A breakout rookie, an injured starter, a new coach that leads his team to a 4-0 NFL preseason record.
The end of the preseason often shakes up the odds to win the Super Bowl future lists, but the 2013 exhibition schedule didn't shake the top two teams from their perch.
According to OddsShark.com, the four favorites to challenge for the AFC and NFC titles are the Denver Broncos (+600), San Francisco 49ers (+600), Seattle Seahawks (+850) and New England Patriots (+1000).
But it should be noted that no preseason favorite has won the title since the 2007 Indianapolis Colts, who were quarterbacked by the guy in Denver.
Both favorites (Denver and San Francisco) were beaten a year ago by eventual champion Baltimore. This year, the re-made Ravens are a long shot to even make the playoffs.
That certainly would make for an entertaining championship Sunday next January, but let's fast forward to the first outdoor, cold-weather Super Bowl, on Feb. 2, 2014 at MetLife Stadium, and take a glimpse at the teams favored to play.
Denver - 6-1, open Thursday at home, favored by 10 against Baltimore
Thomas and Decker combined for 23 touchdown catches last season for the Broncos, while Welker hauled in 118 passes last season for the Patriots. And even though Manning's backfield includes second-year pro Ronnie Hillman, who didn't start a single game last year, and rookie Montee Ball, the veteran quarterback's presence tends to bring the best out of teammates.
Quite frankly, the 15-year veteran quarterback is stronger and healthier after his successful comeback last season, and it wouldn't be surprising to see him put up career numbers while leading the Broncos back to Super Sunday. After all, he is the favorite in NFL MVP odds as well, according to OddsShark.com's latest poll.
San Francisco - 6-1, open Sunday at home to Green Bay favored by 4.5 points
Coach Jim Harbaugh is the catalyst for the 49ers returning to the Super Bowl and exacting revenge for last year's loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the championship game.
Sure, Colin Kaepernick has emerged as the team's new poster boy, but it's going to be Harbaugh's job to keep his young gunslinger grounded while keeping the rest of his team focused.
Remember, Kaepernick begins his first full season as starter, and will get a boost with the addition of Anquan Boldin. That's huge, since he'll be without his favorite target, Michael Crabtree, who is expected to be sidelined until at least November with a torn right Achilles tendon.
But more than anything, the Niners will need their defense to hold up, and that'll fall on the team's stellar linebacking group of Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks.
Since Brooks and Smith ended last season with bad shoulders, the goal is to obviously stay healthy for the entire year.
Odds, stats and trends courtesy of OddsShark.com