The 2020 NFL season is set to get underway Thursday, Sept. 10, when the defending Super Bowl Champions, Kansas City, take on the Houston Texans. A full slate of NFL games will follow on Sunday and Monday night, which has me almost drooling. Fans, including myself, have been so starved for football that this Thursday feels like an actual holiday.
It’s almost clear to say that Kansas City and Baltimore are the front runners for the 2021 Super Bowl, but what teams could unexpectedly be in the mix? These thoughts have had me researching teams that could make things interesting in the Super Bowl hunt this year, and I now I’ve a compiled list to share.
1. HOUSTON TEXANS
When doing my research for this article, I was surprised to find out that the Houston Texans are being given 50-1 odds to win the Superbowl, and only +225 odds to win their division. Sure, the Texans were only 10-6 last year and lost DeAndre Hopkins, but I think they’ve rebounded very well.
They acquired a very solid running back in David Johnson, who’s had a tough time rebounding since his 16 touchdown season in 2016, but could flourish again given the chance. They have also made up for the loss of Hopkins by adding star receiver Brandin Cooks to their ranks, along with veteran receiver Randall Cobb. These two will bolster an already strong receiving core of Will Fuller V and Kenny Stills, which could be deadly. And of course, you have a franchise quarterback in Deshaun Watson.
On the defensive side, the Texans still have their anchor in J.J. Watt. Watt has dealt with injuries in the past, but is still a monumental task for other teams to deal with. Zach Cunningham also provides Watt with another great defensive presence that can put pressure on the running game. I’m not saying Houston’s defense will be stellar, but it will be enough to keep their high powered offense in games.
Keep an eye out for Houston, they could get hot this season and make a serious playoff run, barring injuries.
2. DENVER BRONCOS
Denver is a team that hasn’t seemed to be able to get anything going since Peyton Manning retired. Their Super Bowl win is now four years back, and they haven’t had a winning season since. Even with all of this in mind, Denver really intrigues me as a team.
Drew Lock might not be the most glamorous quarterback ever, but he threw for 1,020 yards and seven touchdowns in only five games last season. That’s not bad for a rookie that didn’t see much of the field in the early part of last year. Lock now has a star rookie in Jerry Jeudy to throw to, along with the already proven star wide receiver Courtland Sutton. I think these receivers could make Lock look very good this year.
To make things better for Denver, they now have Melvin Gordon in the back field. If Gordon can shake off his injuries and go back to the guy that averages eight to ten touchdowns a year, Denver is in phenomenal shape at the running back position. Not to mention, they have Philip Lindsay to share the workload. Lindsay has blossomed into a great back, scoring 16 touchdowns in two seasons.
Denver’s offense has the chance to be great. Their defense, however, is similar to the Texans. They have Von Miller as their defensive anchor, although he is on the older side. Their secondary has Bryce Callahan and A.J. Bouye, who could hold down some of the load.
The Broncos are projected to win 7.5 games in 2020 and were given 50-1 odds to win the Superbowl, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they make things interesting in the playoff hunt.
3. ARIZONA CARDINALS
Our last team on this list is the Arizona Cardinals. Like the two teams before them, they are also being given 50-1 odds to win the Superbowl. I’m very excited to see Kyler Murray passing to DeAndre Hopkins, and Arizona could be a premier offense this season.
I don’t think it needs to be said that Arizona’s offense has the pieces to succeed. Murray had a wondrous rookie season last year, putting up over 3,500 passing yards and 20 touchdowns on a lackluster team. DeAndre Hopkins is a top three receiver in the NFL, and running back Kenyan Drake is being projected to have a big year. I’d go as far to say that if their offense plays to it’s ceiling, that alone could get them a winning record.
I also think their defense is better than both Houston’s and Denver’s. They picked up perhaps the best defensive rookie in this year’s draft with Isaiah Simmons, and paired him with Patrick Peterson and Devon Kennard. Simmons will be a defensive rookie of the year candidate in my opinion, and could become the best player on their defense.
I think Arizona is heavily underrated and could be the best of the three teams I listed.
Be ready, football fans. The NFL is right around the corner, and our appetites are about to be well fed.