Hey, it’s the summer. Know what that means?
Yep, it’s time to figure out who will be hosting the Lombardi Trophy come February in New York.
While everyone would think it is just the coolest for an all-New York Super Bowl between the Giants and the Jets, that’s just not going to happen; sorry NYC!
Last year, the Baltimore Ravens came out of nowhere – well, the fourth-seed to be exact – to capture another world title.
Can the Ravens repeat? That’s doubtful, as they do not even make our list of way-too-early contenders.
Peyton Manning found the fountain of youth last year, directing the Broncos to an AFC-best 13 wins and 481 points. He had, without a doubt, one of the best seasons of his future Hall of Fame career.
Denver, however, was unable to hold off the Ravens in its own stadium, bowing out of the playoffs early after winning the final 11 games of the year.
So, what did they do to make sure that didn’t happen again? They got better, and better in a big way.
In the draft, Denver picked up a strong running back in Montee Ball, who racked up yards and touchdowns at Wisconsin. They added a pair of defensive lineman and even another potential weapon for Manning in Tavarres King.
To shore up the defensive, they added Dominique Rodgers-Cromarite, pairing him with Champ Bailey at cornerback. Wanna throw on Denver now? Good luck with those two ball-hawkers playing the field.
The Falcons were an offensive force last year behind Matt Ryan and company, reeling off 13 wins and 419 points.
And, the defense wasn’t even all that bad, either.
So, why didn’t Atlanta make it to the Super Bowl? That’s the million-dollar question for coach Mike Smith this offseason.
To provide a more solid running game, the Falcons brought in bulldozer Steven Jackson, pairing him with quick back Jacquizz Rodgers.
But, the most important addition wasn’t really an addition. Tony Gonzalez, who had said retirement was in his future after the season, decided to return for another run at a title. With Julio Jones, Roddy White and Gonzalez, “Matty Ice” will be throwing down scores all day long.
On defense, Osi Umenyiora has left New York and came south, providing a constant pass-rush for the unit. Asante Samuel and Desmond Trufant are lock-down corners, and the linebackers – while not widely known – are as solid as they come.
This is it. This is the year the Texans finally click. Right? Right?
Well, it all is going to start and end with Arian Foster, as the running back needs to remain healthy and active if Houston wants to put it all together.
There really shouldn’t be any issues with the offense, as Matt Schaub is one of the elite quarterbacks in the game, Andre Johnson remains a top-flight receiver, and the decision to draft former Clemson standout DeAndre Hopkins only adds to the effectiveness.
Where else did the Texans get better? Glad you asked, as Super Bowl champion Ed Reed comes over from Baltimore to anchor the defense and provide leadership to young standouts J.J. Watt, Brian Cushing and others.
No, not the Green Bay Packers, though, they are included in this conversation.
The Packers, New England and San Francisco all appear as viable contenders as well, but there just seems to be something missing from each one of them.
Will Green Bay finally have a ground game to help Aaron Rodgers?
Is Rob Gronkowski going to be available for Tom Brady, who is getting older by the day?
And, will the Super Bowl loss help motivate or hinder the development of Colin Kaepernick for the Niners?