Orange owns its destiny

Rich Fyle column

From the drawers of the Top Secret Fyles:

The NFL just passed the season’s midpoint and here’s an early look at each one of the league’s seven main contenders to be Super Bowl 56 champion in February (the list is in no particular order):


n 1. Bills (6-3) — They can win the Super Bowl because of their top-ranked, ball-hawking defense and their brilliant head coach Sean McDermott. Pity poor Jets QB Mike White who will have nightmares for the next 10 nights after all those interceptions thrown Sunday. However, Buffalo’s OL is susceptible to foes’ aggressive D-lines.

n 2. Titans (8-2) — They can win the Super Bowl because of their physicality along the lines, disrupting opposing QBs and providing running holes despite the loss of Derrick Henry. They have a knack winning close games and are 7-0 against playoff teams.

n 3. Ravens (6-3) — They can win the Super Bowl because QB Lamar Jackson and their second-half comeback ability. Jackson just gets better and better and is a dual threat running and passing.


n 4. Cowboys (7-2) — They can win the Super Bowl because they have a host of play-makers both on offense and defense. The best Dallas team in 20 seasons could give the other conference contenders fits in the postseason.

n 5. Packers (8-2) — They can win the Super Bowl because of course QB Aaron Rodgers despite his drama-filled aura. Green Bay’s defense is its best since it won the Super Bowl more than a decade ago. They seem to be shoo-in every year to reach the NFC title game.

n 6. Buccaneers (6-3) — They can win the Super Bowl because of QB Tom Brady, who has seven rings, and a full receiving arsenal when everybody is healthy. However, injuries are a concern especially on defense where three cornerbacks remain out. It was mystifying to see them struggle against Washington after the bye week.

n 7. Rams (7-3) — They can win the Super Bowl because of head coach Sean McVay, whose squad resembles a cast of All-Stars of unbelievable talent. It will be fascinating to see how QB Matthew Stafford, who spent 12 lowly seasons with the Lions before an offseason trade, performs in the playoffs against quality competition.

n Could Join the Mix With a Little Luck — Cardinals (they should be in the Top 7, but lack playoff experience); Patriots (could be a player with the game’s all-time greatest head coach); Chiefs (may peak in January and could be dangerous); Colts (physical team could make big run); Browns (great talent but too inconsistent).

Times sports copy editor Richard Fyle can be reached at

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