The Buffalo Bills hold the record for consecutive Super Bowl appearances with four. Most fans celebrate this accomplishment; instead of calling the Bills the biggest losers of all-time, we rightfully recognize that winning four straight conference championships was a remarkable and unmatched feat. However, the New England Patriots can do just that next year.
With the apparently-ageless Tom Brady becoming the oldest quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl and Bill Belichick showing no signs of joy or slowing down after becoming the oldest head coach to win the big game, the very real possibility exists that the Patriots could make a fourth straight run to the Super Bowl during the 2019 season, equaling Buffalo’s historic run from the early 1990s.
Multiple members of those Bills teams have said it couldn’t be done in today’s NFL, but not only do the Patriots continue to win division championships, they don’t seem to be stopped very often in the playoffs. They’ve been in four of the last five Super Bowl games.
Add on top of that the discourse all over the AFC, and there are only one or two teams that even stand an early but realistic chance at dethroning New England.
In the AFC East, the Bills might be able to make the leap forward they need in 2019, but that’s hardly a given. They were able to hold the Patriots to 24 and 25 points in the two games this year, but with a sagging offense, the Bills couldn’t even muster 20 combined points in the two contests. They’ll need to drastically improve on that side of the ball to beat New England.
The Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts feature good enough offenses to beat New England, but don’t have the experience of having won anything in the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Tennessee Titans knocked off the Patriots during the regular season, but finished the year 9-7 with another bad offensive output. The Jacksonville Jaguars, also sporting a good defense and terrible offense, fell flat on their collective face in 2018 after nearly defeating New England in the playoffs the previous year.
We all hoped the Kansas City Chiefs could knock off the giant, but they fell to the Patriots in this year’s AFC Championship. New England blew out the Los Angeles Chargers in the divisional round in 2018. The Denver Broncos just hired another new head coach and the Oakland Raiders are picking near the top of the 2019 NFL Draft.
That leaves the traditional power in the AFC North, where the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers have been able to reach the Super Bowl over the last decade. But the Steelers have internal fighting on their offense, with their best receiver allegedly throwing a football at his quarterback and not showing up to work. The Ravens have replaced their formerly-elite quarterback with Lamar Jackson, which was enough to get them in the playoffs but not enough to do anything while they were there. The Cincinnati Bengals are going through a massive overhaul for the first time in forever. Could the Cleveland Browns make the leap with their swaggering quarterback and loads of cap space?
Who can topple the Patriots in 2019 to prevent a fourth straight Super Bowl appearance?
I’m going with the Indianapolis Colts, who have a ton of cap space, a seasoned quarterback, a quality offensive line, and an innovative coach with a Super Bowl pedigree. They can spend the money to improve the defense this off-season and they went 9-1 down the stretch of the regular season.
Save us again, Frank Reich.