The celebration is just beginning for the Seattle Seahawks after crushing Denver 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII as two-point underdogs. However, for the other 31 NFL teams, preparations to dethrone the newly-crowned champs are well underway. Bovada.com has already got a jump on things with early future odds to win the 2015 Super Bowl in Arizona.
It is almost a given that the reigning Super Bowl champion is opened as the odds-on favorite to repeat, even though it has been almost 10 years since New England repeated as champs in Super Bowl XXXIX.
The Seattle Seahawks are listed as 9-2 favorites to repeat, even though they will have their hands full holding off 15-2 second-favorite San Francisco just to win the suddenly ultra-competitive NFC West Division title. It stands to reason that whichever team does finish on top will most likely be one of the top seeds in the conference and holding the inside track to Super Bowl XLIX.
The favorite from the AFC is Denver at 8-1. This past Sunday was a devastating loss that will linger in the back of every player’s mind for months to come. Whether or not that proves to be a motivating factor to propel a run to another AFC title remains to be seen.
However, keep in mind that the last team to return to a Super Bowl after losing one was Buffalo. The Bills appeared in three straight Super Bowls from 1991 to 1993 after losing in '90.
The fourth-favorite to win it all next season is the perennial contender New England Patriots at 14-1. As long as Bill Belichick is stalking the sidelines and Tom Brady is lined up under center, this team has a shot to win it all. However, much of the Super Bowl glory from the early 2000s has already faded from view.
Green Bay has been listed at 16-1 to return to its first Super Bowl since it defeated Pittsburgh 31-25 in Super Bowl XLV. This past season proved just how important Aaron Rodgers is to this team’s chances, so if he stays healthy for all 16 regular-season games, the Packers should be in excellent position for another title run.
Green Bay still needs to plug some holes on defense, but the addition of 2013 Offensive Rookie of the Year Eddie Lacy at running back was a huge boost to an already potent offensive attack.
Much like the Packers, as long as New Orleans has Drew Brees running the show at quarterback, the Saints have a shot to go all the way. They have been opened at 18-1 to get back to their first Super Bowl since the 2009 season.
The main thing that New Orleans needs to do to make this dream a reality is learn how to win on the road as it will probably need at least 12 overall victories to lock up one of the top two seeds in the NFC.
The oddsmakers are expecting a turnaround in Atlanta by listing the Falcons at 25-1. This past season was a complete disaster with an overall record of just 4-12. This followed four straight winning seasons and three trips to the playoffs.
A solid nucleus of talent on offense remains in place with the exception of tight end Tony Gonzalez, who is finally hanging up the cleats after 17 stellar seasons in the league. What needs to be fixed is a defense that ended the year ranked 28th in the NFL in total yards allowed and 27th in points allowed.
There could be a logjam of contenders in the NFC South with last season’s division title winner Carolina also listed at 25-1 to win the Super Bowl. Much like the NFC West, the team that rises to the top in the South has the best shot at winning it all—but this does not bode well for the Panthers. Since 2002, no team in this division has won back-to-back titles.
Looking at the rest of the list, the Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles and the Indianapolis Colts have the best odds to win Super Bowl XLIX of any team in their respective division at 25-1. The Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants have been opened at 33-1, and the Arizona Cardinals are listed at 33-1 to become the first team to ever play at home in a Super Bowl.
I think the best value on the board is with the 49ers. It is very hard for Super Bowl champs to repeat, and I think that the Niners are a better all-around team than the Seahawks are.
With the recent Super Bowl results and the intense NFC Championship game, it's obvious that the NFC is a dominant conference.