What are the Odds for the Super Bowl Champ to Repeat in 2017?
Obviously, it’s way too early even to prognosticate in a realistic way about the 2016 NFL season. However, that doesn’t keep the online sportsbooks from putting up lines, and now the Denver Broncos stand at 14/1 odds to repeat and walk away with the Lombardi Trophy at the end of Super Bowl LI too. Let’s talk about why that could happen — and why it might not.
Are the Odds going to repeat in Super Bowl 51?
— NFL Wires (@nflwires) February 8, 2016
No more Peyton Manning
I don’t see Peyton Manning returning to this team. He’s a free agent, and I don’t see the Broncos opening up the vault. Brock Osweiler led the team to a 5-2 record in his starts while Manning was injured and then sitting as the backup, and he showed he can run Gary Kubiak’s offense quite effectively. I see the Broncos offering Manning a stake in the team and a cushy suite where he can his dad can sit and watch the Broncos every Sunday. However, this isn’t the “downer” that many people might think. Osweiler showed himself to be athletic and strong-armed, both of which are necessary elements for Gary Kubiak’s offense. I don’t see a big dropoff between the two quarterbacks. So this is a reason why I think the Broncos could be right back in the conversation next year. Remember, Osweiler led the team to a comeback win over the Patriots and an overtime win over Cincinnati.
If you watched the playoffs at all, you know that this was a team that was driven by defense. Every time the Broncos went three-and-out in the AFC Championship and the Super Bowl, you could sense the commentators waiting for the Patriots and then the Panthers to break through and mount a drive down the field to change the game. However, that defense held firm, time and time again, a real testament to the coordinator skills of Wade Phillips but also to the ironclad commitment and superior talent on the Broncos’ defense. If the Broncos are willing to pay to keep their free agents, then the defense should be just as strong again.
This is the biggest reason to suspect a dropoff. Now that the Broncos have that title, now that DeMarcus Ware has that ring, that hunger is not likely to be as strong in the locker room. I’m not saying that the Broncos won’t try hard, but it’s different after you win. The history of professional sports is filled with teams that let off the gas after they win a championship. Maintaining that effort and focus for a full season is extremely challenging, so it wouldn’t be a shame at all if the Broncos just don’t have the same results. After all, each opponent next season will see them as a target to knock off. And the other contenders who didn’t get to make it to the biggest game of all will be hungrier than they were last year. For me, this is the major factor in sliding the Broncos down the odds chart.