2020 Super Bowl Predictions
Free agency is mostly in the rear-view mirror. New coaches are mostly hired. The draft is done. We have a pretty decent idea of what NFL teams are going to look like heading into the upcoming season. So, we should be able to do our best job yet of looking at futures odds and making some Super Bowl predictions that might actually stick. (Odds are from BetOnline)
New England Patriots (+800): The fact that the Patriots are favorites right now tells you how much uncertainty there is in the league right now. The team doesn't have a defensive coordinator right now and has other holes in the coaching staff long after they should. They lost their most visible and, at times, dangerous player. And their star quarterback will be 42 by the time the season starts. But they have by far the best coach in the league - probably the best ever - and they have had a solid offseason despite the challenges. They did a typically strong New England job of extracting a pile of value from the draft despite having a low pick. And their unsentimental approach to roster building has them in decent shape again. The AFC East is probably a little better than last year, but still far from tough - the Patriots are a bigger favorite to win their division, by far, than any other team in the league. And it is tough to have much doubt at all about a team that has played in four of the last five Super Bowls, winning three. I don't see any value at all here, and the AFC isn't getting easier to survive, but the Patriots have definitely earned the right to go into the season as the favorites.
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L.A. Rams (+900): The Rams have talent, they are young, and they are well-coached. There is a lot to like. But it is hard to shake off the realities of how difficult teams find it the year after a Super Bowl loss. It sticks with them. It didn't for the Patriots two years ago, but they had so much experience that they were a unique case. Over the long term, there is good upside here, but the price offers no value.
Kansas City Chiefs (+1000): I don't like drama, so I am very concerned about what is going on with this team off the field. They are more willing than any other team to take on troubled cases, and it is not working well for them. And while Patrick Mahomes is a very special talent, he isn't going to be able to sneak up on anyone this year. I like a lot about the team, but I don't love the value. As you have probably figured out right now, though, I don't see a lot of value anywhere.
New Orleans Saints (+1000): I like how the Saints have reworked their approach in the last two years, tweaking their offense and improving their defense. And they should be motivated if they can channel the frustration of how their playoffs ended last year into a positive. And I'd rather be in the NFC than the AFC right now - which isn't how it was last year. But they have an aging quarterback they rely heavily on, and that makes me too hesitant to get excited about this price.
Cleveland Browns (+1400): I get why people are so excited about this team, and it is a great story. And if everything comes together, they could certainly do some real damage. But it still feels like people are getting ahead of themselves a little bit here. The Browns this year remind me a little of the Rams last year, and you can't tell me that the pressure on that team was a positive factor when it mattered. I am a cautious pessimist when it comes to this team.
Philadelphia Eagles (+1400): I like that Carson Wentz is the unquestioned starter now - the drama wasn't helpful. But he has missed eight regular-season games the last two years, and now the team's backup situation isn't as strong. They are in the mix, but I can't get too excited about them.
Indianapolis Colts (+1600): I am a believer. I like what they did last year, and their offseason has been strong. Andrew Luck is only getting better, too, and he has more weapons to work with this year. If I was only going to bet on one AFC team, it would be this one at this price.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+3300): You always need to have a long shot in your arsenal, and I think you could do a whole lot worse than Jacksonville at this price. They got perhaps the best player in the draft in Josh Allen in the first round - a guy who never should have fallen to seventh. And they got a first-round talent in the second round in OT Jawaan Taylor. Plus, the swap of Nick Foles in place of Blake Bortles is a big gain. Last year was a frustrating step back, but they are more talented than their 5-11 record last year by a wide margin, and at this price there is value.
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