QBList Super Bowl Predictor
Group 3: It could happen
Minnesota Vikings (10-6)
The Minnesota Vikings–at one point–looked like a great Super Bowl bet. The offense was loaded with weapons and the defense was strong. How did it turn out? They boast a strong running game led by Dalvin Cook, who looks healthy again. Minnesota’s passing attack is on the weaker side, but it’s not terrible. They are also decent on defense: 15th against the pass, 13th against the run, and 14th overall. The problem for the Vikings, much like the Packers, is the lack of strengths. They can lean on the run, but the Vikings don’t truly have another trump card. It’s just the run this year. I’ll add in some intangibles here: I don’t trust Kirk Cousins in crunch time. I don’t trust the Vikings defense to hold up against the top-3 teams on the NFC side. I think there is even a chance Dalvin Cook is more limited than Minnesota is letting on. This all adds up to a team that doesn’t really move the needle for me.
- The Minnesota Vikings have a worse passing offense than every Super Bowl winner since 2010
- The Vikings placed top-10 in only one of the six yardage categories. 90% of Super Bowl winners placed top-10 in 2+ categories.
- The Vikings were 16th in offense and 14th in defense this season. Only two Super Bowl teams have finished worse than 13th in both categories.
Reason to doubt: uninspired passing attack and the so-so defense
Reason to believe: lots of weapons (Diggs, Thielen, Cook), so the offense could get hot
Super Bowl doppelganger: 2008 New York Giants
My prediction: loss to Saints
Green Bay Packers (13-3)
The Green Bay Packers are one of those teams I just expect to be good each year. They have an elite quarterback in Aaron Rodgers, and they regularly beat my favorite team (the Chicago Bears). It is with great joy, then, that I get to bash the Packers here. Why should you dislike the Packers? First up is the defense. The Packers are bad against the run and they are simply mediocre against the pass. The two weaknesses I least want come playoff time are a bad running game and a bad running defense. How about the offense? The Packers were 17th in passing, 15th in running, and 18th overall. Yikes. Green Bay’s weakness is that it really isn’t great at anything this year. Sure, Green Bay gets the bye week and a home game. I just don’t think they are as good as their hype or their record. Still, I won’t say ‘never’ with Aaron Rodgers leading the way.
- The Green Bay Packers would have the second-worst passing offense of any Super Bowl winner since 2010
- They would also have the second-worst offense of any Super Bowl winner since 2010.
- The Packers didn’t finish top-13 in any of the six yardage categories. No such team has won the Super Bowl since 2000. Eighteen of the last 20 Super Bowl winners have placed top-10 in at least two of the categories.
Reason to doubt: lack of any elite skill
Reason to believe: Aaron Rodgers, the bye week, and a guaranteed home game
Super Bowl doppelganger: 2002 New England Patriots
My prediction: loss to the Saints
Buffalo Bills (10-6)
The Buffalo Bills have been dogged for having an easy schedule, but this is true of many teams. The Patriots and 49ers started off with similarly easy schedules. You play who’s on your schedule and you win the games you’re supposed to. So how do I feel about the Bills overall? They have an excellent defense. They rank 4th against the pass, 10th against the run, and 3rd overall. Those are the kind of stats teams make runs with. The Bills are also good at not beating themselves. Josh Allen, formerly a turnover machine, has been careful with the ball. He is responsible for only 2 total turnovers in his last 7 games. Buffalo does have two bugaboos though. They have a lousy pass offense and they aren’t strong overall on offense. If they won the Super Bowl, it would be the worst passing offense since 2008 and the worst overall offense since 2009 to do so. Ultimately, the problem is the Bills running into one strong offense that can put up points on them. It’s hard to imagine that not happening at least once with a field containing Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Tom Brady, and Deshaun Watson.
- The Buffalo Bills would be the worst passing offense since 2008 to win the Super Bowl.
- They would be the worst offense since 2009 to win the Super Bowl.
- The Bills rank top-10 in rushing yards and in all three defensive-yardage stats.
Reason to doubt: the lousy passing attack and the overall subpar offense
Reason to believe: that strong defense
Super Bowl doppelganger: 2001 Baltimore Ravens
My prediction: win against Texans, loss to Ravens