America loves an underdog (if the person looks or acts like they want). I love an underdog since I’ve been one most of my life. Football has become a lot better when parity entered the league. When underdog franchises like the Seahawks and Cardinals could make the playoffs and go to the Super Bowl, the league benefits because more fanbases believe that they can win every year. But usually its the same franchises that get picked at the beginning of the year to make the playoffs and the Super Bowl. So in honor of the underdog, I’m not going to pick those franchises in my football preview. I’m looking at the longshots, the teams that are just outside the odds to make some noise this year. The odds I use are from Bovada as of Noon on Tuesday, September 4. And of course, these odds are for entertainment purposes only.
Longshot Division Winners
Tennessee Titans (+500): Of the 4 longshots I picked for division winners, this is the one I think will not happen. The Titans need a lot to go right, first and foremost is Chris Johnson (who is on my Swindle team) to remember how to run for 2,000 yards again. If they can get CJ2K going, and Houston has various injuries that are actually likely to happen to their QB and WR, the Titans could be right in it towards the end of the season.
Cincinnati Bengals (+400): Of all the 4 longshots, I actually think this will happen. I have the Steelers on the outside looking in this season. The Ravens offense has gotten better, but they are still relying on Joe Flacco and a defense that’s hanging on by Ed Reed’s beard. The Bengals have an underrated defense along with the new great connection between Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. At +400 (or 4/1), I say that’s pretty good odds.
Detroit Lions (+450): The NFC was even harder to pick a longshot, especially in the North. The Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears have potential juggernauts. The Lions are counting on Matt Stafford to stay healthy again this season, without a running game to take the pressure off him. Their defensive secondary is looking really suspect and the season hasn’t started. The team is one arrest from starting the production of the Longest Yard 2. So why did I pick the Lions instead of let’s say the Carolina Panthers? Well the Panthers are (+400), i wanted to roll the dice a little bit more.
Seattle Seahawks (+325): This shocked me because the 49ers have the 3rd best odds to win the Super Bowl. But the Seahawks are given a decent chance to win the NFC West. Does Vegas know something we don’t? Well, the Seahawks are a playmaking QB away from making some noise this season. They can run and they play very good defense. Do they have what it takes to upend the 49ers this season? I doubt it. But the NFC West is cupcake. The rest of the NFC is a landmine. If the Seahawks rack up wins against the Cardinals and Rams, they can back-in into the playoffs without winning the division keeping teams. Actually this parity thing sucks.
To Make the Super Bowl
Denver Broncos (7/1 – 5th best): The Broncos have the 5th best shot to win the AFC so I figured that will be a good one to go with, and show how top-heavy the AFC is this year. Actually, the AFC is turrible. The Patriots may be the only sure bet, and even they have offensive line issues. The Broncos need Peyton Manning to turn into 2009-10 Peyton, and that’s just to make the playoffs. This team will be legitimately good, but they’re going to need some Tebow magic to be great. But since other options were the Chargers (14/1) and Bengals (18/1), I figured I’d trust Peyton.
Atlanta Falcons (12/1 – 8th best): It pained me to put this team anywhere in a list to win anything. I think the Falcons are frauds and I actually like Matt Ryan as a person. He just might not be a big time QB. Do you realize they only scored 2 points in last year’s playoff game? 2 POINTS!!! I still can’t fathom it. They lost their best defensive player in Curtis Lofton and added Asante Samuel. Michael Turner is a little bit older and slower. Their coach will still go for it on 4th down like its Madden. But, you can’t argue with talent and they may have the best receiver talent in the NFC, even better than the Packers. I don’t believe in them, but if they’re hosting the NFC Championship game in the Georgia Dome, I wouldn’t be shocked. Just score more than 2 points please.
Win Super Bowl
Chicago Bears (15/1 – 7th best in NFL): I really am not going out on the limb with this one. Basically, I listened to ArAyeGee for this one. But really there is a lot of people picking the Bears to go far. They have the QB. They can run the ball. They finally have playmaking receivers. Their defense is stout. Their kicking and kick returning may be the best in the league. How do they have the 7th best odds to win the whole thing? Why do the Steelers (14/1) and Eagles (11/1) have better odds to win? I know last year that Bears team could have beaten the Packers last year if Cutler had not had gotten hurt, much less both Cutler and Forte. Now they are healthy and have brought some friends along for the ride. Their coach is still Lovie Smith, but the new challenge rules will negate his impact on games.
But you know what, this is all random. That’s the beauty of football. The ball is oblong and bounces weird. The difference between 10-6 and 6-10 is a field gold here, a touchdown there, and a bullcrap roughing the passer call. That’s the league right now. It’s chaos week-in and week-out. All you can say to your team is may the odds be ever in your favor.