The last team to repeat as Super Bowl Champions was the 2003-2004 New England Patriots, and only seven teams have ever done so, most of those coming before free agency.
Yet as we ready for what should be one of the strangest seasons in NFL history, I think it’s going to happen again, as improbable as that might seem. The Kansas City Chiefs will win a second-consecutive Super Bowl and Patrick Mahomes will be even better as their quarterback this time around.
It’s a challenge to repeat, we know that, but it’s a lot easier when you have the game’s best player in Mahomes playing the game’s most-important position. It helps that almost the entire roster is back and Andy Reid is the perfect coach to navigate the challenge of being the hunted in every game.
As for the NFC champs, I am going with the Green Bay Packers.
Of course I am.
Picking the Packers has been something I’ve done for a long time, and one of these days I will be right. There is this idea that Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is on the decline. No way. Watch what he does this season.
Green Bay was a bad defensive showing in its blowout loss to the San Francisco 49ers away from getting to the Super Bowl last season. Some will say its13-3 record was deceiving, but you are what you are in the NFL.
The Packers were 13-3. Period.
They won’t get to that mark this season, but they will be close. And come playoff time, Rodgers will really show that he’s still among the elite.
So as we ready for the season to begin, the Chiefs open in the top spot in my Power Rankings, with the Packers No. 2.
I can hear the groans already.
So be it. Just print and save this batch of rankings because come January, they might just give you a good laugh.
They usually do.
||The offense will roll again, so it’s about the defense. There are concerns about the corners, which could be a problem.||—||0-0-0|
||Aaron Rodgers will be so much better in his second year in Matt LaFleur’s system. The biggest issue is how much they can improve stopping the run.||5||0-0-0|
||They have one more run left in them with Drew Brees probably walking away after the season. Can they get past the three-straight brutal playoff losses?||—||0-0-0|
||Getting back to the Super Bowl after losing it is a big challenge. Kyle Shanahan has the makeup to get it done, but it won’t be easy. Their season will be all about the growth of Jimmy Garoppolo.||—||0-0-0|
||With Ben Roethlisberger back and a top-three defense, they will win the AFC North and push for a Super Bowl. Mike Tomlin will get this team back on track after an injury-plagued 2019.||10||0-0-0|
||They are still loaded and they have the MVP in Lamar Jackson running their high-flying offense. They will be a playoff team, but it’s time to do something with Jackson once they are there.||4||0-0-0|
||The improvement of Josh Allen will decide how far they go this season. I think he makes big strides and they are a deep playoff team. The Pats’ run atop the AFC East is over.||2||0-0-0|
||I think many are sleeping on this team. They were a playoff team in 2019, despite a brutal injury list. Carson Wentz will get back to playing at an MVP level.||1||0-0-0|
||With Tom Brady, they are an instant Super Bowl contender. If he’s the same Brady. At 43, that’s a legitimate question. The secondary will be key to the defense.||1||0-0-0|
||It used to be about running the ball and playing defense for Seattle. Now it has to be about Russell Wilson and the passing game. Let him play loose.||4||0-0-0|
||Mike McCarthy takes over a team loaded with talent. They will push the Eagles for the division title and could be a wild-card team that makes noise come playoff time.||1||0-0-0|
||With Philip Rivers joining a young, improving team, they are the team to beat in the AFC South. I think the defense makes big strides.||1||0-0-0|
||The improvement of the offensive line will be the key to this team getting back to the playoffs. It also has to rush the passer much better.||1||0-0-0|
||The offense will be explosive with Kyler Murray in his second season. In fact, he will be in the MVP mix. The defense will also be much improved, which is why I think they will make the playoffs.||2||0-0-0|
||The defense will be good, so it’s all about the offense. I think Drew Lock will have a good second season to take this team to the playoffs.||3||0-0-0|
||Losing Derwin James hurts the defense, but it will still be a top unit. Tyrod Taylor will just have to manage the game and sprinkle in some big plays in the passing game to get this team to the playoffs.||5||0-0-0|
||They will again be a team that pushes to get to 9-7, and if they get in the postseason they can get hot behind their running game. They do need to throw it better.||1||0-0-0|
||Deshaun Watson might be asked to do even more, and that’s saying something considering what he’s done already. They have major questions on defense.||7||0-0-0|
||They will have a new-look defense, which might be a good thing. The challenge will be fitting it all together. Kirk Cousins and the offense should be fine.||6||0-0-0|
||What are the Patriots doing down here so low? Take a look at the roster. Even with Cam Newton at quarterback, this season will challenge Bill Belichick like none other with the Pats.||3||0-0-0|
||Coach Sean McVay changed up his coordinators this year, which could be a way to get this team back on track. I just think they have some major holes on defense, mainly edge rush.||2||0-0-0|
||New city, same quarterback. Is that a good thing? Derek Carr has had his moments, but he has to prove to many he’s the long-term guy. That includes Jon Gruden.||2||0-0-0|
||Kevin Stefanski will change the culture, which was needed. He will get Baker Mayfield back on track, but I think this is a team that is a year away – even if Browns fans don’t want to hear it.||1||0-0-0|
||This is likely a win-or-else year for coach Matt Patricia. The question is: Does he have enough to be a playoff team? Quarterback Matt Stafford is back healthy, so he has that to lean on.||3||0-0-0|
||They will be much improved this season with Joe Burrow at quarterback. The offense should be good. But I still think they are a year away, and will be a playoff team in 2021.||2||0-0-0|
||So Mitch Trubisky will be the starter in a make-or-break season for him, general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy. There is talent on defense, but this will be all about the offense.||—||0-0-0|
||New coach Joe Judge does have talent on offense in Daniel Jones and Saquan Barkley. But is the line good enough? What about the receivers? The defense has issues at corner.||3||0-0-0|
||How long before Tua Tagovailoa takes over for Ryan Fitzpatrick? It can’t be long since he is the future. They will be young in a lot of spots.||4||0-0-0|
||Can Sam Darnold show that he can be the cornerstone of this team’s push to become a contender? So far, that hasn’t been the case, although he did improve late last season.||1||0-0-0|
||They will be fun to watch on offense with Joe Brady running things. But the defense will have issues with a ton of youth. They will play a lot of high-scoring games.||1||0-0-0|
||Are they tanking for Trevor Lawrence? It looks that way. But what happens if Gardner Minshew has a big season? Then what?||—||0-0-0|
||It’s going to be a growing year for Dwayne Haskins, which means patience is needed. He also has a lot of young players around him. The front on defense should be good.||—||0-0-0|
By Mike Meredith
This article originally appeared on CBSSports.com.