Who Are The Super Bowl 51 Favorites?
Now that Super Bowl 50 is complete, it’s time to turn the page on the NFL’s calendar to the 2016 season and Super Bowl 51 by taking a look at the favorites to win the next NFL championship. Will the Denver Broncos be able to repeat as champions, or will one of the league’s other elite teams rise above them to take home the Vince Lombardi trophy?
1. Carolina Panthers
Yes, the Carolina Panthers were destroyed by the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50, but their outrageously talented offense is only going to get better and should make them the top favorite in Super Bowl 51. The biggest reason for this is that the Panthers won’t have to face the Broncos again, whose historically good defense was strong enough to punish all of the league’s best offenses en route to Denver’s Super Bowl win.
In addition to avoiding the league’s best team next season, the Carolina Panthers will also see one of their best offensive weapons return next season. That weapon, of course, is wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, who suffered a season ending knee injury before the start of the 2015 campaign. He was missed in the Super Bowl, as Cam Newton could have used a more dynamic wide receiver to lean on while running from the Broncos’ pass rush. With Benjamin back in the fold, Carolina will be close to a title yet again.
2. Seattle Seahawks
As evidenced by Denver’s championship over the Panthers, defense still has the potential to win championships, and the Seattle Seahawks have a good enough defense to win another championship in Super Bowl 51. Seattle’s secondary is elite and, while the Panthers decimated them in the NFC playoffs, most teams still have trouble solving Pete Carroll’s defensive unit.
Seattle will also have more money with which to make some signings in the offseason, as running back Marshawn Lynch has announced his retirement. This gives Seattle some salary cap space with which to sign additional players and further improve their already solid squad, something they may not need to do given how talented they are from top to bottom, but will do to become even tougher to beat.
3. Green Bay Packers
Just like the Panthers, the Green Bay Packers were hurt by injuries to the wide receiver position in this most recent NFL campaign, which derailed their chances at winning a championship. For the Packers, that injury came to Jordy Nelson, who was lost for the season during a preseason game, something the Packers struggled to overcome for the entirety of last season as Aaron Rodgers didn’t look confident in the rest of his receivers throughout the year.
Having Nelson back will help the Packers’ offense of course, but it will also help the Packers’ defense by helping their team to maintain possession for longer, thus reducing the amount of time the defense is on the field and preventing the defense from getting fatigued. The NFC will be loaded next season, but Green Bay will certainly be among the top contenders in it.
By: Jason M. Sanin