With the World Cup around the corner and knowing that many of our community also follow the other “football”, we thought we would have a bit of fun and create our own NFL/World Cup Sweepstake.
We have matched all 32 NFL teams to one of the 32 teams going to the World Cup in Russia this year.
Some of these comparisons may offend some of you, but hey … we’re allowed to have some fun, right? We would love to hear your thoughts on whether it’s a good comparison or if it is just damn right awful – we won’t like you any less, we promise!
[Note: to save you reading time, we have listed the NFL teams in alphabetical order … because we’re nice like that!]
So without further ado, let’s get straight to it shall we?!
Arizona Cardinals – Australia
To begin with, I’ve taken some inspiration from our own Matt H for his thoughts on this. In fact, he said,
“Austrailia probably has very little chance this year and is mostly covered by desert”.
We can see where he is going with this! An optimistic Cardinals fan everyone …
Atlanta Falcons – Russia
This one feels a bit odd if I’m honest but hey, they’re both the hosts this time around and they will be hoping that this will be a good omen!
That said, no team has ever played and won a Super Bowl in their own stadium and Russia don’t really have too many superstars to help them see off some of the big countries. In fact, I wouldn’t be too suprised to see Russia go out of tournament quite early. I don’t think the same about the Falcons though, personally. So I guess other than being the host, that’s where the similarity ends.
Baltimore Ravens – Denmark
This choice is entirely based on getting the job done in the danger zone.
For the Baltimore Ravens through the last two seasons they have had over 50% TD scoring conversion rate in the Red Zone.
For Denmark, all 27 of their previous World Cup goals have been from inside the 18-yard box.
Buffalo Bills – Sweden
It gets cold in Sweden, it gets cold in Buffalo! Aside from the similar weather conditions throughout the year both of these teams have been the bridesmaid but never the bride and have fall short of winning the ultimate prize. For Buffalo, they have been to 4 Super Bowls and lost them all and only last season snapped a long absence of reaching the playoffs. For Sweden, they reached the World Cup final in 1958 and lost out to Brazil.
Both teams have relatively low expectations coming into this time around which might actually benefit them.
Carolina Panthers – Costa Rica
Other than both teams starting with ‘C’, the other similarities are a bit ‘out there’.
Neither team has won the whole thing although they have both made a good account of themselves in recent years. In fact, in 2014 both Costa Rica and the Carolina Panthers made it to the later stages. Costa Rica made it to the Quarter Finals and the Panthers reached the Divisional game before being knocked out by the Seattle Seahawks.
Chicago Bears – Switzerland
Switzerland became the first team to exit the World Cup without conceding a goal – which also means they didn’t score many either! In the same year (2006) they were also the first team to not to score a penalty in a penalty shootout – losing 3-0 on pens.
This time, they’ll be hoping in-form Stoke winger, Xherdan Shaqiri will be able to get some goals for them although they might be hoping they don’t see any penalty shootouts.
For the Chicago Bears, last season was a bit of a mixed bag. Similarly to Switzerland though, they lacked points on the board and in 2017, they 4th worst team at scoring points per game with just 16.5.
Cincinnati Bengals – Japan
The Bengals have made it to two Super Bowls but have lost them both. They’re also consistent when it comes to making the playoffs and have appeared 14 times.
Japan have made it to 6 consecutive major tournaments and have made the last 16 in 2002 and 2010, so have some pedigree at World Cups.
Both teams are quietly going about their business in the build up to the new season/tournament and will want to prove to their fans, and everyone else, that they can mess with the ‘big boys’.
Arguably, both teams are seen as one of the weaker in their divisions/groups but they will want to prove this statement wrong, that’s for sure!
Cleveland Browns – Egypt
The Cleveland Browns have been one of the most active teams over the off-season and have had all eyes on them during the draft with so many picks. They made some smart moves through the off-season and look to shake off being the laughing stock of the NFL this year. Talking of changes and new weapons, Mo Salah has burst onto the football scene in the Premier League this year smashing all sorts of records and will hope to take that form to the World Cup, where he will lead the front line for Egypt.
Egypt haven’t historically done well at major tournaments but will be looking to change that with their main talisman. I’m excited to see what Salah can do at this year’s tournament and equally, I’m excited to see the new-look Cleveland Browns too.
Dallas Cowboys – Mexico
In hindsight, the Cowboys deserved to be matched with one of the top teams as they have one of the most successful histories of all NFL teams, even if recently that hasn’t been the case.
That said, Mexico has a good pedigree in major tournaments and has been to 7 consecutive tournaments. Although they have never won it, unlike Dallas, they have reached the Quarter Finals twice.
Another reason these two teams are matched is because we read a poll recently that said Mexicans favourite NFL team is the Dallas Cowboys – so, it seems fitting!
Denver Broncos – Serbia
Over recent years, the Denver Broncos have prided themselves on a strong Defense and so has Serbia.
In fact, Serbia’s manager is former international Mladen Krstajic, who happened to be a defender. The captain of Serbia is Branislav Ivanovic … defender! You get the point …
Detroit Lions – South Korea
South Korea have actually made it to 9 consecutive international tournaments although the best they have ever finished is 4th in 2002. The Lions, similarly, have made it 17 playoffs in their franchise history, yet have not won a playoff game since 1991.
The one thing you can say about these teams is that they know how to make it to the important games but struggle when they get there.
Green Bay Packers – Portugal
The similarity between these two teams lies in their two main talismen; Cristiano Ronaldo and Aaron Rodgers.
Beyond these two players, there are huge holes in the rosters and they often carry the performances of the team on their shoulders. Portugal comes into the tournament as Euro 2016 champions and the Green Bay Packers know what it takes to win, even with a depleted roster. Both will be hoping for better from their players going into this World Cup/NFL season.
Houston Texans – Panama
Sorry Texans fans, but you’ve never made it to a Super Bowl (yet!) and although there is a lot of hope this year, making a comparison to an international football team is somewhat difficult.
This is Iceland and Panama’s first ever appearance in a World Cup finals, so as Iceland are better matched with another team (read on for more info) it appears that Panama is the team of choice on this one. Of course, Panama’s credentials for their first appearance do not look too strong but we all love an underdog!
Panama are drawn in a group with England, Belgium and Tunisia, so getting out of the group will prove difficult. The AFC South consists of Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans, and again, Houston’s first task is similar in that they also need to get out of this division, especially when all of the teams are likely to take a step forward!
Indianapolis Colts – Saudi Arabia
We have chosen this selection based on goals or points conceded. This might actually offend Colts fans, and we apologise, but last season they gave away on average 25 points per game to their opposition – 25!!
Saudi Arabia’s goalkeeper has conceded more goals at World Cups than every other goalkeeper between 1994 to 2006. He’s conceded … you guessed it … 25!!
Jacksonville Jaguars – England
Sorry Jags fans! There aren’t actually too many similarities here, although I’m sure we can all agree on that if the England National Team performs as well as Jacksonville did last season, we would call that a very successful tournament, especially with the youth we have in our 23-man squad.
The Jags themselves boast a very young and talented roster and one that did very well last season, proving that they have what it takes to rub shoulders with the big boys!
C’mon England, and potentially soon-to-be, England’s NFL team …
Kansas City Chiefs – Colombia
Least season, in 15 of their 17 games, the Chiefs had over 30 points scored between them and their opponent so, if you’re watching the Chiefs, you’ll see points.
The same applies to Colombia and goals scored. In fact, none of Colombia’s last 18 World Cup matches have ended goalless.
Expect entertainment from both teams in 2018.
Los Angeles Rams – France
Both the LA Rams and the French National side come into the new season or tournament with a team absolutely stacked with talent. France, arguably, has one of the best strength and depths at multiple positions in the whole tournament and with the Rams off-season trades, they look to be one of the teams to watch in 2018/19.
Although France has a much longer history than the LA Rams do, they are both coming into this with big expectations!
Los Angeles Chargers – Croatia
The Chargers have a long history but their new venture in Los Angeles is very much still new. Croatia have been to 4 World Cups in their history but these have all come in the last 20 years.
Both teams are progressive in their style of play and we could see a strong campaign from them this time around.
Miami Dolphins – Uruguay
Miami Dolphins have won the Super Bowl, twice in fact, but you have to go back to the heyday of 1973/74 to get their last win of it. Similar can be said of Uruguay, who last won the World Cup in 1950 when there wasn’t actually a final to decide the winner but actually a 4-way round robin!
There aren’t too many players that stand out for either team (bar possibly Luis Suarez and Edison Cavani) and there aren’t too many people expecting either team to go too far into the tournament/playoffs.
Minnesota Vikings – Iceland
C’mon! This one is obvious, right?
I’ll just leave this video here – remind you of anywhere?:
New England Patriots – Germany
A well-oiled machine, that no-one really likes, bar obviously Germany fans! The same applies to New England Patriots – sorry Pats fans!
A phrase from Gary Lineker sticks long in the memory when he said:
“Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.”
This is quite true, especially at the last World Cup and it is also true for the Patriots, who have made it to the Super Bowl 4 times since 2010.
New Orleans Saints – Argentina
Let’s think of Messi in the same way we think of Drew Brees, they are their respective team! Without them, they don’t have too much going for them and although they do have other offensive weapons, they seem to lack that cutting edge in recent history to actually get over the line and win the whole thing. Let’s go back to the last World Cup/season, they both just fell short at the last minute!
They will be hoping for more this time around.
New York Giants – Spain
Now this was a tricky one! No one can argue with the Giants credentials from season’s gone by, but last season was one to forget. In fact, they were terrible for most of it and have changed A LOT over the off-season, both on and off the field.
Spain also have good credentials and will likely be one of the favourites for this year’s World Cup in Russia. They too have made some interesting decisions going into this tournament, dropping a number of familiar faces:
- Alvaro Morata (Chelsea)
- Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea)
- Marcos Alonso (Chelsea)
- Hector Bellerin (Arsenal)
Both teams will be hoping making important changes will provide the spark they need to bring success again.
New York Jets – Morocco
The New York Jets have one Super Bowl ring to their name and that was way back in 1969. They have only ever reached one SB though, so their strike rate when they get there is excellent – getting there is the problem.
Morocco have a problem with making it to the major finals too. Their best ever finish comes back in 1986 when they make it to the last 16, but that lives long in the memory and it’ll be a surprise for them to replicate that this time around.
Oakland Raiders – Senegal
Marshawn Lynch … what a guy! Have you seen the video of him dancing to get the Raiders fans hyped? No? Well, here it is …
In the same vain, Papa Bouda Diop scoed Senegal’s first ever World Cup goal and his celebration included dancing around his shirt. For fun, here that is …
Philadelphia Eagles – Belgium
The Super Bowl champions!
Belgium have never actually won the World Cup despite having quite a talented team because they just never seem to show up for the big tournaments. The same could be said for the Philadelphia Eagles, but look what happened last year. Could this be Belgium’s year with perhaps their most talented team ever going into a major tournament?
Pittsburgh Steelers – Brazil
Like the Pittsburgh Steelers, Brazil has a long, rich history which can’t be overlooked. Although both teams disappointed in their last major tournaments, they can never be discounted with their offensive weapons.
Both teams are always fun to watch and on a good day, they’re unbeatable. These two teams are matched quite well in our opinion!!
San Francisco 49ers – Nigeria
The San Francisco 49ers are one of the most successful franchise in the modern day history with 5 Super Bowl wins from a possible 6. Their last SB win came in 1994 and their recent visit was 2012, although they lost that game.
Nigeria as a nation aren’t as decorated or prolific when it comes to international tournaments but this is their 3rd consecutive tournament and they boasts a very talented 23-man squad, as do the 49ers with their roster!
In fact, this year they could both prove to be the surprise package.
Seattle Seahawks – Poland
Now the Legion of Boom has broken up, all that really remains (in our eyes) is Russell Wilson! The guy is arguably one of the best QBs in the league and carries a lot of the roster on his shoulders.
Poland are similar in that they have Robert Lewandowski. He scored 16 goals throughout qualifying with 3 hat-tricks. They’ll need him this year because they have only scored two goals in their last 8 World Cup games.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Tunisia
They both start with the letter ‘T’ …
They both where red or white for their home and away kits …
We’re clutching at straws with this one … sorry Bucs fans!
Tennessee Titans – Iran
Perhaps surprisingly, Iran have been to 4 major tournaments in 1978, 1998, 2006 and 2014 although in each of them they have yet to make it past the group stages.
The Titans, on the flip side, have been to one Super Bowl and lost that game. They have, though, been to 22 playoff games in their history. It is worth noting though, that the Titans also have a losing record in the playoffs (15 – 20).
Washington Redskins – Peru
The Washington Redskins have not been in a Conference Championship game for 26 seasons – the only team worse than this is the Cincinnati Bengals.
Peru’s last World Cup appearance goes back even longer than that and was 36 years ago – 1982!