NFL Power Rankings: Top 10 Best Future Long Shots
It's the NFL, so we can hardly sit back and let the previous season become a distant memory before we think forward to next season.
With that said, here are the top 10 best long shots for your Vegas Super Bowl future propositions. This isn't to say that any of these teams are likely to actually win the Super Bowl, but if you're looking for a possible team that would pay handsomely, these are your squads.
10. Detroit Lions 40-1
Detroit was a surprising playoff team two seasons ago and appeared to be a team on the rise. Sadly, they quickly sunk back to the bottom of the swamp last season with a very regrettable campaign.
However, they have enough talent on both sides of the ball to regain playoff form. Calvin Johnson is the premiere wide receiver in all of football, and with Matthew Stafford throwing to him once again, they will score points. They need vast improvement on defense, however.
They will also benefit from a last place schedule, which should help them in their quest to find the playoffs one year removed.
9. Cleveland Browns 50-1
The perpetually inept Cleveland Browns will again be a poorly thought of team entering training camp. However, they do have a few bright spots that should encourage Browns fans.
Trent Richardson showed signs of being a big time runner. The defense played solidly for periods of time, and they have a brand new coach, Chip Kelly.
Oh, hang on.
Kelly decided the shores of Lake Erie weren't enough to lure him from the Pacific Northwest. No matter, they got their guy—and he's a Cleveland guy. A hometown coach that really wants to be there is kind of fitting for this blue collar team.
Like the Detroit Lions, they also will benefit from a last place schedule in 2013. The Browns aren't sexy, they aren't dynamic, but they played a lot of teams close in 2012 and could take a big step forward in their division that features two aging AFC North stalwarts in Baltimore and Pittsburgh.
8. New York Giants 20-1
That Super Bowl win seems light years ago after the team collapsed last season. Eli Manning wasn't great, the running game was worse, and the defense had too many meltdowns.
But this is still a resilient team, and to count out any Tom Coughlin coached team is foolish. The New York Giants will rebound, and they'll play in a very winnable division.
7. St. Louis Rams 50-1
When you think about that St. Louis Ram talent, it's hard not to get excited. Kurt Warner, Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, Marshall Faulk...
Oh, hang on.
It's been quite a few years since the Greatest Show on Turf. This current version of the Rams is about as boring as that earlier version was exciting. Still, this is a team that tied the San Francisco 49ers in San Francisco and beat them in St. Louis. That makes a bit of a statement.
Jeff Fisher has this franchise headed in the right direction, so even though they play in a very difficult division, the Rams could sneak into the playoffs as a wild card.
At long odds, they are an interesting play.
6. Washington Redskins 20-1
The health of Robert Griffin III is obviously paramount to the 2013 fortunes, but the Washington Redskins don't seem to be getting much respect from the bookmakers.
This team got hot and rolled into the playoffs in 2012, and there is no reason to think Washington would take a step backwards.
Well, maybe two reasons.
The aforementioned health of their quarterback and a first place schedule. The Redskins might flirt with .500 this season, but they are worth a flier to find their way back to the playoffs and have a shot at the Super Bowl.
5. Chicago Bears 30-1
For two consecutive seasons, the Chicago Bears were a lock to make the playoffs and imploded in the second half. Accordingly, Lovie Smith is out and Marc Trestman is in.
Bears fans might not know much about their new coach, but he is an offensive guy, and he did wonders in Canada. In particular, he solved offensive line problems for his Canadian team. That should be enough to encourage the most jaded Bears fan.
Chicago returns a lot of talent on defense and potential on offense. This is a team that is a legitimate Super Bowl contender, and at 30-1, these are pretty attractive odds.
4. Carolina Panthers 50-1
Half way though 2012, Cam Newton was in a serious sophomore slump, the defense was awful, and Carolina was a mess. By the end of the season, however, Carolina was playing like one of the best teams in football.
The NFL South is a tough division, but if Carolina can build on its late season success, this could be a real team to watch in 2013. The bookmakers have given them very attractive odds, and they are definitely worth considering as an outside contender.
3. San Diego Chargers 40-1
San Diego Charger fans couldn't send Norv Turner out of town quickly enough, and now Mike McCoy takes over the reigns. It will be interesting to see if this Charger team really is a talented team that played below their capabilities under Turner.
Phillip Rivers has regressed dramatically in the past few seasons. McCoy's first challenge will be getting him back to form. If so, things should fall into place. One advantage—McCoy knows the AFC West having spent time in Denver, so it's not unfathomable to think the Chargers could steal this division from the Denver Broncos in 2013.
2. Philadelphia Eagles 50-1
So now we get to find out. Will Chip Kelly's NCAA magic show play in the NFL? I tend to think it won't, but I also tend to think it's worth a 50-1 bet just in case I'm wrong.
He inherits a Philadelphia Eagles team that quit under lame duck coach Andy Reid. But this team has speed and talent, and Kelly should find he has the tools to start molding his offense.
Philly plays in a weak division, too, which makes them an inciting bet. A playoff berth is certainly not out of the question for this squad.
1. New Orleans Saints 16-1
That New Orleans Saints defense set NFL records for ineptitude last season. It would be impossible for the unit to not improve in 2013.
Sean Payton is back, and the Saints will be as well. They still return a dizzying wealth of talent on offense. The Saints, with just a modicum of improvement on defense, will be the team to beat in the NFC South and will be a Super Bowl favorite.
At 16-1, this is a team to jump on before the odds start falling as they begin to win games.
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