Week 1 in the NFL is in the books, and we finally received our first real look at what the 2016 season has in store: Cleveland still sucks; the Patriots can win without Tom; Case Keenum and Blaine Gabbert make quarterbacking look even tougher than it is; and Carson Wentz looks like the best quarterback that was available in the 2016 draft.
Now, it’s important that we remember only one week has passed, and some teams may have just played a bad/good game. So when it comes to the teams that impressed, let’s not pull a Dennis Allen and “crown their ass” just yet. (On the flip side, I doubt anyone will be overly perturbed if you have the Browns slotted into the top of the 2017 draft board.)
I don’t get paid to wait around for these teams to show us their true colors, though. I make a living off of making educated knee-jerk reactions, and that’s exactly what these are. (If I believe it, then it has to be true, right?)
With that in mind, it’s time to announce the clear-cut Super Bowl favorites, while writing off several other teams in the process.
[Explanatory note: if a team’s odds have shifted, the preseason numbers are noted in parentheses.]
Post-Week 1 Super Bowl LI Odds:
New England Patriots: 17/2
Green Bay Packers: 19/2 (12/1)
Pittsburgh Steelers: 11/1
Seattle Seahawks: 12/1
Denver Broncos: 27/2 (20/1)
Carolina Panthers: 14/1 (17/2)
Arizona Cardinals: 18/1 (11/1)
Cincinnati Bengals: 22/1
Kansas City Chiefs: 22/1
Minnesota Vikings: 25/1 (16/1)
New York Giants: 33/1
Oakland Raiders: 33/1
New York Jets: 38/1 (50/1)
Dallas Cowboys: 40/1 (18/1)
Baltimore Ravens: 40/1
Houston Texans: 45/1
Detroit Lions: 50/1 (66/1)
Jacksonville Jaguars: 55/1
Indianapolis Colts: 66/1 (25/1)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 70/1
Miami Dolphins: 70/1
New Orleans Saints: 75/1
San Diego Chargers: 85/1
Philadelphia Eagles: 90/1
Washington: 90/1 (50/1)
Tennessee Titans: 99/1
Buffalo Bills: 100/1 (66/1)
Atlanta Falcons: 100/1 (50/1)
Chicago Bears: 125/1 (50/1)
San Francisco 49ers: 175/1
Los Angeles Rams: 250/1 (66/1)
Cleveland Browns: 500/1 (150/1)
Tom Brady and the Patriots … Wait, sorry, Jimmy Garoppolo and the Patriots (that sounds so weird) pulled off a big upset in Week 1 over the Arizona Cardinals. Most pundits believed the Patriots would be in good standing if they could go 2-2 without Brady, but Garoppolo’s impressive start has 4-0 in play.
Arizona lost to a backup quarterback at home. I don’t care who that backup quarterback plays for, or how good of a backup he is. He’s a BACKUP! Super Bowl contenders don’t allow that to happen, especially on their own turf.
The Packers jump up on the list after Aaron Rodgers showed some glimpses of his MVP-self against a Jaguars defense that proved to possess a lot of speed. Green Bay’s defense may not be as soft up the middle this year, only allowing 95 yards on 25 rushing attempts. Jordy Nelson is back, and he and Rodgers are slowly (but surely) getting in sync.
The season-opener resulted in the reigning Super Bowl champions taking down their Super Bowl counterpart, once again. The Broncos proved their defense is still dominant, while Trevor Siemian had a lot of ups and a couple of downs. Denver’s offensive line looked improved from last season, and C.J. Anderson is primed to shoulder the load. The biggest thing was for Siemian to prove that he’s capable of leading this offense, which he did.
The Panthers, on the other hand, looked a little shaky in the secondary, as expected, and their line struggled to protect Cam Newton in the fourth quarter. Kelvin Benjamin did look good, but his presence may be giving Newton some tunnel vision, which won’t bode well in the long-run.
Don’t be fooled by the Vikings’ odds getting longer after Week 1. Their preseason odds were with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback. When he went down, their odds went with him. Minnesota’s defense flexed its muscle in Week 1, but did so against the one-dimensional Titan offense. If the unit does enough to beat Green Bay in Week 2, you’ll see their odds continue to get closer to where they started.
Just like Minnesota, Dallas saw their odds take a major hit when Tony Romo went down; they stayed pretty static after their Week 1 loss to the Giants. The ‘Boys offensive line will allow them to control the tempo, but Dak’s going to have to make some downfield throws to keep defenses honest. That’s going to mean less conservative play-calling on early downs. (Rest easy, Jason Garrett; they’re not really 50/50 balls when you’re throwing to Dez Bryant.)
The Colts, Falcons, and Bears all had underwhelming performances in Week 1, and all see their odds suffer as a result. Indianapolis can’t play defense, and its line will get exposed for what it is soon enough (probably in Denver in Week 2). Atlanta still can’t rush the passer, and their offense refuses to just get Julio the ball. Chicago’s offense had a few minutes of success, but it’s going to be another long year in the windy city.
Photo credit: WEBN-TV (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/].