NFL: Ranking the Next First Time Super Bowl Champion

The 2017 season ended with the Eagles winning Super Bowl 52, the franchise’s first Super Bowl victory in team history. There are now 12 teams remaining in the NFL that have never won a Super Bowl. The following is a ranking from least likely to most likely of those 12 team’s chances in 2018 and beyond.
Let us know which team you think will be the next to win their first Super Bowl on social media – twitter @msschneid or on instagram @mikedropsports

12. Cleveland Browns

The Browns are coming off an 0-16 season and are 1-31 over the last two years. While nothing about that screams excitement, they have made some big improvements up and down their roster. They aren’t winning a Super Bowl any time soon, but they will be in a better position to compete if they build a roster of talented football players as opposed to compiling draft picks as they have been doing the last few years. Drafting Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward and Nick Chubb is a good start, along with adding veterans like Jarvis Landry, Jamie Collins and Carlos Hyde. Steps 1 through 10 for Cleveland is stability and good drafting, two things that have not happened for the Browns in a long time.

Reason to Root for Browns: Baker Mayfield is exciting and Cleveland is morning the loss of Lebron and that blown 3-1 Indians lead in 2016

2018 % of Winning: 0.0%

Best Chance to Win in Future: When the other 31 teams cede operations

11. Buffalo Bills

Step 1 – Buffalo made the playoffs, snapping the NFL’s longest drought. Step 2- rebuild a roster lacking talent, beginning at QB. RB Lesean McCoy is approaching the wrong side of 30 and defense needs a youth and athleticism injection. Picking Josh Allen #7 overall sparked a lot of debate and negativity and he will need to play early and prove he is the answer to the long struggling QB position in Buffalo. Even if Allen does excel as a rookie, the Bills offensive line should take a step back with a few losses this offseason and one of the big weak spots is at WR and TE.

Reason to root for Bills: Watch their fans jump through (sometimes flaming) tables during tailgates should be America’s greatest event and deserves more attention

2018 % of Winning: 0.8%

Best Chance to Win in Future: IF Josh Allen is good? 2022. IF Josh Allen sucks? Never

10. Cincinnati Bengals

Marvin Lewis is 0-7 in playoff game during his 16 year tenure. Its unlikely at this point he wins one playoff game, let alone 3-4 postseason games to win Super bowl. The Bengals need a reboot at coach, QB, and even owner before they can think about raising expectations.

Reason to Root for Bengals: Because you can yell “Who Dey”

2018 % of Winning: 1.4%

Best Chance to Win in Future: When Marvin Lewis steps down (time period is indefinite)

9. Arizona Cardinals

It’s hard to rank the Cardinals for 2018 and beyond as they are in a transition state right now. 2018 won’t be the year and 2019 may not either, but Josh Rosen may develop into something special and if David Johnson gets back on track and healthy, Arizona does have a strong core to build around on offense and some solid pieces on defense. It will take time to all come together.

Reason to root for Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald is one of the NFL’s all time good guys

2018 % of Winning: 3%

Best Chance to Win in Future: 2020-2021 if Josh Rosen is the “Chosen Rosen” and David Johnson signs long term and continues to dominate than maybe the Cardinals aren’t that far off.

8. Detroit Lions

Lions have felt like they are in neutral for a while. Maybe a new coach can push them to next level, but Matthew Stafford is a very good QB who has literally never had a running game and always a mediocre defense that won’t carry them

Reason to Root for Lions: They give us entertainment every year on Thanksgiving (though usually it’s more entertaining for the opposing team)

2018 % of Winning: 5%

Best Chance to Win in Future: 2030  when running backs are no longer a thing in the NFL and everyone plays the way the Lions have the past few years

7. Tennessee Titans

The Titans made the playoffs in 2017 but seemed to take a step back in many ways. Marcus Mariota needs to really show progression in order for Tennessee to have any hope of a legitimate playoff run. Through free agency and the draft, they have added some strong pieces on defense and have surrounded Mariota with enough weapons. It’s up to him to take this team as far as he can.

Reason to Root for Titans: They used to play in Houston as the Oilers and oil is a major source of revenue for the USA

2018 % of Winning: 12%

Best Chance to Win in Future: 2019-2020 – Titans are the first team on the list that doesn’t feel too far away. 2018 may be a trial season with the new coaching staff to see how it all comes together, but with young core players on both sides of the ball and the AFC bracing for a power change in the next few years the window is open for the Titans

6. Carolina Panthers

Like the Falcons, Panthers have gotten close. They are also 0-2 and Cam Newton lost in 2015 when he was the MVP (a curse, similar to Matt Ryan). Since 2017, they have revampled their weapons through the drafted adding RB Christian McCaffery and WR DJ Moore. The Panthers taking the next step will depend largely on the performance of the O-line and the defense.

Reason to Root for Panthers: You can tweet and type just like càmNÊWTÖN

2018 % of Winning: 14%

Best Chance to Win in Future: 2015 – yes 2016 is not the future. In fact, it is the past, but that was Carolina’s best season ever and their best chance at winning the Super Bowl

5. Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta was close in 2016, blowing a 28-3 lead in the 3rd quarter of the Super Bowl…most teams on this list have never even made it there. The Falcons are 0-2 all time. They will have a fighting chance as long as they have Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, though both looked rather ordinary in Steve Sarkisian’s offense in 2017. The NFC South has also become one of the hardest divisions in football.

Reason to roof for the Falcons: You can do the dirty bird (you may try this at home)

2018 % Chance of Winning: 16%

Best Chance to Win in Future: 2016 – like their rival Panthers, 2016 was this team’s best chance at winning.

4. Houston Texans

The Texans got a glimpse of what their future can look like before Deshaun Watson suffered a fluke injury in practice last fall. This team is one giant hypothetical – if Deshaun Watson is as good as his small sample size, if JJ Watt is healthy and playing up to DPOY standards, than they have a chance to make a deep run in 2018 or beyond. But a lot of things need to fall in place for that to happen

Reason to roof for the Texans: JJ Watt man of the year

2018 % Chance of Winning: 20%

Best Chance to Win in Future: 2018-2020 – the window is open. Brady is getting older. Ben is getting older. Texans are getting younger. Deshaun Watson looked awesome in 7 games last year but if he is the real deal, the Texans may have a shot at making a run over the next year or so.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars had the best defense in football in 2017, but it’s hard to rank them any higher than this with Blake Bortles at QB. Their future trajectory is 100% impacted by the QB position, despite having the #1 ranked defense in 2017. The future of the defense and running game remains bright and the coaching staff is solid (they’ve had worse in Jacksonville). Doug Marrone brings a strict and steady approach to each week.

Reason to roof for the Jaguars: Because no one does (poor attendance)

2018 % Chance of Winning: 30%

Best Chance to Win in Future: 2018, but more likely when Blake Bortles gets replaced at QB

2. Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers window of opportunity is closing, but for 2018 it’s wide open. The AFC is shallow beyond the Patriots and Steelers and the West division is certainly open for the taking. The Chargers have a defense built on youth and athleticism and have supplied Philip Rivers with enough weapons to hide some of his weaknesses at this late stage of his career, with Melvin Gordon and Keenan Allen. Young defenders like Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa paired with this year’s first round Derwin James and star CBs Jason Verrett and Casey Hayward make this a potentially dangerous defense, with staying power in the AFC.

Reason to roof for the Chargers: You can own one of the top throwback jerseys in all of sports – the famed power blue jersey that hall of famer Ladanian Tomlinson made famous

2018 % Chance of Winning: 30%

Best Chance to Win in Future: 2018-2019 – all depends on Philip Rivers and his tendency to throw the ball to his team more than the other  team

1. Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota was 1 win away from the Super Bowl in 2017. They return their full team in 2018 plus added QB Kirk Cousins, to replace Case Keenum and also added DL Sheldon Richardson to an already dominate defense. 2018 may be the year for Skol, but with Mike Zimmer in charge and youth all over the defense and offense, this team is set up long term in a wide open NFC.

Reason to roof for the Vikings: You too, can participate in the SKOL chant

2018 % Chance of Winning: 40%

Best Chance to Win in Future: 2018 – 40% seems high (or is it too low?) The Vikings were one win away from making it to Super Bowl 52 and return the majority of their starters plus an upgrade(?) at QB. The time is now (or never)

Mike is an alum of the University of Cincinnati and the ultimate sports nerd.

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