Best Long Shots to win 2016 Super Bowl

NFL Steve O Speak

Every week during the NFL season we hear about “respect” from the players. Specifically, if they feel they are being disrespected — by fans, opponents, the media, coaches, or management — they talk about it and are often motivated by it. Because disrespect plays such a big role in the lives of players, it only makes sense to be on the lookout for teams and players that could be feeling an extra dose of disrespect.


One way to measure the respect teams are getting from the general public is by looking at Super Bowl futures odds. Those betting odds assign each team a chance of winning the Super Bowl. More interesting than that, though, is that they essentially show us how teams are ranked in the eyes of the public — the lower the odds, the more the public likes them. This also changes with each game being played during the season and as the public perception changes so it’s important to keep up with each matchup during the season. After perusing the odds, here are three teams that stand out because they aren’t getting the respect from the oddsmakers that they deserve (all odds to win the Super Bowl are from online bookmaker Bovada):


Jacksonville Jaguars (200/1): The Jaguars are tied with the Titans as the longest shot in the entire NFL to win the Super Bowl. While I have absolutely no expectations that they will win it all, or even make the playoffs, I don’t think it is fair to put them at the bottom of the heap. At the end of the season two years ago they closed strong and looked good. They took a step back for much of last year, but injuries and inexperience played a big role in that. They have stability in leadership this year with the solid addition of Doug Marrone, who apparently doesn’t like making head-coaching money, to the staff. Their young core is a year older, and Blake Bortles shouldn’t look quite so much like a deer in the headlights as the game slows down for him a bit. They have had a solid offseason, addressing needs in several areas. Most notably, in Julius Thomas Bortles now has a reliable, disruptive target that he has lacked. Thomas will also take pressure off the promising-but-young receiving corps. They also have the third overall pick and will be able to add another high-quality prospect in a position of need. This team has been so bad for so long that it has been easy to forget about them entirely. Progress could still be slow, but this team is taking steps forward — faster than the odds suggest.


Minnesota Vikings (50/1): Minnesota has better odds than just six teams in the league. I don’t see it. What they accomplished last year — 7-9 overall and 5-3 at home — was just remarkable. They had a rookie quarterback, some talent issues in spots, and the whole Adrian Peterson debacle hanging over them. They could easily have given up, but their coaching is outstanding, and the players were tough right up to the end. One way or another, there will be clarity on the Peterson situation before training camp starts, and that won’t be the biggest topic of discussion around the team anymore. Teddy Bridgewater was excellent as a rookie and could take a step forward. They signed Shaun Hill as a reliable security blanket if Bridgewater is hurt. They exchanged Greg Jennings for Mike Wallace as their No. 1 receiver, and that is a move with serious upside. Aside from that, they haven’t made big splashes in free agency, but the moves they have made have been progressive and effective. This is not an elite team, but it’s an improved one with strong coaching. They aren’t in the top tier of teams, but neither are they in the bottom tier as this price suggests.


San Diego Chargers (40/1): These odds suggest that there are 16 teams in the NFL that are better than the Chargers. Again, I don’t see it. They are coming off a 9-7 season, yet it is hard not to feel like they underachieved in reaching that level. Their talent is solid, and they have not suffered in a significant way in free agency. The coaching is solid. Philip Rivers is playing much better under the new regime than he did under Norv Turner in later years, and there is at least a chance that he will be playing for a contract after the season. The potential of relocation has haunted this team and could be a major distraction going forward, but with news coming out that the city and county are willing to finance a new stadium, this may not be as much of an issue anymore. On top of all that, their division isn’t likely to be as strong. I don’t have faith in Denver as a juggernaut again, and Kansas City has questions to answer. Add that all up and you have a team that could win their division — which isn’t something that 16 other teams will do.



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