This Season’s NFL Underdogs
The NFL season is well underway as we head into the festive season and the run into the Super Bowl. While some stand-out favorites are making a case for a Super Bowl berth, there are several underdogs that can pull off a shock.
A number of teams have had a hot start, translating to big wins on the road and at home. Here are the underdogs in the league that can easily make their way to the Super Bowl.
The Ravens have been on the edge of greatness since Lamar Jackson came into his own at QB. They have been able to run, score, and suffocate teams into submission. Even though they currently have a record of 6-3, their defense has been struggling.
While they have scored 231 points, they have given up 217. When you look at the giants in AFC, such as the Bills, who have scored 280 and have only given up 135, the Ravens have the attacking power, but their defense could be their Achilles Heel.
The Arizona Cardinals started the season as outside favorites and are somehow still seen as underdogs. Currently, with a record of 8-2, the Cardinals were unbeaten before falling to the Panthers and Packers two weeks apart.
Their defense and offense have been incredible, but injuries have proven to be their undoing. Kyler Murray has been in phenomenal form this season, and they have suffered without him. However, they are rated near the top in almost all rankings, and getting their injured players back will be a game-changer.
The Titans are a juggernaut in the AFC South and have bulldozed almost every team they have played against. They are 8-2, with their first loss coming at the hands of the Cardinals and then a shock defeat to the abysmal Jets.
Derrick Henry has been arguably the most consistent player in the league, and even though he is injured, the Titans are still winning. The Titans will have a good shot at the Super Bowl if Henry comes back and doesn’t cave under pressure.
The NFC East is possibly one of the weaker divisions in the league right now. The Cowboys compete with the Eagles, Washington, and the Giants, three teams with a combined record of 10-18.
Dak Prescott has been in form with CeeDee Lamb, proving once again why he is considered one of the best wide receivers in the league. They have the Chiefs up next, then the Vegas Raiders, then the Saints; how they perform in these games will determine how far they go this season.
New England Patriots
The Patriots had a rocky start at the beginning of the “No Tom Brady” era. However, Mac Jones has stood up and announced himself as a possible franchise QB that can take Bill Belichick’s men to the top of the tower again.
They have stiff competition in their division as their biggest rivals and AFC East leaders, the Bills, are in fine form. They also have to compete with the Chiefs, Ravens, and Titans in the AFC. While unlikely, the Patriots could be one of those teams to shock us all by getting to Super Bowl Sunday.
The Carolina Panthers got off to a hot start to their season. They were 3-0 at one point before star running back CMC, Christain McCaffrey got injured, and Sam Darnold started looking like a practice QB instead of a starter.
Fast-forward and CMC is back, and the King of Carolina, Cam Newton, is back at QB after a difficult spell in New England. His first two plays lead to touchdowns, with the Panthers beating the Cardinals comfortably. It’s going to take work, but the Panthers are still in contention for a post-season run.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers have put together one of the strongest teams in the league. Aaron Rodgers has been throwing like a possible MVP, and their 8-2 record is tied with the Cardinals as the best in the NFC.
They could certainly up their scoring numbers though, as they are relatively low. Davante Adams is easily one of, if not the, best wide receivers in the league right now. He is catching almost everything thrown in his direction, getting down the field, and scoring seemingly at will. The Rodgers/Adams combo could prove deadly for every other team.
Kansas City Chiefs
Some may think it strange that the Chiefs are considered underdogs, but their form has been too hot and cold to be called outright favorites. While they have had big victories, Patrick Mahomes has not been at his best.
They may be top of the AFC West, but hot and cold isn’t going to work when you are in a conference with the Titans, the Ravens, and the Bills. Their 6-4 record isn’t excellent, and they will need a strong run of wins to stay in post-season contention.
New Orleans Saints
The post-Drew Brees Saints are still trying to figure out life without their star QB at the helm anymore. Their 5-4 record puts them second in the NFC South beyond the Tampa Bay Bucs, and they are currently on a two-game losing streak.
Taysom Hill has been holding it down at QB, with Alvin Kamara being the incredible running back we all know he is. The Saints have an outside shot at post-season, but could also see this as a rebuilding season before coming out strong next year.
This season is one of the most exciting yet, and we aren’t even in December. There have been shocking defeats, incredible wins, and surprises that we couldn’t have predicted. Even though there are numerous underdogs, there are probably only a few with a real shot.
Keep your eyes on the Packers, Titans, Cardinals, and Cowboys. They are playing like teams that can not only reach the Super Bowl but win it too. We just have to wait until the 13th of February to see who will take home the Lombardi Trophy.