We’re just over a month removed from Super Bowl LI so that means it’s already time to start looking ahead to Super Bowl LII! The Big Game will take place in Minnesota and there are 32 fan bases that are hoping and praying that their favorite team wins it all. However, as all NFL fans know, there are really only a handful of teams who have a chance each season while there are many, many more teams that have no chance at all.
But instead of just narrowing down the teams’ Super Bowl chances to one year, we will look at the next three NFL seasons. Why? Because teams usually operate on three year plans. New coaches tend to get three years to install their systems and methods into an organization before management decides if they should go in another direction. Also, highly-drafted rookies usually get three years to prove themselves before being labeled a bust.
Thus, our three year outlook will look at the Super Bowl chances of various teams. There have been many moves this offseason from unexpected free agent signings to shocking releases. With the draft coming up there will be even more surprises in store and some rosters may be overhauled. Will all these moves move teams in the right direction or set them back? Only time will tell but here is our look at the top 7 teams who could win the Super Bowl in the next 3 years and 8 who won’t win.
15 Won’t Win: Carolina Panthers
It was just over one year ago that the Panthers had the NFL’s best record (15-1) and were playing in the franchise’s second ever Super Bowl. But since the coin flip of that game, it’s been all downhill since then. The Panthers lost to a quarterback who couldn’t throw, run, or even turn his neck to the side and followed that up with a 6-10 season and a last place finish in their division.
14 Could Win: Oakland Raiders
Jack Del Rio reversed the curse that hung over the Raiders franchise and won the most games in franchise history (12) in 40 years. The Raiders are led by young playmakers on both sides of the ball with Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, and Khalil Mack. With their road-grating offensive line, whomever the team plugs in at running back is a virtual lock for 1,000 yards. The one question looming over the Raiders is their eventual move to Las Vegas. The earliest the team would move would be for the 2020 season which means the next three seasons will all be in Oakland. That should give the team even more motivation to win a title for the Bay Area crowd that has supported them since 1960.
13 Won’t Win: Washington Redskins
The Redskins should thank the Browns and 49ers every day because if it wasn’t for those two teams, then the whole world would realize how much of a disaster of a franchise the Redskins are. Their “franchise” QB requested a trade and then said he didn’t request a trade. Their GM was a no-show at the NFL Combine, may or may not have a drinking problem, and was fired earlier this month. Oh, and then there is the controversial team name. Teams with this much drama simply don’t reach the heights that they want to reach and it’s even tougher when the drama surrounds the team’s best players and leaders.
12 Could Win: Houston Texans
The Texans won their division and a playoff game despite the fact that their best player was injured and they had the worst starting QB in the NFL. J.J. Watt is back and whatever contributions the team gets from its QB position will be a boost over last year. Whether it’s Tony Romo, Tom Savage, or someone else; things can’t possibly be any worse than they were in 2016. With five winning seasons out of the past six years, the Texans have moved into the upper echelon of teams and the culture implemented by Bill O’Brien is exactly what the franchise needed.
11 Won’t Win: New Orleans Saints
10 Could Win: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In high school Jameis Winston won a state championship. In college Jameis Winston won a national championship. It’s just a matter of time until Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win a Super Bowl championship. Winston has made great strides in his first two seasons and the Bucs just missed the playoffs last year despite being the 3rd youngest team in the NFC. They improved a missing component on offense of a downfield threat by subbing out one Jackson (Vincent) for another (DeSean) and nabbed the third best free agent defensive lineman in Chris Baker.
9 Won’t Win: Kansas City Chiefs
8 Could Win: Baltimore Ravens
7 Won’t Win: Green Bay Packers
6 Could Win: Seattle Seahawks
5 Won’t Win: New York Giants
Whenever you lose a good player, but perform better, it’s labeled an “addition by subtraction.” So if you add a good player, but get worse, then is it a subtraction by addition? That’s what the Giants will have to find out with the addition of Brandon Marshall. He’s undoubtedly an upgrade over Victor Cruz whose salsa went stale last season, but Marshall has never even made the playoffs in his entire 11 year career. It can’t all be the fault of his teammates as there is one underlying on theme on all of Brandon Marshall’s non-playoff teams; and that is Brandon Marshall.
4 Could Win: Dallas Cowboys
There is somewhat of an analogy that can be made between the Cowboys and the WWE: Jerry Jones is like Vince McMahon while Stephen Jones is like Triple H. In other words, the Cowboys are becoming more modernized with someone younger in charge. Don’t get me wrong; good ol’ Jerry Jones is still calling the shots; but he’s starting to yield some of his power over to his son. The optimism that fans have for the Cowboys’ front office is finally starting to creep up to the confidence they have on the players.
3 Won’t Win: Atlanta Falcons
2 Could Win: New England Patriots
Sorry, Pats haters but I couldn’t even dream up a reason that will keep the Patriots from winning another Super Bowl in the coming years. Very often, the teams that win free agency don’t end up winning anything once the actual games are played. But how often does the team who wins free agency happen to be the team that just won the Super Bowl? Stephon Gilmore, Brandin Cooks, Dwayne Allen and more; the Pats aren’t plugging holes, but rather adding talent to already-deep positional groups.
1 Won’t Win: Pittsburgh Steelers
Surprised? The Steelers may very well be the greatest franchise in NFL history, but I don’t see them winning ring no.7 anytime soon. Why not? Well because over the past five years or so, the franchise has had a shift in philosophy from defense-first to offense-first. Pittsburgh has made three Super Bowls (winning two) over the last dozen years and here were their rankings in terms of scoring defense in those three seasons: 1st, 1st, 3rd. But for some reason, the organization then decided to invest most of its money on the offensive side of the ball and it has resulted in early playoff exits since then.
I love the Killer B’s (when they aren’t getting suspended or streaming Facebook Live), but I loved the Steel Curtain and Blitzburgh even more. Those teams won titles and until the Steelers shift back to that mentality; those will be the last Super Bowl rings the franchise wins.
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