As we get closer to the start of the 2019 NFL regular season one thing is becoming clear: the NFL has become the sport where hope springs eternal. Major League Baseball fans used to be the ones who could cling to that old trope, but it’s truly now the NFL where it seems a solid proportion of the league has a legitimate chance to make a Super Bowl run.
A testament to the NFL’s parity, there is no single team — not even the New England Patriots — that has better than a 25% chance to even reach Super Bowl 54, according to oddsmakers. The Patriots have the best odds to win a 2019 conference championship, sitting at an average of +330 (23.3% probability) across online sportsbooks. Even though the rest of the Patriots’ division-mates in the AFC are still destined to be also-rans, the defending Super Bowl champs can’t realistically be given shorter odds, as the rest of the AFC is stacked. The Chiefs (+380), Colts (+670), Browns (+680), and Chargers (+710) all have stronger rosters, from top to bottom, as stated by SportsBettingDime.
The odds to win the NFC paint a similar picture. The Rams and Saints, who met in last year’s NFC Championship, are favored; but their odds to reach the Super Bowl are only +480 (17.2%), thanks to the Eagles (+720), Bears (+720), Packers (+900), and Vikings (+1200) all carrying credibly title hopes into the year.
Speaking of the Patriots, their receiver corps was granted a major upgrade this preseason with the reinstatement of Josh Gordon. It’s easy to forget about Gordon’s 2018 with New England, but he was becoming a force before his suspension. Last season, with the Patriots, Gordon had 40 receptions, 720 yards receving, and three touchdowns. Now there’s a possibility of seeing a Brady/Gordon tandem for 16 games. With Julian Edelman underneath and Gordon taking the top off of defenses the Patriots could surprise some teams early in the year.
A rematch of the AFC Championship game from last season seems the likely scenario as we get closer to the start of the season. The Patriots defense has turned some heads and NFL.com has New England’s defense ranked the 6th best in the NFL and should be a formidable foe against’s K.C’s high-power offense.
Adam Schein wrote on NFL.com about the Patriots, “The secondary is terrific, with Stephon Gilmore, the McCourty brothers, Patrick Chung and last year’s undrafted gem, J.C. Jackson. Gilmore is one of the very best corners in the league. Linebacker Kyle Van Noy has been a perfect fit for the Patriots and is coming off a career year.”
With the return of Gordon to solidify the receiver corp and a solid defense to slow down the Cheifs, we may be looking at yet another year of Patriots dominance.