The landscape of the National Football League changes every week. Where we thought teams lined up before Week 1 can (and usually does) end up being completely different to where they actually end up come Week 17. But all teams are focusing on one goal, even if it calls for a season to be tanked in the meantime. Everyone is aiming for the Super Bowl. And that’s exactly what we’ll focus on here. Every week, I’ll highlight three teams that most improved their Super Bowl winning odds.
Week 1 is a wrap and we’re now headed into Week 2, so let’s get started. All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.
Arizona Cardinals (1-0, +3000)
The Cardinals came into Week 1 with the worst Super Bowl odds of any team in the NFC West. While the hasn’t changed, they’ve certainly taken a big stride. Kyler Murray started his sophomore season with 230 passing yards and two touchdowns (one passing and one rushing), clearly benefiting from his new favorite receiver DeAndre Hopkins (14-151). The Cards were able to hold off the Niners in a 24-20 victory and technically gave themselves the top seed in the division, but obviously that’s a pointless stat right now.
Arizona’s Super Bowl odds shortened from +5000 (20th-shortest odds) to +3000 (15th-shortest). Does this mean we’re trending in a Super Bowl direction with the Cardinals? No, of course not. But at this stage of the season, anything is possible, so we should be keeping an eye on the outliers. This is arguably the best time to buy into the Cards, since they have a realistic shot at starting the season 5-0. On the docket, Kyler’s squad has Washington in Week 2, then the Lions, Panthers, and Jets. All of which are very winnable games.
Los Angeles Rams (1-0, +2800)
After finishing with a disappointing 9-7 record last season, the Rams shook things up a bit in the offseason by doing away with Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks. The Gurley decision basically solidified their stance on keeping a running back committee. Sure enough, in Week 1, it worked out. Malcolm Brown led the way with 79 rushing yards and two TDs, though he only outtouched rookie Cam Akers 18-14. Thanks to its sound defense, Los Angeles held Dallas to 17 points to pick up the opening week win.
I know, I know. I just highlighted another NFC West team. But this one is a bit more enticing. The Rams have made a Super Bowl run with head coach Sean McVay before. Losing Gurley and Cooks doesn’t change the offense very much, and Jared Goff still has the support of a potentially stout defense. If the 49ers maintain this shaky start as they recover from injuries, the Rams could gain serious headway on their division rivals and keep pace with the Seahawks. They trimmed their odds from +4000 (16th-shortest) to +2800 (14th-shortest), and that trend will continue if they handle business against the Eagles in Week 2.
Baltimore Ravens (1-0, +550)
If you had any doubts about the Ravens keeping up their offensive effectiveness this season, those were wiped away by a 38-6 blowout over the Browns. That’s now two double-digit wins in a row over its AFC North rivals. Lamar Jackson continued his MVP-caliber play by posting 320 total yards (leading the team in rushing yards) and three TDs via the air. And as if Baltimore needed more weapons to add on to the completely healthy Mark Andrews and Hollywood Brown, rookie running back J.K. Dobbins pounded in two scores of his own.
We’re obviously in store for another explosive season from the Ravens, but can they elevate their game in the playoffs to reach the Super Bowl? The fact that we’re already debating that question is a clear sign that they shouldn’t be forgotten, even with Mahomes and the Chiefs riding their Super Bowl wave. Both teams are now tied at +550 for the shortest Super Bowl odds in the league (Ravens were previously second), so it’s a toss up right now. Fortunately, we’ll be blessed with a Monday night matchup in Week 3 between the two juggernauts. Isn’t it great having football back?
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