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AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

Top Ten Tuesday: Franchises Most Likely To Win First Title


As you have surely heard, the Philadelphia Eagles won their first Super Bowl in franchise history with a 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots two days ago. The Eagles are one of the best franchises in sports, but a championship had eluded them since 1960. There are still plenty of great teams that have yet to win a title, so which franchises in the four major sports (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL) are most likely to win their first championship? [Note: for NFL teams, we are considering those who have not won a Super Bowl, so NFL Championships don’t count]

 

10. Oklahoma City Thunder (NBA)

Having the reigning NBA MVP Russell Westbrook helps, but the Thunder barely crack the top ten because they are a small-market team in a loaded Western Conference. Perhaps they can convince Paul George to stick around for the long haul, but it’s hard to see the franchise conjuring up enough money to get three legitimate superstars in their prime (i.e. not Carmelo Anthony), and that’s what they need to win a title.

 

9. Milwaukee Brewers (MLB)

Only one MLB team makes the list, as the Houston Astros just captured their first World Series in franchise history last October, or else they’d have been towards the top. Milwaukee has already made some power moves this offseason by trading for Christian Yelich and signing Lorenzo Cain, so they could suddenly have the best outfield in baseball. However, they need some starting pitching if they’re going to win in the postseason.

 

8. Toronto Raptors (NBA)

With the Cavs in disarray and the Celtics not having the star power behind Kyrie Irving, what’s stopping Toronto from finally making a run to the NBA Finals this spring? The strong core led by Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan has been close in recent years, and first-round pick OG Anunoby is giving them key minutes on both sides of the court. They’ll also have Drake and the entire north backing them at home games in the playoffs.

 

7. Jacksonville Jaguars (NFL)

Blake Bortles didn’t get enough credit for his play this season on the way to the AFC Championship Game, but the franchise is still lower than the other two NFL teams to make the list because they are lacking an elite signal-caller. Also, a defense could age out quickly, and the same cannot be said for Tom Brady and the Patriots—who will probably stand in their way every January for the next couple years at the very least.

 

6. Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA)

The Timberwolves are a very exciting team with an emerging core of young talent, so even in the West, they could soon be competing for NBA titles every year. Not only do they have Andrew Wiggins (22-years-old), Karl-Anthony Towns (22), and Jimmy Butler (28), but they also have one of the best coaches around in Tom Thibodeau.

 

5. Washington Capitals (NHL)

We see all-time greats go without a championship far too often in sports, and it looks like we could be on track for another if the Capitals don’t win before Alexander Ovechkin retires. Washington is currently first in the Metropolitan Division, but that’s nothing new; it will come down to whether or not they can finally turn it on in the playoffs.

 

4. Washington Nationals (MLB)

The nation’s capital has two teams in the top five, but that can be viewed as a positive because the city is at least close. The Nationals are a World Series favorite seemingly every year, but 2018 could be their last chance with Bryce Harper, as the superstar slugger is set to become a free agent after the season—and he could decide he has a better chance of winning elsewhere if they can’t get it done again.

 

3. Atlanta Falcons (NFL)

Falcons fans are unlikely to ever recover from losing Super Bowl LI to the Patriots after being up 28-3 late in the third quarter, but at least the franchise remained a legitimate contender in 2017, and there’s no reason for them to fall off with Matt Ryan still at the top of his game. If the defense continues to improve, it’s hard to pick out a weakness on Atlanta’s roster, and they could be back in the Super Bowl soon enough.

 

2. Nashville Predators (NHL)

The Predators were closer than any team on this list to a title in their most recent season, as they took the Pittsburgh Penguins to six games in the Stanley Cup Finals. Nashville seemed like a team of destiny a year ago, but perhaps that was just the start with the same feel coming this season. They are currently second in the Western Conference—and they have their former captain Mike Fisher coming out of retirement for one more run.

 

1. Minnesota Vikings (NFL)

It might be a little strange to have Minnesota in the top spot without a franchise quarterback currently under contract, but they will probably be the primary destination for any passer that hits the open market. Despite the blowout in the NFC Championship, Mike Zimmer’s squad is simply stacked with defensive superstars, and on offense, they will get Dalvin Cook back to team-up with two great wideouts and whoever is under center.

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