Just as soon as Super Bowl 50 came to a close, the world started thinking about Super Bowl 51. According to the sportsbooks, the usual suspects will be right back in the thick of things in 2017. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots (+800) are followed by Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks (+900). They’re then being pursued by the Carolina Panthers (+900), Pittsburgh Steelers (+1,000), Green Bay Packers (+1,200), Arizona Cardinals (+1,400), Cincinnati Bengals (+1,600) and the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos (+1,600).
Not surprisingly, similar odds are listed across the net. The favorites are the favorites, there’s no other way about it. All of the oddsmakers listed at this sportsbook review site say the same. The Patriots are favored, followed by a Seahawks and Panthers tie. So in other words, we could be looking at an instant replay of the 2015 playoffs. Things could end up shaking down in the exact same fashion. Although, there will be a few changes to take note of.
In Seattle, the days of ‘Beast Mode’ are no more. Marshawn Lynch has announced his retirement and is moving on from the game. The Seahawks are moving on as well. They’ll now put the starting running back reins in the hands of Thomas Rawls. They’ll also likely have starting tight end Jimmy Graham back for the postseason. So expect Seattle to be a stronger looking crew up front.
Another rebuilt team will be the New England Patriots. Well, not exactly rebuilt, mind you. They will have most of the same players, but they’ll also likely be healthy. Meaning their postseason roster will look very different from its 2016 rendition. At running back, Dion Lewis and LaGarrette Blount will return to help carry the load, literally. If all goes according to plan, the team will also look to have a healthy Julian Edelman at wide receiver for more than just nine games next season as well.
The biggest change will come in Denver. It appears that the Denver Broncos are looking to move on from Peyton Manning, regardless of what he decides to do with his future. This means that Brock Osweiler will be in the driver seat. He filled in for Manning this past season and posted a 5-2 record. He also put up far better numbers than the aging quarterback across the board. The only downside, is that he does not have the experience of Manning. Combine that with the possibility of losing Super Bowl 50 MVP linebacker Von Miller to free agency, and the Broncos could be looking at a pretty big setback next season.