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2015 NFL Futures Preview and Predictions

2015 NFL Futures Preview and Predictions

As the activities from the NFL offseason and preseason changed the complexion of the league’s landscape heading into the regular season, so did the bookmakers’ takes on the teams that stand above the rest of the field as favorites to win Super Bowl 50.

Take a look below at the top six teams (with an equal number representatives from each conference, coincidentally) primed to take home the Lombardi Trophy come February of next year. Complete your prep for the start of the regular season with our Week 1 Power Rankings, as well as the NFL’s full TV schedule.

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2015 NFL Futures Preview and Predictions

Seattle Seahawks (+700)

Seahawks Sherman

A third-straight trip to the Super Bowl is closer to a reality than a fantasy for the Seattle Seahawks. Last season, head coach Pete Carroll and his boys were just one play short at becoming the NFL’s first back-to-back league champions since their Super Bowl XLIX opponents, the New England Patriots, accomplished that feat back in 2004-2005.

Carroll opted not to tinker with his team’s winning formula by limiting his offseason roster upgrades to just one big move: a trade with New Orleans to acquire prolific tight end Jimmy Graham. With Graham, quarterback Russell Wilson finally has his best downfield target to date and give the Seahawks a top-10 passing offense for the first time in the Carroll regime (the team was dead last in pass attempts and 27th overall in passing yardage last season).

Passing game issues aside, Seattle is really loaded in all other aspects of the game. Its defense is literally top-notch – first in points, total yards and receiving yards allowed in 2014 – and the relentless running game (tops in the league last year in yardage and scoring) will continue to stir up nightmares for the Seahawks’ opposition.

Writer’s Prediction

A return to the Super Bowl is imminent for Seattle.

Green Bay Packers (+700)

Packers Rodgers Lacy

We had the Green Bay Packers pegged as the NFC’s representative in Santa Clara next year, but then the preseason happened.

[sc:NFL240banner ]Green Bay’s top wide receiver in Jordy Nelson suffered a season-ending right knee injury in Week 2 of the preseason, followed by a scare from his fellow wideout Randall Cobb, who hit the ground hard with his shoulder a week later.

Though Cobb’s injury may not be as grave as Nelson’s (he could still very well suit up for Week 1 of the regular season), the Packers can take comfort in the fact that defending league MVP Aaron Rodgers is still calling the shots on offense. Pair him up with back-to-back 1,000-yard rusher Eddie Lacy, and you have what’s likely the most fearful offense in the NFL, with or without Nelson.

Writer’s Prediction

Green Bay makes it all the way to the NFC Conference championships, but once again falls at the hands of the Seahawks (sans controversial ending and/or historic comeback this time around).

Indianapolis Colts (+700)

Colts Luck

Speaking of frightening offenses, the AFC has its own scoring machine in the making in the Indianapolis Colts.

As quarterback Andrew Luck has progressed over the years, so has the entire team. Indianapolis advanced one playoff round better in each season since the team drafted Luck back in 2012. That means that if this trend is to continue, a Super Bowl berth is all but locked-up already for the Colts.

Acquiring battle-tested veteran pieces on offense in running back Frank Gore and wide receiver Andre Johnson just further solidified the Colts’ odds of finally reaching the big dance for the first time since Peyton Manning was still the team’s starting QB back in 2009. The defense might still be a pressing matter, though, as Indy made no big splashes in the offseason to improve its middle-of-the-pack D from last season.

Writer’s Prediction

Luck rides his Colts all the way towards a Super Bowl 50 victory over the Seahawks.

Denver Broncos (+700)

SP30BRONCOSRAIDERS_2JL3662

Speaking of Manning, the 39-year-old future Hall-of-Famer and his Denver Broncos have finally entered the fray between the +700 Super Bowl favorites. Much like Seattle and Green Bay, the Broncos made little to no improvements in their roster during the offseason, banking on continued success to power them to another Super Bowl trip.

What may have gotten the bookies to jump on the Denver bandwagon is not simply Manning’s presence, but rather his backup Brock Osweiler’s outstanding showing in the preseason. The Broncos have to face the reality of Manning’s retirement sooner rather than later, and Osweiler looks to have flourished from Peyton’s tutelage.

You can’t also discredit the fact that the Broncos have won the past four AFC West titles (and are priced at -160 to win the division again this season) and that the team has not lost more than four games in all three of the seasons that Manning has been at the helm. Still, the bottom line for Denver this season hinges on Peyton’s health and mindset at winning just the second Super Bowl ring of his historic career. Simply put, no Manning equals no Lombardi Trophy for the Broncos.

Writer’s Prediction

Unfortunately, Manning has another one of his postseason meltdowns as the Broncos fall in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

New England Patriots (+800)

Patriots Brady

Heavy lies the crown of the New England Patriots, who have lost almost all credibility in the wake of Tom Brady’s involvement in the Deflategate scandal. If not for the infamous incident, New England could probably have been the clear-cut favorite to repeat as the NFL’s top dog during the entire offseason.

That’s how much of an impact Brady has on his team; his suspension for first four games of the regular season makes all the difference for New England’s odds. Ironically, that +800 price of New England winning this season’s Super Bowl should be much, much higher if Brady was scheduled to miss more than four games. Instead, the generous line just proves that oddsmakers still have a lot of faith in the four-time Super Bowl champion.

Remember when the Pats started out last season with a shaky 2-2 record, only for them to win it all when all was said and done? That could very well be the same scenario this 2015, and you can bet that Brady and his mentor Bill Belichick will be up to some more tricks (hopefully not illegal ones for a change) in further cementing the Patriots’ legacy as the best NFL team of the new millennium.

Writer’s Prediction

This time around, a weak start to the season catches up to New England. They miss out on the bid for a first round bye in the playoffs and ultimately fall to another division winner in the wild card round.

Philadelphia Eagles (+800)

Oakland Raiders v Philadelphia Eagles

Well, well, well… look who’s come to crash the Super Bowl favorites party.

Like an unruly class clown barging in on an intimate group study, head coach Chip Kelly and his Philadelphia Eagles hogged up all the headlines during the offseason by signing a bunch of broken but highly-capable players. Then, Kelly showed what his team has in store the rest of the league with very impressive showings in the preseason.

Quarterback Sam Bradford stands out amongst the other constantly broken parts in the Eagles’ contraption of a lineup. The strides he made during the preseason to prove that he’s past his devastating season-ending injury were huge, and he seems like an absolute fit in Kelly’s no-huddle offense.

Add in worn out 2014 league-leading rusher DeMarco Murray and coveted but frail linebacker Kiko Alonso into the mix, and Philly has the recipe for either utter dominance or preconceived doom. But one thing’s for certain: Chip Kelly’s team will be one of the most compelling and competitive teams to keep an eye on this NFL season.

Writer’s Prediction

Granted that the team suffers no major loss due to injuries, it would still depend on who the Eagles will possibly be matched up with at the NFC Championship Game. They’ll make it to the Super Bowl if they face Green Bay, but will be shut down and kicked out of the playoffs by Seattle’s stifling defense.

Create a betting account now to place your stakes on any of these powerhouses of the NFL for some big-time winnings.

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Mark
Written by Mark

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