Updated NFL Super Bowl Odds After Early Free Agency

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistApril 8, 2019

Updated NFL Super Bowl Odds After Early Free Agency

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    The National Football League doesn't hand out the Lombardi Trophy in the spring. It's an obvious fact but also an important one to keep in mind when assessing the moves that teams have and haven't made in free agency.

    The New England Patriots, for example, have once again failed to make waves in free agency, yet they're favored to win the big one. Still, the moves teams made over the last month will impact the upcoming season. The question is how much.

    Here, we'll take a look at the latest Super Bowl LIV odds for each team—using the most favorable odds from Oddschecker.com—and assess how accurately those reflect the actual chances of winning a title. Which teams are legitimate contenders? Which have made the necessary moves to enter the conversation? Which are entering rebuilding seasons? Let's dig in.

    Odds are current as of April 8 and listed in reverse order.

    Jump to: 

    AFC East: BillsDolphinsJets, Patriots

    NFC East: CowboysEagles, GiantsRedskins

    AFC North: BengalsBrownsRavens, Steelers

    NFC North: BearsLionsPackersVikings

    AFC South: ColtsJaguars, TexansTitans

    NFC South: BuccaneersFalconsPanthersSaints

    AFC West: BroncosChargersChiefsRaiders

    NFC West: 49ersCardinalsRamsSeahawks

Miami Dolphins: 150-1

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    Dolphins head coach Brian Flores
    Dolphins head coach Brian FloresMichael Conroy/Associated Press

    The Miami Dolphins may not end up as the worst team in 2019, but they do feel the furthest away from a Super Bowl. They have a rookie head coach in Brian Flores, a 36-year-old journeyman quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick and one Pro Bowler (cornerback Xavien Howard) from the 2018 season.

    While Miami won't say it publicly, it does appear as though the franchise is trying to tank.

    "The Miami Dolphins, clueless in how to piece together a consistent NFL winner this entire century, are going to the nuclear option for 2019," Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald wrote. "That's official."

    Plans could change if a top quarterback falls into Miami's lap at 13th overall, but the goal for this season appears to be securing a top selection in next year's draft.

Cincinnati Bengals: 125-1

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    Bengals QB Andy Dalton
    Bengals QB Andy DaltonJoe Robbins/Getty Images

    Like the Dolphins, the Cincinnati Bengals are turning to a first-time head coach. In their case, it's former Los Angeles Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor. Unlike Miami, the Bengals may not be one of the worst teams in football next year.

    Yes, Cincinnati has issues. At 31, quarterback Andy Dalton appears to have reached his ceiling as a good-not-great regular-season quarterback. The Bengals had one of the league's worst defenses in 2018—the unit allowed a league-high 413.6 yards per game—and Taylor is unproven.

    However, the team does have some dangerous offensive weapons to build around. When players like A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard are healthy, the offense can be tough to stop.

    Cincinnati should be competitive in 2019, though it will likely again be looking up at the rest of the talented AFC North.

Detroit Lions: 125-1

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    Lions RB Kerryon Johnson
    Lions RB Kerryon JohnsonLeon Halip/Getty Images

    If running back Kerryon Johnson can stay healthy for the entire season, the Detroit Lions could be a tough team to handle on that side of the ball. They still have Matthew Stafford at quarterback, they watched Kenny Golladay come into his own as a No. 1 receiver last season and they added wideout Danny Amendola and tight end Jesse James to the receiving corps.

    If head coach Matt Patricia can get his defense to take another positive step—and the addition of defensive end Trey Flowers should help—then Detroit could be a sleeper playoff team in 2019.

    Will the Lions push past the Chicago Bears in the NFC North? Probably not. They aren't likely title contenders either. However, Detroit should have a shot at second place in the division, and having the same odds as the Arizona Cardinals feels unwarranted.

Arizona Cardinals: 125-1

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    Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury
    Cardinals head coach Kliff KingsburyJohn Weast/Getty Images

    The big question for Arizona is whether the team will stick with 2018 first-round pick Josh Rosen at quarterback or take a chance on Oklahoma's Kyler Murray with the No. 1 selection April 25. Answering that question and developing their quarterback of the future is the only realistic goal for the Cardinals in 2019.

    Arizona is not a playoff contender, and it's not close. This is a team with some aging talent—cornerback Patrick Peterson will be 29 at the start of the season, believe it or not—a few young standouts and a whole lot of questions. It's being led by Kliff Kingsbury, a first-time NFL head coach fresh off a firing at Texas Tech.

    If Kingsbury's wide-open offense works at the pro level, Arizona might be fun to watch in 2019, but it isn't getting past the Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks—who both made the playoffs in 2018—in the NFC West.

Buffalo Bills: 100-1

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    Bills QB Josh Allen
    Bills QB Josh AllenJeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

    These odds feel a little too long for the Buffalo Bills, especially considering the pieces they've added in free agency.

    Center Mitch Morse and tackle Ty Nsekhe will help upgrade the line in front of second-year quarterback Josh Allen, while Frank Gore will help boost the running game. Wideouts Cole Beasley and John Brown will give Allen more weapons to work with, while Kevin Johnson and E.J. Gaines will help upgrade the secondary.

    This is a Bills team that fielded the league's second-best defense in yards allowed (294.1 per game) last season. If Allen can improve on his rookie campaign, Buffalo could see a postseason return.

Washington Redskins: 100-1

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    Redskins RB Adrian Peterson
    Redskins RB Adrian PetersonMark Zaleski/Associated Press

    This is likely to be a rebuilding or, at the least, a retooling year for the Washington Redskins. Barring another addition, it will be either Case Keenum or Colt McCoy at quarterback in Week 1. Both are serviceable in stretches, but neither is going to strike fear into the rest of the NFC East.

    Landing safety Landon Collins in free agency was a coup, but losing wideout Jamison Crowder will hurt the offense. The team didn't have many reliable weapons before his departure.

    Washington should be getting a relatively healthy Derrius Guice at running back after he tore his ACL last preseason, but that won't be enough to propel the Redskins to a deep playoff run. Could Washington surprise? Sure, but it isn't winning a title in 2019.

New York Jets: 80-1

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    Jets QB Sam Darnold
    Jets QB Sam DarnoldSeth Wenig/Associated Press

    Hope is on the horizon for the New York Jets. Quarterback Sam Darnold showed a lot of promise as a rookie, and new head coach Adam Gase should bring in some offensive innovation to support him. Of course, the addition of versatile running back Le'Veon Bell is only going to further improve the offense.

    Unfortunately, the Jets are in a division with the Patriots, who may not be a championship team but will likely again win the AFC East. That's perhaps the biggest reason why the Jets' odds at 80-1 feel about right.

    They are a franchise on the rise, but the idea of a Super Bowl in 2019 is wishful thinking.

Oakland Raiders: 75-1

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    Raiders head coach Jon Gruden
    Raiders head coach Jon GrudenJohn Hefti/Associated Press

    Like the Jets, the Oakland Raiders are a team on the rise. The first year of head coach Jon Gruden's return left fans disappointed, but it's set up the franchise with three first-round picks in this year's draft and two first-rounders in 2020. The team also obtained a pair of talented receivers in Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams.

    The Raiders will be laying their foundation for the future in 2019—one that may or may not include quarterback Derek Carr. However, they probably won't be ready to make a playoff run until after they've left Oakland for Las Vegas in 2020.

    The Raiders feel like an "8-8, 9-7 if all goes well" squad, which shows improvement. They're not title contenders yet, however.

Denver Broncos: 66-1

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    Broncos GM John Elway
    Broncos GM John ElwayMichael Conroy/Associated Press

    One reason the Raiders will struggle to reach the playoffs is the presence of the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs within the AFC West. The same problem exists for the Denver Broncos, who are in a better position to win now than Oakland but aren't legitimate title contenders.

    Denver traded a fourth-round pick to the Baltimore Ravens for 34-year-old quarterback Joe Flacco, which should solidify the position for the short term. It also added tackle Ja'Wuan James, safety Kareem Jackson and cornerback Bryce Callahan in free agency. These additions should make the Broncos a more formidable team, but it doesn't put them on par with the conference's elite.

    The Broncos should be good enough to be a factor in the AFC West, but they won't win it.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 66-1

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    Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston
    Buccaneers QB Jameis WinstonChris O'Meara/Associated Press

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been active this offseason, both in arrivals and departures. They traded DeSean Jackson and replaced him with Breshad Perriman. They released defensive end Vinny Curry and added Shaquil Barrett. They parted with wideout Adam Humphries and re-signed kicker Cairo Santos.

    This doesn't look like a vastly different unit than last year's 5-11 squad, but the difference is in the coaching department, where veteran Bruce Arians has taken over. If he can get the best out of quarterback Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers offense, Tampa will be relevant in the NFC South.

    As is the case with many long-odds teams, however, the Buccaneers are looking up at other teams in the division. Getting past the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers and snagging a wild-card spot won't be easy.

Tennessee Titans: 60-1

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    Titans HC Mike Vrabel
    Titans HC Mike VrabelMark Zaleski/Associated Press

    It's more than a little surprising to see the Tennessee Titans with only slightly better odds than the Buccaneers. Yes, the Titans reside in an AFC South that sent two other teams to the playoffs in 2018, but they are coming off a 9-7 campaign and added some nice pieces in free agency.

    Guard Rodger Saffold and wideout Adam Humphries will help the offense, while Cameron Wake will strengthen Tennessee's pass rush.

    The team can't be counted out of the division race, and if the Titans get into the postseason, anything is possible. No, they probably aren't title contenders yet, but there's no way they should share Super Bowl odds with the New York Giants. 

New York Giants: 60-1

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    Giants RB Saquon Barkley
    Giants RB Saquon BarkleyBill Kostroun/Associated Press

    Perhaps the oddsmakers are expecting New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley to have the greatest single season in league history. There isn't any other reason to explain why New York has the same odds as a team that narrowly missed the postseason in 2018.

    The Giants have Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram and a 38-year-old Eli Manning—and little else. Sure, they added standout guard Kevin Zeitler, safety Jabrill Peppers and some draft picks, but they also traded Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon. Plus, safety Landon Collins signed with Washington.

    A 5-11 team that loses two Pro Bowlers and its No. 1 receiver should not be expected to take a step closer to the Super Bowl. This is a clear rebuilding year for the Giants.

Carolina Panthers: 50-1

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    Panthers QB Cam Newton
    Panthers QB Cam NewtonMike McCarn/Associated Press

    The Carolina Panthers had a disappointing 7-9 season in 2018, but a lot of the blame lies with quarterback Cam Newton's injured shoulder—a nagging setback that required surgery after the season. Newton has shown he can play at an MVP level when healthy, so Carolina's season will hinge on his recovery.

    The Panthers lost some notable players, such as wideout Devin Funchess, linebacker Thomas Davis and retired pass-rusher Julius Peppers, but the roster should be roughly as good as it was last season.

    If a healthy Newton gets Carolina two or three additional wins, it will likely be back in the playoffs in 2019.

Jacksonville Jaguars: 35-1

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    Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette
    Jaguars RB Leonard FournetteAdrian Kraus/Associated Press

    The addition of quarterback Nick Foles is big for the Jacksonville Jaguars, but it probably isn't enough to get them back to the AFC title game. This team was a disaster for most of 2018, and it lost some key players in the offseason.

    Tashaun Gipson, Malik Jackson and Donte Moncrief all left, and the Jaguars have yet to re-sign running back T.J. Yeldon.

    As Foles goes, so the Jaguars offense will go. Running back Leonard Fournette's play declined after a good-but-not-great rookie campaign. The defense also took a step back after a dominant 2017, and with Jackson and Gipson gone, it's not likely to bounce completely back.

    Jacksonville should be relevant in 2019 but not in the championship picture.

San Francisco 49ers: 33-1

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    49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan
    49ers head coach Kyle ShanahanMichael Conroy/Associated Press

    The San Francisco 49ers could be a surprise playoff entrant in 2019—not a championship team, but a playoff team. They've added some underrated pieces, such as linebacker Kwon Alexander and running back Tevin Coleman. Plus, they should have quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo back from his torn ACL.

    "Hopefully it will be full-go for training camp, and I think we will get a lot of work with him in OTAs also," 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said of Garoppolo, per Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports Bay Area.

    It would be silly, of course, to expect San Francisco to make the jump from a 4-12 team to the Lombardi winner just because Garoppolo is back, but the 49ers should still be relevant in late December.

Houston Texans: 30-1

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    Texans QB Deshaun Watson
    Texans QB Deshaun WatsonMichael Wyke/Associated Press

    The Houston Texans won the AFC South last season, but they didn't dominate the division, and they had their issues. The biggest were an offensive line that struggled to pass protect and Deshaun Watson's propensity to take unnecessary sacks. He ended up being sacked 62 times.

    So long as Watson can remain upright in 2019, however, the Texans should be back in the postseason mix.

    They should get wideout Will Fuller V back from a torn ACL and should benefit from another year of growth from Watson. They also added defensive backs Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Bradley Roby and Tashaun Gipson in free agency, which should help improve last year's 28th-ranked pass defense (260.4 yards per game allowed).

Baltimore Ravens: 30-1

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    Ravens QB Lamar Jackson
    Ravens QB Lamar JacksonCarolyn Kaster/Associated Press

    Will opposing defenses adapt to Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens' run-first scheme? This is perhaps the biggest question facing the team.

    The Los Angeles Chargers countered Baltimore's offensive speed in the postseason by utilizing extra defensive backs. Every team can't employ this strategy, especially with bruising runner Mark Ingram now part of the Ravens backfield.

    If opponents can find an answer for Jackson, though, the Ravens could be in trouble. Even after the team added Earl Thomas, the departures of C.J. Mosley, Eric Weddle, Terrell Suggs and Za'Darius Smith likely means Baltimore won't be able to rely as heavily on its defense in 2019.

Seattle Seahawks: 29-1

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    Seahawks QB Russell Wilson
    Seahawks QB Russell WilsonMichael Ainsworth/Associated Press

    The Seattle Seahawks should be in the playoff conversation again this season—assuming, of course, that quarterback Russell Wilson doesn't stage a surprise holdout. Wilson has given Seattle an April 15 deadline for getting a new contract done. It seems unlikely that Wilson would refuse to play without a new deal, but contract negotiations can be unpredictable.

    Even if Wilson is on board for the 2019 season, No. 1 receiver Doug Baldwin could miss time. He's undergone three separate surgeries since the end of the 2018 season (knee, shoulder, sports hernia).

    "We'll just hang with him," Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said, per Brady Henderson of ESPN.com. "If anyone can do it, he can."

    Seattle may have to find a replacement for Baldwin either on the open market or in the draft. If it does—and obviously, if Wilson does indeed play—the team should be a factor in the NFC playoff race.

Atlanta Falcons: 28-1

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    Falcons WR Julio Jones
    Falcons WR Julio JonesJason E. Miczek/Associated Press

    No, the Atlanta Falcons' odds aren't 28-3. They're 28-1, and really, it makes Atlanta a sneaky sleeper bet for 2019. This team is loaded with offensive talent and an MVP-caliber quarterback in Matt Ryan. Let's not forget that the Falcons are just two years removed from a Super Bowl appearance and year removed from a close loss in the divisional round.

    The two burning questions for the Falcons are: Can the roster stay healthy, and can the defense find a pass rush?

    If the Falcons keep their key players on the field and find a way to pressure opposing quarterbacks—they had just 37 sacks in 2018—they'll be relevant in the NFC South through December.

Dallas Cowboys: 23-1

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    Cowboys DE Demarcus Lawrence
    Cowboys DE Demarcus LawrenceRon Jenkins/Associated Press

    The Dallas Cowboys won the NFC East last season and advanced to the divisional round. They may be even better in 2019.

    The Cowboys retained pass-rusher Demarcus Lawrence via a five-year, $105 million extension, and they boosted the offense and defense with the additions of Randall Cobb and George Iloka, respectively. With another year in the Dallas offense, Amari Cooper should be better, and getting safety-valve tight end Jason Witten back from the broadcasting booth won't hurt.

    At this point, it's difficult to not consider the Cowboys the division favorites, though their odds are worse than that of the Philadelphia Eagles—likely due to the prospect of a healthy Carson Wentz in 2019.

Minnesota Vikings: 22-1

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    Vikings QB Kirk Cousins
    Vikings QB Kirk CousinsBruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

    Will the Minnesota Vikings get the version of Kirk Cousins they wanted when they handed him a fully guaranteed, $84 million contract last offseason? This is the big question facing the team.

    The Vikings weren't short on talent last season, but they fell far short of expectations. This is partially because Cousins shrunk in big games and partially because the offensive line in front of him was a liability.

    According to Mike Johnson of Pro Football Focus, the Vikings allowed a league-high 226 quarterback pressures in 2018.

    If the Vikings can improve the line and can get consistent play out of Cousins, Minnesota should be back in the playoff picture.

Pittsburgh Steelers: 20-1

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    Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin
    Steelers head coach Mike TomlinButch Dill/Associated Press

    Don't let the losses of Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell fool you. The Pittsburgh Steelers aren't suddenly going to fall to the back of the AFC North pack. They still have plenty of offensive weapons and a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger.

    However, there are serious concerns for Pittsburgh. Can the Steelers find a replacement for Ryan Shazier at linebacker? The defense hasn't been the same since he was lost to a neck injury in 2017, and it prevented the Steelers from being a playoff squad last season.

    A bigger question mark might be whether coach Mike Tomlin can stop distractions from taking over the team. The drama surrounding Bell hung over the franchise for most of last year, and Pittsburgh never seemed to recover from the Jesse James dropped-pass drama against the New England Patriots the year before.

    If the Steelers can field a functional defense and can maintain focus, they'll remain in the race for the division.

Green Bay Packers: 20-1

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    Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
    Packers QB Aaron RodgersMike Roemer/Associated Press

    Either 20-1 odds are far too high or far too low for the Green Bay Packers. A lot is going to depend on how the locker room responds to new head coach Matt LaFleur and his dynamic with quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

    Obviously, the relationship wasn't good between Rodgers and Mike McCarthy by the time the latter was dismissed last season. The two butted heads like a pair of warring goats, with neither feeling he was in the wrong.

    "If you were going to write a headline," one former Packer told Bleacher Report's Tyler Dunne, "that would be it right there: How Egos Took Down the Packers."

    If LaFleur and Rodgers can coexist, the Packers could be championship material once again. The defensive additions of Za'Darius Smith, Preston Smith and Adrian Amos should bring more balance to the roster—and Rodgers is still one of the league's best quarterbacks.

    There will be an adjustment period, though, and if Rodgers doesn't take to LaFleur, Green Bay could again be an also-ran.

Philadelphia Eagles: 17-1

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    Eagles QB Carson Wentz
    Eagles QB Carson WentzMatt Rourke/Associated Press

    Will Carson Wentz be at 100 percent in 2019? Will he stay there? The answers will likely determine the 2019 Eagles' success level.

    This team started and finished the 2018 season with backup Nick Foles under center. Yet, it still got to the divisional round—and its loss to the New Orleans Saints wasn't decisive. The Eagles have the talent to be a title contender just like they were two years ago.

    If Wentz can be more like the MVP-caliber quarterback he was in 2017 than he was last season, the Eagles will be in the Super Bowl conversation. Even if he's a notch below, they should still threaten for a playoff spot.

Chicago Bears: 16-1

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    Bears LB Khalil Mack
    Bears LB Khalil MackNam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    The fact that the Chicago Bears share Super Bowl odds with the Cleveland Browns feels a little disrespectful. Chicago was the turnaround team of 2018, with a smothering defense and an offense that flourished under first-year head coach Matt Nagy. With a more reliable kicker, the Bears might have made a deep postseason run.

    They went 12-4 last season, and on paper, they look just as good—if not better.

    Chicago signed Buster Skrine to replace Bryce Callahan, while Haha Clinton-Dix is on board to replace Adrian Amos. Mike Davis will help replace Jordan Howard, who was traded to Philadelphia. Utility man Cordarrelle Patterson should boost both the offense and special teams.

    If Mitchell Trubisky can take another step toward being a true franchise quarterback—and the Bears can find that elusive dependable kicker—Chicago could win it all in 2019.

Cleveland Browns: 16-1

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    Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens
    Browns head coach Freddie KitchensTony Dejak/Associated Press

    The Cleveland Browns have the same odds as two double-digit-win teams from a year ago. That's a bit of an overreaction to the addition of wideout Odell Beckham Jr. This team went 7-8-1 a season ago and is rolling with a first-time head coach in Freddie Kitchens.

    Still, Beckham is a huge acquisition. They also added pass-rusher Olivier Vernon, defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson and safety Morgan Burnett. In addition, they brought in running back Kareem Hunt before free agency and should have him available after his eight-game suspension ends.

    Given the new additions and the hype created by Baker Mayfield's tremendous rookie campaign—he threw a rookie record 27 touchdowns in 14 games—anything short of a playoff berth will be seen as a disappointment in Cleveland. It's still a little premature to consider the Browns title contenders, however.

Indianapolis Colts: 16-1

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    Colts QB Andrew Luck
    Colts QB Andrew LuckPhelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    The Indianapolis Colts got back into playoff form last season thanks to the return of a healthy Andrew Luck after his lengthy recovery from a shoulder injury. They should be better in 2019 despite not being especially active in free agency.

    Indianapolis added pass-rusher Justin Houston and wide receiver Devin Funchess. One will help the defense counter the elite offenses the Colts are likely to see in the postseason, while the other will give Luck a 6'4", 225-pound complementary target alongside T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron.

    Luck's health will be key, as will the team's ability to compete in the talented AFC South—an ugly 6-0 loss to the Jaguars in Week 13 may have cost them the division last year. There is every reason to believe, though, that the Colts are title contenders.

Los Angeles Chargers: 15-1

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    Chargers DE Joey Bosa
    Chargers DE Joey BosaJae C. Hong/Associated Press

    The Patriots embarrassed the Los Angeles Chargers in Foxborough last postseason, which is something plenty of AFC teams have been forced to endure. Up to that point, however, Los Angeles looked like one of the best and most balanced squads in the league.

    If the Chargers hadn't lost the tiebreaker to the rival Chiefs, they would have taken the AFC's No. 1 seed and would likely have hosted a divisional-round game.

    While Los Angeles hasn't been a big spender in free agency—its most notable addition was linebacker Thomas Davis—there's no reason to believe the Chargers will take a step back. In fact, with the Chiefs potentially set for a slight decline, L.A. may be headed to the top of the conference simply by maintaining the status quo.

New Orleans Saints: 10-1

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    Saints QB Drew Brees
    Saints QB Drew BreesJohn Bazemore/Associated Press

    The New Orleans Saints are all-in on the 2019 season. They signed running back Latavius Murray to help replace Mark Ingram and added tight end Jared Cook to help round out the offense. They should be close to unstoppable on that side of the ball.

    The question is whether the defense can take another step toward being championship-caliber. The Saints were great against the run in 2018 (No. 2, at 80.2 yards per game allowed) but merely average overall (14th in both scoring and yardage).

    As a whole, the Saints should be as good as they were in 2018, and they fell just a couple of plays short of representing the NFC in the Super Bowl. Under the newly revamped replay rules, they likely would have made it.

Los Angeles Rams: 9-1

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    Rams RB Todd Gurley
    Rams RB Todd GurleyPatrick Semansky/Associated Press

    It's a little surprising to see the Los Angeles Rams more heavily favored than the Saints. Yes, L.A. played in the Super Bowl last season, but the Rams have lost some important pieces, such as guard Rodger Saffold and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

    The Rams also face some uncertainty with star running back Todd Gurley, who struggled with a knee issue late last season and who may be dealing with arthritis in that knee. While Gurley might not miss time in 2019, the Rams may not be able to let him carry the offense.

    "I think what's important for us is, let's figure out what's the best way to put Todd in position to have a successful season over the course of the entire year," Rams coach Sean McVay said, via the team's official website.

    If L.A. is forced to keep Gurley on a pitch count, it will make the Rams' vaunted offense just a little easier to contain.

Kansas City Chiefs: 8-1

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    Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes
    Chiefs QB Patrick MahomesAssociated Press

    If the Kansas City Chiefs had been able to get an overtime stop in last year's AFC title game, they might have represented the conference in Super Bowl LIII. However, their defense, which allowed an average of 405.5 yards per game (31st) in the regular season, was a liability and wasn't up to the challenge.

    After Kansas City parted with pass-rushers Dee Ford and Justin Houston, it's difficult to see the Chiefs defense taking a big step forward. Adding safety Tyrann Mathieu and defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah may help some, but Kansas City won't suddenly be a defensive team.

    Perhaps more concerning is the uncertainty surrounding No. 1 wideout Tyreek Hill amid an investigation regarding possible child abuse.

    The Chiefs could be poised for a bit of a backslide.   

New England Patriots: 8-1

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    Patriots head coach Bill Belichick
    Patriots head coach Bill BelichickAssociated Press

    Should the New England Patriots really be considered favorites to win the Super Bowl? Probably not. They've lost Trey Flowers, Malcom Brown and Cordarrelle Patterson in free agency. They still haven't re-signed kicker Stephen Gostkowski, and, of course, they lost star tight end Rob Gronkowski to retirement.

    "This is an enormous loss for the Patriots, who will fundamentally have to rethink how they approach their offense without their star tight end," Bill Barnwell of ESPN.com wrote.

    In addition, New England is dealing with the loss of defensive play-caller Brian Flores and the sudden resignation of his replacement, Greg Schiano.

    Still, it's hard to bet against the Patriots, who have been to the Super Bowl in each of the past three seasons and four of the last five. It feels a little unlikely that they'll be back this year, but it isn't hard to see why they're a betting favorite.


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