Last season, the Denver Broncos defense (mainly Von Miller) stepped up big time to beat the Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl; a victory that allowed NFL legend Peyton Manning to ride off into the sunset and retire at the ripe old age of 39.
But now, attention turns to the new season and all roads lead to Super Bowl LI in Houston. Whilst the Texans may not feature in the showpiece event, it is the perfect venue to host such an occasion. We took a look at two teams; one from the NFC and the other from the AFC, who might reach the Super Bowl this year…
Seattle struggled for large spells last season but Pete Carroll’s men will be better prepared ahead of what could be a memorable year for the Seahawks. Whilst they lost Marshawn Lynch in the offseason, Seattle are still a run-heavy offense and Russell Wilson is performing better than ever.
The Seahawks quarterback is capable of winning matches more or less on his own and his impact could be useful for Seattle throughout the year. In addition, Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin are both competent wide receivers and Carroll will be keen to utilise Wilson’s skillset as a passer this time around.
Defensively, Seattle are still incredibly strong. With the likes of Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas III in the secondary, the Seahawks will be aggressive – and they should prosper from Brandon Browner’s departure. The former New England Patriots corner was prone to mistakes and he conceded too many sloppy penalties during his time at CenturyLink Field.
On paper, the Seahawks don’t look as strong as they were two years ago but Seattle are still one of the best teams in the NFL. They WILL feature prominently in the playoffs at the very least…
Kansas City Chiefs
The Denver Broncos will be tough to beat but Andy Reid’s Kansas City side could be set to dominate in the AFC West this season. After all, Denver have lost key components of their Super Bowl-winning side after Von Miller’s colossal contract – something had to give and the Broncos lost a number of potential stars.
However, their loss is Kansas City’s gain. The Chiefs have reached the playoffs in two of the last three years and their potent running game will be central to their chances of glory. With Jamaal Charles set to make a return in the not-so-distant future and Spencer Ware looking good again, Kansas City have one of the best running back duos in the NFL – and they will prosper this year…
At the time of writing, the Chiefs are 2/1 to win the AFC West with Betway and Reid will be quietly confident of leading his team to victory. Cornerback Marcus Peters was a revelation in the secondary last year and he will give Kansas City plenty of protection and cover once again. Justin Houston’s injury is a setback but the Chiefs have enough quality to get by.
Kansas City have been on the verge of something special for quite some time and this could be their year to shine. With Denver struggling on offense and the New England Patriots having to cope without Tom Brady for the first four matches of the season, the number one seed in the AFC is up for grabs. The Chiefs will be desperate to secure home advantage at Arrowhead Stadium throughout the postseason…
In a way, Seattle and Kansas City are two very similar sides. They both have aggressive ball-hawking cornerbacks in the secondary, they both boast run-heavy offenses and they both have quarterbacks who can run out of the backfield. One thing’s for sure: if these two teams meet in the Super Bowl, it will be a hard-hitting contest of attrition.