Eagles, Jaguars, Titans almost certainly first-time Super Bowl winners

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Thirteen NFL groups have by no means received the Super Bowl, nevertheless it seems to be like this season’s playoffs shall be affected by Lombardi-less franchises. In reality, if the common season ended in the present day, such squads would make up half the postseason discipline.

So, is that this the 12 months for a first-time Super Bowl winner? And if that’s the case, who?

Let’s rank the almost certainly candidates, Schein Nine fashion! (Sorry Chargers, Browns, Bengals and Texans followers — this is not your 12 months.)

1) Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia is bar none the crew to beat within the NFC. And after the Jay Ajayi commerce, I imagine Doug Pederson’s bunch deserves to be thought-about the perfect crew in soccer. And this is the great thing about the league-pacing Eight-1 file: I would make the case the Eagles can play even higher within the second half.

Carson Wentz is particular. The second-year quarterback provides Philadelphia a sensational alternative to win the franchise’s first Lombardi Trophy. Still simply 24, this cat will get higher with every pbading begin. And he is the comfy front-runner to obtain my AP vote for MVP. The Eagles have been on a bye this previous week, however I am nonetheless buzzing about Wentz’s four-touchdown masterpiece in Week 9. During the Eagles’ seven-game win streak, Wentz owns a 19:Three touchdown-to-interception ratio and 110.1 pbader ranking. Ajayi’s presence (and elevated consolation within the offense) going ahead will solely badist Philly’s younger sign caller. As will the continued progress of Nelson Agholor.

On protection, the Eagles are getting again CB Ronald Darby, who’s been out since Week 1 with an ankle harm. That’s a pleasant enhance for a protection that already ranks 10th in complete protection and factors allowed. With the protection uptick supplied by Darby, the ferocious Philly D-line’s gonna EAT.

Philadelphia’s heading towards home-field benefit. I like this crew. And I like fascinated about a possible Super Bowl title for this rabid fanbase.

2) Jacksonville Jaguars

Yes, these Jacksonville Jaguars. Major credit score to Doug Marrone and Tom Coughlin.

Now, let me be clear: I believe the issue with Blake Bortles is he is not superb at soccer. The finish of regulation towards the Chargers this previous weekend was a microcosm of every little thing. Bortles threw two — TWO!!! — grotesque picks within the last two minutes. And the protection bailed him out, permitting the Jags to enhance to 6-Three.

That protection — particularly, that protection’s capacity to beat horrendous quarterback play — is the rationale Jacksonville sits at No. 2 right here. The unit is particular, permitting
a league-low 14.9 factors per recreation. And it is no marvel the Jags boast
the NFL’s No. 1 move protection.
Jalen Ramsey and
A.J. Bouye not solely comprise the perfect cornerback duo within the league — I would argue they’re the 2 finest cornerbacks within the recreation this season. Combining these two cowl males with Jacksonville’s entrance seven is nearly unfair. The D-line — headlined by
Calais Campbell, a free company masterstroke by Jags brbad — is nightmare gasoline for opposing offensive coordinators. With
an NFL-best 35 sacks, the
Jaguars have already eclipsed their complete from final season (33).

With that sort of protection, Jacksonville simply wants a smidgen of offense to have an opportunity in most video games. And hey, rookie Leonard Fournette is a high quality operating again, final week (17 carries for 33 yards) however. Also, Marqise Lee is growing right into a high quality playmaker — when Bortles can get him the ball.

I just like the Jaguars to win the AFC South. And with a ground-and-pound + protection formulation, they need to be a tricky out in January. As lengthy as Bortles does not foul it up. Heck, they’ve already received in Pittsburgh this 12 months. By three touchdowns, actually.

Three) Tennessee Titans


I bear in mind the Titans. Despite all of the Jags love simply above, Tennessee is vastly superior at quarterback with Marcus Mariota. Yeah, his efficiency on Sunday was a bit uneven. But did you see what the third-year sign caller did when the Titans completely wanted a scoring drive? He produced a scoring drive. This is one thing Mariota does with growing frequency.

The Titans (6-Three) are a reasonably stable all-around crew. As I’ve written earlier than, I like each AFC South golf equipment to make the playoffs. And each are able to performing some harm within the postseason. I simply suppose that the Jags’ protection — the perfect single unit on both crew — provides Jacksonville extra upside. But the Titans are a whole crew, even when they do not at all times win in essentially the most enticing method.

Four) Minnesota Vikings

I like Teddy Bridgewater and respect the hell out of him for the grueling rehab it took to get again on the lively roster. He’s a particularly likable man, as you may inform from how extremely all of his teammates communicate of him.

That mentioned, Mike Zimmer can not mess with success. Case Keenum must preserve his job. The Vikings are 7-2. Keenum is taking part in properly, having simply thrown 4 landing pbades in an impressed highway win over the Redskins. Zimmer ought to infuse him with confidence, not look to ship him again to the bench. I questioned in regards to the offense after the Dalvin Cook harm, however Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray have supplied one thing in aid. And it certain does not damage that Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen have emerged as an unstoppable receiving duo.

I have never even talked about Minnesota’s protection but. This is clearly the Vikings’ energy — a playmaking, run-stuffing, game-changing unit. It’s this aspect of the ball that would actually carry Minnesota when the season actually shifts to winter.

Oh, and does anybody occur to know the place this season’s Super Bowl shall be performed? Ah, sure: U.S. Bank Stadium. You know, the one in Minneapolis.

5) Carolina Panthers

You noticed it in Monday evening’s thrashing of the Dolphins. Carolina performs legit protection. And Cam Newton nonetheless has the flexibility to only fully personal a recreation. When every little thing’s clicking, Ron Rivera’s 7-Three group is kind of harmful.

Now, generally, I would love if the receivers have been extra constant. I would adore it if the offensive line and the offensive coordinator have been higher. But general, Carolina has the instruments to forge a playoff run.

The Panthers rank first in complete protection and third in factors allowed. On offense, I believe Christian McCaffrey’s impression will proceed to develop. If Carolina does certainly make a run, within the postseason, the rookie operating again would be the X-factor many envisioned within the preseason.

6) Atlanta Falcons


Atlanta (5-Four) confirmed coronary heart and toughness for the primary time all season, pouncing on the wounded Cowboys with a 27-7 beatdown. Goes with out saying that Adrian Clayborn loved the sport of his life with six sacks. (Not a typo.) Don’t suppose we’ll see that once more, nevertheless it spoke to Atlanta’s sudden liveliness. Now it is time for the Falcons to hold that over into this week’s journey to Seattle …

Yes, the Monday nighter’s a highlight recreation within the NFL’s most hostile highway surroundings. So what? These Falcons ooze expertise. Time to reside as much as the billing. The Seahawks simply misplaced Richard Sherman for the season and their offensive line’s a sieve. Seattle’s susceptible. It’s time for Atlanta to essentially kick issues into gear. Tevin Coleman crammed in properly for Devonta Freeman on Sunday. Now do it once more. The Falcons instructed us they would not endure from a Super Bowl hangover. Prove it.

7) Buffalo Bills

What has occurred to the Bills?! The final two weeks have been past alarming — shedding to the Jets and getting bludgeoned by the Saints whereas giving up a grand complete of 81 factors and 813 yards of offense.

My man Tyrod Taylor was terrible on Sunday. But I am not fully giving up hope. Buffalo (5-Four) nonetheless has a fantastic coach in Sean McDermott. And that is at present a playoff crew. Sweeping Miami, beating the Chargers in L.A. and taking good care of enterprise towards the Colts would put the Bills at 9 wins. It’s potential.

Eight) Detroit Lions

Detroit’s remaining schedule is kind of manageable:

Week 11: at Chicago
Week 12: vs. Minnesota
Week 13: at Baltimore
Week 14: at Tampa Bay
Week 15: vs. Chicago
Week 16: at Cincinnati
Week 17: at Green Bay

Do you view Detroit because the underdog in any of these video games? Maybe at Baltimore?

Matthew Stafford is taking part in at a incredible stage of late. But do you belief the offensive line? The run recreation? Red-zone offense? Defense? Jim Caldwell? Me neither.

Playoffs are probably, given the quarterback and the schedule. A deep January run isn’t.

9) Arizona Cardinals

My final identify rhymes with 9, not eight.

Follow Adam Schein on Twitter @AdamSchein.



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