On Sunday, both the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers reserved their places in Super Bowl 50. But which NFL teams are the closest to getting to the top of the mountain next season and beyond?
Well, ESPN.com asked NFL Nation reporters to rate every single team in the league based on how close they are to getting to a Super Bowl. Teams were rated on a scale of 1-10 with 1o being the closest to getting to a Super Bowl in the near future and 1 giving them a “nowhere close” chance.
Of course, the Detroit Lions did not get much love from the reporters as they received a rating of 5, which puts them “in the middle of the pack” category. Here is what ESPN writer Michael Rothstein had to say about the Lions and their chances.
The Lions have never been to a Super Bowl. They’ve been to just one conference championship game. Yet the talent on the roster and the aptitude of their coordinators gives them a chance. For the number to get any higher, Detroit would need to retain wide receiver Calvin Johnson, upgrade on the offensive line, the defensive line and linebacker and secure a high-level cornerback to pair opposite Darius Slay. If Johnson retires, the number probably drops to a 3 or 4 depending on whom the team finds as a replacement. — Michael Rothstein
Here is how each team in the league was rated, not including Carolina and Denver:
10 – On the cusp of a Super Bowl appearance
Arizona, New England
9 – Most of the pieces to contend
8 – Close, but injuries, free agency loom
7 – Talented, but missing critical pieces
Green Bay, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Minnesota, Washington
6 – More questions than answers
Cincinnati, New Orleans, New York Jets, Oakland
5 – In the middle of the pack
Baltimore, Buffalo, Dallas, Detroit
4 – Lots of work to do
Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, San Diego
3- Talent, depth needed
Houston, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, San Francisco, Tampa Bay
2 – Big rebuilding job ahead
1 – Nowhere close