Could We Have a Surprise Super Bowl Champion?
Wayne Root: Could We Have a Surprise Super Bowl Champion?
As I've been studying the dynamics of the 2015 NFL season, it's becoming clear to me that the stage is set for a surprise champion. There are just a handful of clear favorites to go the distance. Each of those favorites has a vulnerability that could knock them out of the picture. Then, the class of teams just below that is RICH with potential.
Let's start with the favorites...
The Seahawks are in danger of losing (or may have already lost) that "chip on the shoulder" that took them to the Super Bowl the past two seasons. I'm not seeing the hunger and swagger so far in the Preseason that we had grown accustomed to under head coach Pete Carroll. Plus, the offensive line looks to be in big trouble after some personnel changes. You can't win championships in the NFL if you can't protect the quarterback. I know it's dangerous to judge teams based on the Preseason...particularly established teams that have no reason to win in August. My gut is telling me Seattle has that fire. And, this gut has been spotting overpriced favorites for decades here in Las Vegas!
GREEN BAY (6-1)
The Packers are a popular choice for anyone deciding Seattle's ride is over. The problem is...the head coach can't be trusted in crunch time to make smart decisions. And, the injury this past weekend to receiver Jordy Nelson was HUGE because he's both a big-play and bailout receiver. Nelson was the last guy quarterback Aaron Rodgers could afford to lose from his receiving corps. I'm not saying the Nelson injury eliminates the Packers. But, it will definitely hurt their attempts to be the new dominant force in the conference.
NEW ENGLAND (8-1)
Obviously all the distractions during the Preseason aren't helping. And, this team becomes mortal quickly if Tom Brady or Rob Gronkowski is out of the lineup. The Patriots went the distance (by a matter of inches) last season because Brady and Gronkowski managed to be in the lineup down the stretch and through the post season. Both are getting older in wear-and-tear positions.
The Broncos aren't getting much respect in the marketplace for a team that has a strong recent history and is really emphasizing 2015 as a season where it HAS to happen. Peyton Manning faded down the stretch last season...and may no longer be a quarterback who deserves to be in the championship discussion. Almost all stores are rating Indianapolis as second best in the AFC ahead of the Broncos! Denver is only -4 points at home over Baltimore in Week One of the regular season...which means the market either sees them as 1-point better if home field is worth three, or dead even if home field at altitude is worth four. Baltimore is around 24-1 to win the Lombardi Trophy at the moment.
The default position for years in the AFC has been Brady's team or Manning's team. Seattle's physically imposing juggernaut is suddenly less scary. This opens up the door for Cinderella stories in both conferences.
Who are the teams angling to try on the glass slipper? Let's look at some more Futures prices...
Arizona, Atlanta, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Detroit, Kansas City, New Orleans, NY Giants, San Diego 33-1
That's 15 teams who can make reasonable Cinderella cases either because they have a decent to very good quarterback, a decent to very good defense, or a head coach who's had some January success. Well, Philadelphia is an outlier because there's still optimism about their cutting edge offensive approach. The Eagles right now are like the New Orleans Saints were before they finally broke through a few years ago.
Bottom line...nobody's going to be really shocked if Ben Roethlisberger leads the Steelers back to the Super Bowl, or if one of those 33-1 teams catches a few breaks along the way to make things very interesting. This can happen when superpowers are vulnerable. And, the superpowers look like they're going to be vulnerable!
I wanted to put this on your radar right now because it could become one of the defining storylines of the season. WAYNE ALLYN ROOT is THE KING OF UPSETS because I can see these things coming. The fire isn't in Seattle's eyes right now. Tom Brady's suddenly carrying the players' association on his shoulders in a fight with the commissioner instead of just his own team. This is going to matter and smart handicappers need to stay ahead of the curve.
Preseason football continues Monday night with the Cincinnati/Tampa Bay game...then resumes on Friday for all the dress rehearsals. I hope you swept the board with me Sunday in the NFL with San Francisco (-4) over Dallas and Pittsburgh (-2.5) over Green Bay. Game day selections can always be purchased right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about which of my long term programs best suits your individual needs, please talk to my representative in the office at 1-877-ROOT-WINS during normal business hours.
Back with you late this week to talk about the dress rehearsals. It's going to be an exciting Preseason week that launches us into a thrilling regular season. That means it's time for you to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!
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