2016 NFL Super Bowl Prediction
We’re still a long, long way from Week 1 — let alone Super Bowl LI — but that doesn’t mean we can’t make a Super Bowl prediction. Let’s take a look at some of the contenders to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the NFL crowns its next champion.
2016 NFL Super Bowl Prediction
The Bengals? Didn’t they lose at HOME in the WILD CARD GAME? Yes, they did. Thanks to the stupidity of Vontaze Burfict, who helped the Pittsburgh Steelers get 30 yards on an incomplete pass, thanks to his dirty hit (followed by another personal foul flag when the Bengals’ defense got mad that the first one was called), the Bengals pulled off the prime example of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Well, how about this? Imagine that Andy Dalton had led the Bengal offense that day, instead of backup A.J. McCarron. He had a terrific regular season until he fractured that thumb making a tackle after an interception. There’s no way the game would have been that close. If they had advanced instead of the Steelers — who almost beat the Broncos in the divisional game — couldn’t you see the Bengals working their way past those same Broncos and then the Patriots (whom they’d already beaten once)? It could happen, and it’s more likely than you think.
Can the Broncos repeat? Their ironclad defense will be back, and that unit was much more instrumental in the Denver title than anything that Hall of Fame-bound quarterback Peyton Manning was able to do. However, Manning showed himself to be a much more savvy ball manager than his successor, Mark Sanchez, has shown himself to be in recent years. Down the stretch in 2014, he had the chance to put away the Dallas Cowboys in a huge divisional matchup at home, but instead he threw two picks as the Cowboys put together a rare strong December to make it into the postseason, while the Eagles stayed home.
Green Bay Packers / New England Patriots
Two quarterbacks headed for the Hall of Fame when it’s all over. Two offensive lines that simply were torpedoed by injuries this year. Two no-name running backs. Two mostly anonymous wide receiving corps. Two fairly solid defenses. So these are two teams that could get on a run and win a Super Bowl — after all, they’ve been doing this regularly for a while now — or they could fall apart down the stretch. It will just depend on the health of their lines.
Carolina Panthers / Seattle Seahawks
Two exciting, agile quarterbacks who are also likely headed for the Hall of Fame. Two smashmouth defenses. Two decent running games. Cam Newton and Russell Wilson have both shown that they are elite signal-callers who can lead their team to the mountaintop in their conferences.
When it comes to NFL Super Bowl predictions, talk in June is often cheap. However, I like the Carolina Panthers to put things back together and make another run through the NFC. In the AFC, I like the Cincinnati Bengals to figure things out, but I don’t think they’ll get by the New England Patriots, who will be the beneficiaries of being a decent team in a conference with a lot of exciting teams with gaping flaws. So I’m predicting that Carolina will beat New England, 24-20, in Super Bowl LI.