The offseason is a little quiet right now, so let’s take the next step and believe the ways teams are lined up (with the exception of Minnesota) is what they’ll bring to the table come September. Aside from the favorites, who’s a smart bet when considering the current futures?
One of my favorites right now is the New York Jets at 15:1. If you wanted a plausible long shot who could turn around and shock the league this year, it’s these guys. There are a ton of what if’s (LT2’s health, Sanchez’s poise, the defense’s ability to replicate most of last year), but if they all come together, it could be there time. Dropping $1,000 is a huge risk on an unproven team, and you’ll definitely want to hedge with a couple hundred on a few favorites, but a $15K payoff is all you need to justify taking that one big chance this year.
Another team in that mid-tier but still upper echelon range is the Green Bay Packers. The oddsmakers have them at 11:1 at the moment, which I think is actually much too low. Compared to a team like the Jets, the Packers have so many more holes I don’t even know where to begin. The offensive line is one of the worst in the league – and that WILL catch up to Rodgers eventually. Ryan Grant is a serviceable but far from explosive back that I’d never trust to drive a team in the playoffs. The defense is average, and although he always seems to prove the fantasy owners wrong, Donald Driver is another year older. Greg Jennings, also, didn’t exactly turn into Miles Austin last year himself. Plus they play in an extremely tough and improving division. So where are the positives here? Experience? Aaron Rodgers? Sorry, both nice but not nearly enough to gamble on.
And in the basement, you’ve got the Bills, Browns, Chiefs, Raiders, Rams and Lions at 100:1. I always find it amusing to pick out the best of the worst, just in case you wanted a REALLY long shot. And that’d have to be the Lions, with honorary mention to the Chiefs. I know the Chiefs made a couple moves, but that whole Sam Cassel thing isn’t exactly lighting the world on fire. The Lions have Stafford, who still brings excitement and will keep this team interested this year. Not to win anything, but if they can get themselves up to 5 wins, and pick up a few more defensive prospects in the offseason…I can see them at .500 by the end of 2012. Bet the Mayans never predicted that.