After 22 weeks of action, the 2015 NFL season came to an end last Sunday when the Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers 24-10 in Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara.
But as we all know, the NFL wheel never really stops spinning — even in the absence of games.
Many analysts are already making predictions on what two teams will meet for the Lombardi Trophy in Houston next February. One of those pundits is Marc Sessler from NFL Network.
In a segment called “Way Too Early Predictions for Super Bowl LI,” Sessler picks the Arizona Cardinals to meet the Pittsburgh Steelers in a rematch of Super Bowl XLIII for all the marbles next season.
“The Cardinals, really, collapsed against Carolina in the playoffs, but for so many weeks of the season, they were the most electrifying offense in football,” Sessler said. “I think they can absolutely can get back — they get Tyrann Mathieu back on defense.
“This is a team that drafts very well and knows exactly how to fit free agents in. So Steelers-Cardinals? Book it.”
The Cardinals did stumble down the stretch in 2015. After pounding the Green Bay Packers 38-8 in Week 16 to wrap up a first-round bye in the NFC Playoffs, they were throttled by the Seattle Seahawks in Week 17 and struggled to get by Green Bay in the Divisional Round, needing overtime to win 26-20.
Of course, that led into a 49-15 rout at the hands of Carolina in the NFC Championship Game.
According to early odds from the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, the Cardinals have very good Super Bowl odds. Bruce Arians’ team opened with 10-1 odds to win it all next season, tied with Green Bay for the second-best odds in the league. Seattle, New England and Pittsburgh all opened with 8-1 odds.
The same sports book has the Cardinals at 5-1 to win the NFC championship.