Super Bowl Futures - Probable Super Bowl Winner Bets

Easiest Regular Season Schedules

I predict the AFC East is going to have the easiest collective schedule in the NFL in 2012, which could help the Patriots and Jets. The New England Patriots get to play the NFC West four games and the AFC South four games. That means they have games against the Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis Rams, Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, and Jacksonville Jaguars. While tough games loom on any schedule, that's about as easy as it gets, especially when you consider the Pats have the Bills twice and the Dolphins twice.

The AFC North and the NFC East play each other, which means both of those divisions should face tougher schedules than a year ago. That means the Steelers and Ravens must face the Giants, Eagles, and Cowboys, and vice versa. The Steelers and Ravens beat up on the NFC West and AFC South last year, inflating their records somewhat. That's the same schedule the Patriots get this year, underscoring my point above, I can assure you.

Super Bowl Odds on Favorites

Let's start with the odds for Superbowl 47, to be played in early 2015. This list was provided by the MGM Grand official lines. These lines will change by the time you read this article. For instance, though everyone has the Denver Broncos listed at 50/1, those odds were before Peyton Manning became a Bronco, so those odds are much different now.

Future Odds to Win 2015 Super Bowl XLVII

  • New England Patriots - 5-1
  • Green Bay Packers - 11-2
  • Pittsburgh Steelers - 6-1
  • Philadelphia Eagles - 6-1
  • New York Giants - 8-1
  • New Orleans Saints - 10-1
  • San Francisco 49ers - 10-1
  • San Diego Chargers - 12-1
  • Houston Texans - 12-1
  • Chicago Bears - 17-1
  • Detroit Lions - 18-1
  • Atlanta Falcons - 18-1
  • Dallas Cowboys - 20-1
  • Baltimore Ravens - 20-1
  • New York Jets - 20-1
  • Indianapolis Colts - 25-1
  • Tennessee Titans - 30-1
  • Cincinnati Bengals - 30-1
  • Buffalo Bills - 50-1
  • Kansas City Chiefs - 50-1
  • Seattle Seahawks - 50-1
  • Denver Broncos - 50-1
  • Carolina Panthers - 50-1
  • Miami Dolphins - 50-1
  • St. Louis Rams - 50-1
  • Oakland Raiders - 60-1
  • Minnesota Vikings - 60-1
  • Arizona Cardinals - 60-1
  • Cleveland Browns - 75-1
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 100-1
  • Washington Redskins - 125-1
  • Jacksonville Jaguars - 150-1

Green Bay Packers 2015 Futures

The Green Bay Packers were the defending champions and looked unbeatable for most of the 2011 regular season. That masked the fact their defensive pass rush was nothing like what it had been the year before and their running game was nonexistent. Remember how in their playoff run up to Super Bowl XLV, the Packers had a fierce pass rush from Clay Matthews and company, and they had a bruising running game behind the fresh legs of James Starks? Those were just not a part of the Packers game in 2011-2012. That has to change for Green Bay to warrant this high of a selection.

Aaron Rodgers may be the best player in the NFL right now, but the Packers rely too much on Aaron Rodgers. They get ahead with the pass, then stay ahead by passing. This puts too much pressure on the capable arm of Aaron Rodgers, and creates to great a risk of injury. Aaron Rodgers 2011 regular season reminded me of Tom Brady's 2007 season, when he threw for a record 50 TDs and led his team to 18-0, only to lose in the Super Bowl. We all know what happened the next season. After being the quarterback who had been hit the most over the course of the previous two seasons, Tom Brady made it through half a quarter before going out for the year with an injury.

So is that what I'm predicting: a big injury for Aaron Rodgers? I'm saying that, even in the era of pass-happy offenses, the Packers need to find a running game, or else they're setting up Aaron Rodgers (and themselves) for a fall. Mike McCarthy has indicated the team's offense is going to be about what it was in 2012, so I'd stay away from the Packers as a Super Bowl bet.

New Orleans Saints 2015 Futures

Speaking of the New England Patriots in 2007, one reason they went 18-0 was the Us-Against-the-World mentality created when Bill Belichick was suspended for a game to start the season. When Belichick returned, it was time for payback. While the Patriots' talent (and lousy schedule) accounted for the biggest percentage of that 18-0 run, the intangibles helped. The Saints have much better reasons to feel like they're against the whole world, so they could be motivated for a deep run into the playoffs. But is this the same situation as the 2007 Patriots?

I'd say not so much. For one, Sean Payton isn't coming back, while Belichick was. The Saints have set themselves up where they have two different interim head coaches with Joe Vitt for games 7-16 and somebody for games 1-6, so it's going to be hard to maintain continuity. I'm assuming Mickey Loomis gets Drew Brees into a huge contract before training camp, so the team should be competitive. Jonathan Vilma is gone for the year, but the team signed a young veteran MLB in Curtis Lofton. They also signed David Hawthorne from the Seahawks. Losing Will Smith will hurt, since he's the best pass rusher, but he'll be back in the first month of the season. The Saints aren't a bad 10-1 pick, but I would have hoped the scandal would have hurt their odds more. Given the turmoil, I'm assuming there are better options.

New York Giants 2015 Futures

Speaking of better odds, when the World Champion is getting 15 to 1 odds to repeat and 8 different teams are higher rated than them, betting on the repeat looks like really good money to me. The Giants' lousy regular season last year could be attributed to injuries, so the Superbowl run is more an indication of their talent level. The Giants should have Justin Tuck for a full season and Jason Pierre-Paul should only be better. Ahmad Bradshaw is a talent, but a question mark due to injury concerns, at running back. With the loss of Brandon Jacobs, this might be a weakness, but I don't think so. Virginia Tech's David Wilson comes in as a 1st round rookie. I assume Wilson won't be much of a factor early in the season for Tom Coughlin, but he could be a much-needed boost late in the year. I don't think the RB position will be as big of a weakness as you might think. With health, the Giants are a nice 15/1 bet.

New England Patriots 2015 Futures

The Patriots Defense was nothing short of awful. I was amazed the Pats were the favorite going into the 2012 Super Bowl. On paper, it looked to me like the New York Giants versus Tom Brady and a bunch of substitute teachers. I know that's overlooking Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski, but Gronkowski was injured coming into the Superbowl. Coming into 2012, Tom Brady is still in his prime at age 34, while Welker is joined by Brandon Lloyd. Lloyd is a speedster who should give the team another dimension it lacked with Chad Ochocinco on the field. Brandon Lloyd was a top receiver in Josh McDaniels' Denver offense two seasons ago with Kyle Orton throwing the ball, so he could be a real find for Tom Brady. Add in Growkowski and Hernandez and Brady should have his best set of weapons in years, but it's the defense where improvement needs to happen. I liked the Patriots draft from a defensive perspective. It seems to me the Patriots haven't had enough playmakers on defense these past few years, but Bill Belichick may be turning the corner. That defense might be slow to come around, but I bet it comes on stronger in the second half of 2012. Barring injuries, Tom Brady goes into the 2015 NFL Playoffs with a better supporting cast than last year's Superbowl team was.

San Francisco 49ers 2015 Futures

Stay away from the San Francisco 49ers at 9/1. Alex Smith is still the quarterback in a QB-heavy league. Alex Smith had a good season last year, but we see how much confidence the Niners had in him when they let him test the free agent market. When the Niners lost out on the Peyton Manning Sweepstakes, they brought Smith back. The 49ers are going to be a trendy pick, because they brought in Randy Moss, Mario Manningham, and LeMichael James. But Randy Moss is a shell of his former self; I predict Manningham will make a bigger impact. LeMichael James was a nice addition in the draft, but he's going to be an undersized rookie. What's more, Frank Gore has broken down more and more as the season's passed by and I think the time is fast approaching when his effectiveness could be hurt by simple aging. The 49ers have a lot of possibilities, but I bet their offense is more of a mess next year than it might look like on paper. A weak division schedule could hurt them, but the Rams, Seahawks, and Cardinals could all be improved next year.

Baltimore Ravens 2015 Futures

Once again, stay away from this team next year. The loss of Terrell Suggs to an offseason Achilles injury is going to be a huge factor, unless Courtney Upshaw is one of those rare rookies who immediately picks up the NFL game. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are year older, while Joe Flacco just isn't that great. Torrey Smith should be improved, but Ray Rice has started to rack up the carries. Even Suggs says he'll be back by November, but the Achilles injury is worse than an ACL these days, especially for a pass rusher who needs explosion off the ball.

Houston Texans 2015 Futures

Had the Houston Texans's Matt Schaub been healthy for the playoffs, the Texans would have knocked off the Ravens--there's no doubt about that in my mind. But that's the eternal question with the Texans: can Schaub stay healthy? These days, the same can be asked of Andre Johnson, who spent most of last year standing on the sidelines. A lot can be said for resting the body for a year, which is more or less what Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson did in 2011. If that translates to something near a complete 2012 for those two players, then the combination of Arian Foster and Ben Tate should give the Texans all the offense they need. Their defense was much-improved in 2011, though questions linger with the departure of Mario Williams. Find a replacement and the Texans could be a real contender next year. At 12/1, this is a good bet to make.