With the NFL season already past the halfway point, we have a clear picture of which teams in the league are the undisputed best. While everyone has their favorites, you cannot deny that certain teams are the strongest at the moment and have the best odds of winning the Super Bowl in February. Let’s take a look at the standings across the league and name the teams that are most likely making it into the playoffs and potentially going all the way.
Kansas City Chiefs
It’s no wonder the Kansas City Chiefs are always discussed in the NFL picks. The defending champions are normally anticipated to be strong the year after, and the Chiefs have shown no signs of slowing down. They primarily rely on a pass-heavy offense, made more impressive with the mobile abilities of quarterback Mahomes. However, the added rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire adds another threat on top of this.
The Chiefs have pulled off big wins this season over the Buffalo Bills and the Baltimore Ravens, and they redeemed their earlier loss over the Raiders, though that was another close game. Patrick Mahomes continues to raise the bar and is making a case for his second MVP award. With over 3000 yards for the season and 27 touchdowns, Mahomes is one of the best quarterbacks in the league and makes the Chiefs a formidable squad.
At the moment, the Steelers are the last undefeated team in the league. I don’t think anyone expected the Steelers to be having such a monumental year but here we are. Their schedule this year may be easier than most, and they may have had some close games, but you certainly cannot argue with the results.
The Steelers may have the deepest wide receiver squad in the NFL currently. With JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, and Chase Claypool, and not forgetting the sturdy tight end Eric Ebron, you have a complete offensive unit that is loaded with talent. Big Ben is as much of a veteran as it gets, and the Steelers are looking like they want to make a deep playoff run this year.
Another big player this year in the AFC is the Buffalo Bills. With the power vacuum left by Brady, analysts placed their bets on which team they thought would claim the AFC East, and some still had faith in the Patriots. The Bills pulled ahead early on and are now sitting tight with a 7-3 record, but the Miami Dolphins are starting to gain momentum after Buffalo dropped a few important games.
Even among a group of other 7-3 teams, the Bills still look like they are the best contender in the AFC after the Steelers and Chiefs. This team has everything they need offensively and defensively, and is loaded with overlooked talent. The first few years for quarterback Josh Allen was about maturing and learning to play at the professional level, and now it seems like he has really come into his own as a player.
With a talented receiver to target in Stefon Diggs, Allen’s numbers have been a lot more consistent. The Bills had a few devastating losses when they played the Chiefs, Cardinals, and Titans, but they have a mostly favorable schedule ahead with the exception of the Steelers and could potentially finish up the regular season with an 11-5 or 12-4 record, making them a clear playoff contender.
New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints are playing like they want a Super Bowl this year. Brees knows that the clock is ticking and he may never have another opportunity with the squad around him. This team has been tested with two outings versus the Buccaneers and an overtime win versus the Bears. The past few seasons have seen the Saints in the playoffs, but ultimately they failed to make it to the big game. We know what the Saints are capable of and this season might be the year they are coming to collect.
This season started off strong for the Seahawks with quarterback Russell Wilson making a convincing argument for MVP. After a 5-0 start, it looked like the Seahawks were the team to beat yet again and are certainly still a formidable team with everything considered. While the offense is an undeniable force to be reckoned with, the weakest point in Seattle is their defense. It seems Seattle fans have sadly accepted that the “Legion of Boom” days are long gone. Fortunately, while there are many NFC teams currently hovering around a 7-3 record, the Seahawks are definitely one of the strongest. They have a favorable schedule for the rest of the year and teams like the Eagles, Washington, the 49ers, and the Giants should be easy work.
Green Bay Packers
How long have the Packers relied solely on the strength of Aaron Rodgers? Since forever? It certainly seems like it but somehow it is still working and the Packers are situated at 7-3. Some analysts have even called them the best offense in the league. The Packers have been lighting up defenses in every city, and Rodgers is having an exceptional year with 29 touchdowns for only 4 interceptions. It’s amazing how it is always the same story in Green Bay. Despite a lack of weapons on offense, and despite numerous injuries, they prove they are an elite team and maintain one of the most productive offenses in the league.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers entered this season with the attention of the entire NFL and a big question mark next to their name. Without a doubt, the Tom Brady move to the Buccaneers was the biggest story of the offseason, and he even managed to bring Rob Gronkowski back on top of it. Everyone was intrigued to see how things would play out in Tampa Bay, and thus far the results have been somewhat of a mixed bag.
Brady has shown that he can make the difference on any team and his success isn’t solely attributed to the Patriots backing him. He has nearly 3000 yards and 25 touchdowns for the season, showing he is staying productive. The Buccaneers have been tested extensively and although they beat the Packers handily, they fell to the Bears, Rams, and the Saints twice. With a matchup versus the Chiefs coming up fast, we will soon see them in their biggest challenge yet. Regardless of the outcome in this game, the rest of the season certainly favors the Buccaneers and if they can’t beat the Saints for the NFC South, they have a strong case for a wild card.