Super Bowl Predictions: Updated Chances for All 32 Teams Through Half the Season
With the NFL hitting the halfway point of the 2012 season, the list of contenders for the remainder of the season is much more clear.
What teams will continue playing at a championship-caliber level? Have other teams begun to show that they are nothing more than pretenders?
Here are the updated Super Bowl chances for all 32 teams heading into Week 9 of the NFL season.
32. Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs were once proclaimed a legitimate playoff team and favorite to win the AFC West after a disappointing year in 2011.
However, the Chiefs have started the season with a 1-6 record, in large part due to the horrendous play from quarterbacks Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn. However, it doesn't help matters that their offensive line is one of the worst units in the league and Dwayne Bowe and Jon Baldwin continue to disappoint in the passing game.
Meanwhile, the team has not given their best playmaker, Jamaal Charles, many opportunities to succeed. This past week was a perfect example, as Charles received only five carries and four total yards on the day.
The biggest question now is whether this team will hold the first overall pick in next year's draft.
Odds: 500 to 1
31. Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers have been an epic disaster in all phases of the game and find themselves with the worst record in the NFC.
Cam Newton has shown evidence of a sophomore slump, and he has taken the fall for the Panthers due to not only his performance, but also his lack of leadership on a weekly basis.
However, Ron Rivera's defense is just as much at fault. As a whole, the unit has taken a major step backward, and its inability to close out games puts the Panthers in a difficult position moving forward.
It's time to put their title chances to rest.
Odds: 400 to 1
30. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars have shown their ability of being a competitive team on a weekly basis, their close loss against the Green Bay Packers being the most recent example.
However, it's hard to count on Blaine Gabbert from week to week, along with his young receivers who haven't proven that they are ready for the spotlight. The injury to Maurice Jones-Drew doesn't help matters either.
Unfortunately, the biggest disappointment has been the Jaguars defense, which has become much more vulnerable against opposing quarterbacks and hasn't been able to close out the few opportunities to gain a win.
Odds: 300 to 1
29. Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns continue another rebuilding year, this time with some new pieces on offense. Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson certainly give this team hope of returning to its glory days in the near future.
Unfortunately, the Browns need a few more years to improve the talent surrounding Weeden and the offense.
On a positive note, the defense showed against the Chargers that it will keep this team competitive moving forward.
Odds: 250 to 1
28. St. Louis Rams
The St. Louis Rams are showing promise in Jeff Fisher's first year as head coach, but they are still not capable of challenging the 49ers in the NFC West.
Sam Bradford has displayed enough success to be the franchise quarterback moving forward, but he needs better pass protection and talented wide receivers who can stretch the field on a daily basis.
The defense has shown the most promise, but the lack of big-game experience will result in another losing record for 2012.
Odds: 220 to 1
27. Tennessee Titans
Despite their 3-5 record, the Tennessee Titans are nowhere near competing for a Super Bowl due to their weaknesses across the board.
Matt Hasselbeck has been a surprise since becoming the starter in October, but the rest of the Titans play makers have been non-factors. Chris Johnson continues to not live up to his contract, while Kenny Britt has not displayed the same explosiveness since his ACL injury.
The defense has taken a major hit this season, especially in the secondary. Without the leadership of Cortland Finnegan, this unit has lost its aggressiveness and ranks among the worst in the league.
Odds: 200 to 1
26. Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders are surprisingly one game back of the Denver Broncos for first place in the AFC West.
However, it doesn't mean much when two of their wins have come against the Chiefs and Jaguars.
Carson Palmer has been average during his time with the Raiders, and he hasn't given any reason to believe he'll come close to playing at an elite level again.
He certainly doesn't have the weapons around him, as Darrius Heyward-Bey and Jacoby Ford continue to disappoint during their time in Oakland.
The defense looked great against the Chiefs, but it has primarily struggled against both the run and the pass.
Odds: 200 to 1
25. New Orleans Saints
The root of the Saints' problems goes well beyond Sean Payton.
Drew Brees is having an above-average year, but it doesn't compare to his best seasons with New Orleans. His offensive line has suffered due to the departure of Carl Nicks, as Ben Grubbs hasn't provided the same protection that the All-Pro once did.
However, it's evident that the league's worst defense is the root of the Saints' problems. They have given up over 30 points five different times this season, which won't cut it in the competitive NFC.
Odds: 150 to 1
24. New York Jets
The New York Jets have slowly begun to fade in the AFC East with two straight losses against divisional opponents.
Mark Sanchez continues to prove he is a below-average quarterback whose coaches don't trust him enough to put the game in his hands.
After losing Darrelle Revis, the defense is incapable of competing at the elite level it did a few seasons ago.
Rex Ryan can boast about this team being Super Bowl-caliber, but this team won't be able to even secure a playoff spot in the weak AFC.
Odds: 120 to 1
23. Washington Redskins
Robert Griffin III has proven to be the best offensive rookie in the NFL, but the lack of talent around the former Heisman winner is beginning to make an impact.
Griffin has played without Pierre Garcon, his clear No. 1 target, for the majority of the season after getting injured early on in the year. Josh Morgan is a quality role player, but he isn't capable of becoming a No. 1 receiver on any roster.
In recent weeks, the defense has failed to stop any opposing quarterbacks, as they currently rank last in the league against the pass.
The Redskins will need to continue building around Griffin, but is owner Dan Snyder running out of patience with Mike Shanahan?
Odds: 100 to 1
22. San Diego Chargers
The San Diego Chargers' recent loss to the Cleveland Browns is a sign that a major overhaul of the front office and roster is in order.
Philip Rivers is no longer viewed as one of the league's elite quarterbacks, as his lack of arm strength and accuracy is mind-boggling to opposing coaches.
Rivers' lack of pass protection, along with the departure of Vincent Jackson, plays a critical role in the struggling Chargers offense.
Their defense isn't elite by any stretch, and the lack of talent in the secondary presents a great amount of trouble for San Diego.
How many chances can A.J. Smith and Norv Turner receive? This could very well be the last one.
Odds: 95 to 1
21. Buffalo Bills
The Bills are on pace for another season without a playoff berth, and this time it's due to the high-profile players who aren't stepping up.
Mario Williams hasn't lived up to the blockbuster deal that prompted him to sign with Buffalo in the offseason. The rest of the defensive line continues to battle injuries, and the young secondary thus becomes an easy target for opposing quarterbacks.
Ryan Fitzpatrick hasn't given a quality performance against a contending team, which leaves the doubt about the Bills' chances to win with him as their starter.
Odds: 85 to 1
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers showed potential in last week's rout of the Minnesota Vikings, but the lack of consistency has hurt this team overall.
Josh Freeman and Doug Martin continue to be the focal points of the offense through the first eight weeks. However, the news that All-Pro guard Carl Nicks will miss the remainder of the season will majorly impact Tampa Bay's chances of producing against the elite NFC defenses.
This team appears to be a year away before breaking onto the scene as a legitimate contender.
Odds: 85 to 1
19. Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions appear to be the odd team out in the NFL's most competitive division.
Matthew Stafford hasn't come close to playing at his 2011 level, and a large reason for that is due to Calvin Johnson's disappearing act (only one receiving touchdown on the year).
The defense has taken a step back from last season, as the lack of a pass rush combined with a weak secondary will prevent a second straight playoff appearance for the Lions.
Odds: 80 to 1
18. Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals won't come close to a Super Bowl title until they can beat a quality opponent when it matters.
Andy Dalton has taken a minor step back from his rookie season, as teams have provided more coverage on his most reliable target in A.J. Green.
Dalton is currently 1-3 against the AFC North and has disappointed against the Ravens, Browns and Steelers in the process.
The future looks bright for the Bengals, but they won't be a factor late in the year.
Odds: 75 to 1
17. Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles are primed to disappoint for a second straight season after the proclamations of this year being "Super Bowl or bust."
Mike Vick takes large responsibility for that, and he should. His inability to be effective from the pocket and high number of turnovers have yielded a sputtering Eagles offense all season long.
LeSean McCoy is the team's best player and manages to receive a minimal role in the offense under Andy Reid.
The defense clearly didn't respond to the firing of Juan Castillo, as it was no match for the Falcons' high-octane offense.
With a Monday night matchup against the Saints coming up, this will be a must-win scenario for the Eagles.
Odds: 75 to 1
16. Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals continue fading to the bottom of the NFC West after being dominated by the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football.
John Skelton has taken the reins as starter after Kevin Kolb's injury, and even he can't manage to lead a charge in a struggling Cardinals offense.
Although the defense carried the team earlier in the season, Arizona's struggles against the run continued this past week.
Ultimately, teams have figured out how to exploit the Cardinals' weaknesses, which doesn't bold well for their playoff chances.
Odds: 70 to 1
15. Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys have continued their stretch of poor play and find themselves with a losing record. However, there is enough time for Dallas to turn its season around and become a threat to any contender in the NFC.
Through eight weeks, the defense is the most valuable unit on this team because of its ability to shut down great receiver tandems. Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne have lived up to the high expectations they faced heading into 2012.
In the end, the biggest question is how Tony Romo will perform on a weekly basis. Through seven games, it's tough to count on the veteran quarterback, as the Cowboys need a good two months to secure a playoff spot.
Odds: 60 to 1
14. Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings showed signs of vulnerability during their loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week.
Christian Ponder has become less efficient with the football. He has put his veteran defense in tough situations with his erratic play.
Adrian Peterson has been the clear MVP of this team, but the road will get much more difficult as the Vikings prepare to face both the Bears and Packers in the coming weeks.
Odds: 60 to 1
13. Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts are the league's biggest surprise through the first eight weeks, as they currently hold a playoff spot in the underachieving AFC.
Andrew Luck has worked wonders despite the lack of talent at his disposal. Reggie Wayne has been a major contributor, as he leads the NFL in receiving through the first eight games.
Although it appears unlikely for the Colts to make a run to the Super Bowl, their strong start to the season must be acknowledged.
Odds: 50 to 1
12. Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins have emerged as a major surprise in the AFC, as their four hard-fought wins have led to their involvement in the tight AFC playoff face.
Ryan Tannehill has emerged as the leader of Miami's offense during his rookie season, and Reggie Bush continues his transformation into a three-down running back for the Dolphins.
Aside from its two matchups with the Patriots and a road game against the 49ers, Miami is in a position to run the table during its second-half stretch and emerge as a playoff team.
With the AFC wide open, there's no reason that the Dolphins can't pose a threat to the elite teams on any given Sunday.
Odds: 40 to 1
11. Seattle Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks have displayed their NFC contender potential, as they bolster quality wins over the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots.
Russell Wilson is making the most out of opportunities, anchoring the Seahawks passing game despite the lack of talented receivers around him. Meanwhile, Marshawn Lynch continues to prove that he is one of the more elite running backs in the game.
With eight remaining games for Seattle, the question stands: Can the Seahawks offense be explosive enough against the elite defenses in the NFC?
Through the first two months, it's a concern moving forward for this year.
Odds: 25 to 1
10. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers have come on late in the past two weeks to not only emerge as an AFC North contender but also a threat to the Texans and Patriots.
Ben Roethlisberger continues to hit his stride as he builds quality chemistry with offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown are on pace for another great season, and Heath Miller continues to prove his worth to Roethlisberger.
Ultimately, the biggest question concerns a defense that is aging at key positions, most notably in the secondary. While improvements have been made over the last few weeks, can Pittsburgh's defense play at an elite level against the game's best quarterbacks?
Odds: 17 to 1
9. Baltimore Ravens
Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens suffered a brutal beatdown at the hands of the Houston Texans two weeks ago. How has that loss affected their Super Bowl chances?
Certainly, their chances are much worse without Lardarius Webb and Ray Lewis patrolling the defense. Terrell Suggs will be asked to carry the load left by his veteran teammates, but will it be enough to help Baltimore overcome its difficult second-half schedule?
The Ravens have typically used the second half to rely much more on Ray Rice. He is clearly the most valuable offensive player and needs to be the center of attention in Cam Cameron's offense.
Odds: 15 to 1
8. Denver Broncos
Peyton Manning has been the best quarterback in the NFL through eight weeks. He has the Denver Broncos as a contender in the AFC.
He has only progressed since the beginning of the year and has formed great chemistry with Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas.
The question remains if the defense can hold up in a crucial game this season. The unit is making strides under Jack Del Rio, but it still has to improve its track record against elite quarterbacks.
Regardless, this team is clearly on the right track and has a very good shot of appearing in the title game.
Odds: 10 to 1
7. Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers are a difficult team to figure out because of their inconsistency. While you saw their potential a few weeks ago in a dominating victory over the Houston Texans, the Jaguars exposed the Packers' weaknesses, as Jacksonville almost pulled off the upset.
It's difficult to have the Super Bowl chances too high because of the various injuries surrounding both sides of the football. While Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson continue to miss valuable time, the defense took a major blow with the injury to Charles Woodson a few weeks ago.
In the competitive NFC, the Packers are a threat, but questions abound as they enter the second half of the year.
Odds: 8 to 1
6. Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears sit atop of the NFC North with a 6-1 record and have set themselves up in good position to secure a first-round bye in the upcoming playoffs.
However, there is a bit of hesitation regarding how far this team can go with Jay Cutler under center.
Although the Bears survived Cutler's erratic play on Sunday against the Panthers, his inconsistent performances won't fly against the elite of the NFC—though it's hard to argue against their title chances when they boast one of the best defenses in the league.
Led by Brian Urlacher and Julius Peppers, the Bears will be a difficult matchup for any team in the postseason.
Odds: 8 to 1
5. New England Patriots
The New England Patriots might have started slow out of the gate, but their 45-7 rout of the St. Louis Rams this past Sunday spoke volumes about their Super Bowl chances in 2012.
Tom Brady is beginning to fire on all cylinders in the offense with his variety of receivers, who are healthy and provide plenty of mismatches against opposing defenses on a weekly basis.
The biggest concern needs to be the secondary, which continues to be vulnerable late in games against elite offenses.
Despite the lack of consistency on defense, the Patriots benefit from an easier AFC this year and can easily return to the Super Bowl for a second straight season.
Odds: 7 to 1
4. San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers took a two-game lead in the NFC West after an impressive win against the Arizona Cardinals.
Alex Smith has been faced with a lot of questions due to his inconsistency as quarterback, but his performance against the sixth-ranked defense in the league gives the 49ers hope for getting over the hump this postseason.
The defense continues to be outstanding, as the case can be made that it is performing at a higher level than last year.
However, can the Niners survive the road to the Super Bowl in a conference that boasts the majority of the league's elite teams?
Odds: 7 to 1
3. Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons remain the league's only undefeated team and deserve to be considered one of the favorites in the NFC through eight games.
Matt Ryan continues performing at an MVP-caliber level in his first year with Dirk Koetter's offense, though the biggest surprise has been the improvement from the defense as a whole.
Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan continues to prove that he is one of the brighter coordinators in the game, as his defense has become a tough matchup for most opposing offenses.
There still remains some questions about whether or not the Falcons can get the job done when it matters most: the postseason. Until then, Atlanta can't be named the favorite to win the Super Bowl.
Odds: 7 to 1
2. Houston Texans
The Houston Texans have proved to be the class of the AFC and thus have an easy path to the Super Bowl this year.
J.J. Watt leads an impressive young defense that relies on the pressure from its elite pass rush, which ultimately creates many turnovers.
Credit must also be given to the Texans' balanced offense, as a healthy Matt Schaub, Arian Foster and Andre Johnson should lead to better playoff success than last year.
Odds: 5 to 1
1. New York Giants
Two months into the season, the defending champions are primed for another historical run to the championship game.
The New York Giants have managed to start the season 6-2 and haven't even played their best football thus far.
There is currently no better quarterback in the fourth quarter than Eli Manning, who continues to rise to the occasion when the team needs him most.
The defense—most notably the secondary—still needs to be more consistent against the class of the NFC, though they showed last Sunday that their unit rises at the biggest moments and makes the necessary plays that can secure victories.
It's tough to argue against the defending champions, who are gearing up for another successful second half as they march toward the postseason.
Odds: 4 to 1