QBList Super Bowl Predictor
Group 2: Contenders with a flaw
Kansas City Chiefs (12-4)
The Kansas City Chiefs were an early-season favorite, largely because they boast the greatest quarterback in the history of the universe: Patrick Mahomes. Surprising as it may seem, the Chiefs seem to be flying under the radar right now. Patrick Mahomes is the forgotten man now that Lamar Jackson has broken out. The Chiefs are strong in three areas: passing offense (duh), overall offense, and passing defense. They are the strongest team I’ve listed thus far, and the first one I couldn’t push against too strongly if they are your Super Bowl pick. However, the Chiefs have two glaring weaknesses. Their rushing attack would rank in the bottom 10% of all Super Bowl champs. Even worse is their run defense. If the Chiefs won the Super Bowl, they would have the second-worst run defense since 2000. They have given up 2051 rushing yards this season. It’s hard to look past weaknesses in the run game as the weather gets cold. This is ultimately why I think the Chiefs fall short this year. Still, the 2006-07 Colts provide a great blueprint for how the Chiefs could find success. They gave up an astounding 2700 rushing yards during the season and still took home the Lombardi Trophy.
- Only two Super Bowl champions have had worse rushing offenses than the Chiefs.
- Only one Super Bowl champion has had a worse rushing defense than the Chiefs.
- The Chiefs are top-10 in four of the six yardage categories.
Reason to doubt: lack of a running game and terrible run defense
Reason to believe: The embarrassment of riches in the passing game
Super Bowl doppelganger: 2007 Indianapolis Colts
My prediction: win against Patriots, loss to Ravens
New England Patriots
When ranking the playoff favorites, the list should basically always begin with the Patriots. Playoff experience? Check. Strong defense? Check. Decent offense? Check. Quarterback with playoff experience? Check. Coach who can gameplan against excellent teams? Check. The Patriots are–on paper–one of the best bets for success. They have no statistical weakness that could bite them in the butt. Their defense has been elite, and they are excellent against the pass. So why doubt the Patriots? Why aren’t they at least a top-3 team? The eye test. I have watched a number of Patriots games this year, and they just don’t look the part anymore. The offense–despite decent rankings–looks bad. Tom Brady has shown decline for the third year in a row, and Gronk isn’t there to bail him out anymore. What makes things worse is that the running game hasn’t been that strong either. These Patriots have lost to all three of the other AFC division winners, and they blew a week-17 game that would have given them a bye week. That game was against the Dolphins–the Miami Dolphins. If someone gives the Patriots their A-game, I think that’ll be the end of New England. It’s just a matter of when. I think this is the end of the dynasty, and I predict an unusually-early exit for New England. Heck, I think the Titans might even pull it off.
- The Patriots have a worse rushing offense than every Super Bowl champ since 2012
- The Patriots are top-10 in 4 yardage categories. They are also top-18 in all six yardage categories. Only two teams accomplished this.
- The Patriots have a point differential of 195. No team has ever won the Super Bowl after posting a 192+ point differential (or 12 points/ game)
Reason to doubt: uninspiring offense, team fading down the stretch
Reason to believe: the defense, the coach, and the quarterback
Closest statistical doppelganger: 2016 Denver Broncos
My prediction: win against Titans, lose against Chiefs