After so many years of parity, and teams coming from nowhere to win the big pot, are we looking at separation in the NFL? That’s what the early football odds for Super Bowl XLIII would indicate as the teams get ready for summer camp.
Coming up to the Fourth of July weekend, New England is the early favorite, as surely every Patriot burns with the shame of finishing 18-0 and not winning the big pot, and the painful desire to put all that right next time out. But in life, what you want and what you get aren’t always the same – the Giants comprehensively exposed the flaws in the New England juggernaut in the Super Bowl, and teams will not be quaking in the New England shadow when the season starts again.
San Diego is an interesting proposition at second favorite. Even though the Chargers lost to New England in the AFC Championship Game, Philip Rivers won a lot of admirers for playing through pain in that game. The NFL is fundamentally a tough guys’ league, and that sort of stuff counts.
Jacksonville is to success what Deep Space Nine was to Star Trek. All the elements are there for success, but somehow they just don’t add up. It must be very frustrating for the Jacksonville fans, and anybody who’s thinking of betting on Jacksonville may want to leave it until September 21 when the Jaguars visit Indianapolis. If they can bite the Colts, maybe the Jags are going somewhere. If not, well, what’s another year?
Dallas is the shortest price NFC team, but my goodness, it’s hard to have faith in the ‘boys at that short a price. Right now, it’s like Jerry Jones is trying to put together a team the same way Al Davis put together his Raiders in the 1970s, as a home for hard cases and men with grudges.
TO and Pacman aside, the biggest worry for Dallas bettors has to be Tony Romo, and how he always has a rotten end to his season. Dallas hasn’t been to the playoffs in thirteen years, and having a quarterback who tanks around the time Santa starts packing his sled won’t help that.
Of the other NFC contenders, the Giants and Cowboys lead the field, and everyone else has either serious question marks (Green Bay, Carolina) or else are waiting on a miracle (Atlanta). If somebody outside the usual suspects of New England and Indy is going to do it, how about the Browns? Cleveland showed definite improvement last year and, to be frank, the Browns are owed a break. The fans and franchise have suffered so much over the years that there has to be good times just around the corner. Belief and destiny can’t be ruled out completely either.