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Super Bowl 2014: Futures and Early Odds for Every Team

Mike HoagCorrespondent IIOctober 7, 2016

Super Bowl 2014: Futures and Early Odds for Every Team

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    The Baltimore Ravens are your 2013 Super Bowl champions. Their victory has barely sunk in yet, but it's never too soon to start thinking about the 2014 Super Bowl.

    Who are the favorites to dominate the league next season and find themselves hoisting the Lombardi Trophy next February?

    There will be many changes between now and then. There will even be plenty such changes between now and the start of the NFL season. Every fan would like to think the offseason will bring enough change to turn their struggling franchise around.

    And it does in some cases, as seen by the impact of rookie quarterbacks in 2012. Still, it's never too soon to begin to lay down the odds and establish a baseline for next season.

    With that said, here are our long shots, contenders and favorites for Super Bowl champion in 2014.

The Forget About Its

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    Jacksonville Jaguars

    Jacksonville was awful at rushing the passer, recording a league-low 20 sacks on the season in 2012. For comparison's sake, Houston Texans defender and league leader J.J. Watt single-handedly recorded 20.5 sacks.

    Offensively, the Jaguars are in desperate need of a capable franchise quarterback. They could address that need with the second pick of the NFL draft, or wait until the second round when there should still be some viable options available. Still, there are no QBs in this draft that seem to be able to step in and turn a franchise around from day one like Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck were able to do with their respective teams.

    Predicted Finish: Fourth in AFC South

    Super Bowl Odds: 1 percent

     

    Oakland Raiders

    The Oakland Raiders regressed in 2012, although they did show signs of life toward the end of the season. Offensively, they are led by aging signal-caller Carson Palmer and running back Darren McFadden. Both struggled to play up to expectations for much of last season due mainly to struggles along the offensive line.

    Defensively, Oakland needs to add impact players who can step in and make routine and fundamental plays that will help contain some of the big plays it let up in 2012.

    Oakland will also benefit from adding depth this offseason on both sides of the ball, since injuries put a lot of players on the field who would have otherwise been watching from the sidelines.

    Predicted Finish: Fourth in AFC West

    Super Bowl Odds: 2 percent 

     

    Detroit Lions

    The Detroit Lions proved to be one of the most unbalanced teams in the NFL on both sides of the football in 2012. Inconsistencies along their offensive line led to struggles for QB Matthew Stafford and the team's running game as a whole.

    Defensively, a lack of depth exposed the team's secondary and it was dissected on a regular basis. Something tells us that if the Lions couldn't win with Stafford and Calvin Johnson at the top of their game, that 2011 may have been a mirage for the struggling franchise.

    Playing in the competitive NFC North doesn't help the Lions' case, either.

    Predicted Finish: Fourth in NFC North

    Super Bowl Odds: 5 percent

     

    Buffalo Bills

    Buffalo is going to undergo a big change this offseason as former New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator Doug Marrone and his staff are taking over for Chan Gailey.

    Quarterback is definitely a position of need for the Bills, who could look drastically more promising if Ryan Fitzpatrick is replaced. Still, drafting a rookie, especially in this class, has no guarantee to immediately impact a franchise. Rather, we're expecting a regression from Buffalo in Marrone's first season.

    The team was certainly showing signs of life and has built a pretty solid base, but we'll need to see a lot of offseason improvements to change our minds on it.

    Predicted Finish: Fourth in AFC East

    Super Bowl Odds: 1 percent

     

    Tennessee Titans

    Tennessee looked like a completely different team at times in 2012. That inconsistency is scary when looking to the future, especially given the uncertainty at the quarterback position.

    Jake Locker has proven to be injury prone in his young career and hasn't performed admirably while on the field. It was Matt Hasselbeck, not Locker, who won two of the team's games in 2012, including its upset over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football.

    Overall, we think 6-10 was an overachieving performance for the talent on this team and Tennessee should match it again in 2013 after adding some more pieces and growing as a team this offseason.

    Predicted Finish: Third in AFC South

    Super Bowl Odds: 7 percent

     

    Arizona Cardinals

    Quarterback will be the key position to address for the Arizona Cardinals during the offseason. As previously mentioned, it isn't going to be easy to find a franchise quarterback in the draft this year.

    Head coach Ken Wisenhunt is gone along with aggressive defensive coordinator Ray Horton. That means overhaul in the desert. As with every rebuilding process, the Cards will likely endure some growing pains along the way.

    Their offense was offensive in 2012 and will continue to be poor again in 2013 with multiple holes to fill and lacking depth at each position.

    Predicted Finish: Fourth in NFC West

    Super Bowl Odds: 1 percent

     

    Carolina Panthers

    A new offensive coordinator may be just what the doctor ordered for QB Cam Newton. But we're not optimistic the changes will benefit the third-year signal-caller and his teammates.

    The Panthers play in the NFC South, a team stacked with talented offensive teams. They did score wins over New Orleans and Atlanta in 2012 but those teams will improving as well during the offseason, delaying the rise of the Panthers for at least another season.

    Predicted Finish: Fourth in NFC South

    Super Bowl Odds: 5 percent

The Long Shots

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    Kansas City Chiefs

    Andy Reid is taking over a team that has widely been believed to have underachieved over the past couple of seasons. This could be the season it finally gets over the hump, especially if Reid brings in his quarterback and inserts him into a promising set of offensive skill-position players.

    The team's defense is young and promising, too, and could get even better after another offseason of work.

    Predicted Finish: Third in AFC West

    Super Bowl Odds: 10 percent

     

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Something tells us a couple of draft picks may not be enough to improve the struggling Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense. Still, we like what we saw from the team's new-look offense led by the emergence of rookie running back Doug Martin.

    The team's offensive line should benefit from the offseason, too, as two key guards will be back for the team after missing much, or all, of 2012 with injuries.

    Tampa Bay is a young and promising team, but, like the Panthers, is handcuffed by the presence of the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons. We think highly of this team, but not highly enough to give it the edge over those teams just yet.

    Predicted Finish: Third in NFC South

    Super Bowl Odds: 15 percent 

     

    Miami Dolphins

    The Miami Dolphins played surprisingly well in 2012, winning some big games and playing competitively in nearly all of their contests.

    Running the ball and stopping the run were areas of strength for the team but will still need to be improved for next season.

    As for passing the ball, rookie QB Ryan Tannehill looked much further along than many expected him to be at times in 2012. They will need to give him a couple of viable targets during the offseason and also add some help for the defense in the secondary if they hope to challenge the New England Patriots for the AFC East division title.

    Predicted Finish: Second in AFC East

    Super Bowl Odds: 15 percent

     

    St. Louis Rams

    The St. Louis Rams' record was indicative of the team's performance in 2012. They finished in the middle of the road in yards gained and given up per game.

    Playing in the NFC West is a daunting task considering it sent two teams to the playoffs and one to the Super Bowl last season. Against their division, the Rams were an excellent 4-1-1 but just 3-7 against all other teams on their schedule.

    They'll need to find some help for their offensive line in the draft and during the offseason in order to protect Sam Bradford and open running lanes for whoever is the team's leading ball-carrier in 2013.

    Predicted Finish: Third in NFC West

    Super Bowl Odds: 15 percent

     

    Philadelphia Eagles

    The men who built the annual-winning Philadelphia Eagles are long gone and incoming head coach Chip Kelly has inherited a mess in his first season as a head coach.

    Sure, there is a good deal of talent on this roster, but there are also egos and highly priced talent.

    A transition to a new system and a possible change at quarterback spells trouble for Kelly in his first NFL head coaching gig.

    Predicted Finish: Fourth in NFC East

    Super Bowl Odds: 10 percent

     

    San Diego Chargers

    The San Diego Chargers are going through a change themselves, as head coach Norv Turner is out after a very disappointing third-consecutive season without a playoff berth.

    Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy is taking the lead of the turnaround for the Chargers. It's his first stint as a head coach in the NFL and he's got his work cut out for him if he hopes to unseat his former team in the AFC West.

    Overall, San Diego is a talented team but could struggle in this transition. The team lacks an effective running game and offensive playmakers badly.

    Predicted Finish: Second in AFC West

    Super Bowl Odds: 15 percent

     

    Cleveland Browns

    The Cleveland Browns have hired yet another head coach after new owner Jimmy Haslam III decided to say goodbye to the Mike Holmgren regime. Holmgren and his handpicked head coach, Pat Shurmur, failed to deliver on the lofty expectations they were given when Holmgren took the team's president job three seasons ago.

    Cleveland has a nice and budding nucleus of young talent on both sides of the ball but is lacking talent in some key areas, such as its linebacker group and quarterback position.

    New head coach Rob Chudzinski led the Browns to a 10-6 record in 2007 as their offensive coordinator. Can he revive some of that magic with this current team and turn the Browns into contenders in one offseason?

    We're holding our breath.

    Predicted Finish: Fourth in AFC North

    Super Bowl Odds: 10 percent

     

    New York Jets

    The Tim Tebow story and resulting media drama scarred the New York Jets in 2012. Quarterback Mark Sanchez severely regressed thanks to a diminished ability of the team to run the football. Without the ability work off of the run, Sanchez floundered. 

    Injuries also hampered the Jets for much of the season as they lost key players left and right.

    Defensively, things weren't much better as teams ran the ball nearly at will at times against Rex Ryan's formerly imposing unit.

    Predicted Finish: Third in AFC East

    Super Bowl Odds: 10 percent

The Middle of the Roaders

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    Washington Redskins

    The Washington Redskins were a tough and competitive team with Robert Griffin III quarterbacking it to its first division title in over a decade. Surprise rookie-standout running back Alfred Morris also had something to do with that.

    Without Griffin at 100 percent, though, the Skins floundered in the playoffs and were eliminated by the Seattle Seahawks.

    If Griffin can recover fully from his offseason knee surgery, the Redskins' odds may go up. We're taking a "wait-and-see" approach to the situation.

    Predicted Finish: Third in NFC East

    Super Bowl Odds: 25 percent

     

    Cincinnati Bengals

    The up-and-down Cincinnati Bengals shocked a lot of people with a late-season surge to capture a wild-card berth in the 2013 NFL playoffs.

    That's unique for the Bengals, who rarely sustain success from season to season. That's why we're thinking 2013 will be a return of the old Bengals.

    Offensively, the Bengals are reliant on QB Andy Dalton and he has yet to step up in big games and carry his team to a victory. 

    We like Cincy but aren't sold that it can continually keep fielding a competitive team.

    Predicted Finish: Third in AFC North

    Super Bowl Odds: 20 percent

     

    Chicago Bears

    Offensive line struggles have hampered an otherwise explosive offensive. Jay Cutler, when he wasn't under fire, proved to be able to be an efficient leader of the Chicago Bears offense. Unfortunately, that wasn't very often.

    Chicago played tough and inspired defense, which kept it in most of its games, rather than an offensive explosion many anticipated after the reunification of Cutler and Brandon Marshall.

    Marshall did go off, though—don't misinterpret that. His 1,508 yards and 11 touchdowns are evidence of that.

    The Bears are employing a new coach and system in 2013. The change could be a good thing, but it could also backfire. We're approaching it with a cautiously optimistic outlook, we think.

    Predicted Finish: Third in NFC North

    Super Bowl Odds: 35 percent

     

    Indianapolis Colts

    Andrew Luck led an enormous turnaround for the Indianapolis Colts in 2012. It wasn't just Luck's doing, though. Interim head coach Bruce Arians stepped in and inspired his team to play for cancer-stricken head coach Chuck Pagano.

    That was the overarching story line for this team in 2012, not the impressive playoff berth one-year removed from a 2-14 season and front-office overhaul.

    The Colts will need to build a better defense during the offseason and continue to improve upfront in order to stay balanced offensively in 2013.

    Predicted Finish: Second in AFC South

    Super Bowl Odds: 35 percent

     

    Pittsburgh Steelers

    Not making the playoffs in 2012 may deter some people from getting on board with the Pittsburgh Steelers until we can see the direction the team is headed this summer. If there is one thing we've learned in recent years, it's that while the Steelers may be down they are never out.

    Ben Roethlisberger is a magic maker behind center and the team's defense is still one of the best in the business, despite some struggles at the cornerback position late in the season.

    In 2012, injuries did this team in but the Steelers will be back in 2013 to compete for another Super Bowl.

    Predicted Finish: Second in AFC North

    Super Bowl Odds: 40 percent

The Contenders

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    Minnesota Vikings

    Here's a surprise for you.

    The Minnesota Vikings made the playoffs thanks to NFL MVP Adrian Peterson's near-record-setting performance this season. He came just nine short yards of setting Eric Dickerson's NFL's single-season rushing record that he set in 1984 (2,105 yards).

    Besides Peterson, there were few bright spots offensively other than rookie tight end Kyle Rudolph.

    With an offseason to explore options at wide receiver and the return of Percy Harvin next season, the Vikings should be much more potent offensively and challenge the Bears and Packers for the NFC North title.

    Predicted Finish: Second in NFC North

    Super Bowl Odds: 50 percent

    New York Giants

    A disappointing finish to 2012 is a understatement for the defending Super Bowl champions. But, like in their Super Bowl-winning season, the Giants played an average regular season this past year.

    It wasn't enough as the bar was raised by the emergence of Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins.

    Now that the bar has been set, GM Jerry Reese knows what he needs to do this offseason in order to counteract Griffin and his division foes: find some cornerbacks.

    Adding a top-tier lineman to help give Eli Manning some more time to throw probably wouldn't hurt, either. 

    Predicted Finish: Second in NFC East

    Super Bowl Odds: 60 percent 

     

    Seattle Seahawks

    The Seattle Seahawks shocked us all by making the playoffs in 2012. Not only did they make the playoffs, but they did it by employing a third-round rookie quarterback whom no one seemed to be interested in due to his short stature.

    Seattle ran a smash-mouth game plan centered around a strong and physical presence along the trenches. That attitude spread to its secondary. The unit imposed its bigger and stronger athletes against opposing receivers and shut them down for much of the season.

    In the end, it was a last-second field goal in the NFC divisional-round playoffs that did the Seahawks in. In order to get better next season, they should add a more athletic linebacker or two that can cover tight ends in space. Tony Gonzalez was uncoverable in that game.

    Predicted Finish: Second in NFC West

    Super Bowl Odds: 65 percent

     

    Dallas Cowboys

    Jerry Jones is planning some massive overhauls this offseason after a disappointing late-season collapse gave the Washington Redskins the division title and a playoff berth.

    No matter what your feelings about Tony Romo and the Cowboys, there is no denying the talent of their team is always among the best in the league.

    Poor clutch performance and an even worse running game attributed to the team's 2012 downfall. We're betting Jones rectifies those shortcomings in 2013 and the Cowboys get back into Super Bowl contention talks.

    Predicted Finish: First in NFC East

    Super Bowl Odds: 55 percent 

     

    New Orleans Saints

    The New Orleans Saints boasted the worst defense in NFL history in 2012. At the same time, Drew Brees and the team's offense did some great things, putting up a league best 312.3 yards per game through the air.

    A switch to the 3-4 defense and the return of head coach Sean Payton should invigorate the team's lackluster defense. At the very least, it could resemble the bend but not break unit that helped it win Super Bowl XLIV.

    We're pretty confident in Payton and his ability to lead his team. After having a season off to sit back and observe, he should be able to work some magic with one of the most explosive offenses in the league working for him.

    Predicted Finish: Second in NFC South

    Super Bowl Odds: 60 percent

     

    Houston Texans

    We can't pinpoint just why the Houston Texans sputter out in the playoffs, but we might want to start looking toward the sidelines in the playoffs for answers.

    The Texans were, again, a dominant rushing football team that used its zone-blocking schemes to make holes for Arian Foster to pick through and get up the field.

    Foster had a good season, although his yards-per-carry dropped for the second-consecutive season.

    Defensively, the team lacks a defensive back or two who can prevent the big plays. The New England Patriots were its kryptonite this season and will continue to haunt the team until it can find a way to score in volume.

    Figuring out a way to tweak its offense and score more points is the only way this team is going to get over the hump and into the Super Bowl.

    Predicted Finish: First in AFC South

    Super Bowl Odds: 45 percent

The Favorites

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    Atlanta Falcons

    The Falcons fell just short of the Super Bowl after being shut out in the second half of the NFC Championship Game. San Francisco beat them in all phases of the game in that second half. They'll need to make some solid additions in order to stay competitive, but that shouldn't be a problem as this team is in its prime and consistently makes smart offseason moves.

    Predicted Finish: First in NFC South

    Super Bowl Odds: 75 percent

     

    Green Bay Packers

    Green Bay is always a threat to hoist the Lombardi Trophy and that will be true again in 2013. The Pack lost to the eventual NFC champion because of its reliance on the pass and inability to stop the rush of the 49ers.

    The Packers' offseason focus should be centered around finding some bigger and more imposing offensive and defensive linemen. Additionally, they might want to find an inside linebacker at the bottom of the first round of the draft who can use his instincts and athletic ability to break up plays before they can develop.

    Predicted Finish: First in NFC North

    Super Bowl Odds: 80 percent

     

    New England Patriots

    New England faces several tough questions this offseason offensively, including whether or not to pay Wes Welker a big salary. The Pats fell short of the Super Bowl after going silent on the offensive side of the ball in the second half of the AFC Championship Game.

    They will need to add a piece or two, but sometimes losing, especially to the eventual NFL champion, is something that's unavoidable.

    If a team gets hot at the right time, there's nothing you can do. New England won't go blowing anything up this offseason and it shouldn't, either.

    Predicted Finish: First in AFC East

    Super Bowl Odds: 85 percent

     

    Baltimore Ravens

    The Baltimore Ravens will be losing some of their top defensive talent as a result of Ray Lewis' retirement and Ed Reed likely looking for a new home via free agency.

    But that doesn't mean this is the end for the defending Super Bowl champs. It will take a lot of things to go in their favor, but the Ravens could find themselves back in the playoffs and contending for the Super Bowl again in 2014.

    The biggest question mark for this team is who is going to fill the motivational and on-field leadership role Lewis provided for it.

    Predicted Finish: First in AFC North

    Super Bowl Odds: 75 percent

     

    San Francisco 49ers

    The San Francisco 49ers came up five yards short of winning their sixth championship in franchise history. That loss in Super Bowl XLVII was the first by a 49ers team in their six appearances in the NFL's big game.

    After losing, in the way that they did, there is no doubt Jim Harbaugh is going to go back to the drawing board and have his team fully ready to make another run at the Super Bowl in 2014.

    The 49ers' red-zone offense was their downfall in the Super Bowl, something they have to improve on if they hope to avenge this loss next season.

    Predicted Finish: First in NFC West

    Super Bowl Odds: 90 percent

     

     

    Denver Broncos

    A Hail Mary, two overtimes and one bad throw is all that separated the Denver Broncos from the eventual world champion Baltimore Ravens.

    Had that game gone differently at its end, we'd be talking about Peyton Manning winning his second Super Bowl rather than Ray Lewis adding the exclamation point and second Super Bowl ring to his accomplished 17-year career.

    Denver will bring back much of the same core of players next season, including an even more motivated and determined Peyton Manning.

    Look out.

    Predicted Finish: First in AFC West

    Super Bowl Odds: 90 percent

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