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The 2016 NFL season kicks off on Thursday when the Carolina Panthers visit the Denver Broncos in a rematch of Super Bowl 50. The landscape has changed significantly since the Broncos hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in February; so much so that neither team is among the favourites to contend for a championship this year. Here is a look at the Super Bowl futures as the 2016 season begins.

 

Moving On Up

Green Bay Packers

Super Bowl Odds: +600

The Packers didn’t overexert themselves in the preseason and still managed to improve their chances in the NFC North. The Minnesota Vikings lost their starting quarterback for the season, the Detroit Lions still haven’t discovered a running game and the Chicago Bears looked sluggish in the preseason, scoring just 50 total points (second-fewest in the NFC). Meanwhile, the Packers’ first-string offense looked crisp in the brief time that we saw it this preseason. Packers’ running back, Eddie Lacy, was very effective in early reps, which is encouraging to Cheeseheads given how disappointing he was last year.

 

Tennessee Titans

Super Bowl Odds: +10000

The Titans face long Super Bowl odds, but looked like an improved team in the preseason. The Titans were among the worst teams in the NFL last season (3-13), but look much more competitive early on this year. Quarterback Marcus Mariota showed some poise in his second preseason in the pros and will look to carry that into Week 1, as he appears to have much more support around him. Running backs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry might form the best one-two punch in the NFL, and the offensive line in front of them also looks strong. Many people expect the Jacksonville Jaguars to be the most improved team in the AFC South, but the Titans could surprise.

 

Moving Down

Minnesota Vikings

Super Bowl Odds: +2500

The season-ending injury to quarterback Teddy Bridgewater immediately dropped the Minnesota Vikings’ Super Bowl chances. He wasn’t exactly a Pro Bowler last season, only throwing for 14 touchdown passes, but coming into his second full season, he was seen as a young player on the rise. With Bridgewater’s injury, the Vikings made a last-minute trade for Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Sam Bradford. Backup Shaun Hill is expected to start in Week 1, but look for Bradford to be in the huddle very soon.

 

Dallas Cowboys

Super Bowl Odds: +2500

The Cowboys are another team that saw their Super Bowl odds plummet because of a quarterback injury. For a second straight season, Tony Romo has suffered a back injury. This time, he will be out anywhere from 6 to 10 weeks. The Cowboys appear to be better prepared for his absence this time around, as rookie quarterback Dak Prescott was one of the brightest stars of the preseason. It remains to be seen whether Prescott can keep up his stellar performance once regular season action begins.

 

Updated Super Bowl Futures Top Three

1. Green Bay Packers (+600): As we start the season, the Packers are Super Bowl favourites.

2. New England Patriots (+675): The Patriots have slipped behind the Packers largely because they will need to tread water while waiting for Tom Brady to serve a four-game suspension to start the season.

3. Seattle Seahawks (+900): The Seahawks are the only other team with at least 10/1 odds.

 

*Odds as of September 7, 2016