Cliff Notes: For the first time this season, we have clear-cut Super Bowl favorites

by Cliff Gibson

This post was initially published in The Cliff Notes by CSN contributor Cliff Gibson.

Several teams have been overhyped at some point this season, but things are a bit wacky here in 2021, and we’ve seen some of the sexy picks from earlier in the year get brought back down to earth.

Buffalo, Baltimore, and most recently, New England in the AFC. Dallas, Tampa Bay, and most recently, Arizona in the NFC. All of these teams had the so-called experts swooning at one point or another. Still, they’ve all had that head-scratching moment where I eventually said, “maybe they’re not as good as people say they are.”

These are good teams, no doubt about it. Most of these will be division winners, legitimate contenders. But today, I’m talking about FAVORITES … not contenders. Favorites are those no-brainers, the teams you look at and think, “this is a championship team.”

And that brings us to today, and we finally have two clear-cut favorites in the NFL.


THE FAVORITES

Green Bay: Yes, the Packers (11-3) have given up an alarming number of points over the past few weeks, but it’s come against quality offenses like Minnesota, Baltimore, and the LA Rams. They’ve also won each of those games. Aaron Rodgers is having another MVP-caliber season, Devante Adams is among the, if not THE best, receivers in football, and if they clinch home field, nobody is coming into Lambeau and making it out alive.

Kansas City: The Chiefs (10-4) looked lost over the first 6-7 games of the season but have won seven straight, including a close win over Green Bay. Kansas City has the league’s best defense over that span of games and is aging at a high level offensively. Their last three games – vs. Pittsburgh and on the road against Cincinnati and Denver is a tough stretch heading into the postseason. Still, the Chiefs are playing at the level needed to get through.

These are my favorites now, and as weird and unpredictable as the season has been, there are still three weeks left to turn the whole thing upside down.


THE CHALLENGERS

Tampa Bay (10-4) — Losing Chris Godwin for the season hurts, but I’ll never bet against Tom Brady, no matter what.

Dallas (10-4) — Defense forces turnovers in bunches, but the offense needs to find consistency to be a real threat.

Arizona (10-4) — Sunday’s loss to Detroit was UGLY. How the Cardinals bounce back will say a lot about the team going forward.

LA Rams (9-4) — Another scary-good defense but inconsistent offense. If they can put it all together, the Rams are almost impossible to beat.

New England (9-5) — The loss at Indy was tough, but I still believe Bill Belichick will have this team ready to play each and every week.


JUST WAIT ‘TILL NEXT YEAR!!

Tennessee 9-5

Buffalo 8-6

San Francisco 8-6

Baltimore 8-6

LA Chargers 8-6

Cincinnati 8-6

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