Super Bowl Contenders or Pretenders

Super Bowl Contenders or Pretenders Entering Week 6

Written by on October 15, 2020

There are four unbeaten teams left in the NFL entering Week 6: The Seattle Seahawks (5-0) and Green Bay Packers (4-0) in the NFC and, in a bit of a surprise, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans (4-0) in the AFC. Are they Super Bowl contenders or pretenders?

Super Bowl Contenders or Pretenders | 2020 MLB Expert Analysis

Mybookie.ag doesn’t rank any of them as the betting favorites as the one-loss defending champion Kansas City Chiefs are still atop the NFL oddsboard at +400.

With Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs are obviously contenders. In Sunday’s home upset loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, Mahomes had his 20th career game already with at least 300 passing yards. Mahomes became the fourth quarterback with 20 games with at least 300 passing yards in his first four seasons in NFL history, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Kurt Warner (26 games) and Dan Marino (22), as well as Andrew Luck (21). Mahomes is almost sure to break Warner’s record later this year barring injury.

The Baltimore Ravens also are obvious contenders and the +500 second-favorites. They lead the NFL in point differential and their only loss was a few weeks ago in Kansas City.

Baltimore’s AFC North is the best division in football with the Steelers at 4-0 and the Cleveland Browns at 4-1. Since realignment in 2002, the NFL only three times has seen a division with three-or-more teams with at least four wins after five weeks. It last happened in the NFC East in 2008.

Pittsburgh is +1200 on the Super Bowl odds and a contender. Pittsburgh is coming off its highest-scoring game in nearly two years, a 38-29 win over the Eagles in Week 5. In that, receiver Chase Claypool became the first rookie in NFL history to score three receiving touchdowns and one rushing touchdown in the same game. Claypool leads all rookies with five touchdowns (four receiving, one rushing) in 2020.

We think the Browns are pretenders with their odds at +3000 to win the Super Bowl – Cleveland is one of four active franchises to never play in that game. The Browns should finally reach the playoffs, though. They are off to their best start since 1994 and have scored 30-or-more points in four consecutive contests, its longest streak since a seven-game stretch in 1968. Cleveland also leads the AFC with 19 total touchdowns.

Seattle is +650 to win the Super Bowl and Green Bay +800 and both are legitimate contenders. Both offenses are spectacular behind MVP candidates Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers. The Packers are averaging a league-high 38 points. Rodgers, with a 128.4 passer rating, ranks just behind Wilson (129.8) for the top spot among qualified passers. The Green Bay QB’s gaudy numbers include a 70.5 completion percentage, 1,214 passing yards and 13 touchdowns without an interception.

Count the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys among the pretenders to win Super Bowl 55. They were contenders until losing superstar quarterback Dak Prescott to a season-ending ankle injury in Week 5. Prescott finished his season with 1,856 passing yards. That’s not just by far the most of any quarterback in the NFL this year, it’s an all-time NFL record average of 371.2 yards a game. The previous record was 342.3 yards a game, set by Drew Brees in 2011 and Peyton Manning in 2013.

Now that Andy Dalton, he of the 0-4 all-time playoff record is under center, Dallas is a +4000 longer shot to win the Super Bowl. The Cowboys could still win the NFC East with Dalton as weak as that division is. Dalton is easily one of the best backups in the NFL and one of the best the Cowboys have had in years. The Cowboys are confident Dalton has the arm and veteran NFL IQ to take full advantage of having arguably the best and deepest receiver unit in football.

Another pretender is the Chicago Bears, who are 4-1 but +5000 longer shots for the Super Bowl. The Chicago defense might be good enough to win a Super Bowl, but the offense remains a huge problem. The rushing game particularly. The Bears are the only team with multiple games rushing 16 times or fewer. QB Nick Foles has been a marginal improvement over Mitch Trubisky, and their collective 85.4 passer rating ranks 26th. The Bears average the fifth-fewest yards per pass (6.2) after sitting last in 2019 and 17th in 2018.

Current Super Bowl PickBaltimore over Seattle
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