Caulton Tudor

Wilson, Seahawks favored to repeat but that's a rarity

Posted February 3

Less than an hour after the final play in Seattle’s 43-8 Super Bowl win over Denver on Sunday night in New Jersey, the Seahawks were installed as the betting favorite to win it all again next year.

Counting a 4-0 stand in preseason games and 3-0 in the playoffs, Seattle had a staggering 20-3 record.

In that context, it’s understandable that most of the Las Vegas odds makers put the Seahawks at 7-to-1, followed by Denver and San Francisco at 8-to-1, New England (10-1), Green Bay (20-1), New Orleans (20-1).

Carolina Panthers?

They’re 25-1, behind divisional rival New Orleans and exactly the same as NFC South cohort Atlanta, which had a miserable 4-12 record.

Washington Redskins? Dallas Cowboys? New York Giants?

All three are 40-1, behind NFC East favorite Philadelphia at 30-1.

Longest shots?

That would be Oakland and Jacksonville at 200-1.

NFC West is toughest route
Even though there hasn’t been a repeat Super Bowl champ since New England (title games after the 2003 and ’04 seasons) and before that Denver in ’97 and ‘98, Seattle likely will remain a slight favorite when the 2014 regular season begins.

Barring a wave of defections, the Seahawks will retain 25-year-old quarterback Russell Wilson, his primary targets, running back Marshawn Lynch (who turns 28 on April 22) and perhaps of more importance, the bulk of the game’s best defensive unit.

It will help that the Seahawks also has the most obvious home-field advantage in the pros. All that said, it would still be a surprise to me if they can successfully defend.

For one thing, the NFC West clearly has become the toughest division in the league.

The 49ers went 12-4 in the regular season and defeated the Panthers to reach the NFC title game. Arizona went 10-6, including 7-2 over their final nine games. The two losses were by a combined total of seven points. St. Louis (7-9) was the weakest of the four NFC West teams but still had one-sided wins over New Orleans, Indianapolis and Chicago.

Bill Parcells once said the toughest aspect of winning a Super Bowl is simply getting into the playoffs and the toughest part of that step is winning divisional games.

Seattle went 13-3 in regular season but still lost twice in the division (49ers and Cards). Among the wins was a close call against the Rams (14-9 in Seattle).

The NFC West is awash with young stars and some of the best red-zone defenses anywhere. If Wilson and the Seahawks do get back - Feb. 1, 2105, Phoenix - they’ll have to do it the hard way.

Long shots to watch: Bengals, Dolphins
For those willing to bet on the early odds, the Panthers at 25-1 likely will be a popular pick.

The team faces a good deal of personnel patchwork ahead and the offense could use a few more playmakers but Cam Newton is getting better as he ages.

Two other relative long shots capable of making a splash are Miami at 50-1 and the Cincinnati at 25-1.

The Bengals (11-5) reached the playoffs out of the AFC North and the division shouldn’t be much improved _ if any. They flamed out at home against Philip Rivers and San Diego in the playoffs, but the Bengals have as much young talent as any team in the AFC.

Miami (8-8) had to deal with a world of off-field trouble but was still in position to reach the playoffs until the offense went AWOL in the final two games against Buffalo and the N.Y. Jets.
Even with the disappointing finish, quarterback Ryan Tannehill was impressive much of the way and 22-year-old running back Lamar Miller is a candidate to lead the league in rushing for the next four or five seasons if he can avoid injuries.

13 Comments

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  • lilloan Feb 5, 4:00 p.m.

    Sorry, but my money would be on the Patriots at 10-1 next year. No big play receiver to stretch the field (that hole will certainly be filled in the offseason), a healthy Gronkowski, defensive starters back (Jerrod Mayo, Tommy Kelly, and Vince Wilfork), and the same backfield......they'll be a tough out. With all the injuries and shortcomings this year, they only lost a single game by double digits (Denver in AFC Championship)!

  • vt94hokies Feb 4, 6:17 p.m.

    I give huge credence to the GM, and those that had a hand in selecting and drafting this team. These players are the 2nd youngest team ever to win a SB. I have never been a fan of Pete Carroll, but he did one heck-of-a-job in leading this team. Wilson put this team on the map. His football IQ blows most away.

  • dave437 Feb 4, 3:55 p.m.

    Lamar Miller? what?

  • vt94hokies Feb 4, 12:01 p.m.

    Never know. With so many great guys returning, and considering the youth on this team; you can't count them out.

  • Gunnstigator Feb 4, 7:17 a.m.

    ESPN showed a list with Denver having the same odds as Seattle to make the SB next year (both 1... View More

    — Posted by jmcdow2792

    I saw that as well and thought it was odd. Seattle is a very young team with a bright future... View More

    — Posted by Gunnstigator

    I guess it all depends on health....don't forget that Denver had 5 defensive starters... View More

    — Posted by sweet D

    Good points.

  • vt94hokies Feb 3, 9:04 p.m.

    To even win a Divisional Championship takes great focus. Fortunate.

  • wsaldridge1120 Feb 3, 7:48 p.m.

    I know a lot of people are on the Panthers hate wagon, but the Panthers WILL beat Seattle next year and if they face San fran they WILL beat them!!!! The Panthers don't get the credit they deserve by many and especially the media!!!!

  • sweet D Feb 3, 5:42 p.m.

    ESPN showed a list with Denver having the same odds as Seattle to make the SB next year (both 1... View More

    — Posted by jmcdow2792

    I saw that as well and thought it was odd. Seattle is a very young team with a bright future... View More

    — Posted by Gunnstigator

    I guess it all depends on health....don't forget that Denver had 5 defensive starters out....if seattle had 5 d starters out, they would have had some trouble....and the final score was so bad because the Denver d(who actually played good most of the first half) finally collapsed when they got no help from the offense.....seattle got 9 first-half points from their defense, and their td drive was only 39 yards....the other 2 times they were held to a fg....but with no help from the offense, and already short players, the d finally cracked....if Denver had their full d, we could have witnessed a defensive struggle, of which seattle was in quite a few this year

  • jmcdow2792 Feb 3, 4:37 p.m.

    The thing about the NFL is that no team remians the same from year to year. There are drafts, trades, and free agents such that a team can move from the bottom to the top tier in a very short time. This "mystique" is planned, I feel sure, and keeps the NFL intersting. Clearly, if everything stayed the same, Seattle, Denver and a few others would be heavy favorites next year. Glad they do it that way.

  • LuvsThePack Feb 3, 4:30 p.m.

    I'm not saying they will repeat... even GREAT teams can lose in the playoffs and not make it to the Superbowl.

    A repeat is a rarity, but Seattle seems to be a rarity in that they are both awesome AND young. This group could be scary good for several years to come.

    All a team can hope for is to CONTEND for the Superbowl. And the Seahawks have that without a doubt. I think their confidence will carry them far next year. There is no Superbowl monkey on their backs. They can go out and just keep playing good football. I like their chances with that defense. And people will begin to realize they actually have an offense, too.

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