The NFL is in the middle of its offseason, with teams assembling themselves for a run at next year’s Super Bowl already. And while plenty of attention will be paid to the defending champion Patriots and last year’s runners up in the Los Angeles Rams, there is a host of teams behind them who could make a run to the title. These teams, in particular, look dangerous enough to upset the natural order of the NFL and come out on top next season.
The Indianapolis Colts were perhaps a year ahead of schedule last season when they got to the second round of the playoffs and weren’t able to get by the Kansas City Chiefs. And the biggest reason for that progress, and the fact that they could win a championship this year, is that they are protecting Andrew Luck now. The acquisition of a revamped offensive line before last season saw Luck stay healthy and the Colts were able to reap the benefits.
This season, the Colts are being considered a popular team to break through and legitimately contend for the Super Bowl. With top-notch offensive line play and a defense that is continuing to get better, Super Bowl tips have seen the Colts named as one of the best values in the league coming into 2019. With a winnable division and the potential to earn home-field advantage in an AFC that lacks depth beyond the Patriots, it makes sense that many football predictions are high on Indianapolis right now.
Last year was a lost season for the Niners, after Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a season-ending injury early in the year. This season, Garoppolo is back in action, and the Niners are back to being an enticing underdog in an NFC West that has some opportunity in it for a team to make a leap forward.
Contending with the Los Angeles Rams won’t be an easy task, but the Niners can easily finish second in the division if things go their way. Garoppolo will get the Niners back on track, while the Arizona Cardinals are struggling and adjusting to new coaching, and the Seattle Seahawks are facing retirements and ageing across their roster as they look to get back on track. If the Niners can finish second in the NFC West, they could get into the playoffs and be a scary team at long odds.
Last season, the Houston Texans boasted a strong defense and one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL. The problem was that they couldn’t protect quarterback Deshaun Watson, and they were run out of the postseason in the first round by their division rivals in the Colts because of it. This season, the Texans have acknowledged that the blame for the lack of protection for Watson should be shared, and look ready to address their protection issues.
If they can keep Watson on his feet next season, the rest of the pieces are there for a successful year. And given that they aren’t considered to be the best team in their own division, they could be a decent longshot selection to get to the big game.