NFL

Super Bowl 2013: Ranking This Year's Top Title Contenders

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 30:  Peyton Manning #18 throws a pass to Eric Decker #87 of the Denver Broncos during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 30, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/Getty Images)
Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images
Austin GreenCorrespondent IJanuary 2, 2013

We're only one month away from the 2013 Super Bowl (Feb. 3), and several teams look capable of taking home the title.

In each conference, teams are riding massive winning streaks into the playoffs. Others have struggled lately, but are still too strong to count out.

While I wouldn't be shocked if someone else won it all, the following teams should be considered favorites to lift the Lombardi Trophy.

 

3. San Francisco 49ers

The Niners were embarrassed by Seattle in Week 16, but they are still the most complete team in the NFC.Their defense is one of the best in the league, Frank Gore is a top 10 running back and Colin Kaepernick gives defenses fits with his mobility.

The 49ers also have a first-round bye and they will play their first game at home, where they lost just one game this season.

San Francisco certainly isn't invincible, as the Seahawks proved two Sundays ago. But they are as dangerous as any team in the NFL, and they can get hot at any moment. They will be a force to be reckoned with in the postseason.

 

2. New England Patriots

As long as Tom Brady is healthy and Bill Belichick is roaming the sidelines, New England is a threat to win the Super Bowl.

The two led the Patriots to another stellar regular season, as they finished with double-digit victories for the 10th consecutive season. New England won nine of its last 10 this year, and with home-field advantage in their first playoff game, they will likely advance to the AFC title game.

Once they get there, they know exactly what to do. The Patriots have won five AFC Championships since 2002.

New England is also more balanced than most teams in the league. It led the NFL in scoring (34.8) and only Chicago had more takeaways than the Patriots (41).

 

1. Denver Broncos

The Broncos aren't as experienced as New England, but after winning their last 11 games, they have to be considered the Super Bowl favorites right now. Peyton Manning is playing like an MVP, Knowshon Moreno has scored in three of his last four games and their defense is one of the stingiest in the NFL.

Denver's D finished the season ranked third in both passing yards allowed (199.6 per game) and rushing yards allowed (91.1). They also haven't given up more than 17 points since Week 13.

Of course, the Broncos have mostly been beating up on bad teams. They've only beaten two playoff teams this season, and they lost both meetings with the AFC's other top two seeds.

Still, this team looks simply unstoppable right now. Don't be surprised if Manning leads the Broncos to the Super Bowl in his first season with the team.
 

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