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Who Is Favored to Win the SuperBowl This Year

Posted by Javier Morales on 11/25/2015 7:52:29 AM

Mediocrity – or is it parity? – reigns in the NFL this season with the quest for the Super Bowl 50 title heating up.

The lack of abundant quality teams begs the question: Will New England – who is favored to win the SuperBowl this year – take advantage of a watered-down league or might one of the few winning teams rise up to surprise the Patriots?

After the Patriots’ victory over the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football, only nine teams with winning records exist with 12 playoff spots available.

Last year at this time, 14 teams in the NFL were above the .500 mark. There was a very strong group of Super Bowl contenders with Arizona at 9-1, New England at 8-2 and Dallas, Denver, Philadelphia, Green Bay, Detroit and Kansas City all at 7-3. The Steelers were 7-4, and the Bengals were 6-3-1. There were four more teams (Seattle, San Diego, Indy, and Baltimore) that looked like legit contenders at 6-4.

With only nine such teams at this point, who is favored to win the SuperBowl this year?

The Patriots and Carolina Panthers are the last remaining unbeaten teams at 10-0. The Arizona Cardinals (8-2), Cincinnati Bengals (8-2) and Denver Broncos (8-2) look like sure bets to make the playoffs. The other teams with winning records include the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4), Green Bay Packers (7-3), Minnesota Vikings (7-3) and Atlanta Falcons (6-4) .

The futures odds to win Super Bowl 50 as listed at SportsBetting.ag has New England as the favorite at +200, followed by Carolina (+550), Arizona (+600) and Green Bay (+700) .

A couple of teams with the best records, Cincinnati (+1200) and Denver (+1200), have question marks heading into the last six weeks of the regular season.

The Broncos benched legendary quarterback Peyton Manning, who was struggling, in favor of untested backup Brock Osweiler last week against Chicago. Denver reported that sidelining Manning was a precautionary move because of sore ribs after the 39-year-old completed only 5-of-20 passes for 35 yards in a 29-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Nov. 15 – the same day he became the NFL’s all-time leading passer.

Osweiler, on his 25th birthday last Sunday, efficiently ran the Broncos’ offense in their 17-15 win at Chicago, passing for 270 yards and two touchdowns.

Cincinnati has lost consecutive games after starting 8-0, although one of the losses was a gritty 34-31 setback at Arizona last week. Despite quarterback Andy Dalton emerging as one of the league’s best quarterbacks in the first two months of the season, the media is now scrutinizing whether he can lead the Bengals to a Super Bowl title while feeling pressure from pass rushers.

He was sacked four times by the Cardinals last week but managed to complete 22 of 39 pass attempts for 315 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

After the nine teams with winning records, there are 17 teams in the NFL with four, five, or six wins right now. This may be a sign of parity or a down year for the league.

For the first time in six years, there are two 10-0 teams with New England and Carolina enjoying that success.

The Patriots are winning despite a rash of injuries to their skilled-position players. Tom Brady has lost targets Dion Lewis and Julian Edelman, among others, in recent weeks to significant injuries.

The Panthers, who have cruised in the last two weeks over Tennessee (27-10) and Washington (44-15), will be tested Thanksgiving Day by Dallas. The Cowboys are 3-7 but 3-0 with Tony Romo as the starting quarterback. He returned last week to lead Dallas to a 24-14 win at Miami. Despite a seven-game losing streak while Romo nursed a sore shoulder, the Cowboys are only two games behind NFC East leader New York (5-5) .

The dark horse behind New England and Carolina to look out for in the Super Bowl race is Arizona, whose offense continues to hit on all cylinders. The Cardinals, behind MVP-worthy quarterback Carson Palmer, have posted 73 points against two of the league’s better scoring defenses in Seattle and Cincinnati.

Some other sleepers to make a playoff run include .500 teams Seattle (won three of its four games), Houston (won four of its last five) and Tampa Bay (4-2 in the last six weeks). And don’t sleep on Indianapolis, another .500 team at 5-5 that is 3-0 with 40-year-old quarterback Matt Hasselbeck subbing for the injured Andrew Luck this season.

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