The Major Longshots
It’s not too early to look at the prime candidates to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in 2023.
The Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals are set to square off for Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California on Feb. 13.
For the second straight year, the Super Bowl will feature a team playing inside its own stadium. Last year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers played host to the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium, winning the big game 31-9.
The early Super Bowl 2023 odds are up, and three teams share the lowest odds at +10000: The Detroit Lions, New York Jets and Houston Texans. Top Michigan online gambling sportsbooks like FanDuel and BetMGM are offering promo codes with risk-free bets and deposit bonuses.
Detroit holds the No. 2 selection in this year’s draft. For the second straight year, the Jacksonville Jaguars will be picking first.
Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal, Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux and Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson are widely viewed as the top three prospects of the 2022 class.
Hutchinson, a Heisman Trophy finalist, would be a valuable addition to the Lions. The Wolverines product is an explosive pass rusher who cleaned up at the 2021 NCAA awards ceremony, winning the Ted Hendricks Award, the Lombardi Award as well as the Nagurski–Woodson Defensive Player of the Year and Smith–Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year honors.
The Lions are mostly set on offense and should address their defense with the No. 2 selection. As this year’s Bengals showed, one or two home run selections (in their case, Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase) can quickly reverse the fortunes of a franchise.
Chiefs, Bills & Packers Headline The Favorites
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers figure to take a massive step back following Tom Brady’s retirement, so they shouldn’t be considered a contender for Super Bowl LVII.
Once again, the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills and Green Bay Packers (if Aaron Rodgers returns) should be viewed as the main favorites to win.
Kansas City occupies the best odds at +700, followed by Buffalo (+800), Green Bay and Tampa Bay (+1000). The Rams (+1100 odds) and Dallas Cowboys (+1200) should also be in the mix for the Lombardi Trophy.
It’s no wonder that KC opens as the early Super Bowl LVII favorites. They’ve reached four AFC Championship Games in Patrick Mahomes’ first four seasons as the starter, winning two of them. With Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce fronting a virtually unstoppable offense, the Chiefs should be viewed as the team to beat in the AFC.
The Bills reached the 2020 AFC Championship Game and nearly took down KC at Arrowhead in this year’s Divisional Round.
Josh Allen has established himself as one of the game’s elite quarterbacks, and the Bills boasted the NFL’s No. 1 defense this year. They’ll undoubtedly be the Chiefs’ biggest competitor in 2022.
Chances are, the Bills won’t reach a Super Bowl until/unless they get past Kansas City in the playoffs. They did win at Arrowhead back in Week 5, of course, and Sean McDermott’s group took the reigning AFC champs to overtime in the Divisional Round.
The Packers will always be a contender as long as they have Aaron Rodgers in the fold. But he hasn’t committed to playing football in 2022, and we still don’t know if he’ll return to Green Bay or seek a trade.
Other Top Contenders
Aside from 2021 trade acquisition Von Miller, all of the Rams’ core players are signed through 2022 or longer: Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Jalen Ramsey, Aaron Donald, Robert Woods and Leonard Floyd.
It’s always tough to reach consecutive Super Bowls in this day and age, but the Chiefs (2019 and 2020) and New England Patriots (2016 to 2018) only recently accomplished the feat.
But the Rams feature plenty of star power on both sides of the ball, and they’re in great position to contend with this core in 2022 and beyond.
You obviously can’t discount the Bengals, who will only improve if they fix up the offensive line. The 49ers, coming off their second NFC title game appearance in three years, figure to be in the running as well.
Speaking of NFC teams, the Cowboys will also bring back most of their star players for 2022, and the weak NFC East division virtually guarantees them double-digit wins next year.
With better health and luck, particularly towards Lamar Jackson, the Baltimore Ravens should return to the NFL’s elite in 2022 as well.