Top 5 Super Bowl contenders heading into December

Around this time of the year is when we start to see the real contenders separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Here are the five teams that I believe at this stage are most likely to win the Super Bowl. 

1. Kansas City Chiefs 

There is a lot of skepticism surrounding the Chiefs this season due to their offense not functioning at a high level. This is a foreign thing for Chiefs fans considering what they have become used to since Andy Reid took over. What makes this even more surprising is that you would never expect a team quarterbacked by Patrick Mahomes to look the way the Chiefs have this season. 

The main reason for their offensive struggles is due to their wide receivers. The Chiefs lead the league in drops this season with 30. To some degree, Travis Kelce hasn’t looked quite like himself for the most part this season. Which is understandable considering his age and he has battled through injuries this season. The reason I’m not worried about the Chiefs at this moment is because they won the Super Bowl last season with pretty much the same receiving core they had last season, with the only notable change being rookie Rashee Rice now on the team instead of JuJu Smith-Schuster. They still have Mahomes, and even though Kelce may not be as good as his peak, he is still one of the most dangerous offensive players in the league. That combined with their defense being better than they were last season, makes them extremely dangerous. The Chiefs’ defense is ranked third in opponents points per game, fourth in opponents yards per game and third in opponents points per play. 

2. Philadelphia Eagles 

Putting the Eagles second on this list means that at this moment, the most likely Super Bowl matchup is a rematch between the Chiefs and Eagles. The word to describe the Eagles is tough. They are 10-1, but they are not blowing teams away like they did last season, but are finding ways to win. Usually when a team is constantly winning one-score games, people are a bit skeptical because that luck tends to run out at some point. A good example being last year’s Minnesota Vikings. 

No one looks at this Eagles team as one of those teams because of what they did last season and the makeup of their team. Their last two games sums up their season perfectly. They first went on the road on Monday NIght Football and beat the Chiefs after being down 10 points at halftime. Then they beat the Bills in overtime after overcoming a 10-point deficit going into the fourth quarter. Jalen Hurts in both games didn’t play that well early, but turned it on late and made the plays necessary for them to win. At this point, you just have to stop doubting the guy. 

3. San Francisco 49ers 

The 49ers have arguably the best roster in the NFL, and as long as they stay healthy, they will be competing for a Super Bowl. This has been the case with the 49ers over the past few years. They have either made the Super Bowl or NFC Championship game in three of the last four years. The only time they didn’t during that timespan, was when they had several injuries to key players in 2020. They even botched a first-round pick after spending two additional first-round picks to get that player and it didn’t matter. 

Instead of the guy that they thought would be their quarterback for years to come, Trey Lance, Mr. Irrelevant, Brock Purdy, is under center and thriving. Purdy has completed 70.2% of his passes, thrown for 2,871 yards, thrown for 19 touchdowns and has a quarterback rating of 112.3. He has an all-star team of weapons around him, with the likes of Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samual, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle. He also has Kyle Shanahan calling plays. Purdy just needs to keep doing what he is doing for the most part. The only question I have about him is if he can come through when they are trailing in a big moment.  

4. Dallas Cowboys 

Going into the year, it seemed like the AFC was way tougher than the NFC. As the season has gone along, it has become clear at the top of both conferences, the NFC has the better teams. The Cowboys can absolutely get to the Super Bowl. I believe they matchup well with the Eagles, as we saw a few weeks ago and will see when the two teams play again in Week 14 on Sunday Night Football. 

The issue that the Cowboys have is the 49ers. Considering the way the last three matchups have gone between the two teams, it is hard to find anyone that would be confident in the Cowboys if the two teams meet in the playoffs. The biggest hope for the Cowboys is Dak Prescott. If you ask me, he is currently the MVP. Prescott has completed 70% of his passes, thrown for 2,935 yards, thrown for 23 touchdowns and has a quarterback rating of 107.4. He is also currently the highest-graded quarterback by Pro Football Focus, with a grade of 92.1. If he can continue playing the way that he is in the playoffs, and their defense that can wreck games for offenses, continue to make key plays and stops, then the Cowboys have a legit chance at making the Super Bowl. 

5. Baltimore Ravens 

The Ravens are the biggest threat to the Chiefs making it out of the AFC. They are currently the number one seed in the AFC with a 9-3 record. The biggest thing that the Ravens have going for them right now is their defense. They are ranked second in opponents points per game, second in opponents yards per game, first in opponents points per play and first in opponents yards per play. Similarly to the Chiefs, when you combine a great quarterback and a great defense, you will almost certainly be in the mix for a Super Bowl. The biggest difference is, I know what Mahomes is capable of in the playoffs. We have seen Lamar Jackson mostly struggle in the playoffs in his career thus far. He will need to be playing at his best for the Ravens to win the Super Bowl, especially after the season-ending injury to Mark Andrews.   

Header Photo: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) passes against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023, in Las Vegas. (John Locher/The Associated Press)

Write to Mohamed Warsame at mohamed.warsame@mnsu.edu

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