Now that the final cuts have been made, rosters are mostly in place, and all that is left is the waiting, itís a good time to make some final Super Bowl
predictions before the 2014-15 NFL season gets underway. Iím been doing this same task for a lot of years now, but I have to admit that I feel the most
confused at this point in the season that I think I have ever felt. This is a crazy, wide-open season that could turn out any number of ways.
One thing I am not going to do is the thing I have done the last couple of years ó pick the San Francisco 49ers (8/1) to win the Super Bowl. I still like a
lot about the team, and they are certainly going to be competitive, but there are just too many things ó the Aldon Smith nine-game suspension, some
lingering injury issues, the backup QB situation and so on ó that make me too uneasy to have full faith in them. If they finally win it this year they will
beat me in the process. So, if I canít pick them, then who do I pick? Letís look at some of the favorites (odds to win the Super Bowl are from Bovada):
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Denver Broncos (11/2):
I feel like a broken record with this team because I have been saying the same thing the last two years ó as good as this team is, I just canít justify
backing a team with a 38-year-old quarterback who is facing injury concerns all over his body. His neck is obviously fragile. Knees and ankles have been a
problem. Brock Osweiler is not a worthy backup, so one injury ends things. If he were 32 I might think about things differently, but there is just no value
here, and I remain a pessimist. I also have to wonder what lasting impact that Super Bowl humiliation will have this year ó both on the psyche of the team
and because defenses got the best blueprint ever of how to deal with Manning from the Seahawks.
Seattle Seahawks (6/1):
The talent is obviously strong, and we know that they are good enough to win it all. I would not be surprised to see them come out on top, but I am not
going to pick them ó not at this price. We have repeatedly seen some very good teams fail to even win a playoff game after their Super Bowl win, so we know
how tough it is to bounce back strong. I am concerned that guys like Wilson and Sherman have become much bigger ó and richer ó stars since last year. That
could have a big impact on the team dynamic and the performance of those key players. The smart play is to go against the champs here ó and I say that with
New England Patriots (7/1):
I have nothing but massive respect for the Patriots ó especially Tom Brady. I just canít help but feel, though, that their window has closed. They donít
have enough talent around them to be the clear favorites in the AFC, and I donít like them enough to pick them if the conference comes down to a street
fight. If this team wasnít so hugely public then their odds wouldnít be this low.
Green Bay Packers (10/1):
I am tempted by this team. Rodgers is as good as anyone, and there are some nice pieces for him to work with. The defense should be improved as well. This
is a good squad. My biggest concern, though, is that their division is just brutally tough. Also, I would feel better if I knew for sure that Rodgers was
going to come back and be back to normal after his health issues last year. We saw last year that this isnít the same team without him. They are still a
team I like a lot, but they ultimately donít offer the value that my actual pick, up next, does.
Philadelphia Eagles (20/1):
I love college football even more than the NFL, so it only makes sense that I am picking another superstar college coach to win the Super Bowl and show
everyone where the brain power really lives in the football world. Chip Kelly is an offensive master. We saw a lot of his potential last year, and I only
expect more as he has been able to fine tune his personnel and get on the same page. I am very high on Nick Foles, and his fit with Kelly is ideal. The
offensive talent is strong, and the defense should be more consistent this year. This is a very tough team to prepare to play against, and I donít think
that we have seen anything yet. In a wide-open league this year Iíll take the smartest, most creative guy. The Eagles offer strong value, and are my pick
to win the Super Bowl ó for now, anyway.
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