For all I know the World Champion Seattle Seahawks haven’t even arrived back in the state of Washington yet and already they are big-time favorites to repeat as Super Bowl Champions next season. It’s only right after all considering they are young and have most of their key players back. Obviously they must be careful to not be too complacent but I don’t think that will be an issue with this team.
Because I wrote in the blog that yesterday is the worst Monday of the year due to football being over, I want to give you one last little shot of it so here are the top five teams heading into next year while I’ll focus on some long shots later this week.
Seattle Seahawks 9/2 – I have no doubt that Pete Carroll will do whatever is necessary to make sure this team is not resting on its’ laurels heading into the 2014 season. Russell Wilson will return at QB and he will have most of his firepower with him. Defensively, the roster is in good shape as well and with youth on it’s’ side. The schedule will be a bit more daunting than 2013.
Seattle will have home games against Dallas, Denver and Green Bay plus division opponents Arizona, San Francisco and St. Louis. The champs must travel to Carolina, Kansas City and Philadelphia.
San Francisco 49ers 15/2 – Lost in all of the talk about Seattle’s dominating performance Sunday night is the fact that San Francisco was very close to beating the Seahawks in their own building in the NFC Title game. Jim Harbaugh returns his quarterback Colin Kaepernick who has a very good playoff record already in his career. With a healthy Michael Crabtree and his other weapons, the Niners should be good offensively, but I wonder if age is creeping up on certain parts of the defense though.
The Niners get playoff teams Philly, KC and San Diego at home while hitting the road to New Orleans, Denver and Dallas.
Denver Broncos 17/2 – It’s hard to really say the Broncos had a great season because of the way the season ended but overall it was pretty darn successful. The big issue will be Eric Decker who enters free agency and will likely get very lucrative offers. The Denver secondary seems like it needs improving and I’ll be honest; I’m not 100% convinced that Peyton Manning’s arm strength is all there. He rarely threw the ball deep in 2013 and it get less as the season wore on.
The home schedule features tough games against Arizona, the Niners, Miami and Indianapolis. On the road, Denver goes to Seattle, Cincinnati and New England.
New England Patriots 14/1 – I’m really surprised to see the Patriots in this position. I see it as a credit to Tom Brady and not much else. The Patriots must find weapons to build around Brady and in a hurry. The running game is in good hands and the defense is solid if it can stay healthy. Look for New England to address some of their deficiencies in free agency and then to add depth in the draft.
The Pats get Denver, Cincinnati, Chicago and Detroit in Foxboro but they have tough road games at Green Bay, San Diego, Kansas City and Indy.
Green Bay Packers 16/1 – Despite making the playoffs and hosting a wild-card game, the Packers’ season was defined by Aaron Rodgers’ injury and a lack of big plays from the defense. Part of that problem was the poor health of Clay Matthews who needs to prove he can stay on the field in 2014. The running game is in great hands with Eddie Lacy but it’s likely the Pack will need to replace JerMichael Finley at tight end.
The Packers get New England, Carolina, the Jets and the Eagles. Away from Lambeau, Green Bay gets New Orleans, Miami and Seattle.