Welcome back to my 4-part article series detailing how each team can win Super Bowl LIII. This is the last article of this series, and in this article we will be looking at the NFC & AFC West divisions. Let’s go right into it.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams are one of the real contenders in the NFL. They finally had a good season in 2017, and will look to build on that success in 2018. However, they must get over the hump. First off, the Rams must not regress from last season, and then improve. How can they improve? Well, their offseason additions of Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, Brandin Cooks, and Ndamukong Suh must live up to expectations. The Rams didn’t shell out the assets and money that they did for these stars to dim. Most importantly and above all else, the Rams must resign Aaron Donald ASAP. Allowing Donald’s holdout extend into the regular season would be detrimental to the Rams defense, and with the defensive tackle position looking dull outside of Donald and Suh, the Rams simply would have a gaping hole on their defensive line. So, to keep it short and concise, in order for the Rams to have a good shot at winning Super Bowl LIII, their offseason additions must live up to expectations, and they must lock up Aaron Donald as soon as possible.
What a crushing offseason it has been for the Seahawks and their 12th man. They lose star cornerback Richard Sherman, lose Kam Chancellor to retirement, lose Jimmy Graham, and it also seems like they lost Earl Thomas III to a High School-like breakup. The offensive line is still a gaping hole on the depth chart, and the secondary has gotten significantly weaker. What this Seattle team needs is a miracle quite honestly, and I know it is my job to provide readers with in-depth analysis on each topic that I write about, however I am no liar. The Seahawks need a lot to go their way this season if they want any shot at the Super Bowl. On the bright side, Russell Wilson and head coach Pete Carroll are still there, so you never know.
The Cardinals some how went 8-8 with David Johnson being injured for the majority of the season. Not to mention, Carson Palmer missed 7 games due to a broken arm. For a team that suffered season-ending injuries to their starting running back and quarterback, you would think they wouldn’t have finished anywhere near .500. The Cardinals’ defense featured the NFL sack leader in Chandler Jones, and we all know who Patrick Peterson is. They drafted Josh Rosen in this years NFL Draft, and they also will be having David Johnson return from injury. The Cardinals’ Super Bowl chances ride on one man and one man only… Steve Wilkes. Not their apparent quarterback hole, not their offensive line, rather it is the newly hired head coach. If Wilkes can guide this team in a successful manner, this team may sneak into the playoffs and we all know what can happen when you just barely get into the postseason.
San Francisco 49ers
Jimmy Garoppolo. The man who many fans believe may have saved 49ers football from the dumps. How will Garoppolo perform in his first full season as the 49ers franchise quarterback? Well that is what the 49ers Super Bowl chances come down to. If Garoppolo and the 49ers perform the way they did in the 5-game Jimmy Garoppolo era this past season, they very well could find themselves competing for a playoff spot come December. However, in my personal opinion, the 49ers are still a few years away from realistically contending.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs won the AFC West in 2017 by merely beating out the Chargers. Now, after they shipped out Alex Smith to Washington, the Patrick Mahomes era begins. I’m going to keep this one short and concise: The Chiefs’ Super Bowl chances hinge on the success and development of quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Will the Chiefs repeat the solid season that they had in 2017? Ask Patrick Mahomes.
Los Angeles Chargers
What a turn around it was in 2017 for a Chargers team that started 0-4. A team that many thought was done after the first 4 weeks had the turnaround of a lifetime, and missed the playoffs by a hair. Poor Philip Rivers. Such a talented quarterback that no trophies to show for it. I am here to tell you that will change in the near future. It may not be this year, it may not be the next year, but the Chargers will have success and find their way into a solid postseason run. Something the NFL has been lacking. The NFL playoffs with Philip Rivers. Now, the Chargers’ Super Bowl chances in 2018 are reliant on a number of things, one of them including getting off to a hot start, or at least a solid one. It is no secret that the Chargers had a terrific bounce back after starting 0-4, however, it is also not a secret that it is extremely difficult and quite honestly unlikely that a team makes the playoffs after the horrible start that the Los Angeles Chargers had in 2017. If the Chargers can hit the ground running in 2018, it will be hard to stop them.
Chucky is back! The Raiders hired the man we all know and love this past January when they agreed to terms with head coach Jon Gruden. Spider 2y Banana will be returning better than ever in 2018, and it is now up to Gruden to set this Raiders team back on the right track. The Raiders went an abysmal 6-10 in 2017, and based on the Raiders historic teams, that level of performance on the field in unacceptable. Quarterback Derek Carr took a step back in 2017, and if the Raiders want any shot at winning the Lombardi come February down in Miami, they need Carr to return to his normal self.
Ah. The Denver Broncos. The team that is almost impossible to accurately project. I will give it my best shot nonetheless. We all know that the Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50 in an absolute offensive shootout with the Carolina Panthers (not really). Now, the Broncos turn to Case Keenum to right the ship after the Fortnite playing Paxton Lynch busted and Trevor Siemian was shipped to Minnesota. This one will be short as well because their isn’t much to say besides the fact that the majority of the Denver Broncos success in 2018 rides on the arm of Case Keenum. We all know the defense is solid with Von Miller and CHJ, but they desperately need a quarterback to help get them back on track.
Thank you for coming along on this 4-part article series!