The NFL regained a sense of normalcy in Week 2.
After an eye-opening Week 1 where big names like the New England Patriots went down, Tom Brady and other usual suspects turned it around and regained momentum both in the power rankings and in the minds of oddsmakers out of Las Vegas.
Still, would-be bettors when it comes to Super Bowl lines have plenty of wiggle room here as the oddsmakers try to sort through each team and adjust for results while pairing them with projections.
An inexact science, of course, but it appears there are plenty of quality lines worth examing after a look at updated power rankings based on two weeks of play and a dash of opinion.
2017 NFL Power Rankings and Super Bowl Odds
|1||Kansas City Chiefs (28-1)|
|2||Oakland Raiders (10-1)|
|3||Pittsburgh Steelers (12-1)|
|4||New England Patriots (13-4)|
|5||Atlanta Falcons (12-1)|
|6||Seattle Seahawks (12-1)|
|7||Tampa Bay Buccaneers (33-1)|
|8||Tennessee Titans (33-1)|
|9||Dallas Cowboys (14-1)|
|10||New York Giants (18-1)|
|11||Green Bay Packers (8-1)|
|12||Denver Broncos (28-1)|
|13||Detroit Lions (66-1)|
|14||Washington Redskins (50-1)|
|15||Philadelphia Eagles (40-1)|
|16||Los Angeles Rams (150-1)|
|17||Baltimore Ravens (50-1)|
|18||Miami Dolphins (75-1)|
|19||New Orleans Saints (50-1)|
|20||Los Angeles Chargers (50-1)|
|21||Carolina Panthers (25-1)|
|22||Arizona Cardinals (33-1)|
|23||Houston Texans (25-1)|
|24||Minnesota Vikings (40-1)|
|25||Indianapolis Colts (50-1)|
|26||Chicago Bears (150-1)|
|27||Jacksonville Jaguars (100-1)|
|28||Cincinnati Bengals (50-1)|
|29||Buffalo Bills (150-1)|
|30||Cleveland Browns (300-1)|
|31||San Francisco 49ers (300-1)|
|32||New York Jets (300-1)|
|author's opinion, odds via OddsShark|
2017 NFL Records
- Miami 1-0
- Buffalo 1-1
- New England 1-1
- N.Y. Jets 0-2
- Baltimore 2-0
- Pittsburgh 2-0
- Cincinnati 0-2
- Cleveland 0-2
- Houston 1-1
- Jacksonville 1-1
- Tennessee 1-1
- Indianapolis 0-2
- Denver 2-0
- Kansas City 2-0
- Oakland 2-0
- L.A. Chargers 0-2
- Dallas 1-1
- Philadelphia 1-1
- Washington 1-1
- N.Y. Giants 0-1
- Detroit 1-0
- Green Bay 1-1
- Minnesota 1-1
- Chicago 0-2
- Carolina 2-0
- Atlanta 2-0
- Tampa Bay 1-0
- New Orleans 0-2
- Arizona 1-1
- L.A. Rams 1-1
- Seattle 1-1
- San Francisco 0-2
Ease Off: Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles were one of the nicer surprises coming out of Week 1.
Carson Wentz and his new-look cast of weapons, featuring wideout Alshon Jeffery and running back LeGarrette Blount, picked up a quality road win against a rival NFC East team thanks to a 30-17 takedown of the Washington Redskins.
The Eagles, though, then went on to faceplant against the Kansas City Chiefs on the road.
Wentz had a so-so day in Kansas City, going 25-of-46 for 333 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. But he wound up needing to lead the team in rushing and couldn't compensate for his defense coughing up 112 yards and two touchdowns on a 5.9 per-carry average on all of 19 totes.
Criticisms of the Eagles came from all corners, including an astute point by Reuben Frank of CSN:
Is this a one-week gaffe against a good team or something bigger?
Hard to say, though in hindsight the win against the Redskins looks more suspect when viewed through the lens of Kirk Cousins trying to compensate for the losses of names like DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. NFC East contests have a way of coming out 50-50, too.
For now, bettors might find it best to ease off the Eagles. No sense in throwing down some of the bankroll on a team simply because of a win in the opener.
Worth a Look: Pittsburgh Steelers
On the other end of the spectrum is the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Bettors might have rightfully shied away from Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell and the rest after the team struggled to a 21-18 win against the lowly Cleveland Browns in Week 1.
But bettors know better. The Week 1 game came on the road and Week 2 saw the Steelers follow up the slow start by blowing away the Minnesota Vikings in 26-9 fashion. Granted, the Vikings trotted out Case Keenum under center, but Big Ben still tossed a pair of scores and helped the team hold the ball for north of 34 minutes.
Interestingly enough, it seems the Steelers have yet to even hit full stride. Bell has only averaged 3.2 yards per carry in each of the first two games and he's adamant the best is yet to come.
"I'm due for an explosion play," Bell said, according to the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). "It hasn't happened yet. I think I had almost three today but those guys, they made a couple tackles on a screen or a run where I almost broke out."
When it comes to the long-term outlook for the Steelers, bettors know what to expect. They're resilient and still have room to improve. The rest of the AFC North looks mediocre at best, too, with the Baltimore Ravens injured and the Cincinnati Bengals back in the cellar.
At the least, there are much worse plays available.
Invest Heavily: Atlanta Falcons
A safe bet with a slightly better payout than a team like the Patriots is the Atlanta Falcons.
There doesn't appear to be much of a Super Bowl hangover here. The Falcons hit the road in Week 1 and overcame a better-than-advertised front seven trotted out by the Chicago Bears, then turned around and whipped the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football, 34-23.
Green Bay went without both starting offensive tackles, sure. But miserable conditions haven't stopped Aaron Rodgers from keeping games competitive in the past. Atlanta's strong rush, though, swamped him most of the night:
Speaking of rushing, the Falcons wound up putting 141 yards and two touchdowns on a 5.2 per-carry average on the board, with both touchdowns scored by Devonta Freeman.
From a long-term outlook, this combination of a strong defensive rush and a potent Matt Ryan-led offense figures to breeze through the NFC South again. The Carolina Panthers are undefeated as well, yet beating the San Francisco 49ers and a 9-3 win against the Buffalo Bills isn't nearly as impressive.
Normally the Super Bowl loser is one to avoid. Here, though, the Falcons seem to have put it well behind them and returned to a business-as-usual approach.