With the 2018 NFL season just around the corner, our analysts predict which teams will compete for -- and capture -- the Lombardi Trophy in February.
Who will win Super Bowl LIII?
T-1. Los Angeles Rams (5 votes)
David Carr: Rams over Patriots. The NFC is absolutely loaded, with about six teams looking like true contenders. It's the Rams, though, who edge out the competition, and Sean McVay proceeds to out-scheme Bill Belichick for his first Lombardi.
Steve Mariucci: Rams over Jaguars. My mind will probably change tomorrow, but for now, I'm taking the Rams. Both teams have major talent on defense, but the Rams have the edge on offense. That's the decider.
T-1. New Orleans Saints (5 votes)
Gil Brandt: Saints over Patriots. Defense will be the difference in this clash of potent offenses. The Saints' D has improved greatly from where it was just a few years ago, and it will continue to get better in 2018, making it possible for New Orleans to outlast the Patriots.
Cynthia Frelund: Saints over Chiefs. Not the most likely matchup predicted by my model, but these two teams have the upside to get to Atlanta. Drew Brees finally gets his first league MVP honor AND breaks the MVP-winner-isn't-also-an-SB-winner curse, all in one season.
Elliot Harrison: Saints over Patriots. Drew Brees and a balanced offense move the ball and control the clock against a Patriots team that survives both Blake Bortles and a (hopefully) consistent Chargers team in the postseason.
Kevin Patra: Saints over Jaguars. The best defense in the NFL can't keep Drew Brees down all game. The future Hall of Famer gets loose in the second half and Michael Thomas beats Jalen Ramsey on a quick slant for a 17-yard game-winning touchdown to give the Saints their second Super Bowl victory under Brees.
Adam Rank: Saints over Chargers. Finally, the Drew Brees vs. Philip Rivers Super Bowl we've clamored to see for quite some time. Still, why did the Chargers let him walk out the door? (Or, better yet, why didn't they draft Larry Fitzgerald instead of Eli Manning in 2004?)
3. Atlanta Falcons (3 votes)
Gregg Rosenthal: Falcons over Patriots. After coming back from 26 points down in the NFC title game at Lambeau Field, the Falcons return home to extract vengeance for the events of Super Bowl LI in front of Big Boi and his owls.
Marc Sessler: Falcons over Steelers. After nipping the Saints in a controversy-tinged NFC title game, Matt Ryan and the Falcons forge a 20-point halftime lead and hang on to topple Big Ben's Steelers. This will feel eerily similar to Denver slaying Super Bowl XLVIII ghosts by throttling the Panthers two seasons later. The 28-3 jokes will, at last, be shipped into deep space.
Nick Shook: Falcons over Chargers. The Falcons make the history Minnesota couldn't last season, becoming the first team to play in a Super Bowl in their home stadium, while Matt Ryan avenges his Super Bowl LI loss (and proves he, not Aaron Rodgers, should have been MVP). Atlanta parties like it's 1995.
T-4. Jacksonville Jaguars (2 votes)
Maurice Jones-Drew: Jaguars over Rams. So many big personalities head to Atlanta for a star-studded Super Bowl LIII, with three of the biggest trash-talkers (Jalen Ramsey, Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters) in the league making splash plays throughout. In a close one, Duval brings it home.
T-4. Minnesota Vikings (2 votes)
Charley Casserly: Vikings over Patriots. The Vikings' defense does what the "Purple People Eaters" could not do, leading Minnesota to its first Super Bowl win. The Pats' secondary does not have an answer for Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen.
T-6. Green Bay Packers (1 vote)
T-6. New England Patriots (1 vote)
Jeremy Bergman: Patriots over Vikings. The more things change, the more they stay the same. New England ekes out its sixth Super Bowl title over Minnesota's league-leading defense by controlling the clock with a thousand-papercuts attack. Kirk Cousins tosses a pair of picks. Rex Burkhead claims MVP.
T-6. Philadelphia Eagles (1 vote)
Brian Baldinger: Eagles over Jaguars. This time, it's Carson Wentz holding up the Super Bowl MVP trophy, as the Eagles become the first team since the Patriots in the early 2000s to win back-to-back titles. And you thought Philadelphia celebrated last year ...
T-6. Pittsburgh Steelers (1 vote)
Judy Battista: Steelers over Falcons. The Falcons become the first team to play at home in the Super Bowl, but Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell know how to handle Atlanta's fast defense, and they outgun Matt Ryan and Co.