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NFL Super-Bowl Contenders & Teams In Playoff Contention

With four more weeks till the end of the 2022 NFL Season, the gap between the good and bad team has already begun to widen. We’ve already had one team mathematically eliminated from playoff contention (the Houston Texans), and over the next few weeks, that list is going to keep growing. For this piece, we’ll be looking at the top teams currently in the NFL as the race for Super Bowl LVII keeps heating up. For betting options on the NFL, you can visit this page every weekend to get updated and exciting odds by BetKing.

TIER 1 (SUPER BOWL CONTENDERS)

Barring an epic upset, the Super Bowl will be won by one of these four teams. They’re excellently coached and, three of the four teams have players who are in the MVP conversation.


Kansas City Chiefs (10-3)

Patrick Mahomes is the best player in the NFL and because of that, the Chiefs will always be a top tier Super Bowl contender. In a way, he does seem like the NBA version of the 2010s LeBron James – while players like Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, James Harden and Russel Westbrook all took turns winning the MVP award, we all knew King James was the league’s best player and come the playoffs, he always delivered. Patrick Mahomes leads the league in both Passing Yards (4,160) and Touchdowns (33) as well as passes of 40+ yards (11). While the loss of Tyreek Hill in the off-season was significant, Mahomes showed his excellence by adapting to the situation. This season, he has thrown Touchdowns to a league-high 10 different receivers, and he’s got 9 receivers with at least 150 Receiving Yards. By far his most trusted weapon is Travis kelce who just became the fastest Tight End to 10,000 Receiving Yards in NFL history in the win against the Denver Broncos on Sunday. He’s put up 1,000+ Receiving Yards in 7 straight season and alongside Mahomes, they do look like the new version of Tom Brady & Rob Gronkowski.

Philadelphia Eagles (12-1)

The Philly Eagles have been the best team this season, and they have the record to prove that. In a lot of ways, their one loss (to the Washington Commanders) might have been a blessing in disguise because it has taken away the added pressure that comes with trying to go unbeaten. This season, they have 3 different players with 10 Rushing/Receiving Touchdowns; QB Jalen Hurts, RB Miles Sanders and WR A.J. Brown. It is the first time in franchise history, and it speaks to the phenomenal year they’re having. Their statement 48-22 win over the Giants on Sunday saw them become the first team to clinch a playoff this season, and in quarterback Jalen Hurts – who is in the Top 5 of both Rushing & Passing Touchdowns – they have a legitimate MVP candidate who could claim the award over Patrick Mahomes.


Allen picks apart Steelers secondary in Bills' 38-3 win
Buffalo Bills (10-3)

The Bills are the bookies favorite to win the Super Bowl due to the lack of a glaring weakness on the team. Despite losing top veteran Von Miller – who had a team-high 8 sacks – to a season ending injury, the Bills defense has looked as sturdy as ever. Their ability to win in multiple ways – ugly/pretty, passing/running – makes it hard for opponents to game-plan for. Quarterback, Josh Allen, was the front-runner for the MVP award but a three-week period in which he looked shaky and very susceptible to turnovers saw his stock drop. Still, the Bills have proven they are a strong favorite and have bounced back with four straight wins. They have the 4th best offense in the league and the 2nd best defense, which is always a winning combination.

San Francisco 49ers (9-4)

When fully healthy, the 49ers are arguably the best team in the NFL. The beauty of this team is how well they’ve built a system that can function in the absence of important players. They lost their starting QB Trey Lance in September, lost his back-up Jimmy Garoppolo last week and now, they’re down to their third string QB, Brock Purdy, a rookie. Yet, they didn’t seem to miss a step and beat Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 35-7 on Sunday. The dynamism of their #8 ranked offense with players like Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Kyle Juszczyk and Christian McCaffrey (with whom they have lost just one game in seven since he joined) makes it almost impossible to stop. But, the best part of the 49ers? Their defense. They rank #1 and have given up the fewest points in the league (197) which is 24 more than #2 ranked Buffalo Bills.


TIER 2 (CONTENDERS WITH ASTERISKS)

These are strong teams, but they do possess a certain flaw in their games that could be exploited in the playoffs. They undoubtedly have the talent to make it to the Super Bowl, but they’re just a level below the four teams above them.

Minnesota Vikings (10-3)

The Vikings, who once had a league-best seven-game winning streak, have been called colorful names like frauds & pretenders despite their 10-3 record which is the 2nd joint best in the league this season. The thing is, Vikings’ doubters maybe be right and have every reason to question their title credentials. Their defense is atrocious and is at the risk of undoing every good thing the offense has achieved this season. For 5 games in a row now, the defense has given up a franchise record 400-yards or more and have have not been able to stop anyone. Their Points Differential of -1 is by far the worst of any team with a 10-3 record in NFL history. Despite having one of the best Offensive weapons in the league in Justin Jefferson who leads the league in Receiving Yards (1,500) and had a career-high 223 Receiving Yards on Sunday, there is every possibility that this promising season for the Vikings could end up in them not winning a single playoff game due to their porous defense.


Miami Dolphins (8-5)

There’s a lot to be excited about for the Dolphins fans. In Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, they have two of the top seven Wide Receivers in the NFL, with the former on pace to set a new record for most receiving yards in a season. QB Tua Tagovailoa is tied for 5th in Yards per game (273.1) and 2nd in both Adjusted QBR (73.4) and Passer Rating (108.2) and a this season’s success can be equated to his new found form. They have a devastating air attack and can score on any defense in less than 30 seconds. However, their form away from home has been very questionable. 4 of their 5 losses have come on the road and seeing as they’re highly unlikely to have a home game in the playoffs, this is a potential worry.

Cincinnati Bengals (9-4)

The Bengals are probably the most dangerous team in this tier for one simple reason – they know how to beat the Kansas City Chiefs. As previously discussed, the Chiefs are one of the top four teams in the league, but they have one kryptonite, the Bengals. In the 2022 calendar year, the Bengals have beaten the Chiefs on three different occasions, including one in the AFC Championship game which saw them reach the Super Bowl and also last week. Being able to beat the Chiefs is extremely important because they (the Chiefs) have hosted a record four AFC Championship games in a row, which means they have been one of the Conference’s best team for half a decade now. The Bengals’ fans could make a strong argument that they would have a better record if not for injuries, which is true and a testament to just how good they have been.

Dallas Cowboys 2022 schedule release date, full list of opponents, more

Dallas Cowboys (10-3)

The Cowboys have the highest winning percentage at home this season (87.5%) and their 3-2 record on the road is very respectable. In the past 6 weeks, they’ve put up 49pts on the Bears, 40pts on the Vikings (in a 40-3 blowout win) and 54pts against the Colts (with 33 coming in the 4th quarter). Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard have come alive in the past 7 weeks and put up a combined 17 Touchdowns in the league, making them arguably the best pair of Running Backs in the league. They also have the 2021 Defensive Rookie of the Year and current front-runner for Defensive Player of the Year, Micah Parsons, who is as disruptive as any player on that side of the ball. Being in the same division as the Eagles (13-1) means that despite the Cowboys having the 2nd best record in the league, they might have to play all their playoff games away from home, which could be a challenge.

Baltimore Ravens (9-4)

The Ravens’ lack of investment in offensive weapons is why they’re a Tier 2 team and not a Tier 1 team. In a lot of ways, it does feel like Lamar Jackson’s prime years are being wasted due to the organization’s frugal nature. Though they might be 9-4, the 3rd best record in the league, their multiple injuries in offense including last week’s to Lamar Jackson means they’re one of the desired opponents in the playoffs due to the relatively little threat they now pose.


TIER 3 (HAPPY TO BE IN THE PLAYOFFS)

These teams are likely to make it to the playoffs, but making the Super Bowl would be highly unrealistic. One playoff win would be a shock, but, stranger things have happened. Two playoff wins, however, would be unlikely.

Tennessee Titans (7-6)

The only reason the Titans will be in the playoffs is because they play in a very weak division, and also because they have the human freak called Derrick Henry. They’re arguably the least dynamic team in the league and run the ball for fun. Though they’re excellent at it, there’s only so much load Derrick Henry can carry and like last season proved (when he got injured), an over reliance on him can only end one way. Their recent firing of General Manager, Jon Robinson, is a clear indication of the owners’ dissatisfaction in the way the roster has been built but its way too late in the season to make significant changes. Despite being on a three-game losing streak, they’re still expected to make the playoffs but, it’ll be very surprising if they won a game.

Los Angeles Chargers (7-6)

The Chargers were well-equipped to make a Super Bowl run this season, but injuries to key players have derailed that and probably robbed them of that dream. The star of the team is undoubtedly Justin Herbert, their third year quarterback, who has a cannon for an arm. With 3 games still left to play, Justin Herbert has set an NFL record for most passes by a QB in his first three seasons (13,056) and he’s more than proven he is an MVP level player. But, the injuries to this Chargers team are just too many to overcome in the playoff. One playoff win might be on the cards, but anything more might be wishful thinking for this season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7)

The Buccaneers are a bad football team, and that’s sugarcoating it. In Sunday’s 35-7 loss to the 49ers and their rookie QB Brock Purdy, FOX Sports cut off the broadcast with over 15 mins left to play and switched to the more competitive Seahawks vs. Panthers game. Many are calling it the worst game of Tom Brady’s legendary career, and in a lot of ways, it epitomizes the terrible season he’s having. So, why are the Tampa Bay Bucs on this list? Well, they’re the best of a bad bunch. The NFC South is by far the weakest division in the NFL this season with each of its 4 teams having a losing record and a negative points differential, but with Tom Brady, the Bucs – regardless of how bad they might be – still have a better playoff chance than the rest of the division.

New York Jets (7-6)

The Jets are a very young but brilliant side. Head Coach, Robert Saleh has clearly turned the team around, and they have been able to come up with big wins despite inconsistencies at the quarterback position. Rookie Cornerback, Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner is a leading candidate for Defensive Rookie of the season and might make the Pro-Bowl which says a lot about his talent. The team’s current streak of 11 years since its last playoff appearance is the longest in the NFL – by five full years. Ending this playoff drought with an appearance might just be enough for this young side. They should be a bigger threat next season.

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Detroit Lions (6-7)

If there’s one team no one wants to face in the playoffs, it’s the Lions. For years, they’ve been the laughingstock of the NFL, but they’ve turned it around thanks to some incredible coaching as well as excellent drafting. After starting the season 1-6 (where they had the best offense in the league), they’ve won 5 of their last 6 games. They are excellent in running the ball and in WR duo, Amon-Ra St. Brown and Jameson Williams they have two dangerous weapons capable of causing serious damage to any defense. Yes, they have the worst defense in the league, but their #5 ranked offense has been making up for that lately. The Lions are probably not going to have a lot of success in the playoffs, but one thing is for sure, everyone – including the Eagles and 49ers – would want to avoid them.

Seattle Seahawks (7-6)

The Seahawks seem to be on a slight decline ever since their loss to Tampa Bay back in Germany. Before that game, they had won five of six but since then, they’ve won just once in four attempts. They’ve also surrendered the top spot in the division to the 49ers and with games against those 49ers, the Chiefs, the Jets and the Rams coming up next, they could suffer more losses. Still, they are a very resilient side coached led by Head Coach Pete Carroll, the most experienced coach in the league, and pose a threat.

Washington Commanders (7-5-1) and New York Giants (7-5-1)

These two division mates meet next Monday in Washington for the second time in two weeks. The last time they met, it ended in a tie (20-20) which shows just how evenly matched both sides are. The Giants are coming off an embarrassing 48-22 loss to the Eagles on Sunday while the Commanders had the week off. Both teams have exceeded expectations this season, and it is very likely that the winner of this game would make the playoff at the expense of the other. It’ll be a close one, and perhaps it’s safer sticking to the bookie’s favorite, the Commanders who are much healthier and playing at home.

 

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