Why Every Team Won’t Win Super Bowl LVI: AFC Westby Ryan Potts April 20, 2021 1 comment
As free agency and the draft approach, every team has some level of excitement. Some teams are looking to contend in 2021. Others only want to move in the right direction. However, the NFL is unique in that every team has a chance to win the Super Bowl each season.
At the same time, only one team can lift the Lombardi next February. 31 teams will fall short. Here’s why each team will not have what it takes to win the Super Bowl next year.
Let’s conclude our look into the AFC by taking a look at the AFC West.
Kansas City Chiefs
Even when you have perhaps the most talented quarterback to play in the NFL, it is not a guaranteed win in the Super Bowl. Patrick Mahomes was phenomenal in the playoffs. He even had a better Super Bowl than the stats will give him credit for, but the Chiefs lost by 22. For as much as people will ooh and aah at the miraculous throws that Mahomes made down the stretch of the Super Bowl, the Kansas City Chiefs were down more than three touchdowns. No matter if the miracle throws were caught, the Chiefs would’ve still lost by perhaps two touchdowns.
Kansas City is still a top-heavy team. This formula can work during the regular season and some of the playoffs, but when they run into a well-oiled machine like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers became, they can collapse. Looking back at the history of Kansas City’s losses in the Mahomes era, several have come to well-oiled New England Patriots teams as well as Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in the Super Bowl.
For good reason, the Chiefs will be heavy Super Bowl favorites moving into the 2021 season. However, they play with such a thin margin of error based on what Mahomes can conjure up. Kansas City often lacks a counterpunch if the offense isn’t scoring 40 points.
Las Vegas Raiders
After losing several pieces on the offensive line and not overhauling the defense, the Las Vegas Raiders find themselves in a familiar spot. While they won’t finish exactly 8-8 as they did in 2020, they are unlikely to win the Super Bowl because their defense resembles dog poo. The 2020 installment of the Raiders finished 30th in points allowed, a figure that cannot be repeated if they want to be in contention in 2021. While pieces such as Yannick Ngakoue can help, it is not an overhaul, and they should have one of the worst defenses in the NFL yet again.
Even if the defense was able to cobble together a mediocre season, the offense lacks the upper-echelon firepower that a Super Bowl champion has needed in recent years. Las Vegas lacks an extra gear that Tampa Bay, Kansas City, and teams in the past have had. While the overall offense is effective with Derek Carr, Josh Jacobs, and Darren Waller leading the way, they lack the explosiveness needed to turn short fields into guaranteed touchdowns. Las Vegas is very much a one-trick pony offensively with their ability to grind away games through Jacobs and short passes to Waller. However, they lack true verticality that every Super Bowl team needs at least a little aspect of.
Los Angeles Chargers
Even if the Los Angeles Chargers were to overcome the general injury woes and special teams that have plagued them since their San Diego days, they would likely be on the outside looking in, even in the playoff picture. Justin Herbert, while talented, will only be entering his second season. He lost one of his more reliable weapons in Hunter Henry, and the Chargers have failed to replace Henry‘s production. Keenan Allen might be one of the best receivers in the NFL, but he is one player, and you need a team to win a Super Bowl. With offensive line improvements in the form of All-Pro Center Corey Linsley, they still may not have enough protection for the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Defensively, while talented, the Chargers have been unable to get out of their way in terms of injuries. All-world talent Derwin James has played just five games since his All-Pro season in 2018. Joey Bosa is elite, but the rest of the team needs to take a step forward if the Chargers are even to make the playoffs let alone go to the Super Bowl.
As seen with previous installments, the Chargers, even when they have the league’s best offense and best defense, their special teams has a knack for ruining any season. The 2010 Chargers are the perfect example. With the No.1 total offense and No.1 total defense in the NFL, one might expect the Chargers to win 14 games. In actuality, the Chargers didn’t even make the playoffs, finishing with nine wins.
Do you trust Drew Lock? No matter how talented the rest of the Denver Broncos roster is, getting to the Super Bowl lies squarely on his shoulders. If he does not develop into at least an average quarterback, the Broncos will be on the outside of the playoff picture for the sixth consecutive season. With the return of Von Miller, the defense might be better, but it won’t matter unless Lock figures out how to throw footballs within 10 feet of his receivers.
One could argue the rest of the roster is prepared to compete for a Super Bowl, but Lock seriously drags down the performance of the entire team. No matter how good Jerry Jeudy is at running routes, if Lock can’t hit him, it doesn’t matter. No matter how fast Noah Fant is with the ball in his hands, he has to have the ball in his hands to gain yards. Similar arguments can be made for Courtland Sutton, KJ Hamler, and any additional help that the Broncos take during the draft.
Perhaps more than any team in the NFL, Denver’s Super Bowl chances lie solely on the improvement of Lock. If Lock does not improve, Denver will win five games. They’ll be eliminated from the playoffs by the middle of November. If Lock improves to being at least a competent quarterback, Denver will challenge for the division.
Are you an optimist? All four of these teams have a chance to win the Lombardi.