It’s time to huddle up and get on the gridiron as we gear up for the new NFL season, which gets underway with Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs tonight.
There are plenty of changes for the upcoming campaign, with pre-season cancelled completely, while a whole raft of players have opted out of playing this term.
And we’ll have an expanded playoff system for the first time, allowing 14 teams a run to Super Bowl LV in Tampa, Florida in February.
The Chiefs are the defending Super Bowl champions. But will Andy Reid guide them to another success, or will they be usurped along the way?
Ahead of the new season, we’ve run through the top four favourites in the betting for Super Bowl LV. Let us know who you think will go all the way over on Twitter @Ladbrokes!
This is Patrick Mahomes’ game now, and the Chiefs’ star quarterback showcased all his talent with an inspirational performance to win the Super Bowl from 20-10 down in the fourth versus the San Francisco 49ers back in February.
So its little wonder the Chiefs snapped up the 24-year-old to a megabucks 10-year-contract in July. The deal is reportedly worth up to $500m and is comfortably the largest contract in American sports history.
The Chiefs know what they have in Mahomes, and are building a team around him accordingly. Travis Kelce has been handed a substantial contract extension, while Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been drafted in.
Defence remains a potential weak-sport, but all-told the Chiefs look well-poised to go all the way once again.
14-2 in the regular season last-term, their playoff campaign faltered at the first hurdle, going down 28-12 to Tennessee Titans in the AFC Divisional playoffs.
That was the Ravens’ second successive play-off defeat, so will this be their year?
Just like the Chiefs and Mahomes’ new era, the Ravens are building their team around the mightily talented Lamar Jackson.
The 23-year-old threw 36 touchdown passes last season while also breaking the NFL single-season rushing record for a quarterback.
NFL defences struggled to handle the livewire Jackson last term, and he’s only expected to get better this time around.
The retirement of Marshal Yanda is the only major blow for John Harbaugh’s side, who appear to have everything in place for a Super Bowl challenge.
The Super Bowl XLIV champions will have to contemplate life without Drew Brees sooner or later, but not yet, with the 41-year-old sticking around for at least one more campaign.
Saints have been one of the NFL’s most consistent teams in the regular season, topping the NFC South in each of the last three seasons, with records of 11-5, 13-3 and 13-3 again last term.
But they’ve stumbled in the playoffs in each of those campaigns. Time will tell if they can gather it all together to go the distance this time around.
Wide receiver Michael Thomas remains a huge asset for the Louisiana side, while the addition of experienced Emmanuel Sanders should help Saints’ offence in key phases of play.
Can the 49ers shake off their Super Bowl hangover? For much of February’s showdown with the Chiefs, San Fran has the game in the bag. But that was before Mahomes’ stole the show.
Kyle Shanahan has seen a number of key players including Deebo Samuel and Weston Richburg ruled out through injury ahead of the new campaign, but the five-time champs have moved sensibly to cover the losses.
Javon Kinlaw and Brandon Aiyuk are both handy additions while the trade of Trent Williams from Washington could prove key in helping tighten the 49ers’ already solid defence.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication