2018 Super Bowl Predictions
Wow, can one week ever change everything you think you know about the NFL. For proof just look at the four favorites to win the biggest of prizes last week. New England seemingly missed their flight to Florida and made Jay Cutler look like a real live football player - which is a remarkable accomplishment. Pittsburgh won a big rivalry game, but by allowing Baltimore to score 38 points they showed that the injuries to the defense are a major concern. Minnesota's loss to Carolina was not massively concerning other than it was a missed opportunity to take total charge of the situation they find themselves in. And while the Eagles got a big win over the Rams, it came at the expense of a torn ACL for Carson Wentz - a crushing blow for a team that was getting easier to believe in every week. So now we have to regroup, reconsider, and reevaluate our Super Bowl predictions ( Odds to win the Super Bowl are from BetOnline );
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New England Patriots, +270: I would love to be able to hold off on an opinion here until after they play at Pittsburgh this weekend. That performance against Miami was just plain ugly on so many levels. Rob Gronkowski was out, though, and the team has had a habit at times of laying an egg. They were really bad at the start of this season but shook it off, so they can shake this off again. But this Pittsburgh game will tell us a whole lot more about where things stand. The New England offense lacked confidence against Miami, but they should be able to score at will against a Pittsburgh defense missing two key pieces and reeling as a result; If they can't then it's probably time to panic. And while the defense has given up Bottom 5 amounts of yards they are in the Top 5 for points scored. That will obviously be tested by Big Ben, Antonio Brown, and this Pittsburgh offense. If they can get creative and find ways to give their offense chances to win the game then this is probably the deserving favorites to win the Super Bowl. If Pittsburgh can do whatever they want, though, then that changes things.
I can't help but be a little concerned that the team hasn't been the same since news of an Achilles issue for Tom Brady came out three games back. I'm no professional athlete, but I've been coming back from a problem Achilles the last year and it is just brutal. You can't trust injury reports, but if there is any truth to this one then that's an issue, too. So, add it all up and I feel like this team doesn't really feel like a sound favorite right now. But then neither does anyone else. Like I said, I wish I could wait another week to form an opinion.
Pittsburgh Steelers, +400: We've covered much of the ground here already. Pittsburgh's defense is a real problem right now, as Baltimore's 38-point display showed. But their offense is very strong, as their three MVP contenders would suggest. If they beat up on New England then they would be the clear choice to win the AFC - and likely more. But that's a big if.
Minnesota Vikings, +700: They are coming off a loss, but with passing time I am getting more and more convinced by the idea of a Vikings Super Bowl win. Case Keenum is absolutely capable of doing what needs to be done, and Teddy Bridgewater is the best insurance policy in the league. They are a lock to win their division and have a small-but-decent shot at catching the Eagles for the top seed. They are well-coached, well-balanced, and play smart. And, most importantly, they have the chance to play for all the glory on their home field in early February. If I had to place one bet for the Super Bowl right now, it would be here, and I like the price fine enough. And I am fully braced for that to all change fundamentally this weekend when the next group of earth-shaking developments happen.
Philadelphia Eagles, +1000: I think Nick Foles is better than he gets credit for, and he's a decent fit here. But this team was only going deep with a quarterback who could put the team on his back and go further than they have any business going. And Foles is not that guy. Sadly, he's not even close. Last week the Eagles were my NFC Champions. Now they aren't my pick to make the NFC Championship game.
New Orleans Saints, +1000: I don't get this team. I just can't compute what they are doing and what it means. I have felt since the start of things that they aren't true contenders. That hasn't really changed yet. But I keep waiting for them to go away, and they keep hanging around.
Atlanta Falcons, +1200: No. Just no. Not at all. Not even sort of. There is very little I like about this team - including their chances of even being a playoff team ultimately. This price is ridiculous.
L.A. Rams, +1400: What a massive game they have in Seattle this weekend. If they win that they effectively clinch their division, and they would be a very scary team. They would be rested off the bye, their young QB is better than he has any business being, and that defensive front is a terrifying thought in the playoffs. At this point I like this price quite a bit, but ask me again on Sunday night.
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