Super Bowl predictions vary during the offseason, especially during periods of rampant change throughout the league. NFL free agency has provided us with our first such shift in the league's perceived power structure.
Some teams got stronger, some were weakened and others hovered around the same status as players changed uniforms over the past week or so.
However, free agency isn’t a cure-all for ailing franchises. The Miami Dolphins went out and signed some big-name talents since free agency’s kickoff. Has that improved their chances of reaching the big game?
We’ll look at the current 2014 Super Bowl odds now that we’ve delved into the fray that is free agency.
*Odds courtesy of Bovada.lv.
Jacksonville Jaguars (150-1)
The Jacksonville Jaguars made a couple of under-the-radar signings in free agency, but nothing that will put them over the top in 2013. They’re in for the long haul of this rebuild and wisely opted to refrain from adding big-money contracts to a young and developing roster.
Tennessee Titans (100-1)
The Tennessee Titans actually made some nice moves this offseason, addressing their offensive line and tight end positions with strong replacements. However, Andy Levitre’s signing was merely a necessity following Steve Hutchinson's retirement.
There are still issues upfront for the Titans, making 2013 an uphill struggle for embattled quarterback Jake Locker. Matt Hasselbeck was cut, giving the reins to Locker.
Oakland Raiders (100-1)
The Oakland Raiders, who weren’t any good a season ago, cut a good bulk of their talent and lost several other key players through free agency. We’d like to see a silver lining for Raiders Nation, but it just isn’t there right now.
Buffalo Bills (100-1)
If the Buffalo Bills are going to improve in 2013, it’s going to be through the draft and the new system of rookie head coach Doug Marrone. The team released franchise quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, paving the way for a Marrone-Ryan Nassib reunion. Marrone groomed and developed Nassib while coaching at Syracuse.
Either way, the Bills have holes all over the place and are going to need more than one offseason to get things rolling smoothly under Marrone.
Arizona Cardinals (100-1)
The Arizona Cardinals signed a plethora of free agents this offseason, but out of necessity more than anything else. A multitude of players from the Ken Whisenhunt regime were either cut or escaped the desert via free agency. Are Drew Stanton and Rashard Mendenhall going to produce different results as opposed to Kevin Kolb and Beanie Wells?
Cleveland Browns (75-1)
The Cleveland Browns in the Super Bowl? It’s a wild thought, but ultimately not a very realistic one this season. Cleveland has gotten significantly better, but it still has serious question marks as it transitions to a 3-4 defense and searches for a franchise quarterback.
St. Louis Rams (60-1)
Jeff Fisher is commanding respect with the way that he is turning the St. Louis Rams around. They are headed in the right direction after inking tackle Jake Long in free agency. The wide receiver and interior line positions continue to be question marks, but the team has two first-round picks during April’s draft and could fix both of those concerns then.
New York Jets (60-1)
The New York Jets being just 60-1 underdogs to win the Super Bowl is surprising after the amount of change the team has undergone during the infancy of the new NFL season. They said goodbye to several marquee players, albeit aging stars, to make way for a transition. Mike Tannenbaum left the team in shambles; we’ll see it attempt to pick up the pieces this season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (50-1)
Tampa Bay would have fielded the worst pass defense in the NFL last season if not for the putrid, record-setting inept defense of the New Orleans Saints. The Buccaneers added safety Dashon Goldson to try to rectify that, but still haven’t signed a cornerback—something they desperately need. The rumors of a Darrelle Revis trade won’t go away, but even then, they still need to add another cornerback to be competitive.
Carolina Panthers (50-1)
The Carolina Panthers lost several players and haven’t done much to attempt to replace them. There is still plenty of time for them to find some key players to complement Cam Newton on offense. Finding another cornerback should be a top priority on defense, as Drayton Florence is hardly an adequate replacement for the newly retired Chris Gamble.
Kansas City Chiefs (45-1)
The Kansas City Chiefs are going to look like a brand-new team on opening day in 2013. Andy Reid will be leading the team out of the tunnel, and Alex Smith will presumably be their starting quarterback.
Will the changes result in success in the win column this season? That question is keeping their odds this low.
San Diego Chargers (40-1)
The San Diego Chargers are a big question mark heading into next season. A new regime and changes all along their roster hasn’t scared bettors, though, as the Chargers are still near the middle of the pack.
If the team is going to have any success, it needs to add more offensive line help and another receiver for Philip Rivers to utilize.
Minnesota Vikings (40-1)
Minnesota traded away disgruntled wide receiver Percy Harvin and accumulated a second first-round pick in April’s NFL draft. The pick is a valuable free-agency acquisition, but nowhere near as important as signing Greg Jennings.
If the Vikings can find another wide receiver in the draft and lock up a replacement at cornerback for the retired Antoine Winfield, this team has a much better shot at contending for a title than its odds predict.
Miami Dolphins (35-1)
The Miami Dolphins did a complete makeover this offseason, redesigning the look of their linebacker and wide receiver groups. In the process, they parted ways with several key players, including tackle Jake Long.
Overall, though, the Dolphins don’t appear to have gotten much better despite several big-name signings like wide receiver Mike Wallace, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and tight end Dustin Keller.
Indianapolis Colts (35-1)
Quietly, the Indianapolis Colts are having themselves a fine offseason. They have added several key pieces, including tackle Gosder Cherilus and cornerback Greg Toler. The true test will come on the field, but you have to like the direction the team went in order to try to solve its struggles at the line of scrimmage.
Detroit Lions (35-1)
The Detroit Lions added some nice pieces (running back Reggie Bush, defensive lineman Jason Jones and safety Glover Quin) and retained some others (cornerback Chris Houston and safety Louis Delmas), but are still strapped for help along the trenches on both sides of the ball. This team has potential, but it won’t be able to realize it until it gets serious about winning the battles upfront.
Cincinnati Bengals (35-1)
We’re not sure what the Cincinnati Bengals and their ample cap space are waiting for. Re-signing their own players seems to have taken precedence over upgrading positions or filling in holes left from departed talent.
Philadelphia Eagles (30-1)
First-year NFL head coach Chip Kelly is going to have a much different looking team than his predecessor, Andy Reid, had under his command. Their eight total signings include a revamp of their secondary and defensive line, areas they struggled in despite acquiring high-priced, big-name talents Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Washington Redskins (25-1)
For once, the Washington Redskins weren’t active in free agency. It wasn’t by choice, though, as they faced an $18 million salary cap penalty this offseason. They didn’t make many moves to get better, but were already pretty well off. If Robert Griffin III can recover from offseason surgery and play like he did last season, they shouldn’t have much to worry about.
Dallas Cowboys (25-1)
Dallas' odds are puzzling, considering the team is transitioning to a new defense (4-3 under Monte Kiffin) and didn’t make too many changes to help facilitate that. The Cowboys retained pass-rusher Anthony Spencer to presumably shift to the defensive end position, but haven’t made any upgrades, or moves, for that matter, anywhere else.
Chicago Bears (25-1)
Keeping Jay Cutler upright and adding a reliable target at tight end were two of the biggest priorities for the Chicago Bears this offseason. The Bears have accomplished both of those tasks, but still aren’t getting any love from the sportsbooks.
Pittsburgh Steelers (20-1)
Salary cap issues forced several offseason contract restructurings and cuts that have changed the face of the Pittsburgh Steelers roster. Additionally, wide receiver Mike Wallace, cornerback Keenan Lewis, running back Rashard Mendenhall and safety Ryan Mundy departed via free agency. We’re not sure who would bet on the Steelers, even at 20-to-1 odds.
New York Giants (20-1)
The New York Giants made several moves this offseason, although none of them will jump off of the page and grab you. Still, the players that they picked up are solid and will give the team a chance to compete in 2013.
The biggest question for the Giants is for next spring: What will they do with Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, who are both set to be unrestricted free agents?
Baltimore Ravens (20-1)
Everyone wants a piece of the champions. Several key pieces of the 2013 Super Bowl champion Ravens team are already signed elsewhere or retired, and more could be on the way out.
No one gave the Ravens much chance to win the Super Bowl last season, so don’t count them out this year. It’s going to be really hard to duplicate that kind of success with this much roster turnover, though.
New Orleans Saints (16-1)
The New Orleans Saints couldn’t get much done in free agency thanks to little wiggle room with the salaries. However, inking cornerback Keenan Lewis was an important step toward revitalizing an inept defense from just one season ago.
Offense isn’t going to be a problem as long as Drew Brees is tossing the football, but starting left tackle Jermon Bushrod is now in Chicago, making that an immediate need for the Saints before opening day.
Houston Texans (16-1)
Houston held a visit with free-agent safety Ed Reed, but no deal was immediately reached between the two sides. Cap space isn’t a luxury the Texans have, and that’s been reflected by their lack of activity this offseason. Finding another potent weapon on offense to pair with Andre Johnson could turn the Texans into more serious contenders.
Green Bay Packers (12-1)
The Green Bay Packers and free agency go together like oil and vinegar. Their success has come thanks to diligent drafting and reliance on players within the system rather than signing other teams’ talent during the offseason. The Packers haven’t signed anyone yet and likely won't need to. Another strong draft should help replace the few departed players who have found homes elsewhere.
Atlanta Falcons (12-1)
Matt Ryan’s expiring rookie contract has to be a focus of Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff as he navigates this offseason. The team re-signed several of its own talented players and opted to say goodbye to several others, notably cornerback Dunta Robinson, defensive end John Abraham and running back Michael Turner.
Steven Jackson was brought in to help with the running back issue, but there are still concerns in the secondary and in the pass rush.
Seattle Seahawks (10-1)
Seattle is a team that is confident despite coming off of a disappointing last-second loss to the Atlanta Falcons in the playoffs last season. Their offseason reflects that accomplishment, as they have added a dynamic wide receiver in Percy Harvin and pass-rushers Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett to an already potent defense.
The Seahawks are no longer a surprise team this season. That much is reflected on their current odds following the beginning of free agency.
New England Patriots (15-2)
New England is another team that is hard to bet against, even if it is going through rampant changes this offseason. Still, it might have gotten better despite losing several key players.
Wes Welker is in Denver, but the Patriots brought in intriguing wide receiver Danny Amendola to fill his role. Backup running back Danny Woodhead departed to San Diego, but the team inked running back Leon Washington from Seattle.
Every time they lose a player from their system, they find a way to find an adequate and similar replacement to keep the ball rolling.
San Francisco 49ers (7-1)
The San Francisco 49ers fell just short of winning Super Bowl XLVII last season and have set themselves up in a good position to make another run this season. They traded a measly sixth-round draft pick for wide receiver Anquan Boldin and filled their free-agency departures, with exception to tight end, with affordable replacements.
They have an impressive 14 draft picks to work with in April’s draft, too, allowing the rich to get even richer.
Denver Broncos (7-1)
The Denver Broncos were a Hail Mary away from the AFC Championship Game last season, en route to falling to the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. That didn’t stop them from going out and obtaining several key pieces in free agency, though.
The additions of Wes Welker, guard Louis Vasquez, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and defensive tackle Terrance Knighton are enough to propel the Broncos to the top of the 2014 Super Bowl odds at this stage in free agency.