The 2016 season might be months from kick-off, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t all started speculating about who’s going to win Super Bowl 51 next year. In fact, odds were being set well before the Super Bowl 50 champions had even been crowned. But who are this season’s hot contenders?
New England Patriots
Over the last five years, the Patriots have continuously been one of the NFL’s most backed teams to win the Super Bowl, which isn’t really surprising when you consider the dream team of QB Tom Brady and TE Rob Gronkowski. All Coach Bill Belichick really needs to do is supplement the receivers and rushers who support Gronkowski and Brady and the Patriots will have a Super Bowl worthy team.
New signing Chris Hogan, a possible replacement for Brandon LaFell, could be a key addition to the Patriots team this year. The former Buffalo Bills wide receiver, who is 6’1” and 220lbs, has already had a few seasons in the NFL and has the potential to be a reliable player for the team.
All in all, the Patriots certainly have the means to repeat their 2014 Super Bowl win, it will really come down to injuries during the season.
Being the reigning Super Bowl champions might suggest that the Broncos could repeat their success story next season, however this is unlikely to be the case. The retirement of Peyton Manning and the loss of Brock Osweiler to the Houston Texans means the Broncos are currently a quarterback down. Even with a good draft pick, any new player needs at least a season to fully evolve into the NFL. It’s highly unlikely that they can find a quarterback able to lead them to the playoffs this year.
Add to that the loss of key defensive players DT Malik Jackson who has left for the Jacksonville Jaguars and ILB Danny Trevathan who has signed for the Chicago Bears and it’s very hard to believe the Broncos can win Super Bowl 51.
Super Bowl runners-up the Carolina Panthers had an exceptional season with their 15-1 record, however, they were beaten by the Broncos superb defense to lose Super Bowl 50. It’s likely that Cam Newton and the team will want to come back and prove to the world that they can win Super Bowl 51.
Their top wide receiver, Kelvin Benjamin, will make a return to the team after he missed an entire year with a torn ACL.
It might come as a surprise that the Steelers are one of the top favorites for Super Bowl 51, after-all this is a team who hadn’t had a playoff win in five years until the 2015 season. But what you need to keep in mind is that the Steelers performed well last season despite a tough schedule, injury woes and even won their playoff game against the Bengals no less.
Both RBs Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams will return this season from injury. Match that with a much easier season where the Steelers will only face three playoff teams and the Steelers have every chance to be crowned Super Bowl 51 champions.