Chargers are like the Eagles: great in every unit. The Chargers have a stout defense lead by multiple stars including Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram and Casey Hayward, just to name a few. They have a proven, future-Hall-of-Fame-star in Phillip Rivers under center, and they have surrounded Rivers with weapons like Hunter Henry and Keenan Allen. So, if the Chiefs defense is so poor, and the Chargers have a good offense, why are the Chargers below them? There are two main reasons why. The first is the Chiefs’ offense is just that much more electric. The Chiefs’ offense is the best in football, and they simply can’t be matched. Mahomes and the Chiefs set the bar high for opposing offenses, and the Chargers simply can’t meet that requirement- yet. The second main factor is Melvin Gordon. Gordon does have an injury-riddled past, and he has also recently been adverse to his contract situation. If the Chargers lost Gordon, they would be in a major hole. Yes, Phillip Rivers is a great QB, but he feeds off the fact that defenses must tune into Gordon as well. That gap without a running back could greatly limit the potency of the Chargers’ offense. The gap between 3 and 4 isn’t a huge one, but it’s just enough to keep the Chargers out of the top three. Think of the Chiefs and Chargers like video game teams: the Chiefs spent all their powerups on offense, while the Chargers spent theirs more evenly on both sides of the ball.
5. Indianapolis cOLTS
The Colts are another team with a solid offense and defense. Andrew Luck has bounced back significantly since his past injury, and the Colts are a tough out. One advantage the Colts have is they play in a very difficult AFC South; moreover, this allows them to be battle tested all season long, and clash against tough teams all year. The Colts were definitely ready for their first postseason game against the Texans; however, their offense just simply couldn’t compete with the firepower of the Chiefs the following week. While they don’t have a superstar running back, the Colts get great use out of Marlon Mack. The Colts also coupled the talent of Andrew Luck with other top-tier players like T.Y Hilton and Eric Ebron. On defense, the Colts have improved greatly with playmakers like Justin Houston and Darius Leonard. Head Coach Frank Reich has done tremendous things with the Colts, and the sky is the limit for the team. If the defense keeps improving, the Colts could just steal an upset or two and head to the Super Bowl.
Honorable mentions (in order)