On Tuesday I looked at the top five favorites to win Super Bowl XLIX which will be played in Arizona. Today I shift to some teams that aren’t favorited quite as high yet still have a chance to win the Lombardi Trophy in 2015.
Picking long-shots is never easy especially coming off a year in the National Football League where two of the three prohibitive favorites both made the Super Bowl. While the odds are heavy in favor of Seattle repeating, that doesn’t mean there aren’t teams out there that can’t take them out.
Here are the teams I think could accomplish just that.
Arizona Cardinals 33/1 – The Cardinals finished 10-6 last season and those wins included a huge victory over the Seahawks in Seattle in Week 16. That win will give this team the motivation and confidence they need moving forward in 2014. The biggest issue is at quarterback where Carson Palmer showed flashes of his former greatness and also some real mediocrity. Can he elevate his game enough with great players around him to get this team to a Super Bowl?
The Cards get playoff teams Philly, San Diego and Kansas City at home and must travel to Dallas, New Orleans and Denver.
New York Giants 33/1 – I must be nuts right? Not if you follow the history of Giants’ Head Coach Tom Coughlin who almost always follows up bad seasons with very good ones. Obviously, Eli Manning has to play better and he needs help around him on a more consistent basis than he saw in 2013. The potential for a running game is there and the defense still has guys who can play but they will need to add some talent and depth through free agency and the draft.
The G-Men get Arizona, San Francisco and Indianapolis at home and have key road games at Seattle and Detroit.
Houston Texans 33/1 – Hard to believe considering this team was 2-14 but there is tons of talent on this roster and I believe Bill O’Brien will get the most out of it. The elephant in the Texans’ locker room is obviously the absence of a quarterback. Speculation right now is that with the first overall pick the Texans will select a potential franchise QB but don’t be so sure either. Houston will need to revamp the running attack as well if Arian Foster can’t stay healthy.
Houston hosts Baltimore, Philadelphia and Cincinnati while they have big road games at Pittsburgh, Dallas and the New York Giants.
Baltimore Ravens 40/1 – The Ravens will look to get back to the playoffs in 2014 and must get more production out of Ray Rice and fewer mistakes from Joe Flacco in order to do that. The defense was actually better than many thought it would be in 2013 but it can still improve and needs to add depth at several key positions. I have to believe the Ravens will be better than last year simply because John Harbaugh doesn’t have back-to-back bad years.
Baltimore’s key home games include San Diego and Carolina while severe road tests include Indianapolis, New Orleans and Miami.
Minnesota Vikings 75/1 – My first thought here is that Mike Zimmer will change the culture immediately in Minneapolis and will look for veterans to lead the team. There is some very good talent on the roster which of course begins with Adrian Peterson. Like other teams, the Vikings need to decide on a quarterback. Added weapons on offense will help any QB but so will just taking care of the ball. If they get consistent QB play I see good things for the Vikes.
They will host key home opponents like Carolina and New England and must travel to New Orleans and Miami.