It's time for a total mulligan when it comes to Super Bowl predictions. See, I was one of those total morons who sipped the Chip Kelly and Sam Bradford kool-aid, and I picked the Eagles to win the Super Bowl. That obviously seemed like a much better idea a month ago than it does now. I know now that I will be wrong with that prediction. Heck, I have known it for three weeks. So, back to the drawing board ( Odds to win the Super Bowl are from BetOnline):
Green Bay Packers (+325): I am not yet buying the Packers as Super Bowl favorites - at least not at a price this low. My biggest issue is simply that we don't know who they are because we haven't seen them tested. Not really. Their lone reasonably impressive win was against a Seattle team that clearly, at this point at least, isn't the championship squad they have been. Other than that they have beaten Chicago, Kansas City and San Francisco. Yawn. Even more concerning, their offensive performance last time out against a pretty lousy 49ers squad wasn't exactly dynamic. They have a superhero at QB, and that solves a whole lot of problems by itself, but there is still a shortage of receiving talent and some other issues as well. They are going to win a whole lot of games this year given their schedule, but they haven't done enough yet to justify this kind of return. Would I be surprised if they wound up winning it all? Not in the least. Am I betting on it at this price? No chance.
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New England Patriots (+350): Can Tom Brady stay healthy for 19 games? That is the only question you need to ask. There isn't a team in the league right now that is more driven by one player than this one. Their talent in several key spots isn't at an elite level - or at least it wouldn't be without Brady at the helm. If he can stay at his peak then they can keep winning. He has given us no reason to doubt him, but then he isn't getting any younger, and Peyton Manning has shown us lately how quickly immortal can turn to iffy. The calendar can be cruel. I like this team more than Green Bay, and am more likely to bet them as a result, but the price again doesn't justify the risk. Defending is so hard, and though I don't at this point see where they will fall, I'm not betting that they won't.
Seattle Seahawks (+700): So far this team has lost at St. Louis and Green Bay. They beat up on a horrible Chicago team. Then they would have lost to the hapless Lions if the referees knew the rules, or if the replay system wasn't completely ridiculous. They are fighting injuries and struggling to find their form. They are surely better than they have been, but the last two years of deep runs have taken a lot out of them, too. Is this the third-best team in the NFL right now? Not even close. They have lots of time to get back on track, and their division isn't out of hand yet, but they need to show a whole lot more, and soon, before they can justify this price.
Denver Broncos (+1000): They've played no one of note. Their quarterback, who is absolutely crucial to the competitiveness of this team, is as mobile as a telephone pole right now, and he is missing his deep touch pretty much entirely. He has only delivered one Super Bowl when he was healthy, and now we are supposed to trust him when he's old and banged up? This cowboy isn't climbing onto that bronco.
Cincinnati Bengals (+1200): Marvin Lewis still coaching? Yup. Andy Dalton still quarterbacking? Yessir. Those are the only two reasons I need not to like this price. Pass.
Arizona Cardinals (+1600): I'm a little concerned by the fact that the Cardinals lost at home to St. Louis last week - and especially that Todd Gurley ran for about a million yards in the fourth quarter. I also don't like their schedule - it's tougher than what a lot of teams face. They look like a playoff team, though - as long as Carson Palmer can stay healthy. I love the coaching and like the team a lot. The price is about right, but I am not making them my pick. Tempted, but not doing it.
Atlanta Falcons (+1800): Sometimes you do things as a bettor that truly shock you when you think about them. For the last couple of years I have been very critical about this team. I hated the mindset and really hated the coaching. Now, though, given this price, the coaching change and the start they have had I am picking them to win the Super Bowl. They have a very soft schedule - they have a real shot at being 9-0 at their bye week, and they will be well positioned to be the top seed in the conference. Matt Ryan is playing as well as he ever has, and the talent is mostly solid. They may not be the most likely winner, but they are the best value - and value is what matters above all else.
Indianapolis Colts (+2200): Andrew Luck is banged up, the offense is sputtering, and the coaching situation couldn't be a bigger distraction. Horrible value at this price. The only thing really going for them is that the division is again awful, so it won't take much more than eight wins for them to make the playoffs.
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