The Most Overrated NFL Teams Heading into the 2021 Season

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistMay 10, 2021

The Most Overrated NFL Teams Heading into the 2021 Season

0 of 5

    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    Don't believe all the hype. With a full offseason to make significant roster changes, some NFL teams won't play up to expectations.

    Although new acquisitions can improve a squad's 2021 outlook, other factors can offset progress in the upcoming campaign. Perhaps those additions need time to jell, a top coordinator left for another position or a disgruntled player wants to go elsewhere.

    Last year, the Arizona Cardinals generated a lot buzz after they acquired wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, but they fell flat late in the 2020 season.

    Using DraftKings' Super Bowl odds, we will explain why bettors should avoid five teams in the top 12 in terms of their chances to win Super Bowl LVI.

Los Angeles Rams

1 of 5

    Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald
    Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron DonaldKyusung Gong/Associated Press

    Super Bowl odds: +1300 (Bet $100 to win $1,300)

    The Los Angeles Rams made one of the biggest offseason splashes, acquiring quarterback Matthew Stafford from the Detroit Lions. He's an upgrade over Jared Goff, who had two mediocre seasons after a Super Bowl appearance.

    In 2019, Stafford was on pace to finish the campaign with 38 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions, but he went on injured reserve with hip and back injuries. Last year, he led a passing offense that ranked 10th in yards.

    While the Rams should field a potent offense with Stafford and promising second-year running back Cam Akers set to take on an every-down role, the defense may not match its 2020 performance.

    Don't forget, Los Angeles had the stingiest defense last year. The unit gave up the fewest points and yards. Former Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley accepted the head coaching position with the Los Angeles Chargers. Raheem Morris will replace him.

    As a head coach (or interim) and defensive coordinator, Morris has fielded scoring defenses that ranked 19th or worse in three out of four campaigns.

    The Rams still have star playmakers in defensive tackle Aaron Donald and cornerback Jalen Ramsey, but Morris may not maximize the entire unit as Staley did last year.

    This is a playoff squad, but we cannot justify the Rams with the third-best Super Bowl odds over 2020 playoff teams with more continuity such as the Buffalo Bills (+1400) and Baltimore Ravens (+1500).

San Francisco 49ers

2 of 5

    San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo
    San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy GaroppoloTony Avelar/Associated Press

    Super Bowl odds: +1400

    The San Francisco 49ers couldn't avoid the injury bug last season. Several players had a stint on injured reserve, including quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, running back Raheem Mostert, wide receiver Deebo Samuel, tight end George Kittle, defensive end Nick Bosa and cornerback Richard Sherman.

    The 49ers have a playoff-caliber roster when they're relatively healthy. With that said, Garoppolo isn't a reliable starter. He's missed 23 games over the last three seasons. We could see rookie quarterback Trey Lance take over for his oft-injured veteran counterpart.

    If Lance, Josh Rosen, Nate Sudfeld or Josh Johnson start multiple games, the 49ers don't have much of a shot to reach Super Bowl LVI.

    Furthermore, San Francisco's defense could take a step back after Robert Saleh left his defensive coordinator position to become the New York Jets head coach. DeMeco Ryans, who will take over play-calling duties, has been an assistant on staff since 2017, but he's an unknown as a coordinator.

    Lastly, the 49ers have question marks on the boundary in the secondary, which is a major concern since they face quarterbacks Russell Wilson, Matthew Stafford and Kyler Murray twice for six division matchups.

    Two years ago, when the 49ers went to the Super Bowl, Sherman had a Pro Bowl campaign. He's a free agent but had talks with the team about a new deal, per Chris Biderman of the Sacramento Bee.

    Jason Verrett had a solid 2020 showing, but he's hard to rely on because of his injury history. In the third round of this year's draft, San Francisco selected cornerback Ambry Thomas, who must prove himself. Emmanuel Moseley is a decent starter, but he has just two interceptions in 29 games.

    Without Saleh, San Francisco may need Garoppolo to shoulder more of an offensive load. If he's injured or a subpar performer while healthy, which was the case last season, the 49ers will struggle to even reach the playoffs. This squad has too many variables at play to be considered a top-five Super Bowl favorite.

Green Bay Packers

3 of 5

    Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers
    Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron RodgersMorry Gash/Associated Press

    Super Bowl odds: +1700

    The Green Bay Packers have a major quarterback issue to sort out.

    According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Aaron Rodgers doesn't want to play for the Packers anymore. Per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the 2020 league MVP would even consider retirement in a standoff with the team.

    Last year, Rodgers wasn't happy with Green Bay's decision to trade up and select Jordan Love in the first round of the draft. He also wants more influence on roster personnel decisions, per Rapoport.

    On top of all this, Rodgers wanted an extension, but that didn't come to fruition, per Rapoport.

    According to ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio, Rodgers would consider the San Francisco 49ers, Las Vegas Raiders and Denver Broncos as preferred trade destinations. We can exclude the 49ers after they selected Trey Lance with the third pick in the 2021 draft.

    However, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said, "No, we're not going to trade Aaron Rodgers."

    With all the tension coming to a boiling point, the Packers may have to find the best trade partner for their star quarterback and move forward with Love.

    Even if the Packers mend fences with Rodgers, he would have to compartmentalize his resentment toward the front office for consecutive seasons. Although he did a good job in that regard last year, the speculation about a potential trade or retirement suggests this relationship has taken a turn for the worse.

    Although Rodgers can still play at a high level with so much background noise, he doesn't seem to trust the direction of the organization, which may adversely affect his performances in another year with the Packers. Green Bay should fall out of the top 10 in its odds to win Super Bowl 56.

Denver Broncos

4 of 5

    Denver Broncos edge-rusher Bradley Chubb
    Denver Broncos edge-rusher Bradley ChubbJack Dempsey/Associated Press

    Super Bowl odds: +2200 

    The Denver Broncos may surprise bettors with the ninth-best odds to win the Super Bowl. This only makes sense because of the rumors that connect the team to quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

    According to ESPN's Dianna Russini, the Broncos will make the biggest push for Rodgers if the Packers trade him.

    As of right now, the Broncos have a quarterback battle between Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater, whom they acquired from the Carolina Panthers. Aside from the most important position on the roster, Denver has a strong squad on both sides of the ball.

    The Broncos added rookie second-round running back Javonte Williams, who joins Melvin Gordon III as a solid pair in the backfield. Wideout Courtland Sutton missed the 2020 season with a torn ACL, but he's set to return and form a tandem with Jerry Jeudy on the perimeter.

    On paper, Denver has one of the league's most talented secondary units.

    The Broncos signed Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller. They selected Patrick Surtain II in the first round of April's draft. With Bryce Callahan, the cornerback group has four starting-caliber players. Ball-hawking safety Justin Simmons and versatile defensive back Kareem Jackson complete a strong nickel and dime package.

    Up front, a healthy Von Miller, Bradley Chubb and Malik Reed can generate pocket pressure on the edge with Shelby Harris and Dre'Mont Jones on the interior.

    Even with all of that talent across the roster, Lock or Bridgewater must pull their weight on offense. Neither signal-caller has thrown for more than 16 touchdowns in a single season.

    In the event that the Broncos pull off a trade for Rodgers, they may have to give up multiple key players to execute a deal. If so, Denver would need another offseason to build a title contender around him.

New England Patriots

5 of 5

    New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton
    New England Patriots quarterback Cam NewtonDoug Murray/Associated Press

    Super Bowl odds: +2800

    The New England Patriots have transformed their roster over the course of the offseason, signing several free agents, including wideout Nelson Agholor, tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, linebacker Kyle Van Noy and edge-rusher Matt Judon.

    New England will welcome back a key defensive starter who opted out of the 2020 season in linebacker Dont'a Hightower. Between their new acquisitions and returning player, the Patriots should field a top-10 scoring defense for a 10th consecutive campaign.

    New England's offense, starting with the quarterback position, raises some questions.

    Cam Newton re-signed with the team, and rookie first-rounder Mac Jones joins him and Jarrett Stidham in the quarterback room.

    Head coach Bill Belichick shut down any talk about a quarterback controversy. However, one has to wonder whether the team will have a quick hook for Newton if he struggles with a new set of pass-catchers.

    Newton has endured a decade of wear and tear as a passer and ball-carrier. Since 2019, he's undergone surgery on his shoulder and foot. The 31-year-old didn't have much help at wide receiver or tight end last year, but he may be headed toward a sharp decline with a worn body.

    With Jones in a backup role, the Patriots may find it tempting to plug him into the lineup with Newton on a one-year deal. If the rookie takes over the huddle, we cannot expect him to lead New England to a title.

    The Patriots have better Super Bowl odds than the Tennessee Titans (+4000), which seems disrespectful to the 2020 AFC South champions, who lost offensive coordinator Arthur Smith but still have their core playmakers in quarterback Ryan Tannehill, running back Derrick Henry and wide receiver A.J. Brown.


    If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL).

    Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (CO), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), or call or text the TN REDLINE: 800-889-9789 (TN).

    21+. NJ/PA/WV/IN/IA/CO/IL/TN only. In partnership with Meadows Racetrack & Casino. Eligibility restrictions apply. See for details.