The ultimate goal for every NFL team entering training camp every summer is to contend for a Super Bowl. Some are ready to do that right now, some are just a few moves and a little more development away, and some just aren't close as they embark on longer rebuilds.
We asked 52 NFL insiders to vote on when each NFL team could realistically next be considered a surefire, no-doubt Super Bowl contender. To be clear, this doesn't mean playoff contender or in the mix, but rather when each team could be a serious threat to win a title, based on personnel, trajectory, rebuild timelines and other related factors.
The results allowed us to tier each team into distinct time frames, starting with four non-debatable contenders for this season's championship. Our NFL Nation reporters dove in with some context around why each team ended up where it did. Teams are organized within tiers alphabetically.
CLEAR-CUT CONTENDERS RIGHT NOW
As long as Patrick Mahomes is their quarterback, the Chiefs will have a chance to contend. A near-complete defensive rebuild, with the addition of a new staff plus as many as seven new starters, can only help a team that was a key defensive stop away from the Super Bowl last season. -- Adam Teicher
In two seasons under coach Sean McVay, the Rams have clinched back-to-back division titles and an NFC championship; and they once again feature a roster that is capable of making a trip to the Super Bowl. They return each skill player -- including Cooper Kupp, who is coming off a season-ending knee injury -- from an offense that scored 32.9 points per game in 2018. And defensive tackle Aaron Donald will anchor an experienced defensive group that now also includes veteran outside linebacker Clay Matthews and veteran safety Eric Weddle. -- Lindsey Thiry
It's the same as it ever was for the defending champions. Bill Belichick is in his 20th year as head coach. Quarterback Tom Brady enters Year 20 as well. Starting with those two already puts the Patriots in the Super Bowl discussion before factoring in all the other pieces that have to fall into place. -- Mike Reiss