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NFL's eight biggest Super Bowl windows right now? Chiefs, Lions and Ravens top list; don't sleep on Jets

Former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks knows the ins and outs of this league, providing keen insight in his notebook. In today's installment, he examines the cream of the crop in 2024 and beyond ...

After watching the confetti fall on the shoulders of the Kansas City Chiefs (again) in Las Vegas, the league has closed the book on the 2023 season and cast its eyes on the prize that awaits at the end of the 2024 campaign. The thought of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl LIX will motivate executives, coaches and scouts to put together the best rosters to compete in the coming months.

Although the start of the new league year is a few weeks away, it is never too early to assess who could be in premium position to make a legitimate title run next season and beyond. With free agency and the 2024 NFL Draft providing opportunities for everyone to fortify their rosters, here are the eight teams with the biggest Super Bowl windows right now.

Kansas City Chiefs
2023 record: 11-6

Surprise, surprise: The back-to-back champs top the list. As long as Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes call Kansas City home, the Chiefs will be top-tier title contenders. The combination of a future Hall of Fame head coach and quarterback puts this team in pole position. Could K.C. be the first NFL franchise to win three straight Super Bowls? It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest.

Though the current version of the Chiefs needs a few offensive upgrades on the perimeter, the ultra-talented defense can keep any game within reach for No. 15 to ultimately close it out. While the team's upcoming decisions on pending free agents Chris Jones and L'Jarius Sneed could impact the unit's performance, GM Brett Veach's shrewd draft maneuvers in recent years have enabled Kansas City to fortify the bullpen with capable replacements for brilliant DC Steve Spagnuolo to incorporate. 

As the Chiefs embrace their role as the league's victorious villains amid a dynastic run that includes three Super Bowl wins in five seasons, the football world absolutely should expect to see Mahomes and Co. squarely in the mix for all Lombardi Trophies in the foreseeable future.

Detroit Lions
2023 record: 12-5

Dan Campbell has Detroit poised to take the next step as a title contender after guiding the Lions to the NFC Championship Game in his third season. Despite their epic meltdown on Championship Sunday, the Lions are set to return an experienced and resilient squad with a collection of blue-chip playmakers. 

From QB Jared Goff to WR Amon-Ra St. Brown to TE Sam LaPorta to RB Jahmyr Gibbs to an ultra-physical offensive line led by Frank Ragnow, Penei Sewell and Taylor Decker, the Lions' offense can turn any game into a lopsided affair, blending a fast-break approach with a smash-mouth mentality. With offensive coordinator Ben Johnson staying put to dial up the plays, Detroit's ready to seize control of the NFC as one of the best squads in the entire league.

As defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn continues to build up his unit behind a collection of youngsters occupying key roles, the Lions are poised to join the league's true heavyweights as perennial contenders. 

Baltimore Ravens
2023 record: 13-4

The Ravens' disappointing home loss in the AFC Championship Game should not keep Lamar Jackson's squad from making another run at the title next season. The two-time MVP will be even more comfortable in the Ravens' offense after another offseason of work mastering Todd Monken's system. Though Jackson will likely lose a few experienced playmakers on the perimeter (SEE: pending free agents Odell Beckham Jr. and Nelson Agholor), the further development of Zay Flowers, Rashod Bateman and Isaiah Likely should keep the offense humming as it transitions to a pass-centric approach with Jackson featured prominently as a thrower. 

Defensively, the loss of Mike Macdonald and several key assistants could alter Baltimore's approach, but superior talent on that side of the ball will make it easier for new coordinator Zach Orr to adapt and adjust to his new role. As a unit specializing in creating disruption and producing turnovers, the Ravens' personnel matters more than its plays, which will key the defense's continued dominance. 

With a well-rounded squad in place, the Ravens will remain legitimate threats to upend the Chiefs' title reign. 

Dallas Cowboys
2023 record: 12-5

Next season could be when the Cowboys put it all together. Or else ...

"America's Team" is operating under a heightened sense of urgency, with Mike McCarthy coaching on the last year of his deal. Despite leading the Cowboys to 12 wins in three straight seasons, the head man is coaching for his job with a "Super Bowl or bust" expectation hovering over the squad. 

Fortunately for McCarthy, he has a premier quarterback (Dak Prescott) throwing to an elite pass catcher (CeeDee Lamb), with a solid front that routinely controls the line of scrimmage. Though the team must make some tough choices to keep the O-line operating at a high level, the Cowboys' attack should once again light up scoreboards in 2024.

Mike Zimmer was brought on board to toughen up a defense that has underachieved in the postseason. While the unit specialized in taking the ball away under Dan Quinn, Dallas' failures against the run in big games speaks to a lack of toughness and physicality. With a grizzled, old-school coach taking over the D, the cultural shift should benefit a team that needs to play with more force in win-or-go-home games. 

San Francisco 49ers
2023 record: 12-5

The heartbreaking loss in Super Bowl LVIII will motivate the 49ers to return to the game's biggest stage next season. Although the Cowboys (Super Bowl V to VI), Dolphins (Super Bowl VI to VII) and Patriots (Super Bowl LII to LIII) are the only teams ever to claim titles the year after finishing as runner-ups, the 49ers' roster gives them a chance to accomplish the rare feat.

The offense retains its key pieces (RB Christian McCaffrey, WR Deebo Samuel, WR Brandon Aiyuk, TE George Kittle and LT Trent Williams), with a franchise quarterback (Brock Purdy) playing on a team-friendly rookie contract. The win-now mentality that permeates an offense with salary cap challenges and pending free agents on the horizon should spark a sense of urgency that produces spectacular results for a unit that routinely dominates the competition. 

While Kyle Shanahan's defensive coordinator hire will significantly impact how that side of the ball performs -- with several blue-chip players accustomed to their roles in the pre-existing system -- the 49ers' superior talent gives them a chance to thrive with a new play-caller adjusting to a new team or new role. After falling short of their goal in Super Bowl LVIII, the Niners remain a threat to hoist the Lombardi Trophy at the end of next season. 

Cleveland Browns
2023 record: 11-6

The pieces are in place for the Browns to make a Super Bowl run, with Deshaun Watson poised to return from a season-ending injury. Despite the inconsistent performance that has plagued his game since his arrival as a megabucks addition via trade, the three-time Pro Bowler could flourish under new offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey in a retooled scheme designed to enhance the quarterback's talents. As the offense seeks to add a playmaker to the mix to supplement Amari Cooper and David Njoku on the perimeter, Watson's re-emergence as a top-10 quarterback and the return of RB Nick Chubb are essential to a Browns title run.

With the defense expected to continue its dominance behind the stellar play of DE Myles Garrett, LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, CB Denzel Ward, S Grant Delpit and CB Martin Emerson Jr., the Browns have the personnel to challenge the league's heavyweights for the title if their QB1 regains his all-star form. 

Green Bay Packers
2023 record: 9-8

After reaching the postseason as surprise participants, the Packers could emerge as title contenders in Jordan Love's second season as a starter. The 2020 first-rounder flourished as a first-time QB1 while guiding an offense anchored by several youngsters on the perimeter. 

The presence of Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed, Dontayvion Wicks, Tucker Kraft and Luke Musgrave as interchangeable playmakers has made Green Bay's offense extremely difficult to defend with a pinpoint passer as the trigger man. With a rock-solid offensive line jelling at the point of attack, Matt LaFleur has diversified the Packers' playbook to create problems for opponents. 

If new defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley can quickly find his rhythm directing a talented unit loaded with former first-rounders, Green Bay has a team capable of dominating on either side of the ball. Given how the best NFL teams can take multiple paths to victory, the Packers' talent and tactics make them viable candidates to win Super Bowl LIX. 

New York Jets
2023 record: 7-10

Before you laugh at the Jets' inclusion on this list, you should probably spend some time studying the blue-chip talents on their roster. The Jets have elite personnel at key spots, with Quinnen Williams (interior pass rusher), Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner (cornerback), Quincy Williams (defensive playmaker), Garrett Wilson (wide receiver) and Breece Hall (running back) surrounding a four-time MVP at quarterback (Aaron Rodgers). 

Though the team's success hinges on a 40-year-old signal-caller attempting to bounce back from a season-ending Achilles injury, the veteran's experience and expertise should give New York an edge in close contests down the stretch. If Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh can repair the Jets' abysmal O-line, Gang Green has enough firepower to win high-scoring affairs, but the offense could also operate as a ball-control machine built to complement an elite defense.

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