[Updated September 6 post-Sam Bradford’s trade from Philadelphia to Minnesota. Updates are noted in square brackets.]
Next stop: real football! Now that the Week 4 preseason games are in the books, the next time we see two NFL teams take the field, it’s actually going to mean something.
Actually, it’s going to mean more than just “something.” The 2016 season kicks off with a Super Bowl rematch between the Broncos and Panthers on Thursday (Sep. 8).
For Cam Newton and Carolina, it’s an immediate shot at (a modicum of) redemption.
Both teams will look a little different than the last time we saw them, especially Denver, but both remain among the preseason favorites to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. They’re joined by the usual suspects – New England, Seattle, Pittsburgh – while Cincinnati and Houston head a second tier of sorts.
The bottom of the barrel also houses its regulars – Cleveland and Tennessee. Where does your team fall? Get the full SB51 odds for all 32 teams, below, along with odds for all the major 2016 NFL awards and some props on this year’s rookie class.
Basically, this is a giant spoiler for the upcoming season. You’ve been warned.
New England Patriots: 8/1
Green Bay Packers: 19/2
Seattle Seahawks: 10/1
Pittsburgh Steelers: 12/1
Carolina Panthers: 14/1
Arizona Cardinals: 16/1
Denver Broncos: 20/1
Kansas City Chiefs: 20/1
Cincinnati Bengals: 25/1
Houston Texans: 33/1
[Minnesota Vikings: 33/1 (45/1 pre-Bradford trade)]
Baltimore Ravens: 35/1
Oakland Raiders: 35/1
Dallas Cowboys: 40/1
New York Jets: 45/1
Jacksonville Jaguars: 50/1
Washington Redskins: 50/1
Atlanta Falcons: 55/1
Detroit Lions: 65/1
New Orleans Saints: 65/1
San Diego Chargers: 65/1
Buffalo Bills: 70/1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 70/1
Chicago Bears: 75/1
Miami Dolphins: 75/1
Los Angeles Rams: 80/1
[Philadelphia Eagles: 90/1 (80/1 pre-Bradford trade)]
Tennessee Titans: 90/1
San Francisco 49ers: 125/1
Cleveland Browns: 125/1
The Pats are at the top even though Tom Brady is going to miss four games. No one else in the AFC East is equipped to capitalize on his absence. Don’t just take our word for it; not a single person at NFL.com thinks so either. If the Steelers can stay healthy, they’re equipped to make a run. Everyone knows Pittsburgh has a dynamic offense, but their front-seven is actually stronger than most think.
In the NFC, it’s the same old names at the top: Packers, Seahawks, Panthers, Cardinals. Green Bay has the easiest schedule among the contenders and should be getting a healthy Jordy Nelson back. The potential for the NFC’s road to the Super Bowl to run through Lambeau makes the Pack the slight chalk.
Aaron Rodgers (Packers): 8/1
Cam Newton (Panthers): 11/1
Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers): 11/1
Russell Wilson (Seahawks): 15/1
Tom Brady (Patriots): 18/1
[Adrian Peterson (Vikings): 20/1 (18/1 pre-Bradford trade)]
Andrew Luck (Colts): 25/1
Carson Palmer (Cardinals): 25/1
Eli Manning (Giants): 35/1
Drew Brees (Saints): 40/1
Antonio Brown (Steelers): 50/1
Rob Gronkowski (Patriots): 50/1
With Jordy Nelson back – and Eddie Lacy trim – the Packer offense will be back to full steam this year. If Rodgers does lead Green Bay to the top-seed in the top-heavy NFC, a third MVP should await. Roethlisberger has the potential to lead a historically good Pittsburgh offense to record highs, but his chances are hurt – ever so slightly – by the insane level of talent around him; the Steelers have arguably the best receiver (Antonio Brown) and best running back (Le’Veon Bell) in the league. That makes it hard to single out one guy.
Peterson’s MVP stock has been all over the place over the last week. Before the Teddy Bridgewater injury, Peterson would have been near a lot closer to the bottom of this list. But without a quarterback who could keep defenses somewhat honest, AP’s odds got a lot shorter, as the entire offense was set to run through him. However, the Vikings have now acquired Sam Bradford from the Eagles, and Peterson sees his odds get a touch longer. AP will still see the ball early and often, as Bradford is far from an elite quarterback who can carry an offense, but Minnesota will allow him to push the ball down the field.
J.J. Watt (Texans): 4/1
Khalil Mack (Raiders): 6/1
Von Miller (Broncos): 7/1
Luke Kuechly (Panthers): 9/1
Patrick Peterson (Cardinals): 12/1
Richard Sherman (Seahawks): 12/1
Tyrann Mathieu (Cardinals): 14/1
Three of the last four DPOY awards have been taken home by J.J. Watt. He may miss a game or two to start the season due to injury, but that could actually boost his chances – i.e. if the Houston defense looks substantially worse in his absence. And don’t worry too much about his lingering ailments affecting his play. He played through a broken hand, a herniated disk in his back, and a handful of torn core muscles in his groin area in 2015 alone. So much for players getting soft.
Khalil Mack and Von Miller have grown into two of the premier pass-rushers in the NFL, and the two possess the best odds to dethrone the reigning DPOY.
Ezekiel Elliott (Cowboys): 8/7
[Carson Wentz (Eagles): 7/1 (not listed pre-Bradford trade)]
[Sterling Shepard (Giants): 8/1 (7/1 pre-Bradford trade)]
Derrick Henry (Titans): 9/1
[Dak Prescott (Cowboys): 14/1 (9/1)]
[Corey Coleman (Browns): 19/1 (14/1)]
[Laquon Treadwell (Vikings): 19/1 (18/1)]
[Jared Goff (Rams): 50/1 (22/1)]
[Field: 40/1 (19/1)]
He may have been exaggerating a little bit when he said he had one of the easiest jobs in America, but Elliott will have the biggest holes to run through in the NFL. The Cowboys offensive line graded out as the top unit last season in both run-blocking and pass-protection (according to Pro Football Focus), and will be even better this season with La’el Collins starting at left guard. The holes will be massive, and Elliott will show his burst. Shepard should have nice season as the Giants’ number two, but injury is Elliott’s biggest nemesis in the race for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Derrick Henry may be an equally effective runner in his first season, but it’s unclear just how many carries he’ll see with DeMarco Murray projecting as the lead-back, even with the team employing Mike Mularkey’s run-first “exotic smashmouth” style.
Prior to the Sam Bradford trade, Carson Wentz was a member of the field, and Dak Prescott possessed the shortest odds of all rookie quarterbacks. Now, Wentz is slated to start Week 1, and becomes the most likely player to take the award from Elliott.
Joey Bosa (Chargers): 8/1
DeForest Buckner (49ers): 25/3
Jalen Ramsey (Jaguars): 10/1
Karl Joseph (Raiders): 21/2
Leonard Floyd (Bears): 12/1
Myles Jack (Jaguars): 12/1
Vernon Hargreaves (Buccaneers): 14/1
Now that Joey Bosa has signed, he takes over as the favorite for Defensive Rookie of the Year. DeForest Buckner isn’t far behind, and he may be the better player, but the entire San Diego scheme is going to revolve around Bosa in one-on-one pass-rushing opportunities.
The field carries short odds because the DROY is never a shoo-in. There are always players taken outside of the first-round who make a big impact for their respective teams. Keep an eye on Emmanuel Ogbah for the Browns and Jordan Jenkins for the Jets. Both are going to see a lot of snaps, and both will get the opportunity to rush the passer. As we know, sacks are a sexy stat.
Bill Belichick (Patriots): 13/2
Bruce Arians (Cardinals): 7/1
Mike McCarthy (Packers): 8/1
Ron Rivera (Panthers): 17/2
Mike Tomlin (Steelers): 17/2
Andy Reid (Eagles): 10/1
Mike Zimmer (Vikings): 10/1
Although the trend suggests that it’s Arians’ turn to win, the AP doesn’t like awarding it to the same individual over and over again. Arians’ Cardinals would have to finish as the top seed in the NFC and overcome some sort of adversity. That’s asking a lot.
If Belichick can get through the first four weeks with a winning record before Brady comes back, and then go on to claim home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs, he has a good chance at his fourth Coach of the Year honors.
Mike McCoy (Chargers): 2/1
Gus Bradley (Jaguars): 7/3
Rex Ryan (Bills): 7/1
Jim Caldwell (Lions): 9/1
Chuck Pagano (Colts): 10/1
The Chargers are 22-26 (1-1 in the playoffs) in three seasons under Mike McCoy. That’s not nearly good enough when you have a premier QB. After limping to an abysmal 4-12 record in 2015, another slow start will not be tolerated. The team’s poor personnel isn’t McCoy’s fault, but he’ll wind up being scapegoated.
Down in Jacksonville, Gus Bradley has won 12 games in his three seasons in charge, and this is a make-or-break year for him. The supposed defensive guru now has ample pieces to work with. If the Jags aren’t over .500 after their Week 8 matchup with the Titans, Week 9 might be the first for a new regime.
There are a number of coaches who find themselves feeling a little toasty in their chairs to start the 2016 season, and surely a handful of them will lose their jobs when the season concludes, if not earlier.
Last season, saw five head coaches fired, and another one “encouraged to retire”. However, a couple of coaches who were feeling the pressure have seen their rosters get bit by the injury bug, which could mean a reprieve. Plus, the revolving door in Cleveland has likely closed, so we can’t count on that firing anymore.
Jared Goff (Rams): 5/3
Paxton Lynch (Broncos): 7/3
Trevone Boykin (Seahawks): 11/1
[Carson Wentz (Eagles): OFF (13/1 pre-Bradford trade)]
Jacoby Brissett (Patriots): 25/1
It is tough to argue who will be tougher to supplant: Trevor Siemian or Case Keenum. However, only one of their backups has looked any good in the preseason.
Although Jared Goff was the first player taken in the 2016 draft, he has yet to show us why. We have seen some flashes, but Goff does not look ready to take a real NFL snap. A poor start to the season could make Jeff Fisher awfully desperate to speed up the development of his young signal-caller, of course.
Lynch, on the other hand, has looked pretty good in Gary Kubiak’s offense, and has made Mark Sanchez virtually expendable. Siemian’s leash is likely short, as would be expected for a seventh-round pick steering the ship for a defending champion, so early struggles could result in Lynch’s debut.
Both Boykin and Brissett will enter the regular season as the backup quarterbacks on their respective rosters, but Brissett’s potential opportunity expires if Garoppolo makes it through the first four weeks without an injury.
If everything goes to plan in Philadelphia, Wentz will be the third quarterback on the roster, and will not even dress on Sundays. That was at least the plan before we entered the weekend, before the Eagles traded Sam Bradford. Wentz will now join Dak Prescott as the only two rookie quarterbacks to open the season under center.
The field carries names such as Christian Hackenberg, Connor Cook, and Cody Kessler, but a lot will have to go wrong before any of those players make a start in 2016.
The original reports of Tony Romo being out for 6-10 weeks were very generous. New reports are suggesting the back injury will keep the Cowboys quarterback out eight to ten weeks, meaning he will likely miss around half of the season.
If Prescott has the ‘Boys 7-1 or so and performs to the level he has in the preseason, it would be awfully tough to put him back on the bench. But, as the odds would suggest, that’s unlikely.
San Francisco 49ers: 4/1
San Diego Chargers: 9/2
Cleveland Browns: 5/1
Philadelphia Eagles: 7/1
Chicago Bears: 9/1
Tennessee Titans: 10/1
Miami Dolphins: 12/1
From top-to-bottom, the Chargers have one of the worst rosters in the league, even after coming to terms with third-overall pick Joey Bosa. But they have one of the best quarterbacks in the league, who can win them a few games on his own.
San Francisco does not.
The 49ers quarterback situation is a complete disaster, and the rest of their roster isn’t much better. Add in the fact that a quarter of their season will be played against Seattle and Arizona, and 2016 looks awfully dark for Chip Kelly and the 49ers. On the bright side, Chip may finally get to draft a franchise quarterback.
Recreational drug use: 1/2
General criminal activity: 9/2
Performance enhancing drugs/supplements: 5/1
On-field actions: 100/1
Domestic violence: 150/1
In 2015, 28 of 64 player suspensions stemmed from violating the league’s substance abuse policy (recreational drug-use); 17 were attributed to general criminal activity; while only three of them were for on-field actions.
Already in 2016, 16 players have been suspended for recreational drug use, topping PEDs (8), and general criminal activity (5).
The league has taken a very firm stance against using marijuana, whether it’s to cope with pain or not, but has yet to appropriately handle a domestic violence case – see the Ray Rice or Josh Brown debacles.
Photo credit: Mike Morbeck (Flickr: Aaron Rodgers) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
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