A very very early look towards next years Superbowl (yes really.)

So this is ridiculously early. But i wanted to get something down, as much for me to record what i was thinking at this time of the off seasons as anything else. Free agency is pretty much wrapped up. There’s a few big name RBs still looking for teams. Jamaal Charles and AP are floating in the ether awaiting their “perfect match” personally having traded away AP in the first dynasty league I’ve joined I hope he retires! But he has said he’s waiting for a team he can help win a championship. Unfortunately for he and Charles. This is a very good running back draft class so teams are waiting off until after the draft before making a move on these high priced guys. Why pay a 30 year old coming off injury 3,4,5m?! (AP was in line for 12!) A year when you can get a rookie on a fraction of that cost.

Anyway, I digress, these are the current prices for Superbowl LII, as of the 27th of March – Pats 6, Cowboys 11, Packers 11, Seahawks 12, Steelers and Falcons 14, Raiders 18, Broncos, Giants, Chiefs 25, Panthers 28, Vikings 28, Texans and Cardinals 33, Buccs, Ravens and Colts 40, Bengals, Eagles, Dolphins, Titans 50, Saints, Lions 66, Jags 80, Chargers and Bills 100, Bears, Rams, 125, Jets and 49ers 200, and the poor Browns at 250. I’ve picked out a couple below with reasons why, one is absolutely no surprise in the slightest…

There’s been a few big winners in free agency so far. Mainly, The Patriots. Because you know, they needed to get stronger… We all laughed when Bellichek said they were 2 weeks behind every other team during the Superbowl post game presser. Little did we know they had already planned out what they were going to do and improved in multiple areas within the first week of the preseason, adding TE Dwayne Allen (a direct replacement for Marty B), Kony Ealy from the Panthers, a year off playing very well in a Superbowl, CB Stephon Gilmore to a bumper deal, leading to rumours of trading Malcolm Butler. Signing Brandin Cooks for the no.32 pick in the draft, again leading to speculation that they were planning a trade or two.. (Butler to the Saints for a higher pick, or Jimmy G to Cleveland for multiple picks) but the Pats don’t seem to want to do either., and more importantly, they don’t have to do either. They still have a ton of cap space, so paying Butler wouldn’t bother them too much. The advantage of being the best team is that you hold all the cards. You want to play for us? Take the deal we’re offering, or piss off somewhere else. You want our guy? Then give us what we want, or piss off somewhere else… It’s a tough life on the throne of ease. – The Patriots are best priced 6/1 at Corals. and I’ll be honest, I’m tempted to lump on. The best have got better, and Brady still shows no signs of dropping off. While other teams may strengthen through the draft, the Patriots don’t need to, which is good as their first pick at the time I write this is the no. 72… (Having given the Saints the 1st and the Panthers the 2nd round picks…)

For me, another big winner in Free Agency was Jameis Winston, and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers – currently 40/1 in most places. They didn’t make a ton of signings, but last season were showing they were a very good young, defence. However, the two signings they did make, strangely enough both from the same team, should improve the team markedly though. DeSean Jackson adds a genuine deep threat to help take away double coverage from Mike Evans. D-Jax is 5th all-time in TDs over 50 yards, behind elite competition such as Jerry Rice, Terrell Owens and Randy Moss, since 2008 he leads the league in 50yd receptions, and 50yd TDs… Last year the Buccs were without a single 50+ yard reception. This will all depend on Jameis, who now has no excuses for not improving his completion percentage. That signing alone is enough for me to take more note of the Buccs who finished last year with a 9-7 record to take 2nd in the division behind the Superbowl losing Falcons. On the other side of the ball, they made a nice move in recruiting giant defensive tackle. 320lb Chris Baker, they wanted to get bigger, they’ve done it. Interestingly they also brought in some competition for last years ridiculous second round pick: Kicker Roberto Aguayo who cost the team a TON of points last year, Nick Folk has signed for them, and as a proven talent surely can’t be worse than Aguayo who completed just 4 of 11 attempts from 40 yards+, missed 2 of 15 from 30-39 and also failed on 2 extra points (71% completion rate overall really isn’t going to cut it at pro level) They probably need to make an additional move at RB, but it’s a heavy draft for that position so shouldn’t be tough to find someone there, and Jacquizz Rodgers performed admirably last season with the musclehamster out for a considerable amount of it. The addition of D-Jax probably helps him as well as Evans. Overall their offence should be better in every department with the addition of one player.

The Falcons of course lost that game in horrible fashion, that alone could be enough to downgrade them for next year, without the fact that their offensive coordinator left and took a few friends with him. Meaning a fair bit of upheaval in Atlanta. The Panthers haven’t strengthened thus far, and Cam Newton is about to undergo surgery and possibly miss some of pre-season, they also signed a bang average O-Lineman to a huge contract because his brother is on the team, and are one hit away from Luke Kuechly probably having to consider retirement…. I don’t rate their chances too highly in this upcoming season. The Saints are an interesting one, if they recruit well on defence, I can see them giving it one final go (Brees is getting on a bit now) and they signed Ted Ginn to “replace” Brandin Cooks, well, he’s equally as quick anyway.

I will admit I’ve had a couple of points EW on the Buccs at 40/1. If they draft averagely then I think that price will come in, and I’d had a decent week and some spare cash in my account so figured it was worth a shot.

It’s difficult to really pick anyone else from the AFC. If I was being brave/foolish then probably the Steelers again, they should have the same team returning with the addition of Martavis Bryant (apparently added 20lb of muscle) who will add that second reciever that they lacked for most of the year opposite Antonio Brown. If Ladarius Green can sort out his concussion issues then he’s a viable target added at TE as well. However they will undoubtedly lose Big Ben for a period of time, leaving them with Landry Jones as backup as they still haven’t/won’t cover that area. And they’ll still get out-coached when they face the Pats. So seems silly to pick anyone other than the Patriots. (In my drafts on here I have 1,000 words on whether anyone can stop the Patriots. It all seems a bit of a moot point, seeing as it can be answered in one word “no” so it will probably stay there) – The Raiders brought in Jared Cook at TE, an improvement (unfortuantely for my family heritage) on Clive Walford, and Derek Carr should feel no real effects from his broken leg. The Chiefs have lost Dontari Poe, but should be there or there abouts again, Andy Reid owns that division. The Broncos don’t look to have improved at all and it’s not a good year for O-Line prospects, so I can’t see their QBs doing too much better than last year, and their defence is a year older. I don’t believe, despite reports, that the Texans are a decent QB away from a Superbowl run, I also don’t believe that Romo is that QB. He has barely thrown a ball for 3 years and suffered some potentially life changing, let alone game-changing injuries. He’s arguably one hit away from being done: And all their division have strengthened, the Titans have 2 first round picks to strengthen further, the Colts have finally made some good looking moves, and the Jags have spent big again. If I hadn’t been burnt by them this year, and the year before then I’d probably consider them more highly than I do.

The NFC looks pretty open though. The Cowboys have lost quite a few pieces, especially on a defence that was already performing beyond it’s means, luckily for them the CB class is deep this year so they can replenish there. They will also be relying on Dak Prescott carrying on his blistering start to his career, with not much in the line of a backup should anything happen to him (assuming Romo moves on which seems likely) I can’t see any fall off in Zekes production, so they should have reliable yardage and points there no matter what. The Packers added Martellus Bennett, an upgrade on Cook, but they have lost a little depth on their impressive OL, TJ Lang left for the Lions. Julius Peppers is getting on, but a loss to the Panthers, and Safety Micah Hyde was another experienced player they have lost too. The Seahawks, well they added another “running back” in 267lb Eddie Lacy to alongside Rawls and Prosise, but the only way they improved their OL was the signing of 1st round failure Luke Joekl, which probably doesn’t much improve a group which was pretty dire last year. The Giants are an interesting prospect after the addition of Brandon Marshall, but I have too many doubts over Eli to have any real interest in a bet on them, although the 25/1 best price for them is tempting, but they’re in a really tough division that has to face the AFC West this year, so it’s a rough schedule for anyone trying to get out of there. I don’t think the Cardinals will do an awful lot this year other than wasting another year of David Johnsons career.

So, overall, I would suggest lumping on the Patriots to win it all again, I think 6/1 is fairly generous, but as I won’t personally be doing that YET, I won’t be adding it to the blog officially, the fact that they’ve got so few picks in the draft may well mean the price even increases as the hype moves to other teams, so we’ll wait and see on that one. I have however had 2pts EW on the Buccs at 40/1. This could blow up massively when they fail to click and fall apart, but oh well.

I did want to mention that @FezzikSports – the only 2 time winner of the superbowl of sports betting (yes, apparently that’s a thing) gave out his team win totals on the Ross Tucker even money podcast, and they can be found on pregame.com. But I’ll probably get into them later in the week and what I personally believe, for what it’s worth… I may be no 2 time winner of some Vegas thing, but did finish the year with 150pts of profit 😉

Adam. @TouchdownTips @cavey007

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