Who Will Win the Super Bowl in 2017?
The NFL preseason is officially over &, it is time to get down to business. On the opening night, defending Super Bowl champions New England Patriots suffered a shock defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs - a result that may convince punters to look away from Gillette Stadium this year, although Bill Belichick's men will still be confident of defending their title. With a healthy Rob Gronkowski and two-time 1,000 receiving yard wideout Brandin Cooks both looking strong in the opener, it would take a brave man to back against the Patriots as they bid to win a sixth Super Bowl crown despite their early setback. Tom Brady, arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history, has now won 209 matches and is still in peak condition at 40 years old; The Guardian had even hinted at a potential perfect season for the Patriots this season but the Patriots had the 30th-ranked defensive unit for yards allowed last season and you could argue that this is their only weakness. In the red zone, their defense was outstanding, but if you continue to give up field position, it will come back to haunt you eventually. With that being said, New England are from invincible this season & here are a few contenders who may knock the Patriots off their perch.
Seattle Seahawks Looking Strong
With four wins from four in pre-season, the Seattle Seahawks are looking very strong right now and plenty of punters will fancy Pete Carroll's side to reach the Super Bowl for the third time in five years. In Russell Wilson, they have a dual threat quarterback. The Seattle star rushed over 70 times last season whilst recording over 4,000 passing yards. Jimmy Graham and Doug Baldwin both provide Wilson with capable options in the passing game but Seattle's running game is also intriguing. The Seahawks have a trio of talented names on their roster, with none other than Eddie Lacy now plying his trade at CenturyLink Field.
The former NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year left the Green Bay Packers and joined Seattle through free agency; he will give them another north-south running option. On the other side of the ball, Seattle have always been strong. Carroll's defensive unit have ranked as the number-one-scoring defense for the most part of the last three years and it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see the Seahawks perform well again. The 'Legion of Boom' is still filled with talented playmakers and Seattle will be there or thereabouts.
Aaron Rodgers Can Carry the Packers
Like Seattle, the Green Bay Packers were also impressive during preseason , winning three of their four fixtures. Aaron Rodgers threw more touchdown passes than anyone else in the National Football League in 2016 and the Packers will lean heavily on their quarterback once again this year. Defense is important but this is still a quarterback league. A healthy Jordy Nelson will help Green Bay's cause. In 2015, the Packers struggled to inspire confidence offensively after Nelson was ruled out for the entire campaign but they regained their mojo last term with Rodgers' favourite target healthy.
With 14 touchdowns and 1,257 receiving yards last year, Nelson was back to his brilliant best in 2016 and that bodes well for the future. You could argue that Mike McCarthy's side are a little short on defense, particularly in the secondary - the Packers were ripped to shreds by elite offensive units at times last year. Green Bay gave up a number of passing touchdowns last season and their young cornerbacks must step up and improve. At 10/1 to win the Super Bowl with sportsbook Betway, Green Bay are well-priced , especially if Rodgers is in peak condition.
Pittsburgh's Potent Offense Tough to Stop
This Steelers' offense can be their defense, that is how strong it is. With Ben Roethlisberger under center, Mike Tomlin has a consistent and reliable quarterback but he is arguably the most expendable of Pittsburgh's talented offensive trio. Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown are two of the most talented players in the NFL, combining for 33 touchdowns in 2016.
If Bell, Brown and 'Big Ben' get rolling, the Steelers will be very difficult to stop. Remember how dominant the Denver Broncos were back in 2012? Pittsburgh have enough quality to emulate their achievements. Keeping all three men happy will be key to their success and the standoff over Bell's contract cannot have an adverse effect on the entire roster. On the other side, they are no 'Steel Curtain' just yet but Tomlin has faith in his unit and it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see this Pittsburgh defense blossom into an elite NFL defense in 2017. A solid offensive effort can spur the Steelers on towards a record seventh Super Bowl triumph in Minnesota next February.