The Brandt Report

Eagles, Rams among teams with biggest Super Bowl windows

The concept of a Super Bowl "window" is somewhat fluid, given the frequency with which playoff teams -- even good ones! -- turn over from one year to the next. All it takes to throw a seemingly unstoppable juggernaut into disarray is a catastrophic injury here or a personnel misfire there. That said, I thought I'd try to examine which of the 32 teams in the NFL have the biggest identifiable Super Bowl windows -- that is, the longest period of Super Bowl contention -- from right now moving forward. Each of the teams below should be squarely in the hunt for the Lombardi Trophy for the foreseeable future, meaning at least the next two seasons. Teams are ranked from the biggest windows to the smallest.

1) Philadelphia Eagles

Your Super Bowl LII champions are the most solidly built team in the NFL, both on and off the field. Crucial pieces are locked up for the long term, with Fletcher Cox signed through 2022, Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffery and Tim Jernigan signed through 2021, and Jason Kelce, Vinny Curry and Malcolm Jenkins signed through 2020. And, of course, the Eagles have not one but two quarterbacks capable of competing for a Super Bowl. Even if Carson Wentz's recovery from an ACL tear delays his start to the 2018 season, we know Nick Foles will be able to keep the ship afloat.

Doug Pederson is one of the most underrated head coaches in the NFL. Before the Eagles' game in Dallas last season, he had his group really relaxed -- it was almost like he was running a scrimmage. His staff, including defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, offensive coordinator Frank Reich and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, is a strength. The Eagles' scouting department is as good as anybody's. Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman have really put together a winning group that will be a force to be reckoned with for some time to come.

2) Los Angeles Rams

It's hard to do much better than having the Offensive Player of the Year (Todd Gurley), Defensive Player of the Year (Aaron Donald) and Coach of the Year (Sean McVay). Los Angeles is stacked with young talent and a strong coaching staff that also includes Wade Phillips, who is always going to be put together a good defense. Quarterback Jared Goff, meanwhile, will only improve. The Rams are in a similar place to the Eagles, only Goff isn't quite at Wentz's level.

3) San Francisco 49ers

Jimmy Garoppolo will lose as a starter in the NFL eventually -- it just hasn't happened yet. The Niners struck gold in their trade for the former Patriots backup, who led them to a five-game winning streak to close out 2017. (This notion was reinforced by the monster contract San Francisco awarded to Garoppolo on Thursday). I also love some of the players on defense. Imagine what these Niners can accomplish after general manager John Lynch has had a chance to add to the roster in his second offseason on the job, especially given the copious amount of cap space they're projected to enjoy. Kyle Shanahan is an excellent coach, and I think he'll have San Francisco competing for the Super Bowl in 2018. The window is just cracking open for the Niners, but soon, it'll swing wide and stay that way for a long time.

4) New Orleans Saints

I had breakfast with Drew Brees recently, and he was very high on this team. While we didn't talk about his contact status, there's no reason to think he won't be back under center for the Saints in 2018. Brees might be 39, but last season, he looked like he was about 25. The Saints had an unbelievable 2017 draft, landing top-notch talent at running back (Offensive Rookie of the Year Alvin Kamara), defensive back (Defensive Rookie of the Year Marshon Lattimore, Marcus Williams) and offensive tackle (Ryan Ramczyk). Michael Thomas is a scary threat at wide receiver, while the defense should only continue to improve under defensive coordinator Dennis Allen and assistant Mike Nolan. New Orleans must pay attention to Atlanta in the NFC South, but ultimately, I think the Saints are better than the Falcons and should be in play to win it all for awhile.

5) Jacksonville Jaguars

This is a young team with a very good defense anchored by studs like Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. The offense, meanwhile, can definitely move the ball on the ground behind Leonard Fournette. The Jaguars would rank higher if we knew how well Blake Bortles -- whom the team is planning to stick with at quarterback for 2018, per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport -- was going to play. Bortles was dire at times in 2017, but he got better as the season went along and, I think, is ultimately criticized too much. He's better than the conventional wisdom would have it, and having a fundamentally sound assistant like offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett in his ear will only help Bortles continue to improve.

6) Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers' spot here is dependent on them bringing Le'Veon Bell back. But they have a history of keeping their own guys in the fold, and I have a feeling they'll make it work with Bell. Because when Bell, Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger are on the field together, Pittsburgh is a powerhouse. Yes, Roethlisberger (35) is older, but he showed in 2017 he can still perform -- and news that the team is talking with him about extending his contract beyond the two years remaining is encouraging. Then you have Brown, who legitimately could have won the MVP award last season, and JuJu Smith-Schuster, who will be a star in this league, providing a potent receiving threat. The defense could use a few upgrades, especially after losing linebacker Ryan Shazier, and there is the issue of working in a new offensive coordinator. Plus, Mike Tomlin has to find a way to cut through some of the drama that seems to build up around this group. But Pittsburgh should be in pretty good shape for awhile.

7) New England Patriots

As long as Tom Brady is playing, the Patriots have a chance to win it all. I'm not sure I've ever been as impressed with anybody as I was by Brady in our extended sit-down last week ahead of Super Bowl LII. Don't lose sight of the fact that, at 40 years old, Brady threw for over 500 yards and three touchdowns without surrendering a single pick or making his team punt once in the Super Bowl -- that's amazing. One of the biggest questions facing this team in the immediate future -- how to replace both the offensive and defensive coordinator as Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia decamped for head-coaching jobs -- was significantly mitigated by McDaniels' late decision to spurn the Colts and stay in command of New England's offense.

It's hard to see Brady keeping this up for much longer as he edges deeper into his fifth decade on Earth. Common sense suggests 2018 could be the final season of contention for this dynastic run. But at this point, the folly of trying to predict when Brady will hit the wall should be quite clear.

What about the ...

... Packers? True, they have Aaron Rodgers -- but they're also dealing with significant upheaval in the front office and on thecoaching staff.

... Vikings? The defense is a force, but I'm not confident Minnesota will be the same team on offense next year, especially with the quarterback position in flux.

... Falcons?Matt Ryan is coming off a disappointing year, and as I indicated above, I think Atlanta will have its hands full dealing with the Saints in the NFC South.

... Chiefs?Patrick Mahomes has a chance to be good as he takes the reins from Alex Smith, but the defense has some serious holes, even with Eric Berryon his way back from a ruptured Achilles tendon.

... Seahawks?Russell Wilson is great, but the aging defense is a concern. I think that right now, this is a descending team.

Follow Gil Brandt on Twitter _@GilBrandt_.

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