Way-too-early Super Bowl 53 future picks
There was something eery about this past season, which was only magnified during the postseason — a changing of the guard is slowly being ushered in the NFL.
Of the 12 playoff teams in 2017, eight didn’t qualify the year prior. Previously-tortured franchises like the Jaguars and Vikings made deep postseason runs. And of course, the Eagles won their first title since 1960 with a backup quarterback.
Speaking of the position, longtime league flag-bearers like Tom Brady (who will be 41 soon), Drew Brees (just turned 39), Ben Roethlisberger (has openly complemented retirement), and Eli Manning (Giants will likely draft a quarterback early) are in the twilight of their careers. They’re being replaced by young gunslingers of the likes of Jimmy Garoppolo, Carson Wentz, Jared Goff, and the array of 2018 NFL Draft talent.
This theme should continue during the 2018 season. However, don’t completely count out the old guys just yet.
Here’s the way-too-early favorites to hoist a Vince Lombardi trophy this time next year. Take advantage of these longshot odds — before free agency, the draft, and injuries completely alter them — courtesy of Bovada.
New England Patriots (+500)
The Patriots window of opportunity is closing fast — but it’s never shut with Brady and Bill Belichick at the helm. Retaining offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels should keep their high-octane offense (one that never punted in the Super Bowl) in form, if not better. Now Belichick, a defensive wiz, needs to fix that side of the ball fast to deliver New England a sixth ring.
Much is being made of Nick Foles completely torching a Malcolm Butler-less Patriots secondary last week. Yes, Butler’s presence hurt, but those struggles defending the pass can mostly be pinned on a nonexistent pass rush. New England’s front seven let Foles sit in the pocket all game long. Addressing the front needs to be priority number one for the Patriots’ brass.
If you like playing it safe, New England should earn your money.
Philadelphia Eagles (+750)
Anytime a “new” team dotted with young players wins a championship for the first time, the word “dynasty” starts following them. The Eagles are in the midst of that right now, especially since they won without their second-year franchise quarterback.
However, the fact is, building a dynasty is a longshot in the NFL. The only team that’s earned the “dynasty” label is New England, and they needed the greatest head coach and quarterback ever to accomplish the feat.
Aside from the Patriots, only two other teams — the Steelers and Giants — in the past 15 years have won more than one Super Bowl title. Here’s the caveat: they won the second championships years apart (three and four years apart, respectively).
No one has claimed back-to-back championships since New England in 2003 and 2004. Avoid the hype and skip Philadelphia here. They’ll be playing with a giant target on their back all of 2018.
San Francisco 49ers (+1800)
Make no mistake about it, perhaps no player is under more pressure this upcoming season than Garoppolo. The six-win 49ers have the sixth-best odds at winning a Super Bowl and Jimmy G just inked the richest contract in league history — five years for $137.5 million. As the old adage goes, “no pressure, no diamonds.”
A four-year sample size certainly illustrates Garoppolo is no flash in the pan. Since entering the league in 2014, he ranks first in yards per attempt (8.3), fourth in completion percentage (67.3), and fifth in passer rating (99.7) among quarterbacks. There’s a reason why Belichick held on to him for so long — to become the heir apparent to Brady.
Now it’s on San Francisco’s brain trust to surround him with better weapons. We doubt an injury-prone Carlos Hyde and throwaway wide receivers like Marquise Goodwin and George Kittle are Super Bowl material. It might be best to wait until free agency and the draft before betting big on the 49ers.
New Orleans Saints (+1800)
Few stories strike a chord more than the aging gunslinger riding off into the sunset one last time in victory. That’s how Peyton Manning went out just two years ago.
It’s not far-fetched to believe Brees will do the same next. Heck, if not for a miracle in Minneapolis (and a whiffed tackle), that could be the story today.
While Brees is technically a free agent, let’s not pretend he won’t be back in a Saints uniform next season. The most-balanced offensive attack is waiting for him and his last shot for a second Super Bowl.
Category : Sports BettingMore articles...