I'm going to start this year off by discussing the Super Bowl odds and over/unders for all 32 teams. I will list each team's odds of winning the Super Bowl (SB odds) and over/under total (O/U) alongside the team name. Keep in mind that if a team has decimal in their over/under (.5), it means there is no push:
Indianapolis Colts (SB Odds 7-2 | O/U 11.5)
Despite losing Edgerrin James, the Colts are poised to take the next step. I'm just not sure that next step involves winning the Super Bowl. Pass on that bet until Manning and Co. prove that they can successfully run the AFC postseason gauntlet. As for the over/under, 12 wins sounds like a sure thing for the NFL's best regular season team.
Seattle Seahawks (SB Odds 6-1 | O/U 10.5)
The Seahawks were a few bad calls and placekicker away from winning it all last year. Most of the '05 squad is back, so there is no reason to believe they can't make their way back to the big game, and win it this time around. Also, 11 wins seem very attainable since they play in one of the league's worst divisions.
New England Patriots (SB Odds 7-1 | O/U 10.5)
There are two reasons why the Patriots are given these lofty Super Bowl odds: Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Those are some pretty damn good reasons, but I still think that this team is past their prime. The AFC is just too tough, so pass on the Super Bowl bet and the over/under. If I had to pick from one of the two wagers, I would go with the over, since their division is still somewhat soft.
Carolina Panthers (SB Odds 8-1 | O/U 9.5)
The Panthers came close to making it to the big game last year, but I still think their odds of winning it this year are a bit high. That's only because they still have to contend with the Seahawks, the same team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year. Their over/under number is intriguing because while they are certainly capable of winning 10 or more games, the toughness of the Panthers' division could prevent them from doing so. If rookie DeAngelo Williams looks solid in the preseason, I would take that bet.
Pittsburgh Steelers (SB Odds 10-1 | O/U 10.5)
The Steelers will be hard-pressed to even return to the Super Bowl, much less win it. It's not so much because of their key losses on offense, but because the AFC is just so damn tough. I also don't like their over/under. It seems like oddsmakers were banking on a down year from Cincinnati when they came up with this number, but I think they are stretching a bit by expecting the Steelers to win 11 games.
Dallas Cowboys (SB Odds 10-1 | O/U 9.5)
Just look at what Terrell Owens can do for your Super Bowl odds! The Cowboys are a solid team, but I'm still not convinced that Drew Bledsoe and a sub-par running attack can get Parcells back to the promised land. That being said, 10-1 might be worth a shot, and I definitely think that despite playing in arguably the NFL's toughest division, the Cowboys should be able to pull of a 10-win season.
San Diego Chargers (SB Odds 12-1 | O/U 9)
Something smells fishy here. How does a team that failed to make the playoffs last year, lost their Pro Bowl-caliber starting quarterback and will field an extremely inexperienced new quarterback get such solid Super Bowl odds? I know they have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, but c'mon. As for winning more than nine games, they should manage that despite playing in an extremely tough division.
Denver Broncos (SB Odds 15-1 | O/U 10)
This looks like a steal of a deal. Getting 15-1 odds on a team that came very close to making it to the Super Bowl last year and has a very experienced defense is about as good as it gets. The loss of Mike Anderson will hurt a little bit, but not enough to prevent them from being a serious Super Bowl contender. Ironically enough, despite my optimism in terms of the Broncos' Super Bowl chances, I'm not sure that they will win 11 games.
New York Giants (SB Odds 15-1 | O/U 9.5)
Despite having loads of young talent, I think the Giants are still a year or two away from competing for a Super Bowl title. I also think that they will be hard-pressed to win 10 games in such a brutal division. I would stay away from the Giants on both bets.
Chicago Bears (SB Odds 15-1 | O/U 9)
If the Bears can even slightly improve on their atrocious offensive showing in 2005, they will be a serious Super Bowl contender. Therefore, I like those 15-1 odds. Also, I think their over/under number is arguably the best out there, because they play in what is probably the weakest division in football. They should easily get to the 10-win plateau. You can bet on that (pun intended).
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (SB Odds 15-1 | O/U 8.5)
The Buccaneers are in a position similar to the Giants. Plenty of young talent (and some great veteran leadership on defense to boot), but they are still a year or two away from contending for a Super Bowl, and by then, the defense might be in a rebuilding phase. The point being, I would not bet on them winning the Super Bowl this year. However, I do like their over/under. They are more than capable of reeling off nine wins.
Cincinnati Bengals (SB Odds 20-1 | O/U 9)
This is the first of several "gambler's" picks. If you believe that Carson Palmer will be healthy and return to form, by all means, bet on them to win the Super Bowl and notch more than nine regular season wins. That's a big "if", though. Hence, the catchy moniker.
Washington Redskins (SB Odds 20-1 | O/U 9)
A Hall of Fame coach with three rings, plenty of explosive offensive talent and arguably the best defense in football? That sounds like a Super Bowl recipe to me. The only major question mark is the age and durability of Mark Brunell, but Rich Gannon proved that an old journeyman QB can get your team to the big dance. I like those 20-1 odds. Getting to 10 wins shouldn't be too much of a problem, either, but then again, they do play in the NFC East.
Jacksonville Jaguars (SB Odds 25-1 | O/U 9.5)
They finally made it to the postseason last year, they will field a tremendous defensive unit and l love what Byron Leftwich brings to the table. Still, I think this team remains a year or two away from being a serious contender. On the flipside, there's no reason to believe they can't win 10 regular season games, especially since they play in a fairly weak division.
Kansas City Chiefs (Super Bowl Odds 25-1 | O/U 9.5)
This is another one of those "gambler's" picks. If you believe all the Larry Johnson hype and you think Ty Law is the missing piece in the Chiefs' defensive puzzle, then bet on them winning it all. The 25-1 payout makes it a worthwhile wager. The over/under is also an attractive offer. Kansas City is in a tough division, but the Chiefs' offensive firepower makes them a threat to win every time they step on the field.
Atlanta Falcons (Super Bowl Odds 25-1 | O/U 8)
Remember that the Falcons were knocking on the door for several seasons before suffering a setback in 2005. If they can get back into the postseason, Vick and company could prove to be a darkhorse contender. I also feel that seeing them win nine or more regular season games is very realistic.
Philadelphia Eagles (Super Bowl Odds 25-1 | O/U 8.5)
Just like the Falcons, the Eagles were also knocking on the door for several seasons, before suffering an injury- (and T.O.) induced setback. In fact, they were actually much closer to the promised land. That being said, I'm not sure Philly has the offensive firepower to be a contender, plus I don't think the team's unorthodox running attack (or lack thereof) will bode well for them. I would stay away from the Super Bowl prop, but consider putting a few bucks on that inordinately low over/under.
Miami Dolphins (Super Bowl Odds 30-1 | O/U 9)
Yet another "gambler's" pick. The Dolphins have a lot of potential, and that's the problem. If Culpepper can stay healthy, and if Brown can carry the load, and if the secondary can hold up, and so on and so forth...If you think the answer to these questions is "yes," then go ahead and place the Super Bowl bet. If not, then take a pass. I do see the Dolphins improving on their nine-win season from a year ago, so I would take the over.
Minnesota Vikings (Super Bowl Odds 30-1 | O/U 8.5)
Even most diehard Vikings fans would tell you that they are not a realistic Super Bowl contender. There's just not enough talent on both sides of the ball. That being said, they should win nine or more games in the regular season, so the over/under bet looks like a lock from where I'm sitting.
Green Bay Packers (Super Bowl Odds 35-1 | O/U 6)
How in the heck are the Packers given such relatively good odds to win it all? In a word, Favre. But even the eventual Hall of Famer will not be enough to get them anywhere close to a title in '06. They might, however, sneak seven or more wins, though, since they play in the NFC North.
Baltimore Ravens (Super Bowl Odds 40-1 | O/U 7.5)
This is the last team on the list that will garner Super Bowl consideration. The infusion of veteran quarterback Steve McNair, a rebound year for Jamal Lewis and an always-stout defense will still not be enough to get them there, but take the 40-1 if you're feeling lucky. As for winning eight games, that is a realistic scenario, so the over looks appealing.
Cleveland Browns (Super Bowl Odds 50-1 | O/U 6.5)
The Browns really started come around last year, and I think head coach Romeo Crennel has them poised to make a run at the playoffs. Even if that scenario doesn't become a reality, they should muster a seven-win season.
St. Louis Rams (Super Bowl Odds 50-1 | O/U 7)
Although they are not Super Bowl material just yet, the Rams are much better than last year's 6-10 record. The return of Marc Bulger should get them back to .500, which would be good enough to cover that relatively low over/under prop.
Buffalo Bills (Super Bowl Odds 60-1 | O/U 6.5)
The Buffalo Bills have to sort out their quarterback issues, but they still have a potentially elite running back in Willis McGahee and a respectable defense. And don't forget that Takeo Spikes returns after missing last year with an Achilles injury. Still, I think they'll be hard-pressed to win seven games.
Oakland Raiders (Super Bowl Odds 60-1 | O/U 6)
The offense is impressive, although Aaron Brooks can be shaky at times. The defense has some nice players, but it is still sub-par overall. Therefore, the Raiders should still be at the bottom of the AFC West barrel. That being said, they might find a way to win seven games.
Arizona Cardinals (Super Bowl Odds 60-1 | O/U 8.5)
The Cardinals made a big free agent splash during the offseason when they signed Edgerrin James. Unfortunately, due to issues on the offensive line and certain areas of the defense, that signing won't be enough to get them into the postseason. They do have a very potent offense, though, so the Cardinals will be capable of winning nine games, especially since they play in a relatively weak division.
Detroit Lions (Super Bowl Odds 60-1 | O/U 6.5)
You know what they say: if you have two quarterbacks fighting for the starting spot, then you really don't have a quarterback to begin with. Couple that with a rookie head coach and you have a recipe for disaster. Hopefully, Rod Marinelli's discipline and some solid young talent on defense will help the team stay near .500, but that being said, I just don't see them winning seven games in '06.
Houston Texans (Super Bowl Odds 80-1 | O/U 5.5)
Mario Williams should pay immediate dividends on defense and Andre Johnson should rebound from a putrid '05 campaign. Unfortunately, the offensive line continues to be a question mark, as does Domanick Davis' health. It could be another long season for David Carr and company. I don't see them winning six games.
New Orleans Saints (Super Bowl Odds 80-1 | O/U 7)
The Saints weren't as bad as their '05 record suggested. Remember that they were unable to play at home because of Hurricane Katrina, not to mention the fact that they actually played nine hostile road games due to the fiasco of a "home" game against the New York Giants . With the addition of Drew Brees and Reggie Bush, as well as the return of Deuce McAllister, this team could be primed for surprise playoff run. I like that over a lot.
San Francisco 49ers (Super Bowl Odds 100-1 | O/U 5)
The defense is gradually improving, so if Alex Smith can elevate his game to just a mediocre level (he was flat-out atrocious last year), this team will easily win six games. The addition of Antonio Bryant, Larry Allen, Vernon Davis, as well as the return of Eric Johnson, should go a long way in making that happen; therefore, I really like that over bet.
Tennessee Titans (Super Bowl Odds 125-1 | O/U 5.5)
The Titans have a lot of issues on both offense and defense, and while I like what Billy Volek brings to the table, I expect to see Vince Young take over by around Week 10. That changing of the guard at the quarterback position will likely ensure a top pick in next year's draft and less than six wins in '06.
New York Jets (Super Bowl Odds 200-1 | O/U 5.5)
This is my final "gambler's" pick. Why? Because if Chad Pennington is somehow healthy and back to his old self and if Curtis Martin has one more year left in him, this team will be much better than their '05 record suggests. Remember that the Jets already have a decent defense with some talent, so all they really need is an offensive rebound. If Pennington looks ready to go by Week One, jump on that over proposition.
I HOPE THIS HELPS