Super Bowl 2020: Which teams can dethrone the Chiefs next season?
The future is certainly bright for the Kansas City Chiefs after they were crowned Super Bowl LIV champions on Sunday.
A 31-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers at Miami's Hard Rock Stadium earned veteran Andy Reid his first ring as head coach, while quarterback Patrick Mahomes became the youngest player to be named both MVP - an honour he won a year ago - and Super Bowl MVP in NFL history.
With Mahomes just 24, the Chiefs will have aspirations of dominating for the foreseeable future and replicating the two dynasties the New England Patriots and Tom Brady enjoyed with six Lombardi Trophies across two decades.
However, winning back-to-back Super Bowls is no mean feat - no team has done it since the Patriots 16 years ago - so we take a look at which teams could prevent Kansas City from winning it all again in Tampa Bay next February.
SUPER BOWL CHAMPS pic.twitter.com/EQE78sd6HG— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) February 3, 2020
The best team in the NFL's regular season fell at the first hurdle in the playoffs as the 14-2 Ravens were upset at home by the Tennessee Titans.
That was a deflating note to end on for quarterback Lamar Jackson, who was voted the NFL's MVP by unanimous vote 24 hours before Mahomes won his first ring.
Jackson is just 23, most of the Ravens' star players are expected to return and coordinators Greg Roman and Wink Martindale will likely be back alongside Coach of the Year John Harbaugh.
If Jackson is able to replicate or even exceed what he did in his first full year as the starter, the Ravens might be bound for Tampa next year.
Tunnel Vision! pic.twitter.com/XUZK1u30FQ— Lamar Jackson (@Lj_era8) February 2, 2020
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Long live the kings? Don't count on it.
The 2019 season felt like the end of an era as Father Time looked he had finally caught up with 42-year-old quarterback Brady.
Yet those who have written off New England in the past have often ended up looking incredibly foolish.
The Patriots have 19 straight winning seasons, the best head coach in the game in Bill Belichick and had the NFL's number one defense in 2019. Brady's future remains uncertain but one final push for a Lombardi is certainly not beyond the realms of possibility.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
The nearly men of the past three seasons; Saints fans have been crushed by a trio of playoff defeats featuring walk-off plays.
New Orleans will believe they will be playing January football again after three straight seasons with double-digit wins.
Sean Payton remains one of the preeminent offensive minds, Michael Thomas broke the single-season record for receptions in 2019 and an underrated defense complements a free-scoring offense.
At 41, Drew Brees' career is coming to an end, but, presuming he decides to return next season, the Saints will surely be contending again.
The Steelers only went 8-8 in 2019 but San Francisco's transformation from 4-12 to 13-3 and a Super Bowl berth is evidence of how the NFL can quickly turn on its head.
What should give Steelers fans cause for optimism is that they won eight games without their starting quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger.
Roethlisberger was still playing at an elite level prior to his 2019 season-ending injury, leading the league in passing yardage with a career high 5,129 yards in 2018.
Combine that with an impressive young defense and a head coach tried and tested in the postseason and you have the recipe for another Super Bowl run.
Our defense found the end zone times in 2019. pic.twitter.com/iqAvk1QOfJ— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) January 29, 2020
A left-field suggestion, sure, but look at the significant strides both Mahomes and Jackson took in their second years in the league.
Offensive Rookie of the Year Kyler Murray believes he can make a similar leap in 2020 and, if he can, look out.
Arizona's offense under rookie head coach Kliff Kingsbury hummed at times in going 5-10-1 in 2019 and the addition of more weapons in free agency would significantly aid Murray's development.
Their biggest problem, beyond fixing a porous defense, is finding a way to come out on top in a division that contains the NFC's last two Super Bowl representatives - the 49ers and Los Angeles Rams - as well as postseason regulars the Seattle Seahawks.Published 04 Feb 2020, 00:18 IST