We’re down to the final eight. No one would’ve picked some of the teams still playing to be here at the beginning of the season, while others were givens. Yet, all are three wins away from winning the Super Bowl. The defending champions never looked the part and the defending runners-up are still part of the field. We have three teams from the NFC East and Brock Purdy. We have a rematch from the only regular-season game not to be completed and Trevor Lawrence tempting fate in Kansas City.
Which team has the best chance of winning the Super Bowl? We’re counting them down from the least likely to the team with the best odds of raising the Lombardi Trophy in less than four weeks. And well, we bet you can guess which team is the long shot.
Needing a huge comeback to beat the Chargers in the Wild Card Round, Jacksonville is now surrounded by piranhas as a minnow. Yes, the Jaguars have been playing games with postseason-style stakes for the last several weeks and looked incredibly effective in the second half last week against Los Angeles. But beating Kansas City, and then Buffalo or Cincinnati on the road? Sorry to burst your bubble in North Florida, but it’s not happening. And it’s not even worth considering the Jags representing the AFC in the Super Bowl.
The East Rutherford, New Jersey team to make the postseason nearly lost to the Commanders twice. That instills no confidence despite beating the Minnesota Vikings last week that the Giants can make any kind of deep playoff run. Daniel Jones isn’t built for the playoffs and while this has been a turnaround season for the ages for New York, there are a few more steps the team needs to take in order to become one of the league’s elite. The Giants’ only saving grace is that they might face two division opponents en route to a Super Bowl, where they’d be sitting ducks.
If we were ranking the teams based on their individual skill, the Bengals would be in the top half, if not top three. In the likely occasion the Jaguars lose to Kansas City, the Bengals winning two straight road games against the Bills and Chiefs isn’t likely. Yes, Cincinnati won two games on the road last year before losing in the Super Bowl, from the “neutral site” of Inglewood, California. History won’t repeat itself. The Chiefs will be better prepared if the Bengals survive Western New York.
This is a sneaky pick for the Super Bowl winner. In terms of individual skill, the Cowboys are on an island in sixth place among the remaining eight. They’re no doubt better than Jacksonville and New York, but also trailing behind the rest of the field. The 49ers haven’t lost since Oct. 23, to another team on this countdown, and have looked every bit the part to be NFC Champions. Should Dallas find a way to get past San Francisco, it will have an easier conference championship game than divisional opponent. All bets would be off at that point for all things considered, a pretty mediocre Cowboys team.
The NFC’s top seed has looked like a Super Bowl contender for most of this season. Despite a recent injury to Jalen Hurts (pictured), the likely MVP runner-up, Philadelphia has the chops to win it all. It has a dynamic offense with no holes and an improved defense that has the capacity to hold the NFL’s best offenses in check. The biggest question mark surrounding the Eagles would be if they peaked too early. There’s no doubt Philly looked incredible in the middle of the season, but that was several weeks back. It’s unclear whether it can get back to its best form.
The team I’m betting will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, and lose it. The biggest off-field moment of the NFL season is no doubt the 49ers acquiring Christian McCaffrey (pictured) from the Panthers. It changed their entire season around. They haven’t lost since. The addition of arguably the best running back in the league has taken enough attention away from the rest of the team that despite injury problems at quarterback, San Francisco has looked like a well-oiled machine. The only question is whether it can hang with teams of a similar caliber.
The road to a Super Bowl win will be tough for Buffalo. The path of beating the Bengals, Chiefs, and 49ers in a row seems arduous. But if any team can do it, it’s the Bills, one of the best teams in the NFL with one of the best offenses and a sturdy defense. They’ve had a great combination worthy of a Super Bowl title since 2020. The Chiefs have ended their season each of the last two years. Josh Allen and company will likely have to go through the fightin’ Patrick Mahomes army again to reach the promised land.
To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man. [Editor’s note: WOOOOO!] Kansas City has become the measuring stick of the NFL and until someone decisively takes it from them, championship or not, all roads to a title run through the Chiefs. Missouri has been one of the two states to host a conference championship game each of the last four seasons, a number that’ll likely increase to five next weekend. If it’s not the 49ers waiting from the NFC in the Super Bowl, the path to title No. 2 for Patrick Mahomes is the easiest to envision.