Now that the Tom Brady / Bill Belichick led New England Patriots have been crowned Super Bowl Champions for a 5th time, the odds-makers have turned their attention to the 2017 season. The Patriots, which shouldn’t come as a surprise, opened up as a 7/1 favorite to repeat as Super Bowl champs according to Pregame.com.
The Chicago Bears are not the longest shot to be the Champs next year, they checked in at 125/1.
Here’s the full list.
Any of you Bears’ fans confident enough to slap down a bet on them going all the way next year?
For you fans of NFL Power Rankings, ESPN and their panel of 80+ “writers, editors and TV personalities,” have already compiled their way too early rankings for the 2017 season. The Pats and Falcons go 1-2 in their rankings, with the Bears way down at 29th overall.
Here’s why they have the Bears where they have them.
Hired with an expectation to repeat the fixes he has executed elsewhere, coach John Fox has instead stumbled to a worse record (.281 win percentage) than predecessor Marc Trestman (.406). Fox's usually sound defense has been terrible, allowing the eighth-most points in the NFL the past two seasons, and he was unable to coax stability from quarterback Jay Cutler. (In fact, Fox appeared to favor journeyman Brian Hoyer last season.) The Bears finished 2016 with the NFL's fourth-lowest Total QBR (45.7) and appear poised to start over at the position in 2017.
Figuring out the quarterback position is a must, and I’m sure Bears’ brass already has Plan A, B, C, D, E, etc. all mapped out. If they can’t turn it around, 2017 will surely be Fox’s last in Chicago. GM Ryan Pace will be skating on thin ice also if the team stumbles through another awful season.
And here’s what ESPN believes could change from now to then.
Rookie running back Jordan Howard is a bright spot, having amassed the NFL's second-highest total of rushing yards (1,313), and he could take the pressure off a new/young quarterback in 2017. The Bears also could get a boost from the presumed return of multiple high-end players who suffered injuries in 2016, from offensive linemen Chris Long and Hroniss Grasu to receiver Kevin White to cornerback Kyle Fuller.
Building an offense around a strong running game is a must for bringing along a young signal caller.
I’m guessing the fellas at ESPN meant to list Kyle Long as a key returning player, but if his big brother Chris, who just won a ring with the Patriots, is willing to sign a team friendly deal to play in Chicago, I’d be fine with that.
Even if 100% recovered, I’m guessing Grasu will be fighting for a back-up role.
The Bears need White to live up to his draft status, but so far his career is still a big unknown. I’m hoping Fuller can come into camp in the best shape of his life and ready to lock down one of the corner spots, but his lack of a 2016 season makes me wonder.
What do you guys think of the early Super Bowl odds and Power Rankings?