Ahead of the new NFL season, we’re getting in early with our Super Bowl predictions and are tipping Chicago to face Indianapolis at the start of next February.
Super Bowl LIV is set to be played at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami and we’re going for a repeat of the 2006 decider, when the Colts beat the Bears at the same venue.
The Bears claimed the NFC North division last season with a record of 12-4, before suffering a heart-breaking 16-15 loss to Philadelphia in the play-offs.
Matt Nagy’s first campaign as head coach was lit up by the exploits of expensive free agent recruit Khalil Mack, who more than justified his hefty price tag with 12.5 sacks on defence.
At 28, Mack should be a formidable threat to quarterbacks again next term and the supporting cast is also strong in this department.
Losing safety Adrian Amos was a blow, but Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is a more than adequate replacement.
On offence, third-season QB Mitch Trubisky has all the makings of being a stand-out signal caller now that he is the finished article.
If there is a weakness for Chicago, it is in the wide receiver department, but hopes are high that draft pick Riley Ridley can shine.
New running back David Montgomery has a more-rounded game than predecessor Jordan Howard, so the Bears do have scope for improvement going forward.
Colts continue to build well
In the AFC, New England will be eyeing a fourth straight Super Bowl appearance and their fifth in nine years after beating Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in Atlanta.
However, Rob Gronkowski, Trent Brown and Trey Flowers are significant departures and even Tom Brady can’t defy Father Time for ever.
Indianapolis haven’t claimed outright glory since Peyton Manning was in his pomp well over a decade ago, but all the pieces are now in place for another run.
The Colts had to recover from a disastrous 1-5 start last term, but nine wins in their next 10 outings earned a place in the play-offs.
After crushing Houston 21-7, they found Kansas City too hot to handle in a 31-13 defeat, but more progress has been made in the off-season.
Battle-hardened defensive end Justin Houston was picked up from the Chiefs in free agency, along with under-rated wide receiver Devin Funchess from Carolina.
Top draft picks Rock Ya-Sin and Ben Banogu look capable of making an instant impact on defence and this just seems a solid roster on both sides of the ball.
Andrew Luck has long been regarded as one of the elite quarterbacks and has fully recovered from past injury problems, so the Colts are worth adding to our early Super Bowl betting tips at 14/1.
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