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#pounditSaturday, January 22, 2022

Ranking the top 10 Super Bowl contenders

Lamar Jackson

5. Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson is having arguably his best season, and the Seahawks boast one of the sturdier defenses in the NFL. That’s proven by the fact that they remain the only team to beat the 49ers, and they did it on the road, too. Wilson is tremendous, his receiving corps is very good, and Seattle can pressure the quarterback. This isn’t exactly the Legion of Boom in the secondary, which is a bit of a worry, but they’ll be a very hard out in the playoffs.

4. New Orleans Saints

The Saints and 49ers don’t seem to have much between them, though New Orleans struggling against Atlanta and Carolina in recent weeks was a bit odd. Still, there are few quarterbacks more experienced than Drew Brees. The offense is explosive, and the defense has really excelled for much of the season. It’s telling that the Saints didn’t lose any of Teddy Bridgewater’s starts, proving just how deep and talented this team really is. They’re probably best equipped to give San Francisco a run if the two teams meet in the NFC title game.

3. San Francisco 49ers

The clear class of the NFC at the moment, the 49ers have an elite defense that should give any offense in the league problems. One need only ask Aaron Rodgers and the Packers what it’s like to play against the ferocious unit. That was San Francisco’s best win of the year, but their home loss to Seattle shows they’re not inevitable or unbeatable. Most of the questions linger around the offense, as Jimmy Garoppolo is still untested in the playoffs despite Richard Sherman’s support. If he can prove that he’s a quality quarterback and the defense holds up, the 49ers are certainly a championship contender.

2. New England Patriots

The 2019 Patriots have one of Bill Belichick’s best defenses in the current era of Patriots football, which is a fearsome thought. New England is allowing just 10.6 points per game this season and has only lost once. Add in Tom Brady’s ample experience and you have to figure the offense will find its way through the postseason. There’s simply a lot of earned trust with the Patriots — they know how to do it this time of year and it’s a pretty safe bet they’ll figure it out again. They’re never an easy out.

1. Baltimore Ravens

There is no doubt that the Ravens are playing the league’s best football right now. It’s a combination of who they’re beating and how they’re beating them — four of their last five opponents have been Seattle, New England, Houston, and the Los Angeles Rams, which are four likely or playoff teams. The Ravens have beaten them by 104 combined points. Lamar Jackson looks like the MVP of the league, and the defense is elite. There are virtually no weaknesses here, and right now, it’s genuinely hard to envision Baltimore losing a football game.

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