Mark the date and write the location on your calendars—February 7 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The road to Super Bowl 55 starts Thursday with the Kansas City Chiefs set to play the Houston Texans.
Before the action kicks off, bettors can place wagers on playoff contenders that could hoist the Lombardi Trophy in five months.
The Chiefs kept the nucleus of their roster together, so they're a popular pick to repeat as champions. Nonetheless, a couple of clubs can knock them off the top, and you have a chance to cash in on that scenario.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (6-1)
2. New Orleans Saints (11-1)
3. Baltimore Ravens (13-2)
4. San Francisco 49ers (9-1)
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (14-1)
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (25-1)
7. Green Bay Packers (28-1)
8. Seattle Seahawks (20-1)
9. Dallas Cowboys (15-1)
10. Philadelphia Eagles (20-1)
11. Minnesota Vikings (25-1)
12. Tennessee Titans (28-1)
13. Buffalo Bills (25-1)
14. Indianapolis Colts (22-1)
15. Los Angeles Rams (40-1)
16. Atlanta Falcons (50-1)
17. Houston Texans (50-1)
18. Denver Broncos (50-1)
19. Las Vegas Raiders (66-1)
20. New England Patriots (20-1)
21. Cleveland Browns (40-1)
22. Los Angeles Chargers (45-1)
23. Chicago Bears (40-1)
24. Detroit Lions (60-1)
25. Arizona Cardinals (50-1)
26. Carolina Panthers (125-1)
27. New York Giants (80-1)
28. Miami Dolphins (80-1)
29. New York Jets (80-1)
30. Cincinnati Bengals (150-1)
31. Washington Football Team (150-1)
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (160-1)
Good Bet: New Orleans Saints (11-1)
If you want to cash in on a team that's equipped to keep pace with the Chiefs in a potential Super Bowl matchup, take a look at the New Orleans Saints.
The Saints have continuity on their side. Head coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees have been joined at the hip since 2006, minus the 2012 campaign because of the Bountygate suspension for Payton. New Orleans has fielded a top-10 scoring offense in 12 of the last 14 seasons.
New Orleans isn't just a scoring juggernaut, though. The Saints have ranked within the top 14 in defensive scoring since 2017. Last season, the club recorded the third-most sacks (51) and tied for 12th in interceptions (13).
Cornerback Janoris Jenkins, whom the team claimed off waivers in December, should provide more impact plays in the form of takeaways. With Cameron Jordan, Marcus Davenport and Sheldon Rankins on the defensive line, the Saints have a trio of pass-rushers to complement strong coverage on the back end.
Looking at the Saints' depth chart, you would be hard-pressed to find a weak area. This is a 12-win team that can rack up points in bunches and clamp down on high-scoring offenses.
Worth a Gamble: Steelers (25-1)
One can make the argument that the Pittsburgh Steelers have one of the top three rosters in the AFC with a chance to knock off the Baltimore Ravens and Chiefs for a spot in the Super Bowl.
"He's made every throw possible over the three-week camp and was impressive doing it," Kaboly wrote. "His surgically repaired elbow isn't a concern."
No, Roethlisberger doesn't have an elite wideout such as Antonio Brown anymore but has plenty of options. He returns to an offense that can roll out three-wide receiver sets featuring JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson and James Washington or a two-tight end alignment with Eric Ebron and Vance McDonald.
The Steelers tight ends can pose a threat to the Ravens safeties. Against the Chiefs' run defense that ranked 26th last year, Pittsburgh can go downhill using James Conner, Benny Snell Jr. and rookie fourth-rounder Anthony McFarland Jr. on the ground.
Defensively, the Steelers fielded a top-five scoring unit in 2019. The group can play well in inclement weather, stuff the run and stifle aerial attacks.
Don't Fall for It: Cowboys (15-1)
Head coach Mike McCarthy has an impressive 125-77-2 record with a Super Bowl win on his resume. Coming off his best statistical season, quarterback Dak Prescott has another high-potential playmaker in rookie first-round wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, who's put together a strong camp this offseason.
Based on those factors, you would think the Dallas Cowboys have a good shot at the Lombardi Trophy. Here comes a hard dose of reality: No NFL coach has won a Super Bowl with two different teams.
While six have reached the title game with two clubs, they all fell short at one stop. On top of that fact, McCarthy goes into his first season in Dallas, which makes the Cowboys a tough sell as a Super Bowl winner following an atypical offseason without OTAs or a preseason.
Because of the lack of practices and a jump from training camp to regular-season games, teams that made coaching hires during the offseason head into the campaign at a disadvantage. Those clubs had limited time to install systems and acclimate rosters to new schemes.
While a new quarterback may take a few weeks to feel comfortable in a fresh system, entire teams that must adjust to a new direction could take longer to establish an effective game flow. Save your Cowboys' Super Bowl enthusiasm for the next season.