The 2021-22 NFL season has now officially come to a close. The Los Angeles Rams reigned supreme over the underdog Cincinnati Bengals in Sunday's thrilling Super Bowl LVI by a final score of 23-20. It was a campaign that delivered parity in abundance and concluded with two four-seed teams battling for the Lombardi trophy.
All 32 franchises will now shift their attention to the offseason while attempting to improve their chances of playing for football's ultimate prize. Several contenders such as the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, and Green Bay Packers will focus on correcting their postseason errors.
Forecasting the 2022 campaign has officially begun. BetOnline has released their opening odds for Super Bowl 57 contenders. They are as follows:
- Kansas City Chiefs (+700)
- Buffalo Bills (+750)
- Los Angeles Rams (10/1)
- Cincinnati Bengals (11/1)
- Dallas Cowboys (14/1)
- San Francisco 49ers (14/1)
- Green Bay Packers (16/1)
- Denver Broncos (18/1)
- Baltimore Ravens (20/1)
- Arizona Cardinals (22/1)
- Los Angeles Chargers (22/1)
- Tennessee Titans (25/1)
- New England Patriots (25/1)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (25/1)
- Indianapolis Colts (25/1)
- Cleveland Browns (33/1)
- Seattle Seahawks (33/1)
The list of potential teams includes several intriguing candidates that are entering crucial offseason situations that must be appropriately addressed. These three teams particularly stand out when predicting a Super Bowl 57 winner:
THE FAVORITE AND MY PICK: KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
The Chiefs are the rightful favorites. Andy Reid's Chiefs have made three consecutive appearances in the AFC Championship Game and have advanced to two Super Bowls while winning one over those previous three campaigns. Patrick Mahomes remains the greatest and most effective quarterback in football. The Chiefs always possess an opportunity to achieve something truly special with Mahomes under center.
Furthermore, the majority of the Chiefs' crucial players remain under contract for the 2022 season. Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce will continue to terrorize opposing defenses and the Chiefs may prioritize adding a proven third option in the passing game. Chris Jones and Frank Clark will anchor a defensive line that was much improved down the stretch. Tyrann Mathieu, Charvarius Ward, Jarran Reed, and Melvin Ingram qualify as crucial players that are currently set to reach free agency, but it wouldn't be shocking to witness the Chiefs find a way to retain two or three of them. The Chiefs have found ways to manipulate the salary cap in recent seasons and expecting more of the same would be par for the course for general manager Brett Veach and his trusted confidants.
The Chiefs will undeniably be in contention for another Super Bowl in 2022.
DARK HORSE: LOS ANGELES RAMS
It's slightly inconsiderate to rank the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams as the third team most likely to capture Super Bowl 57 behind the Chiefs and Bills when the latter of which has yet to advance to a Super Bowl in the Josh Allen era. The oddsmakers are clearly forecasting the Rams fielding a weaker team in 2022, with the likes of Von Miller, Odell Beckham Jr., Sony Michel, and Darious Williams set to become free agents, among others. The Rams will certainly fail to retain all of these players, but Beckham Jr. has already confirmed
he'd be willing to take less money to remain in L.A., and an unfortunate knee injury suffered on Sunday lost him some leverage in contract discussions, increasing the likelihood of him accepting a hometown discount.
Retaining Beckham and pairing him alongside Cooper Kupp, Van Jefferson, and the returning Robert Woods would give the Rams one of the most fearful groups of pass-catchers across the league. Matthew Stafford has proven capable of taking full advantage of the elite weapons around him.
Michel played quality football in 2021, but the returning Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson Jr. should form an exciting one-two punch at the running back position. Should Aaron Donald return, he'll lead a defense that still features plenty of star power alongside Jalen Ramsey and Leonard Floyd and a quality defensive coordinator in Raheem Morris.
The Rams just captured a Super Bowl and are already being disrespected. Speaking of…
DOWNRIGHT DISRESPECTFUL: GREEN BAY PACKERS
Speaking of disrespect, no team listed here is being slapped with more of a backhanded compliment than the Green Bay Packers, who rank seventh on this list despite winning a league-best 13 games in 2021. Much like the disrespect shown by the oddsmakers to the Rams due to forecasting, the Packers likely appear so low here due to the unpredictable outcome regarding Aaron Rodgers' future. Early reports
however do indicate that the relationship between Rodgers and the Packers has thoroughly improved in recent months, and Rodgers is currently expected to return to Lambeau in 2022.
Should the reigning MVP indeed decide to return to Green Bay, the Packers instantly become Super Bowl favorites alongside the likes of the Chiefs, Bills, and Rams. Rodgers' return would likely keep superstar receiver Davante Adams in Green Bay as well as the Packers attempt to run it back while venturing to course-correct the letdown they experienced against the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round. Head coach Matt LaFleur will almost certainly field a contending Packers team in 2022 with Rodgers at the helm of their potential success.