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NFL Preview: July 11
3 Longshots Who Could Win the Super Bowl
My earliest memories of the NFL are the early 1980’s. The Steelers’ Dynasty had just ended, having won four of the previous six Super Bowls, led by Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann and the Steel Curtain defense. However, the 1980 season would begin a run of three consecutive surprise Super Bowl champions. The 1980 season would see the Oakland Raiders sneak into the playoffs as a wild card team and run the table, with surprise mid-season replacement Jim Plunkett as the signal caller. This was followed up by a 1981 season that introduced us to HOF’er Joe Montana, his first season as the starting QB for the San Francisco 49ers. This Niners Super Bowl run would also give us “The Catch” as a defining moment and would begin the next dynasty in the NFL. However, before that dynasty could take hold, the 1982 season gave us another surprise champion in the Washington Redskins, under second year coach Joe Gibbs and quarterbacked by Joe Theismann. So, three consecutive seasons of an unexpected champion.
So, what about this year? Could an unheralded team break through the league’s elite teams and hoist the Lombardi trophy come February? Who are this year’s best longshots? First, let’s define the ground rules. While it might be fun to point out ways the Houston Texans could unexpectedly surprise, realistically, and with respect to Texans’ fans, this team will need more than Davis Mills and a new coaching voice in Lovie Smith. So, for our purposes here, we will look at teams ranked in the bottom half of the league in terms of Super Bowl odds and highlight a few that we think could surprise.
Washington Commanders: The trade to acquire Carson Wentz from the Colts, should provide the Commanders a notable upgrade at quarterback. No, he’s not Tom Brady, but he’s also not Taylor Heinecke. Wentz will have the dangerous Terry McLaurin to work with at wide receiver and Antonio Gibson can give the Commanders a better than average running game if he can hold on to the ball. If the team’s defense, led by All-Pro pass rusher Chase Young, can regain their form of two years ago, this Commanders team has the ability to surprise. Washington will also play one of the league’s easiest schedules this year, so the playoffs are certainly within reach. Just get in and go from there. The Commanders Super Bowl odds are currently listed at +7000 on DraftKings Sportsbook.
New England Patriots: The Patriots surprised many with their second-place finish in the AFC East last season, earning a wild card playoff spot for their efforts. While they were handled quite easily by the Buffalo Bills 47-17 in that game, it gave some hope for what the post-Tom Brady era might look like. Bill Belichick is still at the helm and the Patriots had the second stingiest defense (by points allowed) in the NFL last year. The Pats have yet to name a replacement for departing Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels, so we’ll watch this closely, as QB Mac Jones will need to build upon his Pro-Bowl calibre rookie season. If he does, the Patriots can garner some postseason buzz. The New England Patriots are +5000 at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals are listed at +3100 odds at betMGM, just making my rules threshold. The Cardinals will be led by stud quarterback Kyler Murray, they’ll have JJ Watt back on defense and just re-signed TE Zac Ertz, giving Murray a nice big target. With the departure of Russell Wilson in Seattle and a somewhat still unproven Trey Lance in San Francisco, the Cardinals schedule just got a lot easier. Another feel good story is that the Super Bowl will be played at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. If the Cardinals make it to the big game, that will be quite a home field advantage.
One of betstamp’s largest brand values is transparency. Whether you are looking to tail or fade my picks, or potentially just like reading the breakdowns, you can find my full documented betting record here. Best of luck with your bets today.
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