Super Bowl LIII

Feb+5%2C+2018%3B+Bloomington%2C+MN%2C+USA%3B++Super+Bowl+LIII+logo+at+a+press+conference+at+Mall+of+America.+The+53rd+Super+Bowl+will+be+played+at+Mercedes-Benz+Stadium+on+Feb.+3%2C+2019+in+Atlanta.+Mandatory+Credit%3A+Kirby+Lee-USA+TODAY+Sports
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Super Bowl LIII

Feb 5, 2018; Bloomington, MN, USA;  Super Bowl LIII logo at a press conference at Mall of America. The 53rd Super Bowl will be played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Feb. 3, 2019 in Atlanta. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 5, 2018; Bloomington, MN, USA; Super Bowl LIII logo at a press conference at Mall of America. The 53rd Super Bowl will be played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Feb. 3, 2019 in Atlanta. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 5, 2018; Bloomington, MN, USA; Super Bowl LIII logo at a press conference at Mall of America. The 53rd Super Bowl will be played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Feb. 3, 2019 in Atlanta. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 5, 2018; Bloomington, MN, USA; Super Bowl LIII logo at a press conference at Mall of America. The 53rd Super Bowl will be played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Feb. 3, 2019 in Atlanta. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Abigail Thompson, Writer

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As of this writing, the Chiefs are currently beating the Chargers on Thursday Night Football as they, along with the Patriots, Saints, and Rams continue to be in control of their respective divisions, much as they have all season.  Outside of those four teams, there still remains a lot of jockeying for position for the final four playoff spots in each conference. In the AFC, the Chargers have quietly had a superb season, already putting up double-digit wins, and still hope to make a run at the Chiefs in the AFC West. The Texans and Steelers each lead their respective divisions, with the Texans likely to hold on to their lead over the Titans and Colts. The Steelers, on the other hand, have their work cut out for them if they are to hold off the Ravens.  A few other teams hold slim hope of making the Playoffs in the AFC, including the Dolphins, Titans, and Colts. Don’t sleep on the Dolphins, who have found new life after a stunning, miraculous victory over the Patriots on the final play of their Week 14 matchup in Miami. And, for the first time in most of our lives, the Browns have managed to stave off official elimination this late in the season.

In the NFC, the road to the Super Bowl appears to run through New Orleans, thanks to the Saints impressive victory over the very powerful Rams earlier this season. After these two teams, the rest of the playoff picture is a bit muddy.  In the NFC North, the Bears continue to fight off the fading Vikings, while the suddenly-hot Cowboys lead the NFC East. Beyond those leaders, the Seahawks seem destined for the first wild card, while the final spot still has a lot of hopefuls with sub-.500 records looking to back their way into playoff contention. The Vikings, Packers, and Eagles seem to be the most likely contenders for the final spot. With the recent news of another major Carson Wentz injury, does Nick Foles have a little magic left over from last season’s surprising run to a Super Bowl victory? Or, will the Panthers wake from their mid-season slumber to claim the final spot?  

All of this leads to the big question: Who will demonstrate playoff superiority and represent their conference in Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta on February 3, 2019? Will it be the high-flying Chiefs and Saints, or will we see a wildcard surprise from the likes of the Chargers or Vikings? The smart money always seems to lie with the Patriots, but I’m calling for a change in the NFL balance of power. Look for the Rams and their potent offense to take on the Chiefs in a rematch of their Week 12 contest, which ended up being a wild, high-scoring affair in which the Rams won 54-51. Expect to see more defense in this one, with the Rams winning a manageable 31-27 game behind a steady run game from Todd Gurley and an aggressive pass rush. With any luck, not only will we see this matchup again, but we will also get to see the Rams stellar color-rush yellow uniforms on the big stage.

 

Photo courtesy of jbhnews.com.