The Seattle Seahawks took the off ramp to The Road To MetLife Stadium, and returned to the Emerald City with the first Super Bowl championship in franchise history. After flying past the Denver Broncos in MetLife Stadium in Super Bowl XLVIII, the Seahawks certainly have the pieces in place to make a return trip to next season’s Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale. With a young and still improving offense to go along with the best defense we have seen in quite some time, Seattle looks poised to defend this season’s championship next year, as well as perhaps for years to come. With that being said, it is not easy to repeat as Super Bowl winners in the NFL, and every team will be gunning for the champs in 2014. Still, the Seahawks are currently the favorite to win it all next season. While anything can happen, including free agency, the 2014 NFL Draft and a rash of potential injuries, I see at least five teams in the NFC who have the best shot at preventing the Seahawks from planning a return trip to Super Bowl XLIX.
In the spirit of full-disclosure, I’m working as part of the Road to MetLife Stadium Preferred Blogger Program. Throughout the year I’ll be receiving special access to MetLife events and be conducting reader giveaways, with prizes provided by MetLife and Sony Electronics. However, no payment was given or expected for posting about the program, and as always, all opinions given here are fully my own.
5. Chicago Bears – With another year under new head coach Marc Trestman, expect the Bears to play a bit more consistently on offense. Of course, Jay Cutler must stay healthy and resist the urge to make terrible decisions late in the game. The defense must also improve, but the Bears should put together another decent team for 2014.
4. Green Bay Packers – With a healthy Aaron Rodgers, the ceiling remains high for the Packers. Eddie Lacy will no longer be a rookie, and the receivers could all be healthier. The defense let them down far too often in 2013, but with a guy like Rodgers under center, the Packers must always be seen as a serious threat to the throne.
3. Carolina Panthers – If the Panthers can continue to get better on offense, we all know what they can do on defense. Built just a little like the Seahawks, the Panthers have a mobile quarterback with a stingy defense. I still think they need to get some more help for Can Newton, but they played as well as any team down the stretch last season.
2. New Orleans Saints – I would like to say that Drew Brees is enough, but even he needs some help from the running game and on the other side of the ball. Brees kept the Saints in it late against Seattle in the playoffs last season, and he is very difficult to bet against. New Orleans does have a lot of cap issues, but as long as No. 9 is healthy, the Saints will be a contender.
1. San Francisco 49ers – Really? Were you expecting anyone else?
I hope that you have enjoyed the coverage of Super Bowl XLVIII as well as all of the story lines leading up to The Road To MetLife Stadium. Make sure to stay tuned to Boston Super Blog for more coverage and recaps as well as analysis of last night’s game in MetLife Stadium, as well as a look ahead to where the Broncos and Seahawks will go from here.
Finally, in case you have not yet seen the video of NFL players – both past and present – signing a collaborative version of the National Anthem, then what are you waiting for? I must admit that I went into it expecting to have some laughs, but these guys were pretty impressive. Current players such as Justin Tuck and Josh Brown of the New York Giants, Greg Jennings of the Minnesota Vikings and Nick Mangold of the New York Jets, as well as former stars including Emmitt Smith and Eddie George all got together to put out quite an impressive rendition of the National Anthem. If you have not yet seen it, make sure to check it out by clicking here.
Make sure to follow all of the latest on Twitter by using the #Road2MetLifeStadium and tag @MetLifeCentral, as well as checking back early and often to Boston Super Blog for all of the latest information regarding Super Bowl XLVIII in MetLife Stadium between the Broncos and Seahawks!