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Previewing the NFL favorites

How early is too early when it comes to NFL previews? Well, the Draft is done, the schedules are out and most of the big off-season moves have likely been made, so now seems like a perfect time to check out the rivals for the Rams’ crown in 2022-23.

 

A look at the NFL betting odds today will show how closely matched the bookmakers believe that the top teams are, and that is a reflection of what will hopefully be a fascinating and keenly fought season, featuring the usual mix of star veterans and ambitious young talent out to grab the headlines. Here is how the top challengers for Super Bowl glory are shaping up with four months to go.

 

Buffalo Bills

 

Early favorites for the Super Bowl, the Bills have a chance to finish with the NFL’s top offense and defense this season. With Tyler Bass and Matt Araiza, they may even have the best special teams too. They won’t go undefeated, but they’ll be tough to beat every week, regardless of the formidable opponents they’ll play this season, including the Rams, the Ravens, Bengals and Chiefs on the road, and the Packers and Titans — the only teams to beat them in each of the previous two regular seasons.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 

Tampa Bay will be put to the test early in the season with road games at Dallas and New Orleans. The challenge only gets tougher from there, with back-to-back league MVP Aaron Rogers and the Packers visiting Raymond James Stadium in Week 3 for the Bucs’ home opener, followed by Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in Week 4. If the Bucs can win at least two games in that four-game period, they’ll be in good shape to repeat their regular-season success from 2021.

 

If this is Tom Brady’s final appearance on a football field, the schedule makers couldn’t have planned a more entertaining farewell tour. Brady will play Dak Prescott, Lamar Jackson, Matthew Stafford and Joe Burrow, as well as Rodgers and Mahomes. The Bucs may yet compete for another Lombardi Trophy if they can strengthen their offensive line.

 

Kansas City Chiefs

 

Despite having one of the most difficult schedules in the NFL, the Chiefs will go into this season with renewed optimism. With the biggest offseason revamp of Patrick Mahomes’ career, their starting lineup will include a host of new faces. The Chiefs’ rookies and newcomers will have no margin for error in the first half of the season, with four primetime games and nothing but high-profile contests, but they should still have enough firepower to make the playoffs.

 

Green Bay Packers

 

The Packers have won 13 games in three consecutive seasons. That has never been done in NFL history, yet given their playoff failures, it’s a hollow achievement.

 

The Packers will play at Minnesota to start the season, then host Chicago before heading to Tampa Bay. Those early road games will present a challenge for a team that recently sold All-Pro receiver Davante Adams to the Raiders and is likely to rely largely on a group of rookie receivers.

 

In Weeks 10 and 11, the Packers will host the Cowboys and the Titans and should be in position for a playoff run if they can stay in the mix through their Week 14 bye. They’ll also have an additional week to prepare for the Super Bowl champion Rams in Week 15, the Dolphins in Week 16, and the Vikings and Lions in Week 17. They could once again top the NFL standings, although as we’ve seen, having the number one seed and home-field advantage don’t mean a lot in the playoffs for Green Bay.

 

LA Rams

 

The last team to repeat as Super Bowl winners was the New England Patriots in 2004, which underlines how tough it is to stay on top in the NFL. The Rams’ biggest obstacle this season may be the extra pressure and focus that comes with being the reigning champions. It certainly won’t be the talent level of the roster, which includes Matthew Stafford, Jalen Ramsey, Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp.

 

As world champions, they will be the focus of the NFL, with five games shown in primetime, including the NFL opener versus Buffalo on September 8th, which is about as tough and pressurized an opening game as it is possible to imagine. They will also line up against the Chargers during the regular season, which should be another must-watch occasion.

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