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2015 Super Bowl Odds Updated After the First Week of NFL Free Agency

Nick KostosContributor IMarch 18, 2014

2015 Super Bowl Odds Updated After the First Week of NFL Free Agency

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    John Froschauer/Associated Press

    Given all the hirings, firings, signings and trades that have occurred since the Seattle Seahawks beat the Denver Broncos to win Super Bowl XLVIII, it's tough to believe that the game happened only six weeks ago. 

    But that's the NFL, where six weeks is an eternity. Since the new league year began last Tuesday, there has been a seismic shift of both players and power throughout the 32 franchises.

    Stunning transactions have turned teams into legitimate Super Bowl contenders, while inactivity has removed others from contention. It's been a truly fascinating year thus far, and it's only just getting started.

    Based on the happenings of the past week, let's take a look at the odds Las Vegas has assigned each team of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy at the conclusion of Super Bowl XLIX.

    Keep in mind that these odds only reflect what's happened through March 17. There's still a ton of time in free agency, and the draft is less than two months away. Things can and will change, and the odds will reflect that as the calendar turns toward spring and summer.

     

    All odds courtesy of VegasInsider.com.

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Super Bowl Odds: 200-1

    Although the Jacksonville Jaguars likely won't be a Super Bowl contender in 2014, the future is bright for coach Gus Bradley's team.

    Since the free-agent period opened last Tuesday, the Jaguars have added a number of pieces, including former Minnesota Vikings running back Toby Gerhart, former Broncos guard Zane Beadles and former Seahawks defensive linemen Red Bryant and Chris Clemons.

    Gerhart in particular is an intriguing signing. Adrian Peterson's former understudy has averaged 4.7 yards per carry over his career, and watching how his skills translate to a full workload will be fascinating.

    The club also re-signed quarterback Chad Henne and traded away first-round bust Blaine Gabbert. Neither move provides a strong indication as to whether general manager David Caldwell will select a quarterback with the third overall pick in May's draft.

    The Jaguars' roster still needs work, as they aren't yet ready for prime time or capable of competing with the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC South. But Bradley and Caldwell have them moving in the right direction, and it's probable that their Super Bowl odds at this time next year will be much improved.

Oakland Raiders

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    Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

    Super Bowl Odds: 200-1

    The Grateful Dead once famously opined what a long, strange trip it had been.

    And although free agency is only a week old, it feels like Jerry Garcia and co. were talking about the Oakland Raiders and their general manager, Reggie McKenzie. Since last Tuesday, he has put Raider Nation through the full gamut of emotions.

    It started in horrendous fashion, as he foolishly lavished greenbacks on guard/tackle Rodger Saffold, only to watch him fail his physical with the team and return to St. Louis.

    He gave former New York Jets tackle Austin Howard $15 million guaranteed, which seemed a steep price.

    Then, he brought back injury-prone running back Darren McFadden, despite him missing 19 games over the last three seasons and averaging only 3.3 yards per carry since 2012.

    Since then, however, McKenzie has done a much better job. He's made a number of quality signings, including defensive ends Justin Tuck and Antonio Smith, linebacker LaMarr Woodley, cornerback Tarell Brown and the latest, receiver James Jones, whom McKenzie inked to a three-year, $11.3 million deal, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

    The Raiders still need a quarterback, and ESPN.com's Paul Gutierrez reports that Texans signal-caller Matt Schaub is atop their wish list

    Oakland plays in a very tough division, as the AFC West produced three playoff teams last year, including conference champion Denver. The chances that it contends for a playoff berth aren't good.

    But McKenzie has brought in a number of viable players, which is exactly what the league's worst 53-man roster needed.

Minnesota Vikings

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    Steve Dykes/Getty Images

    Super Bowl Odds: 100-1

    The Minnesota Vikings have a new head coach in Mike Zimmer, and it's his job to direct them out of the NFC North's basement this season. He's hoping a few new signings can contribute to the cause.

    The team's biggest move was re-signing 26-year-old defensive end Everson Griffen. He's an ascending player who's accumulated 13.5 sacks over the last two seasons.

    Also returning is quarterback Matt Cassel, giving the team a veteran option at the position not named Christian Ponder.

    Defensive tackle Linval Joseph and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn also joined Zimmer's defense.

    A huge question mark still exists at quarterback, where Cassel and Ponder proved last year that they aren't viable long-term options. The team holds the eighth pick in May's draft and could use it to select a signal-caller.

    The Vikings should improve upon last season's dreadful 5-10-1 mark, but it's unclear if they've done enough to stand toe-to-toe with the likes of the Packers and Bears. As of right now, it's hard to envision a scenario where they make the playoffs.

Buffalo Bills

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Super Bowl Odds: 65-1

    Even though the Buffalo Bills missed the postseason for the 14th consecutive season in 2013, there's still reason for optimism in Western New York.

    There are a number of quality young players on the roster, including linebacker Kiko Alonso and running back C.J. Spiller. But ultimately, the team's success will likely come down to the progression (or lack thereof) of quarterback EJ Manuel, the team's first-round pick from last year's draft.

    Coach Doug Marrone didn't sound completely sold on Manuel when he spoke at last month's scouting combine (h/t Chris Wesseling of NFL.com), so this is a big offeason for the former Seminole to prove to his coaches and teammates that he can be "The Guy."

    General manager Doug Whaley has made a number of signings, including linebackers Brandon Spikes and Keith Rivers, guard Chris Williams and tight end Scott Chandler

    If Manuel can pull it together, the Bills loom as a dangerous team in the AFC East. But if he struggles, expect the team's postseason drought to extend to 15 seasons.

Cleveland Browns

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    Super Bowl Odds: 65-1

    The Cleveland Browns have a brand new hierarchy of power, with coach Mike Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer calling the shots.

    Thus far into their tenure, the results have been mixed.

    Farmer opened up free agency by signing 32-year-old linebacker Karlos Dansby to a four-year deal and then overpaying for safety Donte Whitner. Safety T.J. Ward, who starred in Cleveland for four seasons, signed with the Broncos for less money than the Browns paid Whitner.

    One can certainly question the wisdom of giving a 32-year-old linebacker a four-year contract, and an argument could be constructed that Ward is a superior player to Whitner. 

    Then came the signing of running back Ben Tate to a two-year deal, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. Tate has only carried the ball 421 times in his NFL career and has averaged 4.7 yards per carry. He instantly vaults to the top of the depth chart and is a vast improvement over the pu pu platter the team trotted out last season after trading Trent Richardson to Indianapolis.

    The fate of center Alex Mack remains up in the air after Farmer hit him with the transition tag.

    The Browns have a number of talented young players, but they still don't have a franchise quarterback. If Farmer can somehow acquire one, potentially with the fourth overall pick in May's draft, the Browns could be in business.

    Otherwise, another last-place finish in the AFC North appears likely.

New York Jets

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    Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    Super Bowl Odds: 65-1

    The free-agent period has been a mixed bag for coach Rex Ryan, general manager John Idzik and the New York Jets.

    First, the good: Signing former Broncos receiver Eric Decker was a very smart move. While the Jets still need to add weapons, bringing in Decker was a good start, and the price was right for both player and team (five years, $36.25 million, $15 million guaranteed, per ESPN's Adam Schefter).

    Then, the bad: their failed pursuits of seemingly every cornerback under the sun.

    They were forced to watch as Darrelle Revis, who starred under Ryan until the team dealt him to Tampa Bay last offseason, inked a deal with the hated New England Patriots.

    And on Monday, former Broncos cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie spurned Gang Green for Big Blue, signing a five-year deal with the Giants, per Schefter. NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported that the Giants were "far more aggressive" in their pursuit of Rodgers-Cromartie, leaving one to wonder just what Idzik was doing in the negotiation.

    Besides Decker, the Jets' only other signing was tackle Breno Giacomini, who will replace the Oakland-bound Austin Howard.

    The Jets still need a number of pieces, especially at the skill positions, but Idzik doesn't seem to be in a terrible rush to make any signings, a fact that is likely driving fans insane.

    As of now, expecting the Jets to improve upon last year's 8-8 mark is foolishly optimistic at best and downright ridiculous at worst.

Tennessee Titans

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    Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

    Super Bowl Odds: 65-1

    The Tennessee Titans, led by new coach Ken Whisenhunt and general manager Ruston Webster, have had a curious beginning to the new league year.

    The Titans kicked things off by signing running back Dexter McCluster, who was later joined by offensive tackle Michael Oher and quarterback Charlie Whitehurst.

    Whitehurst doesn't represent an upgrade over former backup signal-caller Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Oher isn't as good as tackle David Stewart, who was cut and is now contemplating retirement. The Titans appear to have gotten worse at those two positions.

    It's hard to evaluate quarterback Jake Locker because of his inability to stay on the field, as he's missed 14 games over the last two seasons.

    If Locker can stay healthy and break out in Year 4, the Titans could potentially contend in the AFC South. But it's hard to imagine that happening at this current point in time.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    Super Bowl Odds: 65-1

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been one of the busiest teams since free agency opened last Tuesday, inking a veritable cavalcade of players to new coach Lovie Smith's roster and, of course, letting one go.

    Defensive end Michael Johnson and cornerback Alterraun Verner represented a fantastic Day 1 haul for new general manager Jason Licht, but the team wasn't done there.

    Licht also signed tight end Brandon Myers, tackle Anthony Collins and quarterback Josh McCown.

    The most notable of those signings is McCown, and it's because Smith all but declared him the Week 1 starter. As I wrote in my winners/losers column for Day 3 of free agency, I don't like the move. McCown is a 34-year-old journeyman for a reason. Yes, he played well last season in Chicago, but is he really a guy you want starting 16 games?

    Last season, rookie quarterback Mike Glennon performed admirably, tossing 19 touchdown passes against nine interceptions, but it wasn't enough to win over the hearts and minds of the new regime.

    There's reason to be excited about the Buccaneers defense, as Bleacher Report's Matt Miller astutely pointed out. But the offense has the feel of Smith's old Chicago teams, with a potential albatross at the quarterback position.

    If McCown can play well, the Buccaneers are talented enough to contend in a very strong NFC South. 

St. Louis Rams

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Super Bowl Odds: 55-1

    The St. Louis Rams have been mostly quiet since the start of the free-agent period, only making one notable move: Bringing back guard/tackle Rodger Saffold after he failed his physical with the Raiders.

    However, business is bound to pick up for coach Jeff Fisher's team, as it holds the No. 2 overall pick in May's draft by virtue of the trade that brought quarterback Robert Griffin III to Washington. 

    The team appears ready to give quarterback Sam Bradford another chance to prove he's a franchise-caliber signal-caller, with general manager Les Snead telling ESPN.com's Nick Wagoner that the team is "committed" to Bradford.

    The Rams have a number of talented young players, especially on defense, with Defensive Player of the Year Robert Quinn and his 19 sacks at defensive end. But the bottom line is that they play in the NFL's toughest division, the NFC West. 

    Because of that fact, the Rams aren't likely to make a Super Bowl run next year. Seattle, San Francisco and Arizona are all better as currently constructed.

Miami Dolphins

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    Bill Wippert/Associated Press

    Super Bowl Odds: 55-1

    The Miami Dolphins have already had a tumultuous offseason, with the Ted Wells Report rocking the sports world upon its release last month.

    Coach Joe Philbin was retained by owner Stephen Ross, and he and new general manager Dennis Hickey have been doing their best to erase the bad taste from Bullygate and add talented players to the roster.

    Re-signing cornerback Brent Grimes was huge, as was inking former Kansas City Chiefs tackle Branden Albert to a big-money deal. Albert should help solidify what was a porous offensive line in 2013.

    The club also added a number of other players, including defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, safety Louis Delmas, guard Shelley Smith and cornerback Cortland Finnegan.

    Much of Miami's success will depend on its ability to keep quarterback Ryan Tannehill upright. If that can happen and the Dolphins can avoid further off-field drama, they could find themselves back in the AFC playoff hunt next season.

Washington Redskins

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    Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    Super Bowl Odds: 55-1

    The Washington Redskins have a new head coach in Jay Gruden and will try to rebound from an extremely disappointing 3-13 season.

    The club slapped the franchise tag on pass-rushing demon Brian Orakpo, who had 10 sacks last season. They also signed receiver Andre Roberts, defensive tackle Jason Hatcher and cornerback Tracy Porter and re-signed receiver Santana Moss.

    While those moves are all nice, particularly bringing back Orakpo, the team's fortunes boil down to the right arm and legs of quarterback Robert Griffin III. Griffin slumped as a sophomore in 2013 as he continued to recover from an ACL tear, but it's fair to assume that he'll be better in 2014 with a full offseason in Gruden's program under his belt.

    The Redskins don't possess a first-round pick in May's draft, having dealt it to the Rams in the trade that brought Griffin to our nation's capital.

    If Griffin can repeat his marvelous rookie performance and Gruden proves to be an adept game-day coach, then the Redskins could compete for an NFC wild-card spot, but right now, the NFC East looks like it belongs to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Dallas Cowboys

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    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    Super Bowl Odds: 45-1

    It's been a depressing start to the new league year for owner Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys.

    The team kicked off the free-agent period by releasing future Hall of Fame pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware, its best player over the last 15 years. The transaction was a direct result of years of gross salary-cap mismanagement by Jones.

    Replacing Ware is defensive end Jeremy Mincey, who only has 97 fewer career sacks than Ware (117 to 20).

    The team also lost defensive tackle Jason Hatcher, who signed with rival Washington. Between Ware and Hatcher, the Cowboys lost half of their sack total from 2013 (17 out of 34).

    But don't fret, Cowboys fans, as on Monday, Jones signed former Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden to a two-year deal, per NFL.com's Ian Rapoport. Yes, the same Weeden with 23 career touchdown passes against 26 interceptions. Don't all get up and applaud at once.

    The Cowboys are in a poor financial situation and are coming off three consecutive 8-8 seasons. It's tough to have faith in coach Jason Garrett; quarterback Tony Romo is coming off of back surgery.

    If I had to guess, the Cowboys won't be going 8-8 next season.

    They'll finish with a losing record.

New York Giants

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    Super Bowl Odds: 45-1

    Through one week of free agency, the New York Giants and general manager Jerry Reese are among the biggest winners.

    After owner John Mara called the team's 7-9 mark in 2013 "not acceptable", the pressure was on Reese to deliver a more talented roster in 2014, and he's taken the necessary steps to make that happen.

    First up were the signings of guard Geoff Schwartz and running back Rashad Jennings. The offensive line and run game were major problems last season, and Reese addressed both on Day 1 of free agency.

    Reese went on to add cornerback Walter Thurmond, safety Quintin Demps, center J.D. Walton and linebacker Jameel McClain, among others, before landing the jewel of his class in cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, whom he signed to a five-year, $39 million deal with $14 million guaranteed, per NFL.com's Ian Rapoport. The Giants also added return specialist Trindon Holliday on a one-year deal, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

    Reese has turned cornerback from a position of weakness into one of strength. With Rodgers-Cromartie and Thurmond joining incumbents Prince Amukamara and Jayron Hosley, the unit is now very strong.

    The Giants still have work to do to catch up with the Eagles, but they cannot be discounted. In 2007 and 2011, they showed that all they need to do is get into the playoffs, and quarterback Eli Manning is capable of delivering a Super Bowl trophy.

Detroit Lions

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    Jim Mone/Associated Press

    Super Bowl Odds: 45-1

    The Detroit Lions collapsed down the stretch in 2013, costing coach Jim Schwartz his job.

    Jim Caldwell is the new man in charge, and his directive is clear: get the team to play with more discipline, and steady the mechanics of quarterback Matthew Stafford.

    Well, since free agency opened, the Lions have done their best to help Stafford, re-signing tight end Brandon Pettigrew and bringing in former Seahawks receiver Golden Tate.

    2014 is a critical season for the Lions, and they'll need Stafford playing at his best to overcome the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears in the NFC North.

    Signing Tate and bringing back Pettigrew will only help in that regard.

Arizona Cardinals

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Super Bowl Odds: 40-1

    The Arizona Cardinals addressed their gaping hole at left tackle on Day 1 of free agency, signing former Raiders tackle Jared Veldheer.

    Other noteworthy additions to the team are receiver Ted Ginn Jr. and tight end John Carlson, two nice fits in coach Bruce Arians' offense.

    The Cardinals are an interesting team. They finished 10-6 last year in the ultra-tough NFC West but missed out on the postseason. The defense is solid, and quarterback Carson Palmer exceeded expectations.

    But playing in a division with Seattle and San Francisco is a tall order for any team. Until the Cardinals show they're on the same level as the Seahawks and 49ers, it's tough to take them seriously as Super Bowl contenders.

Chicago Bears

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    Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

    Super Bowl Odds: 40-1

    Last season, the Chicago Bears defense was an affront to the franchise's rich history on that side of the ball. They finished 30th in total defense and were dead-last against the run, which is something that general manager Phil Emery badly needed to address once the free-agency period opened.

    And Emery deserves credit for doing just that. 

    On Day 1 of free agency, he signed former Raiders defensive end Lamarr Houston. Other defensive additions include end Willie Young and safeties M.D. Jennings and Ryan Mundy.

    Those signings, coupled with what's sure to be a defensive-minded draft, should help the unit make significant strides in 2014.

    It'll be up to coach Marc Trestman to continue to coax excellent play out of quarterback Jay Cutler if the Bears are to overtake the Packers in the NFC North.

    Don't count the Bears out. They aren't far off from being legitimate Super Bowl contenders.

Baltimore Ravens

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Super Bowl Odds: 35-1

    Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome has hit a home run thus far this offseason.

    First, he re-signed tight end Dennis Pitta, who represents quarterback Joe Flacco's security blanket in the passing attack.

    Then, on Day 1 of free agency, he locked up left tackle Eugene Monroe, and just like that, the team's two most important offseason targets were both brought back into the fold.

    Newsome also re-signed receiver Jacoby Jones and linebacker Daryl Smith.

    But his finest moment might have been convincing former Carolina Panthers receiver Steve Smith to come to the Charm City. Smith will bring a brand of toughness on offense that the Ravens lost when they traded Anquan Boldin last offseason.

    The Ravens might have missed the postseason last year, but Newsome has them reloaded for yet another January run. Count out Flacco, coach John Harbaugh and the Ravens at your own risk.

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Super Bowl Odds: 35-1

    The Pittsburgh Steelers missed the postseason for the second consecutive year, and general manager Kevin Colbert is trying to reload in the hopes of making yet another Super Bowl run.

    The team extended the contract of future Hall of Fame safety Troy Polamalu and placed the transition tag on linebacker Jason Worilds, which he signed.

    The club also brought in former Panthers safety Mike Mitchell.

    The Steelers still have coach Mike Tomlin and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, so they'll be in the mix next season, but the talent level doesn't appear to be on par with what the Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals have.

    Right now, the Steelers look like a third-place team in the AFC North.

Kansas City Chiefs

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Super Bowl Odds: 35-1

    The Kansas City Chiefs were absolutely pilfered in free agency's opening week, losing a host of talented players.

    Gone are tackle Branden Albert, guard Jon Asamoah, defensive end Tyson Jackson, guard Geoff Schwartz, running back Dexter McCluster and safety Quintin Demps

    As NFL.com's Chris Wesseling noted, that's over 3,000 snaps from last year's 11-5 team.

    None of this means that the Chiefs can't or won't return to the postseason in 2014, but it's never easy when you lose a number of good players.

    Especially when you lose them in bunches.

Houston Texans

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Super Bowl Odds: 35-1

    Last season, the Houston Texans were the worst team in football, losing their final 14 games to finish 2-14 and claim the No. 1 overall pick in May's draft.

    Former New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien is the new head coach, and he and general manager Rick Smith have led what's been a quiet offseason thus far.

    The only transaction the team has made is re-signing tight end Garrett Graham.

    Of course, the offseason won't be muted for too much longer, with the draft rapidly approaching. The Texans have a critical decision to make on whether to select a quarterback with the No. 1 pick. It's a decision that could make or break the team over the next three to five years.

    One player who doesn't appear likely to make the Texans' 2014 roster is quarterback Matt Schaub, with NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reporting the team will try to trade him.

    It's impossible to forecast where the Texans will end up without seeing their draft haul, but there is talent throughout the roster. It's not outside the realm of possibility that they could challenge the Colts for the AFC South title this upcoming season, but a Super Bowl run seems out of the question.

Atlanta Falcons

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Super Bowl Odds: 30-1

    The Atlanta Falcons suffered through a miserable 2013 season, finishing 4-12, and general manager Thomas Dimitroff knew he had to improve the line play on both sides of the ball for the team to return to playoff contention.

    Dimitroff did just that on the first few days of free agency, inking guard Jon Asamoah, defensive end Tyson Jackson and defensive tackle Paul Soliai

    While the Falcons didn't play well last season, they were hit exceptionally hard by the injury bug, especially with the season-ending foot injury suffered by receiver Julio Jones in the Week 5 loss to the Jets. With Jones and others back in the fold, it stands to reason that the Falcons will be better in 2014.

    If quarterback Matt Ryan can bounce back, the Falcons loom as a potentially dangerous team. It's important to note that they came within one play of the Super Bowl following the 2012 season. It's not like the cupboard is bare.

San Diego Chargers

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    Gregory Bull/Associated Press

    Super Bowl Odds: 30-1

    The San Diego Chargers caught fire in December, winning their final four regular-season games to finish 9-7 and claim the AFC's sixth and final wild-card spot. Then, they beat the Bengals in Cincinnati in the Wild Card Round before falling on the road in Denver in the divisional round. 

    All in all, it was a mighty successful first season in San Diego for coach Mike McCoy and general manager Tom Telesco.

    But with the AFC West being an extremely tough division, the Chargers couldn't afford to stand pat, and they've made a number of moves to try and close the gap on the Broncos.

    Telesco re-signed inside linebacker Donald Butler, one of the team's best young defensive players. He also signed former Colts running back Donald Brown, who will team with Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead to give the Chargers an intriguing three-headed rushing attack.

    With quarterback Philip Rivers coming off a bounce-back year and an outstanding young receiver in Keenan Allen, McCoy should have the Chargers back in the thick of things once again.

    But until the defense takes the next step, the Chargers aren't legitimate Super Bowl contenders.

Philadelphia Eagles

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    Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    Super Bowl Odds: 28-1

    It's been a brilliant offseason for Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly and general manager Howie Roseman, who have distanced themselves as the team to beat in the NFC East.

    The Eagles re-signed receivers Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper and extended the contracts of center Jason Kelce and left tackle Jason Peters. The Eagles offensive line is one of the league's best, and the unit will remain together for years to come.

    Also joining the club are safety Malcolm Jenkins (a major upgrade over Patrick Chung), running back Darren Sproles and cornerback Nolan Carroll.

    With Kelly roaming the sideline and Nick Foles a revelation at the quarterback position, the Eagles are for real. They are clearly the class of the NFC East, and it should surprise no one if they make a run to the Super Bowl.

Cincinnati Bengals

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    David Kohl/Associated Press

    Super Bowl Odds: 25-1

    The Cincinnati Bengals are coming off their third consecutive one-and-done playoff appearance, and they lost both coordinators to head coaching jobs (offensive coordinator Jay Gruden to Washington; defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer to Minnesota). 

    To say this is a crucial year for coach Marvin Lewis and quarterback Andy Dalton would be an understatement.

    Thus far, the Bengals have lost two very good players in free agency, as both tackle Anthony Collins and defensive end Michael Johnson signed with the Buccaneers.

    But the Bengals possess arguably the most talented 53-man roster in the NFL from top to bottom, so they can absorb those losses.

    What the Bengals can no longer afford to absorb is inconsistent play from Dalton, who was a train wreck in the team's wild-card playoff loss to San Diego. 

    The Bengals have a good enough roster to be labeled a Super Bowl contender, but neither Lewis nor Dalton strike fear into the hearts of the AFC's elite. Until this Bengals team gets over the hump and wins a playoff game, why should anyone believe they can do so?

Indianapolis Colts

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    Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

    Super Bowl Odds: 25-1

    The Indianapolis Colts have made the postseason in each of quarterback Andrew Luck's first two seasons, so there is much reason for optimism if you're a fan of the team.

    General manager Ryan Grigson has made a number of big signings since the free-agent period opened. He re-signed cornerback Vontae Davis and kicker Adam Vinatieri and brought on inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, defensive lineman Arthur Jones and receiver Hakeem Nicks.

    Nicks could prove to be a spectacular addition, provided he finds his past form. Luck desperately needed another weapon in the passing attack, and Nicks is a low-risk, high-reward signing.

    Don't sleep on the potential impact of Jones, who is a perfect fit in coach Chuck Pagano's defense.

    The Colts are clearly the class of the AFC South, and they aren't far away from being legitimate Super Bowl contenders. 

Carolina Panthers

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    Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

    Super Bowl Odds: 25-1

    Before I get into my analysis of the Carolina Panthers, check out what Bleacher Report's Matt Miller wrote in his latest Scouting Notebook:

    I have no idea what the Carolina Panthers are doing, but being patient as a fan there must be tough. The team lost Jordan Gross, Geoff Hangartner and Jeff Byers to retirement and then released Steve Smith. Yes, they put the franchise tag on Greg Hardy to keep their front four together on defense, but who is going to protect Cam Newton? And whom will he throw to?

    That about sums it up.

    Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman has been doing his best Weekend at Bernie's imitation, waking up only to release receiver Steve Smith, the greatest player in franchise history, in callous fashion.

    Gettleman has since watched other receivers sign elsewhere, with Hakeem Nicks going to the Colts and James Jones signing in Oakland.

    If the Panthers played a competitive game today, they would be starting Tavarres King and Marvin McNutt at receiver. King and McNutt have combined for zero catches in their NFL careers. Zero. Zilch. Goose egg.

    Simply put, the Panthers are letting the momentum of their magical 12-4 season slip away. 

    The Saints, Falcons and Buccaneers have all gotten better since free agency opened last Tuesday. The Panthers have gotten worse.

    Forget about contending for the Super Bowl. Right now, the Panthers would be lucky to return to the postseason.

New Orleans Saints

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    Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

    Super Bowl Odds: 25-1

    The New Orleans Saints pulled off the biggest shocker of the free-agent period, doing their best deus ex machina impression in coming out nowhere to sign former Bills safety Jairus Byrd.

    The move gives New Orleans the best safety combination outside of the Pacific Northwest, with Byrd set to join Kenny Vaccaro. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is likely salivating at the notion of having Byrd and Vaccaro as if he were staring down a bowl of crawfish.

    The club also placed the franchise tag on tight end Jimmy Graham, who caught 16 touchdown passes last season.

    General manager Mickey Loomis and coach Sean Payton had another surprise up their sleeve, dealing running back Darren Sproles to the Eagles. 

    The signing of Byrd greatly improves the Saints defense, and the offense will be electric once again with quarterback Drew Brees serving as the trigger man. The Saints are definite Super Bowl contenders.

Green Bay Packers

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    Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

    Super Bowl Odds: 18-1

    The Green Bay Packers sent shock waves throughout the NFL world this weekend when they signed former Bears defensive end Julius Peppers to a three-year, $30 million deal with $7.5 million guaranteed, per ESPN's Josina Anderson.

    While Peppers isn't the player he once was, it's still a huge signing by Packers general manager Ted Thompson. Peppers had 7.5 sacks last season.

    Thompson also re-signed cornerback Sam Shields and defensive lineman B.J. Raji.

    Ultimately, the Packers still have quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and they'll be Super Bowl contenders for as long as that's the case.

New England Patriots

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    Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

    Super Bowl Odds: 8-1

    The New England Patriots made perhaps the single biggest signing of the free-agent period when they inked cornerback Darrelle Revis.

    Revis is a true difference-maker on defense and remains the NFL's best cornerback. He's a perfect fit in coach Bill Belichick's defense. Belichick loves physical corners who can press at the line of scrimmage, and Revis fits the bill.

    Speaking of physical corners who can press at the line of scrimmage, the Patriots also signed former Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner.

    Over the weekend, the Patriots re-signed receiver Julian Edelman, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. Edelman caught 105 passes last year.

    With Revis in the fold and quarterback Tom Brady returning, the Patriots are Super Bowl contenders.

Denver Broncos

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    Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

    Super Bowl Odds: 15-2

    The Denver Broncos and general manager John Elway wasted no time in reloading for another run at the Lombardi Trophy.

    On Day 1 of free agency, Elway signed safety T.J. Ward and cornerback Aqib Talib.

    On Day 2, he outdid himself by signing pass-rushing demon DeMarcus Ware.

    Over the weekend, he brought in receiver Emmanuel Sanders on a three-year, $15 million deal, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

    The Broncos' Super Bowl window will be open for as long as Peyton Manning remains under center, so it makes sense for Elway to go all in and try and win a title in 2014.

    There's no doubt that the Broncos are the heavy favorites to repeat as AFC champions and play in Super Bowl XLIX.

San Francisco 49ers

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    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Super Bowl Odds: 7-1

    The San Francisco 49ers came tantalizingly close to qualifying for Super Bowl XLVIII and look to be strong title contenders yet again in 2014.

    The team brought back receiver Anquan Boldin and signed safety Antoine Bethea to replace the Cleveland-bound Donte Whitner.

    The 49ers have one of the best coaches in football in Jim Harbaugh, one of the game's best young quarterbacks in Colin Kaepernick and one of the best 53-man rosters in the league.

    You're damn right they'll be back in the Super Bowl hunt next season.

Seattle Seahawks

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    Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Super Bowl Odds: 9-2

    The defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks already have a major victory this offseason after they re-signing defensive end Michael Bennett despite two teams reportedly offering him more money.

    The Seahawks roster is absolutely loaded, which is a tribute to the work done by coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider. 

    With quarterback Russell Wilson in tow and a historic defense led by the "Legion of Boom" secondary, the Seahawks are the favorite to win Super Bowl XLIX.

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