Every NFL fans' dream is to see their respective franchise achieve the ultimate goal of winning a Super Bowl. Some franchises' are presently in a strong position to make a run at the Super Bowl this upcoming 2017 season. Some franchises' are setting themselves up with draft picks and young talent to win within the next five to ten years. Other franchises are continuously making costly mistakes, from trades that end up working against them, to collegiate draft picks that end up being significant busts once they reach the NFL. Whichever way fans want to think, their team falls into one of these three categories.
There are some teams such as the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, and Jacksonville Jaguars that have yet to reach the big game. There are teams that have made it to the Super Bowl, but haven't won any such as the Buffalo Bills, Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons, and Cincinnati Bengals. Then there are the teams that have gone once or twice and won a Super Bowl such as the New Orleans Saints and New York Jets. Then there are the teams that have gone three times or more and won multiple Super Bowl titles such as the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, and San Francisco 49ers.
This list takes a look at the next time every NFL team can realistically bring the Lombardi trophy back to their fans. Some franchises' will have to wait a lot longer than others. Here are the projections for the next Super Bowl wins for all 32 NFL teams.
32 Arizona Cardinals - Super Bowl LVII (57)
There is plenty of optimism for Cardinal fans to think their team will win a Super Bowl within the next five seasons. Their defense played very well last year, finishing 2nd in the league in defensive yards per game with 305.2 ypg given up. They have a six time pro bowl cornerback in Patrick Peterson that is the main reason for the Cardinals defensive success. Another key player in their defense is Chandler Jones as he finished with 11 sacks, four forced fumbles, and 49 total tackles in the 2016 season. Not only is their defense promising, but they have some offensive threats that can be troublesome for all NFL defenses. They have a running back in David Johnson who had 16 touchdowns and 1,239 yards in 2016, good enough for a pro bowl selection.
They also have pro bowl wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald back this season as a primary target for quarterback Carson Palmer. However, we think they'll have to re-tool at QB and WR, meaning Fitz will likely miss out on a Super Bowl, at least in Arizona. With the up and coming talent on this roster, it is easy to see the Cardinals winning a Super Bowl in five years.
31 Atlanta Falcons- Super Bowl LIII (53)
The Falcons were 15 minutes from winning Super Bowl LI this past season. Unfortunately, they could not close the game out as an experienced New England Patriots team mounted the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history to steal the title away from Atlanta. The offensive fire power that the Falcons have will make them a clear favorite in the NFC for the next few seasons. Matt Ryan is coming off of an MVP season in which he threw 38 touchdowns and 4,944 yards. Julio Jones had a terrific 2016 season where he caught 83 receptions and six touchdowns along with 1,409 yards.
However, NFL teams should not take the Falcons defense for granted. They have Robert Alford and Ricardo Allen as young cornerbacks and safeties that will play a lot better in 2017 having the postseason experience they did in 2016. Look for the Falcons to be raising a Lombardi trophy in February of 2019.
30 Baltimore Ravens- Super Bowl LXXIV (74)
The days of the Ravens contending for Super Bowls seem to be over. It can't be possible for a team to be Super Bowl contenders if they are not well-balanced all the way around. The Baltimore running attack was dreadful last season. They were 28th in the NFL in yards per carry on the ground with 4.0. Only the Giants, Lions, Rams, and Vikings were worse in that category. As if the Ravens running attack wasn't bad enough, their passing attack is not much better. They were 21st in the NFL last season in passing touchdowns with only 20 on the season.
This could be a sign that Joe Flacco could be heading toward the decline of his career. Their defense however could show signs of life for the future. They were 7th in the NFL in total yards given up per game with 322.1. The only way the Ravens could win a Super Bowl any earlier than predicted is if their defense leads them to it. Otherwise, it will be a long wait for Baltimore fans.
29 Buffalo Bills- Super Bowl LXXVIII (78)
Jim Kelly is not walking down the tunnel anytime soon. Neither is Bruce Matthews, Thurman Thomas, or any of the 1990's Bills that appeared in four straight Super Bowls. The Bills are in an unfortunate position. They are in the same division as the New England Patriots who have been one of the most dominant teams in professional football during the 21st century. There are some upsides that could have a Super Bowl finally make its way to Buffalo. They were 1st in the NFL last season in rushing yards per attempt with 5.3. They were also eighth in the NFL in sacks as a team with 39 total sacks. Although those are small factors that could hint toward a bright future, it is hard to envision a Super Bowl title in Buffalo unless the Patriots start to fall into a rapid decline.
28 Carolina Panthers- Super Bowl LXVI (66)
The Panthers were very close to a Super Bowl title in Super Bowl L against the Denver Broncos. Unfortunately, they ran into an unstoppable Denver defense as well as the final game of Peyton Manning's career. They took a step backwards in the 2016 season, finishing 6-10 and failing to qualify for the playoffs. If the Panthers want to have any chance at a Super Bowl title, the answer is Cam Newton playing well. His 2016 season wasn't nearly as successful as his 2015 season. In 2015, he threw for 35 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions. In 2016, he only threw 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
Besides Cam Newton performing, the Panthers will need some luck as teams like the Falcons and Cowboys are on the rise in the traditionally powerful NFC conference. Trying to beat those two teams alone makes it hard to see the Panthers a legitimate contender for the next 10-15 years.
27 Chicago Bears- Super Bowl LXXXI (81)
The Chicago Bears are a franchise that needs a new identity. For years, their main attraction was quarterback Jay Cutler. However, after an injury filled season with only playing 5 games and throwing four touchdown passes; the Bears finally released Cutler after eight seasons. Cutler's release led to the Bears selecting quarterback Mitch Trubisky from the University of North Carolina. Trubisky and Mike Glennon will compete for the job of starting quarterback for a Bears team that finished 3-13 just a season ago. Last season, the Bears were a surprising 14th in the NFL in total passing yards with 3,969. Their defense however has a lot of holes needed to be fixed. Their rush defense allowed the 6th most rushing touchdowns last season with 18. The bottom line with this Bears team is that they cannot be looked at as Super Bowl contenders until they prove they can move on from Cutler and be somewhat successful. Fans should expect it to be another 25 years before the Bears even come close to another title.
26 Cincinnati Bengals - Super Bowl LXV (65)
There is a very simple solution to the problem of Cincinnati not winning Super Bowls: fire Marvin Lewis. He has had some success during the regular season. In his 14 year career as Bengals head coach, he is 118-103 with 10 winning seasons out of 14. His playoff record on the other hand; I am sure he would like to be forgotten about. He is 0-7 in his 14 year career, so obviously the Bengals cannot trust Lewis to lead them to a playoff victory. The Bengals have solid pieces in place on both sides of the ball.
The connection of quarterback Andy Dalton and Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green has been worrisome for NFL secondaries for years now. They also have Vontaze Burfict who is an incredibly talented linebacker who is also known for his wild behavior and disciplinary problems. This is a team with a lot of talent and no leadership. As long as Marvin Lewis is at the helm, the Bengals will have to wait over 10 years for any chance of winning a playoff game; and then eventually a Super Bowl.
25 Cleveland Browns - Super Bowl LXIX (69)
This prediction is probably a lot higher than others would predict. Cleveland is that team that can make a run at a Super Bowl in about 15 years if they play their cards right. They are making strides in having good offensive linemen to block for their quarterback. Joe Thomas and Alex Mack were 2016 Pro Bowl selections. The other good parts of their off-season involved the trading for quarterback Brock Osweiler and the drafting of defensive end Myles Garrett. Osweiler has proven he can win in the right system when he was with the Denver Broncos. Garrett was drafted to revitalize a feeble Browns defense. He was a two time First-Team All-American as well as First-Team all SEC in 2015 and 2016.
If the Browns can start winning, that can help attract highly talented draftees and free agents to want to play for Cleveland. Hopefully, the Browns will have taken enough strides as an organization to compete for Super Bowls in the 2020s.
24 Dallas Cowboys - Super Bowl LVI (56)
The Dallas Cowboys finished the 2016 season with a 14-2 record. As the season went on, they were picked by several analysts to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LI. Unfortunately, the Cowboys ran into a hot Aaron Rodgers and saw their tremendous season end abruptly; losing to the Packer 34-31 in the NFC Divisional Round. The 2016 season saw great development in rookie quarterback Dak Prescott as well as rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott. Prescott arrived on the NFL scene after long time Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo suffered another injury during the 2o16 preseason. He definitely did not disappoint, throwing 23 touchdowns and 4 interceptions while completing 67.8% of his passes. Elliott did not have a bad year either.
Elliott rushed for 15 touchdowns which was good for third in the NFL along with 1,631 yards which was good for first in the NFL among all running backs. If Prescott and Elliott can stay healthy and steadily produce like they did in their rookie seasons, multiple championships could be arriving in Dallas as early as Super Bowl LVI.
23 Denver Broncos - Super Bowl LXIV (64)
The Denver defense that won them the Super Bowl two years ago is forgotten about. The Denver defense finished with the fifth most yards allowed rushing with 2,085. The NFL today has become a quarterback league. If the team doesn't have a respectable quarterback, they will have trouble being legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Trevor Siemian had an average first season as the Broncos starting quarterback. He finished his season with 18 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, with 3,401 yards accumulated. Their running attack didn't help much with balancing their passing attack. Their running backs were 20th in the NFL last year with 11 rushing touchdowns on the season. They were also 27th in the league with 92.8 rushing yards per game.
The combination of a mediocre quarterback and weak running game will not put points on the board and the defense can only do so much for a team week to week. With a lot going against Denver, the earliest opportunity for their next Super Bowl win will be Super Bowl LXIV.
22 Detroit Lions - Super Bowl LXVIII (68)
The Detroit Lions have been pretty consistent over the last few seasons. They are a team that either misses the playoffs entirely or make the playoffs and then lose in the first round. The one piece of consistency the Lions have had is quarterback Matthew Stafford. Stafford had an overall good year in 2016, throwing for 4,327 yards, 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The problem with the Lions is the other pieces of the offense surrounding Stafford. The Lions as a team were 20th in the NFL in total points and points per game. They finished the season with 346 total points and 21.6 points per game.
Surprisingly, the Lions were also 20th in defensive points allowed and defensive points per game allowed. They allowed 358 total points along with 22.4 points per game. For the Lions to have any chance at a Super Bowl, Stafford needs a better supporting cast and the defense needs some adjustments. However, the NFC is tough, and we can't see the Lions winning a Super Bowl until well after Aaron Rodgers retires. It might have to be Matt Stafford's successor that gets the job done.
21 Green Bay Packers- Super Bowl LVII (57)
Like Stephen A. Smith has said numerous times on ESPN's First Take, Aaron Rodgers is a baaaaaaaaaad man. Rodgers led the Packers to an unlikely NFC Championship performance in 2016 against the Atlanta Falcons. Unfortunately for Rodgers and the Packers, he couldn't create any more magic in the playoffs; losing 44-21. Green Bay went out this offseason and signed free agent tight end Martellus Bennett. Bennett is coming off of a spectacular season with the Patriots. In his one year with New England, he finished with 55 receptions, 701 yards, and 7 touchdowns which was the most of all Patriot wide receivers.
The one position the Packers should look to upgrade is running back. Green Bay running backs finished 20th in the league with 106.3 rushing yards per game. If Green Bay can upgrade the running back position while keeping their core in tact, they'll remain in contention. Unfortunately we don't foresee a win until Rodgers is nearing the end of his career, come Super Bowl 57.
20 Houston Texans- Super Bowl LXVII (67)
The Houston Texans have earned the reputation as a solidified defensive football team. The combination of defensive end J.J. Watt and linebacker Jadeveon Clowney creates nightmares for offensive lines. Unfortunately, last season was not the same case as Watt was out for a majority of the season with a back injury. The Texans proved in most games that they can stop an elite passing attack. They were 2nd in the NFL in allowed passing yards per game, only giving up 201.6 ypg. In the 2016 off-season, the Texans seemed to bolster their offense by acquiring both quarterback Brock Osweiler and running back Lamar Miller. Osweiler had a mediocre season throwing for 2,957 yards while throwing 15 touchdown passes along with 16 interceptions. Miller had a very average season, rushing for 1,073 yards with five touchdowns.
The Texans cannot expect to compete for a Super Bowl if their quarterbacks are throwing for more interceptions than touchdown passes and if their running backs do not produce either. Tom Savage and rookie Deshaun Watson could be the solution to Houston's quarterback controversy. We don't see either getting it done in this era though.
19 Indianapolis Colts- Super Bowl LXXIII (73)
Remember when the Colts put up a banner for being AFC finalists during the 2014-15 season when they got humiliated by the New England Patriots 45-7 in the AFC Championship game? It seemed at that time although the Colts lost badly during that game, they would be a team to continuously make a run in the AFC playoffs and eventually the Super Bowl. That was not the case in 2016 as the Colts finished 8-8. The Colts pass defense definitely did not help as they finished 27th in the league in passing yards allowed per game with 262.5. One reason for optimism was the play of quarterback Andrew Luck. Luck had a terrific season throwing for 4,240 yards, 31 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
The Colts are in a tough position as they are competing with a Texans team that is built defensively for the next five to seven years and a Titans team that finished tied for 1st with the Texans in the AFC South with offensive weapons such as Marcus Mariotta, DeMarco Murray, and newly signed wide receiver Eric Decker. Andrew Luck, unless he changes teams, might go down as one of the best to never win the big one. We don't forecast a Colts Super Bowl for at least 20 years.
18 Jacksonville Jaguars- Super Bowl LXXV (75)
The Jacksonville Jaguars are in a similar situation as the Indianapolis Colts. They are in a tough AFC South division and the Jaguars have an even steeper hill to climb. They have to get by the Colts, and then compete with the Titans and Texans to have any chance at just making the playoffs. Their running game can use a serious upgrade as their running backs finished 22nd in the NFL last season in total rushing yards during the season with 1,631 total yards. When the math is done, the Jaguars are lucky to average 100 rushing yards a game. Blake Bortles had a down season in 2016 throwing for 3,905 yards along with 23 touchdown passes and 16 interceptions. They have good receivers to throw to in Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson.
The Jaguars could also use some good pass rushers as well as they finished tied for 19th in the NFL with 33.0 total sacks on the year. We just don't see a Super Bowl in the near future.
17 Kansas City Chiefs- Super Bowl LVIII (58)
The Chiefs have proven to be a legitimate playoff team over the past five seasons. They are a team that has something that most NFL teams do not have: a legitimate tight end that is a threat in the red zone. Travis Kelce has proven to be one of the top five tight ends arguably in the NFL right now. In 2016, Kelce had 85 receptions along with 1,125 yards and four touchdown receptions. Another key part of their offense is Alex Smith. Smith had an average 2016 season throwing for 3,502 yards along with 15 touchdowns and eight interceptions. However by the time the Chiefs are truly contenders, we expect Patrick Mahomes to be leading the way.
Their offense was sporadic at times last year, finishing 15th in the NFL in total touchdowns with 42 all season. They are competing in a tough AFC West division with the likes of Oakland and Denver. If Kansas City can put it all together offensively, expect them to find a way by both Oakland and Denver and win Super Bowl LVIII.
16 Los Angeles Chargers- Super Bowl LXXX (80)
The Chargers finished the 2016 season 5-11, which included a five game losing streak at the end. The woeful record cannot be blamed on the offense getting the ball into the end-zone. The Chargers were 8th in the NFL last season with 48 total touchdowns. The centerpiece to this Chargers team for 13 seasons now has been quarterback Philip Rivers. Rivers had another good season throwing for 4,386 yards with 33 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. The only bad part is that most of Rivers' interceptions occurred in crunch time moments late in the fourth quarter. If Rivers continues to turn the ball over in key situations, the Chargers will never be put in a successful position to contend for the title. Wide receiver Keenan Allen being injured most of last season did not help the Chargers either as he finished with only six receptions total on the season.
The Chargers will need to make some serious changes in Los Angeles if they want to contend for a Super Bowl faster than Super Bowl LXXX.
15 Los Angeles Rams- Super Bowl LXXVIV (79)
The Rams thought they were getting the next version of Eric Dickerson when they drafted Todd Gurley in 2015. He did not disappoint as he finished his rookie campaign with 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns. His 2016 season wasn't nearly as good as he finished with only 885 yards and six touchdowns, a substantial decrease from the year before. The Rams need Gurley to get back to his rookie form in order for this team to improve and move forward. Their defense did not help as they were 23rd in the NFL in interceptions with only 10 total as a team in 2016. The big question mark for this franchise is the development and growth of second year quarterback Jared Goff.
Goff lost the starting job for the 1st part of last season so the Rams have not seen him play an entire season. With Goff and Gurley being keys to the future, do not expect a title for the Rams until Super Bowl LXXVIV. Man, looks like L.A. might have to wait a while.
14 Miami Dolphins- Super Bowl LX (60)
Yes, the Miami Dolphins made it to the playoffs in 2016. Yes, they had a lot go their way in order to make the playoffs. Yes, the Dolphins still have many questions headed into 2017. Will Ryan Tannehill make a jump from pretty good NFL quarterback to elite NFL quarterback? His numbers last season were simply not good. He only threw for 2,995 yards with 19 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions. Those numbers are nowhere good enough to lead the Dolphins out of the AFC East past the Patriots, let alone to consistent playoff berths and eventually a Super Bowl.
Will Jay Ajayi have another great year out of the backfield? Last season, Ajayi ran for 1,272 yards and had eight touchdowns. Can their defense make progressions like it did last season? The Dolphins were tied for 3rd in the NFL with 16 interceptions as a team. If these questions can be answered and solved in a good way, the Dolphins could win a Super Bowl as early as Super Bowl LX.
13 Minnesota Vikings- Super Bowl LXI (61)
The Vikings are in a serious case of identity crisis. Long time Pro Bowl running back Adrian Peterson is now long gone and embarking on a new journey in New Orleans. The search for another running back didn't last long as Latavius Murray. This signing happened because of Marshawn Lynch came out of retirement and ending up with the Raiders. One positive the Vikings have from last season is the way they played the pass. They were third in the NFL in pass defense, only allowing 207.9 yards per game.
The biggest question for the Vikings is the quarterback situation. Will Teddy Bridgewater return to form after missing an entire season due to injury? Will Sam Bradford turn into the elite quarterback everyone thought he would be out of college? Could they wait until the 2018 NFL Draft to get another quarterback? If Minnesota can figure out that issue, their earliest legitimate chance at a title will come in Super Bowl LXI.
12 New England Patriots- Super Bowl LII (52)
The New England Patriots have easily become the most dominant NFL team of the 21st century. Last season was no different. They were tied for third in 2016 in rushing yards given up per game with only 88.6 being allowed. They were also 3rd in the NFL in points per game on offense, averaging 27.6 ppg. They made easy work of the Texans and Steelers in the two AFC playoffs games and then has the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, coming back from a 28-3 deficit to defeat the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI 34-28. The Patriots upgraded this off-season by trading for star wide receiver Brandin Cooks, trading for defensive end Kony Ealy, and signing multiple assets such as linebacker David Harris, wide receiver Andrew Hawkins, and running backs Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee. With a top notch offense, highly talented defense, and Tom Brady under center; it is hard to see the Patriots not repeating and winning Super Bowl LII.
11 New Orleans Saints- Super Bowl LXXII (72)
This prediction could be too far away for a team that has an offense like the Saints do. But the old saying in sports is, "offense wins games and defense wins championships". The Saints have arguably one of the better offenses every year in the NFL. Last season, they were 2nd in the NFL in points per game, averaging an eye-popping 29.3 ppg. They led the NFL in passing yards per game with 317.1 ypg. They also added Adrian Peterson to their backfield, so the combination of Drew Brees and Peterson can help a prolific offense become even better. So with all of this offensive fire power, why are the Saints waiting so long for a Lombardi trophy?
The simple answer is: their defense. Their defense gave up the most passing yards in the league last season, giving up 4,380 yards through the air. Until the defense can catch up to how good the offense is, New Orleans fans can expect many more disappointing years.
10 New York Giants- Super Bowl LXXVI (76)
Giants fans definitely will not agree with this prediction. They have arguably one of the best wide receiving cores in the game with Odell Beckham Jr. and newly signed receiver Brandon Marshall joining this past off-season. However, the Giants receivers might not have put up the numbers that fans think they should. They were 18th in total receiving yards with 4,027. Eli Manning had a decent 2016, throwing for 4,027 yards with 26 touchdown passes and 16 interceptions. Like other NFL teams, their success depends on how Eli Manning is playing. If he is playing well and Beckham is being involved in the offense, then they are a legitimate NFC East team. If they aren't, there are a lot of problems that can occur in New York. Defensive wise, the Giants were tied for 14th in the league in sacks with 35.0 total.
Bottom line is, everything has to line up right for the Giants to win another Super Bowl.
9 New York Jets- Super Bowl LXXXIII (83)
The New York Jets are probably the furthest away of any NFL franchise from a Super Bowl. Yes, this includes the Browns being ahead of them as well. The Jets have made a lot of questionable decisions within the past month. They released wide receiver Eric Decker earlier this month in what most assume was a salary dump. They let linebacker David Harris walk and he recently signed a two year, 6.75 million dollar contract for AFC East Rival New England Patriots. Their offense was atrocious last season, finishing 27th in the NFL in points per game only averaging 17.2 ppg. They have to rely on Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenburg to lead the Jets offense who simply cannot score. The Jets have to be able to catch up to the Bills and the Dolphins just to be in contention in their own division. Then, they have to get by the Patriots which will probably not be possible for them in the near future.
Jets fans will be waiting an extremely long time for a Super Bowl win.
8 Oakland Raiders - Super Bowl LV (55)
The Raiders were looking like a team ready to go to Foxborough, Massachusetts and give the Patriots everything they had in the AFC Championship game. Unfortunately, disaster struck as quarterback Derek Carr went down with a leg injury in Week 16 of the 2016 season and missed the entire postseason. His Raiders could not win without him as they lost in the AFC Wild Card Playoffs to the Houston Texans 27-14. The Raiders will look to build off of their momentum and make a legitimate run at the Super Bowl. They added depth by acquiring Marshawn Lynch in an off-season trade with the Seattle Seahawks. They also bring back the wide receiving duo of Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree.
The one area they could use a significant upgrade is their pass rushing. They were last in the NFL in 2016 in sacks, only accumulating 25 total sacks as a team. If the Raiders can make changes to that one area, look out for them within the next few years. The Raiders will win a Super Bowl within the next 3-5 years, but unfortunately for Oakland, the win may not come until their move to Vegas.
7 Philadelphia Eagles - Super Bowl LXXI (71)
Philadelphia fans were very quick to jump onto the "Wentz Wagon" last season. Quarterback Carson Wentz was seen as the player that was going to help the Eagles get back to the playoffs and make a run at the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, Wentz's stats were a little worse than Eagles fans envisioned. Wentz did not have a terrible season, finishing with 3,782 yards, 16 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions. As a team, the Eagles 16 passing touchdowns were tied for 28th in the NFL which is not exactly how Carson Wentz probably pictured his rookie season going. The Eagles running game helped bail Wentz out a bit as they were 11th in the NFL in total rushing yards with 1,813 yards. So the running attack can be a positive going into the 2017 season.
Until Wentz and the running game can co-exist and be productive, the Eagles are going nowhere especially in a conference with the Giants, Redskins, and Cowboys. History will be the biggest obstacle for the Eagles to overcome an win their first Lombardi Trophy.
6 Pittsburgh Steelers - Super Bowl LIV (54)
The Killer B's will be the main components to another Steelers run at a Super Bowl. Their quest fell short last season, losing to the Patriots in the AFC Championship game 36-17. Ben Roethlisberger had a good year under center for the Steelers, throwing for 3,819 yards as well as 29 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions. For every great team to be a contender, they need a high caliber running back to take some pressure off of the passing game. Enter Le'Veon Bell, one of the best running backs in the game to date. Bell finished 2016 with 1,268 yards on the year along with seven touchdowns. The main weapon that defenses need to contain is Pro Bowl wide receiver Antonio Brown.
He had a phenomenal year for the Steelers, finishing with 106 receptions for over 1,284 yards and 12 touchdown receptions. Brown is a problem with his combination of speed and intelligence of routes. Pittsburgh has the offensive tools to make a run at the Super Bowl in the near future. If they can somehow get by the Patriots, Pittsburgh could be looking at a title in Super Bowl LIV.
5 San Francisco 49ers - Super Bowl LXXXII (82)
The Joe Montana to Jerry Rice days are long gone. The Colin Kaepernick days where he was an elite quarterback leading the 49ers to a Super Bowl days are also long gone. Like the Jets, the 49ers are a franchise that looks simply lost. Their defense does not allow for a fanbase to feel comfortable with any lead going into the fourth quarter. They were last in the NFL in 2016 in both points per game allowed as well as yards per game given up. They were giving up 30 points per game along with 406.4 yards per game. How can a franchise fix a defense that bad? Free agency? Maybe a franchise changing player comes out of the 2018 draft? Whatever the case is, the 49ers do not have the answer right now. Their offense cannot make up what their defense gives up either. The 49ers offense was 31st in the NFL in yards per game, only gaining 308.1 yards per game.
This franchise is simply a mess and need a lot to go their way before a Super Bowl can even be in the picture. Expect the 49ers to win a title just before the Jets, in Super Bowl LXXXII.
4 Seattle Seahawks - Super Bowl LIX (59)
The "Legion of Boom" has been one of the more consistent defensive teams in the NFC. With great defensive players like safeties Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, the Seahawks were able to secure a Super Bowl title in Super Bowl XLVIII and should have been back to back Super Bowl champions had Russell Wilson not thrown the crucial interception on the one yard line. It seemed as though the defense took a step back in 2o16. During the 2016 season, they were 20th in the NFL in total yards given up, giving up an average of 357.2 yards per game. Not only was their defense surprising, but the play of quarterback Russell Wilson left concerns for Seahawk nation. He threw for 4,219 yards but only threw 21 touchdown passes along with 11 interceptions. With all of the negativity seen from the Seahawks last season, it is hard to see them back in Super Bowl contention immediately, but Wilson will eventually figure it out and win as a grizzled veteran in seven seasons.
3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Super Bowl LXII (62)
Tampa Bay is a team that is on the rise. They finished with a 9-7 record in an NFC South division typically dominated by the Saints and Falcons. They have the offensive tools in place with quarterback Jameis Winston, running back Doug Martin, and receiver Mike Evans. They also signed veteran wide receiver Vincent Jackson this past off-season. Tampa Bay wide receivers were 14th in the NFL last season in receiving yards per game with 260.3. So the addition of Jackson could help boost Tampa Bay into a top 10 team in the league as far as wide receivers goes. Winston seems to be improving which is a vital sign for this team's success in the near future. He threw for 4,090 yards as well as 28 touchdowns along with 18 interceptions. Another key sign is Doug Martin's health. He missed part of the 2016 season with a pulled hamstring. If the offense can click on all cylinders, this is a very dangerous football team in the near future. The Buccaneers can expect a Super Bowl title as early as Super Bowl LXII.
2 Tennessee Titans - Super Bowl LXX (70)
The Titans are in a very similar situation to the Buccaneers. They have an up and coming quarterback in Marcus Mariota. Mariota helped the Titans secured the eighth best position for passing touchdowns in a season with 29, tying the Buccaneers and Raiders. 2016 was also kind to running back DeMarco Murray after a disappointing 2015 with the Eagles. Murray finished 2016 with 1,287 yards and nine touchdowns. Murray needs to keep up this type of production for the Titans to be thrown into Super Bowl talks. They bolstered their wide receiving core by signing former Jet Eric Decker earlier this off-season. The Titans defense could improve in creating more turnovers. They were tied for 18th in interceptions last season with only 12. They were also last in the NFL in forced fumbles, only forcing four on the entire season.
The pieces are in place, but it will take time for the Titans to be back in the big game. We think the current generation will fall just short.
1 Washington Redskins - Super Bowl LXXVII (77)
The Redskins are in an extremely tough position. They are in a consistently competitive NFC East conference with the likes of the Cowboys, Giants, and Eagles. They have a quarterback in Kirk Cousins that looks to be on the decline of his career. He threw for a lot of yards, 4,917 of them to be exact. His touchdown numbers were not as high as his past seasons, finishing with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Their rushing attack doesn't offer much comfort either. The Redskins finished 21st in the NFL in rushing yards per game, only gaining 106.0 per game. This Redskins team needs a lot more than what they currently have to first get out of the NFC East and then make a playoff run to reach the Super Bowl. Redskins fans should not expect their team to win a Super Bowl until Super Bowl LXXVII.