NFL predictions: Making a Super Bowl case for top 10 contenders

NFL

Optimistic as all 32 NFL fanbases have the right to be near preseason’s end, only a select number of teams have realistic Super Bowl hopes for the 2019 season.

Parity is often promoted as a strength of pro football, yet the New England Patriots defied that by reaching the AFC title game eight years in a row.

They’re a unique case, and a given as one of the top 10 contenders to hoist the Lombardi Trophy at Super Bowl LIV. Let’s take a closer look at the defending champion Pats and the other teams with the best odds of dethroning them.

Note: Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.

New England Patriots +700

Thanks to the steady presence of quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick, New England has adapted better than any organization to roster turnover. Belichick used his 10 draft picks to mostly build depth, but the Pats will be counting on first-round wideout N’Keal Harry and edge-rusher Chase Winovich to contribute as rookies.

Harry is a big-bodied target Brady can turn to in the red zone in lieu of retired, legendary tight end Rob Gronkowski. The hope is Winovich can compensate for the void left by Trey Flowers, who signed with Detroit in free agency after registering a team-high 7.5 sacks in 2018.

Offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia should be able to mold 2018 first-round pick Isaiah Wynn into a fine replacement for Trent Brown at left tackle. Wynn missed his rookie campaign with a torn Achilles but is ready to protect Brady’s blind side now.

Yep, it looks like business as usual in Foxborough. Anything less than a Super Bowl appearance could be considered a disappointment.

Kansas City Chiefs +800

Reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes will look to follow up a 5,000-yard, 50-touchdown season with another monster year.

That’s almost an impossible standard to match, yet Mahomes will still have Tyreek Hill to throw the ball to, along with a new weapon in rookie second-round pick Mecole Hardman.

Anything Hardman can contribute alongside Hill and Sammy Watkins will only make the Chiefs more dangerous. Oh, and they still have the best tight end in the game, Travis Kelce.

It’ll be interesting to see how the defense fares, though. Although K.C. tied for the league lead with 52 sacks last year, the team ranked 31st in pass defense and conceded five yards per rush.

Newly added edge-rusher Frank Clark and incumbent interior lineman Chris Jones should be a capable 1-2 sacking duo. Plus, versatile safety Tyrann Mathieu can line up anywhere in the defensive backfield to boost pass coverage in a big way.

Any improvement on defense, coupled with Mahomes’ brilliance, gives K.C. a legitimate championship chance.

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