2013 NFL Season Preview: Odds of Each Team Winning Super Bowl
2013 NFL Season Preview: Odds of Each Team Winning Super Bowl
Now that the 2013 NFL Draft is over, football fans have a multitude of opinions and predictions of how their team will fare come September. It is easy to get excited after the draft, knowing your team (hopefully) improved itself in the necessary areas. Now that your franchise has bettered themselves through the draft, the rookies join their respective teams and their teammates in OTA’s along with a few new faces obtained through free agency.
Maybe your team added a couple of big names like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the Seattle Seahawks. On the other hand, you could be looking at your team’s management scratching your head, wondering why they lost more than they gained via free agency. Most Green Bay Packers fans would be in this boat, having not signed any big names and losing guys like Charles Woodson and Greg Jennings. Or, you could be mildly pleased with your team’s additions, having added a few solid players but not one real enormous splash was made.
Regardless of your perspective on that team closest to your heart, right now the slate is clean and it’s time to get down to business. The league is full of new coaches, new playbooks and a new attitude geared towards success next season. If you are not a member of the Baltimore Ravens, you have no reason to boast. There is one winner every season, and the good news is that last season is over and this season has yet to begin. Every team is in the same situation heading into this year, and on any given Sunday, anything can happen.
Alright, enough of the positive thinking and optimism. It’s time to be a realist. Here are my 2014 Super Bowl chances for each team at this very moment.
Jacksonville Jaguars: 0%
I hate to say it, but even though there's "always a chance," there really isn't here. The Jacksonville Jaguars chose not to improve their situation at quarterback, and thus are in for another experimental year with Blaine Gabbert. The only thing you may have to be excited about is your Pro Bowl running back Maurice Jones-Drew getting healthy and up to speed. Sorry Jaguars fans, it's not happening any time soon.
New York Jets: 1%
Well New York Jets fans, you got rid of one distraction in Tim Tebow. The next headache may be replaced very soon, as Geno Smith could leapfrog Mark Sanchez under center before the season is over. Even still, the Jets don't have very much going for them. Head coach Rex Ryan is still doing more motivational speaking than he is coaching, and until that changes or he is canned, the outlook on this and upcoming seasons will not be bright.
Oakland Raiders: 2%
Thank God, the Oakland Raiders got rid of Carson Palmer. But, will Matt Flynn be able to do any better with this offensive roster? I am not so sure. Besides Darren McFadden, there aren't many consistent play makers. On defense, there are still a few holes as well. Only time will tell, but the Raiders won't be making too much noise in the win column as far as I'm concerned.
Cleveland Browns: 2%
The Cleveland Browns have a few pieces in place that they can be excited about. Running back Trent Richardson looked good as a rookie and will only improve. Wide receiver Josh Gordon showed explosive speed and the ability to come up with huge plays. However, the question mark lies solely with quarterback Brandon Weeden, offensively. This team will go as far as this second year pro takes them. At the moment, he still appears to be very raw and needs quite a bit more time before we are talking Super Bowl.
Buffalo Bills: 3%
Reaching for quarterback E.J. Manuel will be the staple on this upcoming Buffalo Bills season. It was a move questioned by many, but who knows how things will play out. Manuel comes into a decent situation, offensively. Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller give him one of the top back fields in the league, which is one of the best tools a rookie quarterback can have. Let's not put the Bills at the top of the food chain quite yet, though. That defense still looks rough.
Arizona Cardinals: 5%
Like I said, thank God the Oakland Raiders got rid of Carson Palmer. Unfortunately, the Arizona Cardinals may now have to deal with him as the starting quarterback if Drew Stanton doesn't impress enough. Quite honestly, this offense is in horrendous shape. Larry Fitzgerald has to be pulling those dreadlocks out year after year just praying for some help. Defensively, the Cardinals impressed more often than not last season. They will have to do a whole lot more of that for some wins to be squeaked out in Arizona.
Tennessee Titans: 8%
The Tennessee Titans are a curious team. They have some talent offensively, but can they put it all together? Tennessee may have one of the best guard-center-guard combinations in the NFL to go with a highly capable running game bolstered by Chris Johnson. The wide receivers have shown promise at times to be a solid bunch, starting with Nate Washington and Kenny Britt. The problem for the Titans has been inconsistency from these guys, and of course from quarterback Jake Locker. Will Tennessee be able to outscore their opponents this year more often than not? It's doubtful.
Kansas City Chiefs: 10%
Bringing in a few new faces gives the Kansas City Cheifs some hope. New head coach Andy Reid and new quarterback Alex Smith are poised to attempt to turn things around in a big way. With huge offensive threats in Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe, Smith has some talent to work with right away. Defensively, they are led by stud linebacker Tamba Hali, but need more production from the unit as a whole. I don't see their defense stopping the top half of the AFC very easily, thus only a 10% chance is given to make it all the way.
St. Louis Rams: 10%
The St. Louis Rams had one of the better off seasons in comparison to the rest of the NFL, first and foremost by landing Jake Long to lock down that left tackle position. Bringing in tight end Jared Cook will give quarterback Sam Bradford a versatile threat in the passing game. To top it off, the Rams struck gold in the draft by landing two of the most exciting players coming out of college in wide receiver Tavon Austin and linebacker Alec Ogletree. There is a lot of young talent on this roster both offensively and defensively. It's now up to head coach Jeff Fisher to harnace this opportunity in hopes to surprise some people.
Philadelphia Eagles: 12%
Philadelphia Eagles fans, I apologize, but I still do not see the craziness ending soon for these guys. The quarterback position is even further in question now that they added rookie Matt Barkley in the draft to come in and compete with Michael Vick and Nick Foles. Head coach Chip Kelly is in the process of implementing a brand new offense that is sure to make an impact. What kind of impact, exactly, remains to be seen. There is some talent there on both sides of the ball starting with a couple of dynamic playmakers on offense, LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson. We will see if Kelly can prove the doubters wrong. Until then, chances on reaching the big game are slim.
San Diego Chargers: Better Than The Chances of Having an Invisible Girlfriend
I had to do it. As a sports writer, these opportunities are too difficult to resist. I apologize. In all seriousness, the San Diego Chargers had a fairly solid draft grabbing Manti Teo and offensive tackle D.J. Fluker with their first two picks. I believe they both will come in and not only start at their respective positions, but make a positive impact from the get-go. As is every season with the Chargers, the main issue is whether or not quarterback Philip Rivers can live up to his ongoing potential. The running game is also in question, as health has been a big problem with Ryan Mathews. There are still too many questions in San Diego to start talking Super Bowl, just yet.
Carolina Panthers: 15%
The Carolina Panthers sure confuse a lot of fans. On paper, they have a lot of weapons on offense, especially now with the new signing of Ted Ginn Jr. They may have the deepest back field in the NFL, but so far they haven't been able to take advantage of it to the fullest. Scoring rests solely on the shoulders of third year quarterback Cam Newton and his continued development. Defensively, they have to be happy with linebacker Luke Kuechly leading the way, showing a ton of promise to be a great player in this league for many years to come. Overall, though, the Panthers will only go as far as Newton allows them to.
Miami Dolphins: 15%
Despite a big off season, I don't see the Miami Dolphins having a tremendous amount of success this year outside of probably sweeping the New York Jets. The biggest reason for this opinion is due to second year quarterback Ryan Tannehill. I, for one, am not convinced he can be "the" guy. I may be wrong, and very well could be, but at the moment I just don't see it. A big time wide receiver like Mike Wallace will surely help his case, but where is the running game? That will be one gigantic question going into this year, as they don't appear to have that every-down back established.
Detroit Lions: 25%
The Detroit Lions won some and lost some this off season. Losing pass rusher Cliff Avril hurt big time, but they were able to re-sign safety Louis Delmas, keeping one of their key defensive players. Bringing in running back Reggie Bush is one of the more underrated moves, in my opinion, made in this hectic offseason. Bush is the ideal type of back for a pass-happy offense, being able to take a screen play and turn it into something beautiful. The Lions will need better production from the defensive line, even more so than recent years, in order to have success defensively. Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley will have to be more disruptive talent-wise than they are penalty-wise. If that can happen, the Lions can contend in the NFC North.
Dallas Cowboys: 25%
There is one, and only one story here. The Dallas Cowboys made Tony Romo one of the highest paid quarterbacks -- in terms of guaranteed money -- in NFL history. For only one playoff win, that was a bold move in many eyes. Others will point to his fourth quarter rating and overall regular season rating as being untouchable. However, that only means so much to an organization when the goal is trying to win in the postseason. Will Romo be able to handle the pressure in Big D and get that offense to where it is supposed to have been for a while now?
Pittsburgh Steelers: 30%
If you're a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, you have to be optimistic whenever your quarterback is healthy. Ben Roethlisberger has won two Super Bowls and is one of the better quarterbacks and leaders we've seen in the past decade or so. He is a guy that makes his teammates better, regardless of their perceived talent. Something that Roethlisberger needs desperately is a strong running game. If backs like Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman provide a consistent run game for Roethlisberger, I see the Steelers in the playoffs especially because of their continued tradition defensively.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 35%
What an off season it has been for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Wow. Having added two of the top defensive backs there are in the entire league, they are set to go into next year with a largely-improved defense. Combine that with rookie sensation running back Doug Martin, and you have something to be excited about if you're a fan. Quarterback Josh Freeman and wide receiver Vincent Jackson will prove to be a lethal threat as they showed as the season went on last year. These guys are in great shape to surprise people this year. They play their division games competitively most often, and if they can squeeze out a couple more wins this season the Bucs will be a wildcard in 2014.
Washington Redskins: 40%
Who would have predicted the season that running back Alfred Morris had last year? What an ingenius move by head coach Mike Shanahan to give this guy a shot. A talent like him in the same back field as quarterback Robert Griffin III will be a nightmare for defenses to deal with for the next few years. This team will go as these two go, no questions asked. If Pierre Garcon can stay healthy, this offense will put points on the board. There is no shortage of playmakers on defense too, with linebacker Brian Orakpo coming back from his season ending injury to join the likes of London Fletcher and DeAngelo Hall. The Redskins have a shot to compete for a wild card spot for sure.
Minnesota Vikings: 45%
The Minnesota Vikings had arguably one of the best drafts out of any team in April. Any time you can get yourself three first round picks, you've got something good going for you. Whether or not you agree with the picks, the Vikings made some moves and it just might pay off. Running back Adrian Peterson figures to get a little more relief this year as they finally have their receiving threat in Greg Jennings, and hopefully this proves significant to quarterback Christian Ponder's development. The Vikings play in one of the best divisions in football, but they have the talent to compete in 2013.
New York Giants: 50%
What is going on in New York with wide receiver Victor Cruz? Hopefully the Giants get a deal done soon, as he will begin to miss important time with his teammates if he isn't re-signed. Quarterback Eli Manning still has some great years left in the tank and is very capable of taking his team all the way. It will depend on his consistency though, as last year he slipped a bit in that area. There were games where Giants fans wanted him off the field immediately, and other times he played like an MVP. Manning is going to need to come back into his own again in 2013, and I think the Giants have a shot of going pretty far.
New Orleans Saints: 50%
I'm calling last year a fluke. This New Orleans Saints team is really not that bad. They're led by a proven leader and quarterback in Drew Brees and have plenty of guys on offense that can score. Last year is over, the suspensions are done with and it's time to move forward. The Saints are a very good team, and I expect them to compete for their division title and a spot in the playoffs in 2014.
Indianapolis Colts: 60%
If you would have told me a rookie quarterback would help the Indianapolis Colts bounce back from a two win season in 2011 to an 11-5 record in 2012 I would have laughed. Yeah, Andrew Luck was spectacular in college and looked to be one of the more NFL-ready guys we've seen in a while coming out of the Draft. What Luck was able to do last year was incredible, and it's only going to get better for Colts fans. This season, the Colts will continue to enjoy success in the AFC as long as Luck takes it upon himself to be the reason why. Indianapolis may surprise you even more this season, just wait.
Cincinnati Bengals: 60%
The Cincinnati Bengals still remain one of those under-the-radar type teams in many eyes. Why? Well, they aren't a very high-flying team to watch outside of Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green. But, quarterback Andy Dalton continues to take steps forward in managing his offense and Green sure has done his part in that process. Defensively, the Bengals are one of the more underrated and overlooked teams. They aren't below average at any level on that side of the ball, and James Harrison is out to prove he still has what it takes to be an elite linebacker. I think he will do so as Cincinnati heads to the playoffs yet again and looks to contend in the AFC.
Chicago Bears: 65%
The Chicago Bears have gone through one of the more eventful offseasons in recent memory. With a completely revamped coaching staff and their first year without Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher, the Bears will look completely different in certain aspects. What hasn't changed, though, is the fact that the Bears will go as far as Jay Cutler takes them. New coach Marc Trestman is said to be a quarterback guru, so we will see if Cutler finally responds in a way we have hoped for the last couple of years. An improved offensive line, quite a bit of competition at linebacker and an All-Pro wide receiver in Brandon Marshall will be three reasons the Bears get themselves back into the playoffs in 2014, aside from Cutler.
Baltimore Ravens: 65%
No Ray Lewis. No Ed Reed. No Anquan Boldin. No Bernard Pollard. No Dannelle Ellerbe. No Matt Birk. Wow, what an offseason for the Baltimore Ravens. The reason they have hope? They still have one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL in Joe Flacco, who only knows how to win when it comes down to crunch time. Not only that, but running back Ray Rice is one of the best there is as well. Offensively, they should be just fine. Defensively, they will look a lot different. But, in the end, I believe the Ravens will still get into the postseason and Flacco can lead them in their quest to repeat as champions regardless of whether you think their losses hurt them beyond repair.
Atlanta Falcons: 70%
I have such a hard time placing the Atlanta Falcons higher even after a great offseason, signing two former Pro Bowlers in Steven Jackson and Osi Umenyiora. The reason why, is due to the fact that Matt Ryan continues to allow his team to fold on the biggest stages after dominating the regular season. The Falcons have an incredibly powerful offense that features an exciting wide out in Julio Jones, and Jackson will make them even better. But, will they be able to put it all together and finally reach the big stage? That is something many are still largely questioning.
Houston Texans: 70%
Take an All-Pro running back, a Pro Bowl wide receiver, a Defensive Player of the Year leading one of the league's top units and add in one of the greatest safeties to ever play the game in Ed Reed. What do you get? You get the Houston Texans of 2013-14 who very well could make a push all the way to the Super Bowl this year. I believe the biggest challenge for the Texans this year will be whether quarterback Matt Schaub can elevate his game to the level where he can make those plays that only elite quarterbacks can make. If Schaub improves his game just a bit, the Texans can and will represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.
New England Patriots: 75%
New England Patriots fans don't have a ton to be overly excited about at the moment. Wes Welker is gone and Rob Gronkowski is going to have to have another surgery. While neither of these represent the greatest of news, you still have one huge reason to be optimistic next year. As long as Tom Brady is the quarterback, the Patriots will always have a shot. He has proven to make everybody around him a heck of a lot better than they are when they first join the team, and that is something you cannot coach. If Brady is under center, the Patriots will always contend in the AFC.
Green Bay Packers: 75%
A lot like the New England Patriots, the Green Bay Packers have one of those quarterbacks that will always allow their fan base to be excited about the upcoming season. Aaron Rodgers is also a guy that can take any wide receiver and make him into a legitimate threat. He has proven it over and over again, and even though he lost his favorite target over the past few seasons in Greg Jennings, he still has more than enough to win with. Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson will prove to be huge this year for the Packers, and hey, they still have one of the best pass rushers you'll find in Clay Matthews. The Packers will be just fine, despite not making a ton of moves over the off season. Just watch.
San Francisco 49ers: 80%
Who would have thought five years ago we would be talking about the San Francisco 49ers heading to two straight Super Bowls? I can tell you I would have laughed in your face, and not been sorry about it. Now, it appears that's just what we could be talking about come January. The 49ers are set up for another huge year behind quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his new weapon Anquan Boldin. Offensively, they boast a few more weapons all over with running back Frank Gore and tight end Vernon Davis, along with up and coming wide out Michael Crabtree. Do we even have to address the defense? Starting with their linebackers, San Francisco is downright frightening. Patrick Willis and Navarro Bowman will lead the Niners to another year of obtaining one of the league's top defenses, and this team is a threat to watch out for in 2013.
Seattle Seahawks: 80%
Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and Percy Harvin all on the same team? You better believe it. The Seattle Seahawks have had quite the offseason. Get ready to see one of the most exciting offenses you've seen in a long time featuring a handful of guys that can run the ball. Bringing back a seriously good defensive unit next year, combined with pass rushers Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, and these guys will be even better than last year. That may be tough to fathom, but just wait until they prove it. With Wilson at the helm as a double threat to begin with, and now having even more options on offense, the Seahawks have one of the best chances to not only make the Super Bowl, but win it.
Denver Broncos: 85%
After the addition of Wes Welker, it is so difficult not to give Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos the top spot on this list. If they are able to add free agent Charles Woodson in the coming days, they're a lock in this number one spot for me. Heading into 2013, Manning has had a chance to get acclimated to the offense in Denver and knows a lot more about his teammates after a year under his belt. He will be even better in 2014, especially with a deadly weapon like Welker combined with two already-established wide outs in Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. I give Manning and the Broncos, as of right now, the best chances to win the Super Bowl in 2014.