Super Bowl Odds 2017: Breaking Down Each Team's Chances as Camps Begin
On February 4, 2018, two NFL teams will lock horns at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The winner of that game will be crowned the champion of Super Bowl LII.
It's a long way off, but that's the ultimate goal of every franchise in the league this year. Every year.
Of course, that goal is somewhat more achievable for some teams than others—to put it mildly.
There are those that have about as much chance of making it to the Twin Cities as I do of starting a game at quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. Others still are long shots, but they also have a puncher's chance if they can catch a few breaks.
And at least one team will be considered a massive disappointment if it doesn't wind up making the trip.
Whether each franchise has a snowball's chance in Phoenix or a Super Bowl trip is the expectation, with the preseason now underway, here's a division-by-division look at the Super Bowl odds for all 32 NFL teams.
Buffalo Bills (100-1)
For those intrepid readers who aren't regular gamblers, that number in parentheses means that a $100 bet on the Bills to win Super Bowl 52 would pay a tidy 10 grand if Buffalo pulled it off.
Of course, if you could correctly forecast that a Bills team with a new head coach in Sean McDermott and a shortage of offensive skill could knock off the big, bad Patriots and not only make their first playoff appearance this century but also win the whole shooting match, then you might want to set your sights a little higher.
Say, something along the lines of the Powerball. Or maybe Mega Millions.
The cold, hard truth is that Buffalo's absolute ceiling is a distant second in the AFC East. And that's only because the Miami Dolphins are falling apart.
Miami Dolphins (50-1)
When I started writing this earlier this week, I was going to mention the Dolphins' 10-6 season and playoff trip last year. And the team's talent on both offense and defense. And the pieces Miami added in the offseason, especially on the defensive side.
So much for all that.
When quarterback Ryan Tannehill crumpled to the ground on the practice field Thursday, so did Miami's chances of making it back to the playoffs. Nothing is certain yet, but a source told ESPN.com's Jeff Darlington and Adam Schefter that Tannehill's knee was a "ticking time bomb" after he eschewed surgery last year.
"He's done, I think," another source said.
So are the Dolphins. The odds won't be staying 50-1 for long.
New England Patriots (15-4)
The Patriots aren't just the favorites to represent the AFC in Super Bowl LII. They are the overwhelming favorites. Their odds of winning the game are twice as good as any other team in the NFL, over three times as good as any other team in the AFC and substantially better than the preseason favorites in each of the last two seasons.
Maybe it's the fact quarterback Tom Brady and the Pats wrapped a 14-2 2016 with the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history—Brady's record fifth championship. Or it could be that the Patriots spent the offseason adding impact players on both offense (Mike Gillislee, Brandin Cooks) and defense (Stephon Gilmore) to an already loaded team. Or maybe it's the fact some pundits are already talking about more than just another championship in Beantown.
They're talking about New England finishing what it started in 2007 and running the table.
New York Jets (200-1)
From the best odds in the NFL to the worst. The New York Jets are one of the three teams that will net a bettor 20 grand off a $100 bet if they win the Super Bowl—and that seems low.
Even the Jets know they aren't sniffing Minneapolis this year. The team blew up the roster in the offseason, cutting bait on any number of higher-priced veterans and beginning a ground-up rebuild.
The beginning of that rebuild leaves the Jets with arguably the least talented roster in the NFL—including one quarterback (Josh McCown) who has two wins in his last 22 starts and another (Christian Hackenberg) who is better at targeting reporters with passes than receivers.
If the Jets make the playoffs, it would be a miracle. If they won the Super Bowl, I'm pretty sure that would be the fourth sign of the apocalypse.
Dallas Cowboys (12-1)
At first glance, 12-1 odds on a Super Bowl victory by the Dallas Cowboys might seem a tad disrespectful to the team after a 13-win season and NFC East title in 2016. But only the Green Bay Packers have better odds this year among NFC teams.
However, Vegas is overselling Dallas—largely because of the action the team's large fanbase is sure to place on it.
It's not that the Cowboys aren't a solid team and a legitimate playoff contender. But their division is bound to be a tougher slog this year after the rivals around them improved.
Dallas did as well—it's a good football team. But the pass rush and secondary are concerning enough that calling it the second-best team in the NFC is a stretch.
New York Giants (22-1)
Like the Cowboys, the G-Men made the postseason in 2016. But where the Cowboys won the East on the back of a punishing ground game, the Giants, um, did not. They had one of the worst rushing attacks in the NFL, as a matter of fact (29th overall).
The Giants were all about their defense—one that ranked third in the NFL against the run in 2016. That unit returns intact, and the Giants added a veteran weapon in the passing game in wide receiver Brandon Marshall.
What they didn't add was any significant improvement to that shaky running game, which is led by Paul Perkins. Their one-dimensional offense will put a lot of pressure on both quarterback Eli Manning and that defense.
The Giants are a playoff contender—but only a marginal one when it comes to a deep run.
Philadelphia Eagles (50-1)
The Eagles came out of the gate like gangbusters last year before Carson Wentz remembered he was a rookie quarterback and the team faded down the stretch. The Eagles took numerous steps to help Wentz improve in year two, revamping his receiving corps (Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith) and adding bruising tailback LeGarrette Blount.
Add in first-round pick Derek Barnett and a second year of familiarity with Jim Schwartz's attacking 4-3 defense, and the Eagles have the makings of a tougher out than last year's 7-9 squad.
However, Wentz remains a relatively unproven commodity. I don't trust the Eagles offense as much as I do Dak Prescott and the Dallas offense. Given its issues at cornerback, I also don't trust Philly's defense as much as the one in New York.
The Eagles should be better in 2017, but they are still, at best, the No. 3 team in their division—a division that has the makings of a slugfest.
Washington Redskins (50-1)
The Redskins are a hard team to get a bead on. Two years ago, they were the division champs, and Washington was in contention for a wild-card spot heading into Week 17 last year.
On defense, the Redskins brought in a trio of players who could play prominent roles in linebacker Zach Brown, safety D.J. Swearinger and rookie defensive lineman Jonathan Allen. They should be substantially better than last year's 28th-ranked unit.
And Washington at least tried to compensate for the loss of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon by signing free-agent wideout Terrelle Pryor. With quarterback Kirk Cousins in yet another contract year, he has millions of reasons to play well in 2017.
But in addition to the team's losing two 1,000-yard receivers, starting tight end Jordan Reed is already hurt (toe/ankle). Washington won't be an easy out, but it isn't any sort of real contender either.
Baltimore Ravens (40-1)
The Baltimore Ravens missed the playoffs for the second straight season in 2016—the first time since 2004 and 2005 the team has watched the postseason on TV two years running.
It looks like it's headed for a third consecutive down year, which hasn't happened since its first four seasons in Baltimore.
It isn't hard to pinpoint the reason. The Ravens aren't a deep team, and injuries have already ravaged them. That includes their starting tight end (Crockett Gillmore) and tailback (Kenneth Dixon), who are both out for the season.
Then there's quarterback Joe Flacco, who has been sidelined by a bad back that the team is trying awfully hard to insist is no big deal.
The Ravens just don't have the margin for error to absorb all these hits. Especially before the preseason has even started.
Cincinnati Bengals (50-1)
After five straight playoff trips (including two AFC North titles), the Bengals backslid to 6-9-1 last year. Apparently, the Vegas oddsmakers aren't confident that down year was an aberration.
I'm not inclined to argue with them.
It's not that the Bengals are a bad team. They have a pair of stalwarts on the defensive line in end Carlos Dunlap and tackle Geno Atkins, one of the game's best wide receivers in A.J. Green and a proven veteran quarterback in Andy Dalton.
But the Bengals have one looming, glaring problem: the offensive line.
Dalton has historically been a much less effective quarterback when under pressure, including a year ago, per Football Outsiders. And in the offseason, the Bengals watched their two best linemen depart in guard Kevin Zeitler (Browns) and tackle Andrew Whitworth (Rams).
Unless youngsters Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher fill the void, the Bengals will be in trouble.
Cleveland Browns (200-1)
The Browns were the worst team in the NFL last year—a 1-15 mess that was bad in just about every way a team can be bad.
The good news is they should be better in 2017. In addition to adding several pieces in free agency, the Browns brought in three potential impact players in the first round (Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers, David Njoku) and a potential quarterback of the future in DeShone Kizer in the 2017 NFL draft.
That doesn't mean the Browns will be good this year, though.
The Browns are a young team that'll take its lumps even if all those youngsters pan out. Cleveland finally appears to have things on the right track, but it will be interesting to see if it can maintain that patience if its improvement in 2017 is only to 5-11 or 6-10.
Pittsburgh Steelers (12-1)
Over the past handful of seasons, the AFC North had been one of the more competitive divisions in the NFL. However, the Steelers won the North with relative ease last year en route to the AFC Championship Game, and the oddsmakers believe they're the head-and-shoulders favorite in the division again.
As a matter of fact, the Steelers have the best odds (along with the Oakland Raiders) of knocking off the big, bad Beantown Bradys in the AFC.
If they're going to do that, two things need to change.
First, the Pittsburgh pass defense has to continue to improve. The unit was much better in 2016 than the year before, but the Steelers were still only a so-so 16th in the NFL.
Second, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is going to have to drop his Jekyll-and-Hyde act away from Heinz Field. Roethlisberger's passer rating on the road last year was only 78.4—almost 40 points lower than at home.
Chicago Bears (100-1)
For reasons known only to the oddsmakers and the gods of eternal optimism, the Chicago Bears are considered twice as likely to win the Super Bowl as the 49ers and Browns.
It's a bit like saying I'm twice as likely to be bitten by a radioactive spider than I am to have been born on the planet Krypton.
Neither's happening anytime soon.
The Bears have a talented young tailback in Jordan Howard and an offensive line that ranked inside the top 10 in both run and pass blocking last year, per Football Outsiders.
But that's about all they've got. The passing game is a huge question mark, from quarterback Mike Glennon to the receivers, and the defense isn't scaring anyone.
If the Bears finish anywhere but fourth place in the division, it will be an achievement.
Detroit Lions (66-1)
The Detroit Lions earned an inglorious honor from the folks who set these Super Bowl odds: Of last year's playoff teams, they're considered the least likely to make it to Minnesota and hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
Fans in Motown will no doubt take umbrage at this, but it isn't hard to see where the oddsmakers are coming from. Matt Stafford's a quality quarterback and the Lions have some weapons on offense, but he's already lost his top offensive lineman (tackle Taylor Decker, shoulder surgery) to start the year.
The defense is an even bigger question mark. Its best pass-rusher (Ezekiel Ansah) was a shell of himself in an injury-marred 2016. Its best linebacker (Jarrad Davis) is a rookie.
This team can make the playoffs. Maybe even win a game there. But three or four is asking a lot.
Green Bay Packers (15-2)
The Green Bay Packers are the Big Bad Wolf of the NFC—the odds-on favorites to represent the conference in Super Bowl LII.
It probably has something to do with last year's magical run to the NFC Championship Game. And that had everything to do with the team's quarterback.
Aaron Rodgers—perhaps you've heard of him.
The Packers aren't usually a franchise known for chest-thumping, but per ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky, Green Bay team president Mark Murphy made an exception in 2017.
"It's going to be a lot of fun for all of our fans to drive across the state for the Super Bowl," Murphy said.
If the defense delivers, Murphy may just be on to something.
Minnesota Vikings (33-1)
In 2017 the Minnesota Vikings will attempt to do something that has never been done in the history of the National Football League—play in a Super Bowl in their home stadium.
Defensive tackle Linval Joseph told Craig Peters of the team's website that's the ultimate goal.
"I want to try to make history," Joseph said. "Playing in the Super Bowl in your home stadium has never been done. That would be the ultimate goal, so that's the biggest prize I'm trying to work for. That's what you're trying to do here, build it now in training camp."
The problem is that while Joseph and the Minnesota defense are among the standouts in the league, the offense was inconsistent at best last season.
The Vikings started 5-0 before losing four straight and finishing 8-8.
Ups and downs aside, that's essentially what the Vikings are—a .500 team.
Houston Texans (22-1)
The Texans are the Vegas favorites to win the AFC South in 2017.
But they have never advanced past the divisional round, and if the team is finally going to do so, it'll take a massive leap forward in quarterback play.
Houston has a good young tailback in Lamar Miller and one of the league's better wide receivers in DeAndre Hopkins, but as was shown last year, that doesn't do a lot of good if the quarterback play is awful.
However, if Tom Savage (or rookie Deshaun Watson) move the offense and avoid turnovers, the Texans could quietly be a scary-good team.
After all, they boasted the NFL's No. 1 defense in 2016—and that was without three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt.
Indianapolis Colts (40-1)
The Colts' chances of making it to the Super Bowl—or even to the playoffs—feel like they are dropping by the day. Because with each passing hour, the dark clouds hovering over quarterback Andrew Luck grow more ominous.
The Colts continue to insist that Luck's shoulder injury isn't a long-term issue, but as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported, rumors are swirling that Indy's superstar quarterback could open the season on the physically unable to perform list.
If Luck sits the first six games of 2017, that's it—the Colts are toast.
They may be anyway.
The fact is, the Colts do not boast one of the better offensive lines in the NFL. If they rush Luck back, all it's going to take is one shot to land him right back on the shelf.
Jacksonville Jaguars (100-1)
For the second straight offseason, the Jacksonville Jaguars were one of the NFL's most active teams in free agency.
And for the umpteenth straight season, they have no chance of making it to the Super Bowl, much less winning it.
This isn't to say they won't improve on last year's 3-13 record. If the defense plays half as well as it looks like it can after adding defensive end Calais Campbell, it should be solid. And first-round pick Leonard Fournette could be the team's best tailback since Maurice Jones-Drew.
But in today's NFL, you aren't making it to the Super Bowl without either an elite quarterback or a lights-out defense.
"Better" and "lights-out" are not the same thing, and Blake Bortles is most assuredly not "elite."
Tennessee Titans (40-1)
If there's one long-shot bet so far on this list that I might actually make, it's this one: the Titans at 40-1.
Mind you, the Titans probably won't dethrone the Patriots in the AFC and win Super Bowl LII. But if you're going to bet the long odds, you might as well afford yourself some semblance of a chance.
And the Titans will make the postseason in 2017.
Fresh off a nine-win campaign, Tennessee overhauled its receiving corps, notably drafting Corey Davis and giving quarterback Marcus Mariota a bevy of new weapons. The team already had a punishing pair of running backs (DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry) and one of the NFL's better offensive lines you haven't heard about.
If the Titans are even an average defensive team in 2017, they stand the best chance of knocking off the Texans in the AFC South.
Atlanta Falcons (16-1)
As Bleacher Report's own Tyler Dunne wrote, despite suffering the most crushing defeat in Super Bowl history, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan insists there won't be any "hangover" for the team in 2017.
"That's our mission," he said. "That's my mission. To find a way to bring it back to Atlanta. And give our city a taste of what it's like to win a Super Bowl."
I want to believe Ryan. I really do. The Falcons are capable of back-to-back NFC titles—a team with a high-octane offense and an improving defense with young playmakers at every level.
But there's a reason the team that lost the Super Bowl the season before hasn't made a return trip in over 20 years. So many things have to go right to even get there, from a lucky bounce or two to avoiding major injuries.
Add in a tougher schedule, and the Falcons have an uphill climb ahead of them.
Carolina Panthers (22-1)
The Carolina Panthers can tell the Falcons all about Super Bowl hangovers. After losing just one regular-season game two years ago before falling to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50, the Panthers pitched and lurched their way through a miserable 6-10 season.
"I'm just trying to basically get my swag back, get our swag back and just have fun," Newton said Thursday.
The Panthers added some weapons for Newton in the draft in tailback Christian McCaffrey and wideout Curtis Samuel, and the return of former Defensive Player of the Year Luke Kuechly should boost the defense.
But whether the Panthers go anywhere this year rests on Newton's right arm—and I have my doubts.
New Orleans Saints (40-1)
There's an old saying around the NFL that "defense wins championships." And it's true. Even in a pass-wacky era where the rules seemingly all favor the offense, the Super Bowl team with the better defense usually wins.
In fact, even in the Saints' lone Super Bowl season of 2009 the team had an opportunistic defense that was second-best in the National Football League in takeaways and defensive scores. A pick-six by Saints cornerback Tracy Porter was the turning point in the game.
That's the problem with this year's iteration of the Saints: They don't so much have a defense.
Drew Brees and Co. will score plenty of points, but it's hard to imagine New Orleans improving markedly after ranking 27th in total defense and 31st in scoring defense in 2016.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (33-1)
I'm going to do fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a favor and not call the team a dark-horse playoff contender. The last time I did so was 2014.
That didn't work out so well.
However, all the ingredients are there after a 9-7 season.
The Buccaneers have an improving young quarterback in former No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston. He gets new toys to play with this season in veteran wideout DeSean Jackson and rookies Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard.
The team also has a young defense with talent from front to back, whether it's linemen Gerald McCoy and Noah Spence or linebackers Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David.
Like I said, I'm not going to say the Buccaneers will win the NFC in 2017. Or even the NFC South.
But in the latter regard, at least, I'm not going to say they won't, either.
Denver Broncos (22-1)
Two years ago, the Broncos won a Super Bowl because of the NFL's best defense, despite less than stellar quarterback play.
Both factors came into play again last year, but this time the defense couldn't compensate for the erratic play of Trevor Siemian, and the Broncos missed the playoffs altogether.
Well, here we go again.
If Siemian can minimize his mistakes and/or Paxton Lynch seizes the reins and takes off in year two of his NFL career, the Broncos could make a deep run into the postseason—perhaps all the way to the Twin Cities.
Denver's "No Fly Zone" defense really is that good.
But if we see a repeat of last year, when offensive ineptitude regularly left the Broncos D with no margin for error, well—it's good, not perfect.
And the margin for error in a loaded AFC West is already pretty thin.
Kansas City Chiefs (25-1)
It says something about the Kansas City Chiefs that despite a 12-win season and AFC West title in 2016, the Vegas oddsmakers gave them longer odds of winning the Super Bowl than a Denver Broncos squad that didn't even make the playoffs.
And what it says isn't good.
The weird thing is, if their offseason is any indication, even the Chiefs seem to think they played over their heads.
In spite of having proven veteran quarterback Alex Smith, the Chiefs dealt an extra first-round pick to move up and draft Patrick Mahomes in 2017. In spite of a lack of depth at wide receiver, the Chiefs cut bait on veteran Jeremy Maclin just one year removed from a 1,000-yard campaign.
Can you be the defending division champion and rebuild at the same time?
Los Angeles Chargers (75-1)
The Chargers may have moved to Los Angeles, but one thing is the same as it was in San Diego.
When it comes to injuries, the Bolts are as snake-bitten as any team in the NFL.
First, rookie wide receiver Mike Williams was sidelined by a back injury that may or may not be season-ending. Then second-round pick Forrest Lamp tore his ACL—an injury that is most assuredly season-ending.
That's the top two picks potentially done for the year before the first preseason game kicks off for a Chargers team that was already easily the No. 4 squad in a four-team division.
That makes it a fair bit harder for the Chargers to make up any ground in the AFC West, and it all but ensures that the first year for the team in the StubHub Center (capacity: 30,000) will be a long one.
Oakland Raiders (12-1)
For much of 2016, the Oakland Raiders looked like the team best equipped to make a run at the Patriots for AFC supremacy. Then quarterback Derek Carr broke his leg, and the Raiders fell apart.
Now, Carr's back—and the Raiders are tied with the Steelers for the second-best Super Bowl odds in the conference.
The offense should be outstanding. In addition to Carr, a pair of high-end receivers in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree and arguably the AFC's best offensive line, the Raiders added tailback Marshawn Lynch to lead their ground game this year.
However, it's the defense that could well determine how far the team advances in 2017. We know Khalil Mack is scary (he's the reigning DPOY), but the rest of the roster on that side of the ball features as many questions as answers.
If that defense jells, the Patriots could have their hands full with the Silver and Black in January.
Arizona Cardinals (33-1)
Two seasons ago, the Arizona Cardinals won 13 games and fell one win shy of the second Super Bowl in franchise history.
But if there's such a thing as an NFC Championship Game hangover, the Redbirds had it big-time last season, falling to 7-8-1 and missing the playoffs.
The easiest explanation for that drop-off was quarterback Carson Palmer's decline. After a horrendous NFC title game, Palmer never recovered. His numbers were down substantially across the board last season relative to 2015.
If the 37-year-old can turn back the clock, the weapons are there on offense, from veteran wideout Larry Fitzgerald to young tailback David Johnson. And Arizona has an underrated, attacking defense.
But Palmer looked old last year. So, I'm not overly optimistic.
Los Angeles Rams (150-1)
The Los Angeles Rams are a bad football team. After being mired in mediocrity for years (a specialty of former head coach Jeff Fisher), the Rams turned over the reins to the youngest head coach in the NFL in 31-year-old Sean McVay.
But he's a coach, not a miracle worker. This thing isn't getting turned around overnight.
The defense should be good this season. McVay brought in one of the best of the business to run it in Wade Phillips, and he has building blocks to work with in linebacker Alec Ogletree and a Defensive Player of the Year candidate in lineman Aaron Donald.
Also, the Rams tried to improve the protection for second-year quarterback Jared Goff with the signing of veteran tackle Andrew Whitworth.
But Goff needs to improve markedly in his second season just to go from bad to mediocre.
The same can be said about the team he leads.
San Francisco 49ers (200-1)
Remember when the NFC West was a good division? It wasn't that long ago that the Cardinals, 49ers and Seahawks were duking it out in a three-team slugfest for division supremacy.
Much like the Rams, the 49ers have a new head coach in Kyle Shanahan. They also have a new general manager in John Lynch, who aggressively attacked one of the NFL's most talent-bereft rosters in the offseason.
That's the good news; the 49ers appear to be headed in the right direction.
The bad news is that journey is only just beginning. For every hole that's been filled on the 49ers roster, another remains—including at quarterback.
You don't need me to tell you this, but Brian Hoyer isn't leading San Fran to its sixth Super Bowl win—or six wins.
Seattle Seahawks (12-1)
The Seattle Seahawks have made two trips to the Super Bowl in the last four seasons. They've won a championship over that span. And given the state of the rest of the division, the Seahawks might have the easiest road to the postseason of any team in the NFC.
The key for them in 2017 might be health.
Over the first 12 games of last year, the Seahawks were giving up just a hair over 16 points per contest. Then free safety Earl Thomas got hurt and the Seahawks allowed 98 points over their last four games before getting carved up like a Thanksgiving turkey in the playoffs by Atlanta.
If Thomas and the rest of the Legion of Boom can stay healthy, and a patchwork offensive line can at least be adequate at keeping Russell Wilson upright and in one piece, the Seahawks could well be the front-runners in the NFC.
The question then becomes whether that would be enough against (probably) the Patriots in Minneapolis.
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.