We’re just past the halfway point of the NFL season. In a little over two months, the best two teams from each conference will battle it out in the Super Bowl for the most coveted prize in all of professional football: the Lombardi Trophy.
The next two months or so will be dedicated to finding out who these two teams will be. The first 11 weeks have hinted at who could possibly represent each conference. However, on February 2nd at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, we will find out who will take part in Super Bowl LIV.
Partway through yet another crazy and unpredictable NFL season, a few teams have managed to stand out. Out of all in both the NFC & AFC, we feel that the Baltimore Ravens will take on the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl LIV. With that said, we want to make sure you know why one of these teams will raise the Lombardi Trophy in 2020.
The Rambunctious Ravens Offense
For the AFC’s side in all of this, leading MVP candidate Lamar Jackson has assisted the Baltimore Ravens in a huge comeback from a 2-2 start this season. In that time, Jackson has helped the Ravens rack up 6 straight wins. During that time, they have outscored opponents 341-196, which is a +145 scoring differential!
Assuming he doesn’t get hurt, Jackson will easily break Michael Vick’s single-season quarterback rushing record of 1,039. He has already accumulated 781 yards on the ground with 6 games still yet to be played. Jackson has an off-the-charts rushing ability to go along with his impressive and solid passing. It’s easy to see why he’s the MVP frontrunner right now.
The big boys up-front on the offensive line have kept Jackson comfortable in the pocket. Thus far, they have only given up 20 sacks this season, which is tied for the 9th fewest in the NFL. While Jackson is an impressive rusher, the running backs for the Ravens are top-notch as well.
Former Heisman winner and 2-time Pro-Bowler Mark Ingram is paired up with second-year player Gus Edwards. Both help support Jackson in the backfield and both are great security blankets to throw to at any point. The Ravens are 3rd in rushing yards per game this season, putting up an average of 428 yards on the ground.
In addition to this, wide-outs like Willie Snead and Seth Roberts help Jackson move the ball vertically.
The Ravens are also the 1st in points per game with a 19.6 average.
Ravens Defense Tells Teams: “Nevermore”
The Ravens’ MVP-caliber quarterback is coupled with a defense that ranks 6th in the NFL in points allowed per game. The defense is led by veterans Earl Thomas III and Jimmy Smith, both of whom have been part of Super Bowl contending and/or winning teams. On top of this, Marcus Peters joined the Ravens earlier this year and has been a key asset to an already dangerous defense.
Thus far, no one has scored over 28 points on the Ravens this year. They’re even stopping top-tier competitors, including 4 of the Top 10 Scoring Teams in the NFL currently. That is saying something, as it puts them on par with some of the best defenses in league history.
We’re still not done with this impressive team either. They also have one of the greatest kickers this game has ever seen in Justin Tucker, a man who has been pretty much allergic to failure his entire NFL career and has ice water running through his veins at all times.
Since entering the league in 2012, Tucker has proved himself as one of the greatest kickers in NFL history. The 30-year-old ranks 3rd in field goal percentage, as well as points. This year, he has proven to be a difference-maker, making many big kicks. This includes a 46-yarder to give the Ravens the win their Week 5 matchup against division rival Pittsburgh Steelers.
Ultimately, all of this creates a matchup disaster for teams and it is the main reason why we feel the Ravens are a great Super Bowl candidate.
The Savvy Seahawks
Not to be outdone, the NFC has produced some impressive teams too. The biggest of these, in our opinion, is the Seattle Seahawks. They are led by another leading MVP candidate in Russell Wilson. It’s not hard to see why people like Wilson, he went to back to back Super Bowls and was able to raise the Lombardi Trophy already.
The 6-time pro bowler is undeniably the best passer in the NFL. He ranks 8th in the league with 2,737 passing yards, 5th in attempts with 8.4 yards on average, and 1st in touchdown passes with 23. This on top of topping the rankings in Quarterback Rating with 78.0, along with the fewest interceptions of any quarterback this season that has more than 89 pass attempts.
Wilson is supported by running backs Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny, along with fullback Nick Bellore.
Wilson’s top four receivers (Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, Jaron Brown, and David Moore) prove to be a good combination of pass-catchers. They have combined for 1,732 receiving yards and 14 receiving touchdowns. Perhaps the biggest advantage of this receiving core is their age, not a single receiver on the Seahawks roster is over the age of 29.
Speaking of a certain 29-year old, the Seahawks recently added former NFL receiving yards leader Josh Gordon to their squad.
Overall, the Seahawks offense ranks 4th in the NFL with 389.1 yards per game and 7th with 27.5 points per game. That was before they were able to sign Gordon, so just imagine what they could do now!
No Legion Of Boom? No Problem
Although they no longer have the Legion of Boom defense, this Seahawks’ defense is nothing to sneeze at.
Under the direction of 4-time Super Bowl champion Ken Norton, this defense has been able to hold teams in big moments. That includes during Week 10 when they held the previously undefeated San Francisco 49ers to zero points in two crucial overtime drives. Of course, this earned them a huge division win.
The defensive group is led by a trio of Super Bowl-winning linebackers. This includes 5-time Pro-Bowler Bobby Wagner and Pro-Bowler K.J. Wright. Both played on the Seahawks Super Bowl-winning team in 2014. Clearly, both raised the Lombardi Trophy and want to do it again as soon as possible.
In addition to this, Seattle added Mychel Kendricks, who was part of the impressive Philadelphia Eagles team that won at Super Bowl LII a little while back. Kendricks was a solid part of the Eagles’ team that year and played a huge role in their win over the New England Patriots.
Despite the numbers, this defense has been playing with a “bend but don’t break” attitude, allowing Seattle to consistently remain in contention all year long.
We also cannot forget the Seahawks’ Special Teams, led by 28-year-old kicker Jason Meyers, who made his first Pro-Bowl with the New York Jets just last year. Not to mention, he has an interesting holder and punter named Michael Dickson. Of course, Dickson is an Australian prodigy that was voted First-Team All-Pro in his rookie season.
At just 23 years of age, he became the first punter since 1985 to make the Pro-Bowl in his rookie year. This just shows you how good this kid really is. Dickson also ranks 3rd in the NFL in kickoffs with four touchbacks this season.
When Records Just Do Not Matter
The Ravens and Seahawks have been dominant all season. They may not have the best overall records in the NFL on either side, but don’t let that force you to look away. Keep in mind, records simply do not matter when the Playoffs hit. Everyone is 0-0 at that point and even all-time great teams can go down.
We often look at the New England Patriots as an example of constant success in the NFL. While the reigning Super Bowl champions can be pointed to, we cannot overlook their history. The Pats lost to 5 non-playoff teams in the regular season last year before they made it to the Super Bowl and won, giving Tom Brady his 6th ring in 18 years.
Obviously, both the Seahawks and Ravens want to raise that Lombardi Trophy and be on top of the league. However, this will take a lot of work for anyone involved.
The Ravens explosive offense along with their solid defense allows them to control games. This will help them a lot as they head into the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Seahawks rely on a great quarterback Russell Wilson along with a young receiving core. This on top of their tough defense.
Both are doing well this season and it is clear to see why they are our favorites to get in the Super Bowl.
The Remaining Contenders
Of course, there are other contenders out there besides the Ravens and Seahawks. For the AFC alone, the New England Patriots are currently 10-1 and a dangerous team one cannot overlook. On top of this, the dangerous offense of the Kansas City Chiefs has made them a huge threat. However, overall the AFC side does look pretty weak outside of these teams.
Teams like the Bills, Raiders, Steelers, Colts, Titans, and Texans are all considered playoff contenders, but none are likely to make a Super Bowl run. This is not to say they can’t surprise people by winning a couple of playoff games. Perhaps, one of these teams may stun a contender, derailing their season.
Making a Superbowl run, however, is unlikely based on matchups.
For the NFC side, there’s a lot more competition. Teams like the Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, San Fransico 49ers, and Dallas Cowboys are teams Seattle will have to get through if they want to reach their third Super Bowl in the Pete Carol-Russell Wilson Era.
Anything can happen without a clear-cut best team for sure. Yet we’re going with the Baltimore Ravens playing the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl LIV. With the way the season has gone for them, it is hard to pick two better teams than this.
Both of these teams rank high in important team stats. If they stay as hot as they are now, it’s clear that they have a shot to raise the Lombardi Trophy in 2020.
Lombardi Trophy Hopes Can Disappear In A Snap
Keep in mind that an NFL season can change in an instant. Just look back to 2014 as one example involving the Arizona Cardinals.
The Cardinals were killing it in 2014. They began their season with an impressive 8-1 record after the first 10 weeks, in fact. Sadly, however, star QB Carson Palmer went down to an ACL injury, ending his season.
The Cards ended up losing to the Carolina Panthers in the playoffs during the divisional round. This very same Panthers team began the season 3-8-1 before they went on to win their division.
To further beat the point in, think all the way back to 2011. The Green Bay Packers went 15-1 during the 2011-2012 season, only losing to the Chiefs that season. Yet they would get stiff competition from the New York Giants of all teams. They had a 7-9 record and likely did not even deserve their playoff birth.
Despite this, the Giants beat the tremendous Packers team in the divisional round.
It shocked the world.
Clearly, the proof is in the pudding. As Herm Edwards once said: “You play to win the game!” No one can just walk in and expect to win, especially with all of these young and dangerous teams in the NFL.
There is no clear favorite through the first 11 weeks. Thus, this entire sector of the world is wide open. Everyone wants to raise the Lombardi Trophy as Super Bowl champions in 2020, of course. They will have their chance!
In typical NFL fashion, expect a wild and crazy finish to the season filled with surprises and heartbreaks. Writers like us do our best to hopelessly predict what will happen next. It should be another fun and exciting last half of the season, can’t wait to see what’s in store.