A handful of unlikely NFL teams could be in the running for Super Bowl LV.
In the NFL, you could certainly make a case that all 32 teams can be considered contenders when it comes to a league title.
Bearing that in mind, here are five examples of clubs that would be considered surprising Super Bowl contenders. Each has missed a minimum of three straight seasons without reaching the playoffs, but a few made vast improvement after slow starts in 2019.
Of course, there’s a big difference between having a turnaround season and being in contention for Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. It’s hard to ignore three clubs that each finished 7-9 this past year, but it would not be shocking to see the Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons make some noise this fall after adding Philip Rivers (and more), Tom Brady and Todd Gurley, respectively.
Prepare for a few unlikely suggestions…
5. Detroit Lions
They remain the one representative of the National Football Conference not to make an appearance in the “Big Fame.” Current head coach Matt Patricia owns a combined 9-23-1 record in two seasons on the job and the club brings a nine-game losing streak into this upcoming season.
The Detroit Lions as a Super Bowl contender? Why not. This past year, the San Francisco 49ers finished 13-3 and wound up in South Florida in early February after winning four games in 2018. General manager Bob Quinn was very proactive this offseason in terms of the draft, free agency and trades. Veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford appears ready to bounce back (via Kyle Meinke of MLive.com) after missing the final eight games of 2019. The running game has been bolstered by the second-round addition of D’Andre Swift. And Patricia’s defense is set to rebound after a tough showing this past season.
Also keep in mind that while the Lions were the only team in the NFC North to post a losing record in 2019 and were 0-6 within the division, the Packers, Vikings and Bears all have their share of questions marks as September approaches. So are the Men from Motown lying in wait and ready to make a shocking move?