Every team can’t make the playoffs and not every team can win it all. But every team individually, before the season starts, theoretically has a chance at making a crazy run and hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. Odds are the Seattle Seahawks will make it back to the big game for the third year in a row and one of the Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos or New England Patriots will meet them.
That, or the actual odds will have the Green Bay Packers and Colts going to battle when it’s all said and done.
But odds and predictions aren’t always right, and gosh darnit, your favorite team is going to be the one that shocks the world in 2015. Probably not, but it’s fun to gauge precisely why (or why not). Let’s think of all the possibilities the 2015 NFL season may hold as we take a look at why each NFL team could (but probably won’t) win the 2015 Super Bowl:
New England Patriots
Why: Tom Brady and co. have a massive chip on their shoulder, the offense is as good as ever and the young guys rising up on defense fill old shoes admirably.
Why Not: Brady’s four-game ban hurts more than we think, the defense can’t make up for the loss of key veterans (Revis, Wilfork, etc) and the Super Bowl hangover lives on.
Why: Ryan Tannehill progresses even more, new offensive weapons seal the deal and Ndamukong Suh is the difference-making presence the Fins paid him to be.
Why Not: Tannehill is fool’s gold, the o-line hasn’t improved and Joe Philbin is finally exposed as an in-over-his-head wanna be head coach.
Why: Rex Ryan brings the swagger, LeSean McCoy plays with a chip on his shoulder and Tyrod Taylor ends up being a total gem.
Why Not: Buffalo still doesn’t have a quarterback, Shady doesn’t get going behind a shaky o-line and the Bills defense has to win most of their games.
New York Jets
Why: Geno Smith turns the corner, Brandon Marshall is a model citizen and Revis Island returns in glorious fashion.
Why Not: Geno is Geno, Sean Richardson doesn’t return and first year head coach Todd Bowles makes too many wrong calls.
Why: Big Ben keeps the offense legit and that young, rising Steelers defense ends up being a lot better than we think it is.
Why Not: Le’Veon Bell misses two games and isn’t the back he was a year ago, Big Ben regressed and the defense is even worse than we thought.
Why: Joe Flacco remembers he was a Super Bowl-winner, Justin Forsett wasn’t a fluke and Baltimore’s defense gets it’s nasty back.
Why Not: Marc Trestman makes the Ravens too pass-happy, Flacco loses himself and Baltimore can’t contain the AFC’s elites.
Why: Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard take over the league, A.J. Green stays healthy, Andy Dalton stays out of the way and Geno Atkins makes Cincy an elite defense.
Why Not: Dalton drowns in a sea of turnovers and the Bengals revamped defense struggles to be even a mediocre unit.
Why: Johnny Manziel is somehow the truth, the Browns maintain a balanced attack and that talented defense rises to the top of the league.
Why Not: The Browns don’t have a quarterback or wide receiver to hang a hat on and the Browns vaunted defense collapses by mid-season.
Why: Frank Gore and Andre Johnson are the veterans Indy needs to get over the hump, the defense rises up and Andrew Luck is league MVP.
Why Not: Veteran additions end up being washed up, the defense remains shaky and Luck can’t do it all on his own again.
Why: Brian Hoyer makes it work this time, Arian Foster beasts out and J.J. Watt leads the league’s best defense.
Why Not: Hoyer is again a bust, Foster gets hurt and Watt is just a one-man wrecking crew.
Why: Marcus Mariota is a revelation and Wiz gets the Titans to play some serious defense with Brian Orakpo leading the charge.
Why Not: Mariota is new to the game, Bishop Sankey is kind of the worst and Tennessee still can’t stop anyone.
Why: Blake Bortles gets it, Julius Thomas is a huge free agency addition, T.J. Yeldon mashes defense and Jax takes the next step on D.
Why Not: Bortles is a bust, Thomas was a product of Peyton Manning and no one can run behind that offensive line.
Why: Peyton can still ball, the offense leans on the running game and the stacked defense lives up to the hype.
Why Not: Manning’s arm is shot, Kubiak’s system doesn’t work and Denver can’t keep up with opponents anymore.
Kansas City Chiefs
Why: Alex Smith manages the hell out of games, Jamaal Charles is the LeBron James of the NFL and KC’s defense is even nastier than last year.
Why Not: Smith is still a scape goat, Charles goes down and the Chiefs don’t make the progress many were expecting.
San Diego Chargers
Why: Melvin Gordon solves the ground game woes, Philip Rivers gives one last elite performance and Weddle’s swan song helps a struggling defense rise up the ranks.
Why Not: The defense still isn’t any good, the running back is a rookie and the story remains the same for the Bolts.
Why: Derek Carr is The Truth, Amari Cooper is exactly what he needed and the defense starts to give opponents something to think about.
Why Not: Carr isn’t as good as people think he is, Cooper isn’t the missing link and the defense is as bad as ever.
Why: DeMarco Murray was replaceable, Tony Romo is clutch as balls and a health Sean Lee makes a huge difference.
Why Not: Joseph Randle isn’t the solution, Romo hurts his back again and Lee inevitably goes down with yet another injury.
Why: Chip Kelly is an evil genius, Sam Bradford has the season of his life and all these wacky off-season moves are justified.
Why Not: Tim Tebow has to start too many games, DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews both live up to injury labels and the defense regresses.
New York Giants
Why: ODB can’t be stopped, Eli Manning really does have his mojo back and the G-Men have a tough defense again.
Why Not: Eli really is regressing, defenses figure out Odell Beckham Jr. and JPP never regains his old form.
Why: Robert Griffin III shows up like it’s 2012 and the Redskins actually play some defense.
Why Not: RG3 just isn’t the answer and the Skins’ have way too far to go on the defensive side of the ball.
Green Bay Packers
Why: Green Bay was so close they could smell it last year, A-Rod actually stays healthy and Clay on the inside full-time is a revelation.
Why Not: A-Rod and co. once again have to carry a weak defense that putters out yet again, just before the Super Bowl.
Why: Megatron stays healthy, Matthew Stafford realizes his potential and the loss of Ndamukong Suh is hardly felt.
Why Not: Stafford still can’t beat winners on the road, the regression of Calvin Johnson is a real and this Lions D has no bite.
Why: Adrian Peterson is pissed, Teddy Bridgewater is the real deal and Mike Zimmer’s D is as dangerous as they come.
Why Not: Peterson falls off a cliff and Bridgewater is too ripe to carry the Vikes on his back.
Why: Jay Cutler finally gets it, Johny Fox is the leader this team needed and the switch to a base 3-4 does miracles.
Why Not: Cutler implodes in a sea of turnovers and the defense remains one of the league’s worst units.
New Orleans Saints
Why: The balanced offense wins out, Drew Brees is as good as ever and the defense plays more like 2013 than 2014.
Why Not: Rob Ryan can’t make the defense jive and Brees regressed into a waterfall of turnovers.
Why: A healthy Cam Newton does a lot, Jonathan Stewart thrives as a feature back and Carolina’s defense lives strong without Greg Hardy.
Why Not: Hardy was a bigger piece than we thought, J-Stew gets hurt like he always does and Cam can’t keep it all from falling apart.
Why: Matt Ryan and co. fly high on offense and Dan Quinn gives these soft Falcons the edge they needed on defense.
Why Not: Atlanta still doesn’t have a running game or tight end, Roddy White takes another dip and the defense still stinks.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Why: Jameis Winston grows up before our eyes. The Muscle Hamster returns and Lovie Smith’s D shows up.
Why Not: Winston plays like an immature rookie, Tampa Bay lacks a running game and the defense just isn’t there yet.
Why: Russell Wilson only gets better, Beast Mode remains hungry and the defense didn’t lose it’s sting.
Why Not: Pete Carroll starts losing his guys and the guys who haven’t gotten paid kill the locker room.
Why: Carson Palmer really was the difference, the Cardinals run the ball and the defense is still the anchor.
Why Not: The defense suffered far too many losses to overcome and Palmer goes down yet again.
San Francisco 49ers
Why: Colin Kaepernick improves in the pocket, Carlos Hyde is Frank Gore 2.0 and the defense doesn’t miss a beat.
Why Not: Jim Tomsula is in over his head, Kap isn’t the answer and no Patrick Willis means disaster for these Niners.
St. Louis Rams
Why: Nick Foles is the competent passer the Rams have been waiting for, Todd Gurley is the next Adrian Peterson and no one wants to face this Rams defense.
Why Not: The Foles we saw in 2014 shows up and Gurley just isn’t there yet as Jeff Fisher gets forced out of St. Louis.