The NFL begins this week and last season’s strongest teams look likely to challenge again, writes Martin Moorish-Baranyai.
Which team will be the champion?
Predictions are a brave thing to do because you don’t know anything about the balance of power yet, just as the form of teams remain a mystery. The bookmakers haven’t taken many chances in the NFL betting: the two favourites for the new season were last season’s finalists, the champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs, who failed to defend their title from 2020.
The Florida franchise will again boast Tom Brady, who showed last year that he can win more than just a championship under Bill Belichick. The Tampa Bay squad looks strong this year, but perhaps not the best. The Chiefs, led by Patrick Mahomes, look strong after the young quarterback didn’t sit back after signing a 10-year contract, almost collecting his second championship gold ring.
The chasing pack includes the Buffalo Bills, the Green Bay Packers, who retained Aaron Rodgers, the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers, who were surprise packages last season.
Who’s going to be the MVP?
It’s a rarity when a quarterback doesn’t get the MVP award. As such, it is almost exclusively QBs on the NFL betting list of the most likely MVP: Derrick Henry, a runner with the Tennessee Titans, is ranked 17th, winning the “non-quarterbacks” competition.
Who else among the contenders could land the biggest title other than Mahomes? The Chiefs’ young star brings brilliant numbers, but there’s another young titan who can follow in his footsteps: Bills QB Josh Allen. The two youngsters are closely followed by two veterans, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, as well as Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson and Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson.
Who are the surprise contenders? Trevor Lawrence is probably going to get a lot of attention, and not just from opposing defenders. Matthew Stafford can do great things for the Los Angeles Rams, while Jameis Winston will have to take over from Drew Brees in New Orleans.