Short Nerd Chief

Patriots Favored to Win Super Bowl XLIII

Posted by Fred on February 6, 2008

NFL Take heart, Pats fans.  You may just have become the first 18-0 team to lose a Super Bowl, but the Vegas oddsmakers have installed Brady and the Boys as odds-on favorites to win their fourth title next year.  Here’s the top 5:

Team Odds
New England 3:1
San Diego 11:2
Indianapolis 12:1
Dallas 14:1
Pittsburgh 20:1

No real surprises there, although it is clear that Vegas thinks that (a) Rivers and Tomlinson will both be back at full strength for 2008 and (b) the AFC is significantly better, or at least deeper, than the NFC, with four AFC teams in the top 5.  Read on for more…

Here’s a full breakdown of all 32 teams, with their 2007 records and 2008 strength of schedule.  The NFL’s schedule rotation means that the AFC East teams play games against the AFC West and NFC West, so the Patriots get six games against the weak AFC East (combined record 12-36) and four games against the pretty weak western divisions (each 26-38). Only four of the Patriots 16 games are against teams with winning records in 2007 (Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, San Diego and Seattle).  This is one of the easiest schedules ever, and easier by far than the weakest schedules in 2006 (Chicago, 0.445) or 2007 (Arizona, 0.461).

Team 2007 Record 2008 Opp. Win % (SOS) Odds
New England 16-0 0.387 3:1
San Diego 11-5 0.422 11:2
Indianapolis 13-3 0.594 12:1
Dallas 13-3 0.524 14:1
Pittsburgh 10-6 0.598 20:1
NY Giants 10-6 0.520 25:1
Green Bay 13-3 0.532 25:1
Jacksonville 11-5 0.559 25:1
New Orleans 7-9 0.450 25:1
Cincinnati 7-9 0.547 28:1
Philadelphia 8-8 0.520 35:1
Denver 7-9 0.446 40:1
Cleveland 10-6 0.547 50:1
Washington 9-7 0.524 50:1
Chicago 7-9 0.532 50:1
Minnesota 8-8 0.551 50:1
Detroit 7-9 0.543 50:1
Carolina 7-9 0.465 50:1
Tampa Bay 9-7 0.469 50:1
Seattle 10-6 0.477 50:1
San Francisco 5-11 0.485 50:1
Arizona 8-8 0.465 50:1
Baltimore 5-11 0.551 60:1
NY Jets 4-12 0.457 80:1
Buffalo 7-9 0.449 80:1
Tennessee 10-6 0.543 80:1
St. Louis 3-13 0.489 80:1
Houston 8-8 0.547 100:1
Atlanta 4-12 0.461 100:1
Oakland 4-12 0.438 100:1
Kansas City 4-12 0.453 100:1
Miami 1-15 0.465 100:1

Vegas odds, of course, are about how people will bet, not a prediction of the future, but there’s clear winners and losers there:

Winners: New Orleans, Cincinnati and Denver are all installed as better than 40:1 despite posting losing records last year. Each was hobbled by injuries, however. Cincinnati’s future may depend on whether Chad Johnson is traded.

Losers: Cleveland is 50:1 despite coming within an Indianapolis victory over Tennessee of making the playoffs. Derek Anderson remains an unknown, and the team still doesn’t have a defense. Seattle and Tennessee both finished 10-6 and are 50:1 and 80:1, respectively.  Tennessee regressing seems likely, but Seattle seems to be in fairly good position in the NFC.

Then there’s the Giants, who are no better than sixth on the list, even though Eli was clearly a different quarterback at the end of the season and the primary pieces of the defense that completely shut down the Pats is set to return (once Strahan finishes his obligatory will-he-or-won’t-he-retire melodrama).

Here’s my completely arbitrary, no analysis whatsoever prediction for 2008-2009:

Division Winners Conference Champions Super Bowl
New England    
Indianapolis    
Cleveland    
San Diego San Diego San Diego
     
NY Giants    
Minnesota    
New Orleans New Orleans  
Seattle    

Yeah, it’s wishful thinking because I hate the Patriots. But wouldn’t a Super Bowl of Rivers vs. Brees be delicious?  Plus the Chargers have the lightning bolt helmets, which are the coolest in the league.

Most importantly, however:

PandC

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