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By Andrew Petrino

Here is a quick rundown of the top contenders for  Super Bowl LVII. 

AFC: Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs are still the Chiefs. While they have not looked as impressive compared to previous seasons, the Chiefs are still 5-1 and have not lost since Week 1. 

Since losing to the Detroit Lions on their Super Bowl commemoration night, they have stacked five straight and sit atop the current AFC playoff picture. Having said that, they barely beat the New York Jets and held on to beat a 2-4 Minnesota Vikings team. 

For the Week 6 Thursday Night Football game, they let the pitiful Denver Broncos hang around entirely too long despite Russell Wilson accounting for 95 total passing yards

Right now, they are still trying to figure things out on offense. The Chiefs quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, has averaged a pedestrian 265.5 yards per game with 11 touchdowns and five picks. 

Despite his underwhelming stats and the Chiefs lack of a standout wide receiver, Kansas City still has one of the best head coaches in Andy Reid, and the best football player in the game in  Mahomes. They certainly are not invincible, but it is always better to learn lessons and improve following a win rather than a loss. 

Until this team actually begins to lose games, there is no reason to bet against them as contenders in January. 

AFC: Miami Dolphins 

The Miami Dolphins, in a lot of ways, have been the opposite of Kansas City. They haven’t been annual title contenders over the last half-decade like the Chiefs, and they are not led by an established head coach like Reid. Furthermore, unlike the Chiefs, they have not left any doubt in how they have conducted their business in the first six weeks. 

They are as talented as any offense in the National Football League (NFL) and have the statistics to back it up. With weapons like wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, and running backs De’Von Achane and Raheem Mostert, it is easy to see why this is the highest-scoring offense in the entire league by a considerable margin. 

The Dolphins have averaged 223 points while averaging just 1.3 yards under 500 per game. In fact, the only game this season where this team hasn’t looked like a juggernaut was in Buffalo, where the Bills lit up Miami’s defense in a 48-20 defeat. Having said that, they’ve won the games they should have and will face their biggest test of the young season on Sunday Night Football when they head to Lincoln Financial Field in Week 7 to square off with the Philadelphia Eagles. 

NFC: San Francisco 49ers 

In my opinion, this is still the best team in football. They lost a surprising game in heartbreaking fashion against the Cleveland Browns on the road, but that should not be cause for alarm. 

The Browns are one of the best defensive teams in football, and this is Brock Purdy’s first regular season loss. Winning every single game in the NFL is never a realistic expectation and the Browns are a scrappy ball club with a tough and intimidating stadium. 

Another thing worth noting is that the 49ers kicker Jake Moody narrowly missed his game-winning field goal. They are playing a surging Cincinnati Bengals team right before their bye, and this will be a great way to cement the start of their season. The more exciting thing to watch from this point on will be how Purdy and the Niners respond to their first loss in 2023. 

NFC: Philadelphia Eagles 

The NFC champions are also recovering from a surprising defeat at the hands of the Jets. Similar to San Francisco, I would not be overly concerned about the setback. 

The Eagles are loaded on offense with pieces like quarterback Jalen Hurts, wide receivers A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, and a great offensive line anchored by offensive linemen Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson. The Eagles also just signed Julio Jones to add more explosive talent and a veteran leader to their wideout room. 

Defensively, the Eagles have arguably the best front seven in football with veteran Fletcher Cox and second year man Jordan Davis, not to mention veteran Darius Slay lurking in the secondary. 

The Eagles will have a true test on Sunday Night Football as they welcome the best offense in football (Miami) to Philly. Considering the Birds have only played one team that is currently above .500, this will be their biggest test to date and could solidify them as contenders or raise a few eyebrows of concern.

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