Ryan Mayer

When the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots host the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night, the chase for the Lombardi Trophy officially begins again. The first question on everybody’s mind is whether or not any team will be able to knock the Patriots off their throne after Belichick and company seemingly got better during the offseason.

In search of an answer to that question, we rounded up a group of CBS Sports Radio hosts and asked them who they think will make the trip to Minnesota in February of 2018. They all named the same two teams: the Patriots and the Green Bay Packers.

“In the AFC, I think it’s the Pats,” said Marc Malusis. “I have a hard time envisioning anybody going into Foxboro and beating the Patriots as long as Brady’s healthy. I think Gronkowski will have a healthier year, I like what they did in the offseason. They’re going all-in this season.”

Brandon Tierney, co-host of Tiki and Tierney, agrees.

“Listen, they got better. Brandin Cooks really makes that offense more explosive,” said Tierney. “Tom Brady is still Tom Brady.”

In addition to adding Cooks at the wide receiver spot, the Patriots made one of their typical offseason moves by stealing away a restricted free agent from one of their division rivals in running back Mike Gillislee. Greg Gianotti, co-host of Gio and Jones, thinks that will make an impact on the offense as well.

“Bringing in Mike Gillislee, you think about the defense and how they improved there and, Tom Brady, can you look any better at 40-freakin-years-old than Tom Brady does,” said Gianotti. “I have to put them in the Super Bowl.”

As for their opponents in Super Bowl LII? The answer was once again unanimous, as Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers were the pick.

“As much as it pains me to pick the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, I have to,” said Tiki Barber. “I think their opponents will be the Green Bay Packers. It’s about time that Aaron Rodgers gets back to the Super Bowl and win another one. Then, maybe that will remove some of that pressure that Brett Favre put on him by saying he’s surprised that he hasn’t won a second one.”

Marc Malusis has the same feeling as Barber, saying that this just feels like the year that Rodgers makes another Super Bowl run, especially considering the weapons that he has around him on offense.

“For some reason I’m getting a feel that Aaron Rodgers is going to get back to a Super Bowl once again,” said Malusis. “I have questions about the defense, though they did address the secondary in May’s NFL Draft. But, I think now with a healthy Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams, Ty Montgomery running the football and I think the offensive line is good enough.”

There’s more analysis in the video above, and we’ll get to see whether this prediction plays out or not beginning on Thursday night with the first game of the 2017 season.


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