NFL

2014 NFL Season: Top 5 Super Bowl XLIX Contenders

Top 5 Super Bowl Contenders Heading Into 2014 NFL Season

Top 5 Superbowl Contenders
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With free agency and the NFL Draft now in the past, the top 5 Super Bowl contenders for the 2014 NFL season have manifested themselves. Here are the five teams most probable to win Super Bowl XLIX next February ranked in increasing order of likelihood.

5. New England Patriots

New England Patriots
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5. New England Patriots

New England Patriots
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Bill Belichick having a player like Darrelle Revis at his disposal isn't good news for the rest of the AFC. The return of Rob Gronkowski should help New England's offense immeasurably, and getting Vince Wilfork back on the field after a torn Achilles suffered last September will significantly aid a defense that was one of the worst in the NFL at defending the run in 2013.

4. Green Bay Packers

Green Bay Packers
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4. Green Bay Packers

Green Bay Packers
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The Green Bay Packers' offense will be nearly impossible to stop in 2014, with teams having to pick their poison between the dominant Aaron Rodgers and the wrecking ball that is Eddie Lacy. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will improve a previously weak secondary, and it'll be interesting to see how Dom Capers uses Julius Peppers alongside Clay Matthews. The Packers' defense will be much better than it was in 2013, making them a genuine contender.

3. San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco 49ers
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3. San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco 49ers
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The San Francisco 49ers' defense will continue to be very good for the foreseeable future. The team's only question marks lie at the offensive end, particularly regarding Colin Kaepernick's abilities as a passer. Having Michael Crabtree healthy from the start of the season to go with the ever-reliable Anquan Boldin and newly acquired Stevie Johnson will give Kaepernick every opportunity in the world to succeed through the air.

2. Seattle Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks
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2. Seattle Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks
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The Seattle Seahawks are bringing back largely the same roster that won Super Bowl XLVIII. Barring a rash of injuries, their defense will be the NFL's best in 2014. It isn't exactly the same team as last year's, though; Seattle looks pretty thin at wide receiver now that Golden Tate has departed. Still, if Percy Harvin can stay healthy, it's hard to pick a team other than the Seahawks as favorites out of the NFC.

1. Denver Broncos

Denver Broncos
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1. Denver Broncos

Denver Broncos
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The Denver Broncos are clearly going all-in for the soon-to-be-retired Peyton Manning, addressing a leaky defense by signing T.J. Ward, DeMarcus Ware and Aqib Talib in free agency. In addition to that trio, the return of Von Miller should be enough to vault one of the league's worst defenses in 2013 into the top 10 in 2014. Denver's offense will be as scary as ever. The Broncos are the most complete team heading into the 2014 NFL season.

Sean Sarcu is a Chicago Blackhawks writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter or add him to your network on Google.