There are 29 NFL groups nonetheless technically alive within the chase for a Tremendous Bowl championship, together with perhaps 18 which have a sensible shot of not less than making an actual run. However because the NFL heads into Week 15 that large area is beginning to slender.
And with simply 57 days till Tremendous Bowl LVII, time is beginning to run out.
The NFL is now squarely within the stretch run of the common season and the postseason event is imminent, with groups throughout the nation beginning setting their sight on soccer’s largest recreation. Tremendous Bowl LVII will happen on Feb. 12, 2023 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., with greater than 110 million folks around the globe anticipated to tune in to the published on FOX.
Will probably be the fourth Tremendous Bowl in Arizona, and the third at that stadium. And with the defending champion Los Angeles Rams (4-9) on the point of elimination, it virtually actually would be the 18th straight Tremendous Bowl performed and not using a repeat champion — the longest stretch with out back-to-back winners within the 57-year historical past of the sport.
Will probably be the primary Tremendous Bowl known as by FOX’s prime broadcast workforce of Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen. It will be Rihanna’s first time because the star of the halftime present. And there is not less than an opportunity that the Dallas Cowboys will attain the Tremendous Bowl for the primary time in 27 years, or the Buffalo Bills for the primary time in 29, the Miami Dolphins for the primary time in 38, or the Minnesota Vikings for the primary time in 47.
What different Tremendous storylines will there be? That’ll be sorted out over the following 57 days. For now, here is a take a look at the highest 15 contenders to achieve Tremendous Bowl LVII and the most important query every of them must reply between every now and then:
1. Philadelphia Eagles (12-1)
Is their run protection as much as the problem? The one flaw they’ve proven all season lengthy has sometimes been their incapability to cease the run. They’ve lapses in tackling at instances and the groups which have come closest to beating them — together with the one which did — stayed within the recreation with a robust dashing assault. They’re excellent in each different part of the sport. In the event that they cease the run, they may be inconceivable to beat.
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2. Kansas City Chiefs (10-3)
Can they maintain on to the soccer? Patrick Mahomes is taking part in like an MVP and he is received greater than sufficient offensive expertise round him. However they’re all of the sudden a turnover-plagued workforce. Their minus-4 turnover differential places them close to the underside of the NFL. They’ve given the ball away 19 instances, together with on 11 Mahomes’ interceptions. They will not get away with that towards higher groups.
3. Dallas Cowboys (10-3)
Will Dak Prescott show to be a championship-caliber quarterback? He is been typically terrific since getting back from a thumb damage, and he is turned the offense right into a juggernaut. And with a robust, two-pronged dashing assault and a stellar protection, the Cowboys don’t have any weak hyperlink. However Prescott has been oddly interception inclined, with 5 in his final three video games and 7 in his final 5. That may’t occur within the playoffs towards groups that may make them pay.
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4. Buffalo Bills (10-3)
Is Josh Allen OK? The Payments QB seemed like an MVP candidate by way of the primary half of the season. However ever since he sprained his elbow whereas being battered in a loss to the Jets in Week 9, he hasn’t seemed fairly the identical. He is nonetheless good, and higher than most, however neither he nor the Payments offense have been as explosive as they’d been. They’re going to want to seek out their outdated type to get by way of a loaded AFC.
5. Cincinnati Bengals (9-4)
Can they preserve QB Joe Burrow upright? It appears to be like like the reply is “Sure.” He is been sacked 35 instances this season — fourth most within the NFL — however solely six instances within the final 5 video games. It is no coincidence the Bengals have received all 5 whereas Burrow has averaged 271.2 yards and thrown 10 touchdowns with simply three interceptions. They’re clicking in each part proper now. If Burrow will get time to throw, their offense is as harmful as any within the league.
6. San Francisco 49ers (10-4)
Is their protection ok to win a championship? It may be, and it’ll should be now that quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is out for the season (in all probability) with a damaged foot, leaving the offense in Brock Purdy‘s arms. The 49ers are first in complete protection (286.8 yards per recreation), first in scoring protection (15.2), second in interceptions (14) and eighth in sacks (36). Purdy has played well and the working recreation is robust, nevertheless it’s the protection that must carry this workforce.
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7. Minnesota Vikings (10-3)
Can their protection cease anybody by way of the air? The NFL’s worst protection (general and passing) has given up a mean of 335.6 passing yards during the last 5 video games. It is no marvel they’re the primary 10-3 workforce ever to be outscored by their opponents. They did beat the Payments in an time beyond regulation shootout, however dropping to the Eagles and Cowboys by a mixed rating of 64-10 is a warning that their move protection may very well be a significant downside, even within the NFC.
8. Miami Dolphins (8-5)
Can they provide Tua Tagovailoa some run help? They have not up to now. The truth is, they’ve had 100 yards dashing in solely 4 video games all season. That has put monumental stress on their quarterback, who has been excellent (3,004 yards, 22 touchdowns, 5 interceptions in 11 video games) and has probably the most explosive receiver within the NFL (Tyreek Hill, 100-1,460-6). But it surely may very well be tough for a one-dimensional workforce within the AFC playoffs.
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9. Baltimore Ravens (9-4)
Will Lamar Jackson be wholesome sufficient to play like Lamar Jackson? For the primary three weeks of the season, he was one of the best quarterback within the NFL, with 10 landing passes and two interceptions. Within the 9 video games since, he is thrown seven landing passes with 5 interceptions. Now he is out with a sprained knee. He is anticipated again earlier than the top of the season, but when he would not play like his outdated self, the Ravens will not go far.
10. Los Angeles Chargers (7-6)
Are they wholesome sufficient to outlive the playoffs? No legit contender has been extra battered by accidents this season, together with to quarterback Justin Herbert, receivers Mike Williams and Keenan Allen, tackles Rashawn Slater and Trey Pipkins, tight finish Gerald Everett, linebacker Joey Bosa, and extra. They’re beginning to get wholesome, however their depth stays fragile. They’re nonetheless with out some key items, however time will inform if they’ve sufficient.
11. Washington Commanders (7-5-1)
Can Taylor Heinicke keep away from the massive mistake within the large spot? There is no doubt he is discovered some magic after taking on at quarterback from Carson Wentz. And up to now, he is even managed to principally keep away from disaster, with solely 5 interceptions in his first seven begins. However he performs on the sting and may be wildly inaccurate at instances. He is received a gunslinger model that may be an asset … till it isn’t.
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12. Tennessee Titans (7-6)
Is Derrick Henry sufficient to hold the offense? King Henry is having a spectacular season with 1,199 dashing yards and 11 touchdowns by way of 13 video games. However he is accounted for greater than 42 p.c of their touchdowns and just below 40 p.c of their complete yards. Ryan Tannehill is a mediocre quarterback with questionable receivers. For the Titans, it is Henry or bust.
13. Seattle Seahawks (7-7)
They discovered a quarterback, however have they got a ok protection? The revival of QB Geno Smith has been the shock of the season, if not the last decade, within the NFL. However nearly as good as he is been — eight video games with greater than 250 yards passing, a number of landing passes in 11 of 14 video games — he is getting no assist from the protection. The Seahawks are giving up 27 factors and 404.6 yards per recreation throughout their current 1-4 slide.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7)
Does Tom Brady have sufficient left to hold one other workforce to a title? He may need to, as a result of the Bucs are the worst dashing workforce within the NFL. They do not even have 1,000 complete yards by way of 13 video games. Six particular person working backs have greater than Tampa Bay’s 948 complete yards. If that does not decide up, it’ll put numerous stress on the 45-year-old Brady, who’ll have to show it on within the postseason — maybe for the ultimate time.
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15. New York Giants (7-5-1)
How are they going to have the ability to transfer the soccer? The working recreation was as soon as their energy, however Saquon Barkley has been in a droop the previous month. They common solely 180 passing yards per recreation and have one of many NFL’s worst receiving corps. Their most dependable play has been when quarterback Daniel Jones runs (often for his life), however that hardly looks as if sufficient to hold a workforce on the street within the playoffs.
High tales from FOX Sports activities:
Ralph Vacchiano is the NFC East reporter for FOX Sports activities, masking the Washington Commanders, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. He spent the earlier six years masking the Giants and Jets for SNY TV in New York, and earlier than that, 16 years masking the Giants and the NFL for the New York Every day Information. Comply with him Twitter at @RalphVacchiano.
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