The 2017 Super Bowl is still over two months away. However, the Super Bowl 51 odds are changing as often as the New York Stock Exchange.
Heading into the 2016 NFL season, the Super Bowl 51 odds had the top favorites listed as the New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers, Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers. While the Patriots and Seahawks are proving that they still belong in the conversation as one of the favorites, the Packers, Panthers and Steelers have all disappointed so far in 2016.
In fact, heading into Week 11 of the season, the Packers, Panthers and Steelers would all be on the outside looking in when it comes to the 2016 NFL playoffs. The good news for these teams, and all of the teams in the NFL for that matter, except the Cleveland Browns, is that in this season more than ever, parity rules. Teams that are.500 or even a game below are all still alive and kicking. Outside of the New England Patriots (7-2) and Dallas Cowboys (8-1) we may see teams win two or three division titles with 8-8 or 9-7 records.
The defending NFC champion Carolina Panthers are in last place in the NFC South, while the Pittsburgh Steelers just lost their fourth game in a row, falling to 4-5 on the season. However, mathematically they are both very much still alive for a postseason spot if they can win a couple of games in a row.
The Green Bay Packers are also 4-5 so far in 2016, and they are coming off of an ugly 47-25 loss to the Tennessee Titans. CBS Sports reports that Green Bay’s defense looked far from Super Bowl quality as they seemingly gave up big play after big play to a Tennessee team that has won more games (5) than they have won in the last two seasons combined.
Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota threw for 295 yards and four touchdowns and made Green Bay’s defense look like they didn’t know the first thing about tackling or defending a receiver, yet a win next week puts them right in the thick of the NFC North race.
So, the big question is which NFL team that not many people are not talking about can surprise everyone and make the big game this February? The Patriots are still the favorites to win Super Bowl 51, but picking the favorite is too easy. Here are three long-shot teams that can prove oddsmakers wrong.
Detroit Lions (+6600) — The Lions are 5-4, lead the NFC North and have the best quarterback in the division – period. Now before everyone points to Aaron Rodgers, who is great, he isn’t the best quarterback in the NFC North so far this season. That honor goes to Matt Stafford. Stafford led the Lions to comeback wins on several occasions already this season, including Detroit’s dramatic victory two weeks ago in Minnesota.
If the Lions can win the North, they will have at least one home game in the playoffs, which makes them a tough out. Add to the fact that they are +6600, and how can you not put a small wager on this team?
Oakland Raiders (+1600) — Even though they opened at +3500, the Raiders are still not getting the respect of, say, the Cowboys or Patriots. Derek Carr seems to get better each week, and Jack Del Rio has turned the culture around Oakland. What else makes these guys a legit threat in the AFC? They play better on the road than they do at home. Oakland is 5-0 away from the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum. That is impressive.
Atlanta Falcons (+1600)— They have the big names, and they are leading the NFC South division at 6-3, yet most experts are waiting for the bottom to fall out. If they stay healthy, they could be the last team standing in the NFC. Never underestimate Matt Ryan and Julio Jones!
Heading into Week 11 action, the teams that fell the furthest from Week 1 on the Super Bowl 51 odds board are the Redskins, Bengals, Steelers, and Cardinals. The biggest risers have been the Cowboys, Falcons, and Raiders. You can check out the current Super Bowl 51 odds here.
[Featured Image by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images]