NFL Power Rankings Week 1: Early Review, Final 2016-17 Super Bowl Preseason Odds

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistSeptember 5, 2016

Aug 28, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) throws the ball during the first quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
1Carolina Panthers
2Arizona Cardinals
3New England Patriots
4Cincinnati Bengals
5Seattle Seahawks
6Green Bay Packers
7Pittsburgh Steelers
8Kansas City Chiefs
9Minnesota Vikings
10New York Giants
11Denver Broncos
12Indianapolis Colts
13Oakland Raiders
14New York Jets
15Houston Texans
16Jacksonville Jaguars
17Dallas Cowboys
18Atlanta Falcons
20Philadelphia Eagles
21Baltimore Ravens
22Buffalo Bills
23New Orleans Saints
24Tampa Bay Buccaneers
25Chicago Bears
26Tennessee Titans
27San Diego Chargers
28Miami Dolphins
29Detroit Lions
30Los Angeles Rams
31San Francisco 49ers
32Cleveland Browns
Author's Rankings

The end of the preseason and the start of the regular season means the arrival of NFL power rankings and the analysis of Super Bowl odds.

Before the action gets underway, Las Vegas and most power rankings will come to a somewhat similar consensus. Teams such as the Arizona Cardinals and New England Patriots land in the "favorite" column, while teams such as the San Francisco 49ers and Cleveland Browns very much ride the "struggle" bus.

For bettors, the best cash resides on the pre-Week 1 payouts through careful analysis. Below, let's examine both tables and some bets to consider and avoid.


Pre-Week 1 NFL Power Rankings

Green Bay17-2
Kansas City28-1
Los Angeles66-1
New England6-1
New Orleans66-1
NY Giants25-1
NY Jets50-1
San Diego66-1
San Francisco100-1
Tampa Bay100-1
Washington 50-1
Odds Shark

2016-17 Super Bowl Odds

Odds courtesy of Odds Shark.


Odds to Avoid: Denver Broncos (18-1)

Bettors had to know something was off as soon as a guy by the name of Trevor Siemian started to make waves as the starting quarterback of the Denver Broncos.

Yes, an elite defense and a quality supporting cast helped carry Peyton Manning to a Lombardi Trophy last year, but Siemian is a seventh-round pick from the 2015 draft with one official game of experience under his belt.

And while the Denver defense might look solid on paper again this year, keep in mind that it lost key cogs such as Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan over the offseason. The unit didn't get much in the way of reinforcement via the draft, either—not with the team needing to address the potential future hole at quarterback by selecting Paxton Lynch at No. 26.

If Denver had an easier schedule, these odds might look better. The AFC West isn't a slouch, though, with the Kansas City Chiefs looking like contenders and the Oakland Raiders on the rise. Other notable opponents in the AFC include Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Houston and New England.

Long story short, bettors can do better.


Strong Payout to Consider: Houston Texans (33-1)


🙌 @millertime_6 is scoring @HoustonTexans TDs! #AZvsHOU https://t.co/o5vbn2W2gK

Let's take a look at one of the reasons the Broncos needed to hit the panic button at quarterback.

The Houston Texans swiped quarterback Brock Osweiler from them in free agency, finally getting quarterback guru and head coach Bill O'Brien his guy. While Osweiler threw only 10 touchdowns to six interceptions last year, he can push the ball down the field efficiently to DeAndre Hopkins—who caught 111 passes for 1,521 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2015.

It helps that the Texans, who are known for defensive prowess more than anything, also added Lamar Miller in the backfield. He's going to get more attention than he did in Miami. Last year, he totaled only 194 carries, which he still turned into 872 yards and eight touchdowns.

As the NFL showed, he's already making a difference:

Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

Houston has always been one of those odd "what if" teams; folks would wonder what the team could really do if the front office managed to add a strong complementary offense to an elite defense.

This might be the year everyone finds out, with the Texans coming off winning the AFC South. It's still one of the weakest divisions around, and the Texans seem to have one of the easier schedules, even getting to travel to New England while Tom Brady serves his four-game suspension.


Favorite to Buy: Arizona Cardinals (12-1)

Speaking of Brady, such a development has a major impact on how bettors should play the favorites.

The Cardinals look like the surest favorite to take in the odds department. New England might have to scratch and claw its way back into things when Brady returns. The Green Bay Packers will always have a fight in the NFC North, and Carolina, despite Cam Newton, always seems like a question mark based on the weapons around the quarterback.

Arizona, though? Tyrann Mathieu is back on a stacked defense that also features Patrick Peterson and Calais Campbell. Carson Palmer is coming off a season in which he threw for 4,671 yards and 35 touchdowns. He still has Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd, while running back David Johnson looks poised for a breakout season.

Arizona might have the most complete roster in the league and one key ingredient necessary in a future champion—experience. Sports Illustrated's Greg A. Bedard explained this well:

I’m willing to bet that Palmer (who hadn’t played a postseason game in six years before last January) and [head coach Bruce] Arians (who in the playoffs saw the downside of his rigid "no risk-it, no biscuit" approach) learned a lot from last year’s bitter ending and can apply those lessons moving forward. If this team is healthy and has grown from its mistakes, the Cardinals are fully capable of winning it all, even if it means entering January as a wild-card team and visiting Dallas, Seattle and Green Bay.

Arizona does have to slog through the brutal NFC West and also encounter teams such as Carolina, but perhaps its toughest game, a season-opening bout with New England, won't feature Brady.

Along with boasting experience, a Super Bowl team needs to catch a few breaks. Arizona seems to hit both marks on the checklist with a permanent marker.


Stats courtesy of NFL.com and are accurate as of September 4. All advanced metrics courtesy of Pro Football Focus

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