Can any team fit the New York Giants model of rising from the dead and winning a Super Bowl?
Last season a Dec. 4 loss to the Packers left the Giants at 6-6 with very little chance to make the playoffs, let alone win a Super Bowl. I don’t see a team doing the same thing this season. Of course I’m one of those geniuses that said that a year ago.
If you can find that team it would be future book gold.
There are countless intangibles that went into the Giants dominating finish that resulted in their Super Bowl victory over the Patriots. It would be impossible to match that many variables to another team. But the most important factors I’m looking at are:
• a veteran coach
• a veteran or clutch quarterback
• a defense that can dominate when it has to
• a team that can win on the road
No one fits all of those, but I found a few teams with some of those qualities.
Seattle. The Seahawks have excellent numbers. Their pass defense is one of the league’s best. The run defense is very good. With Marshawn Lynch they have one of the NFL’s top running backs.
Quarterback Russell Wilson has been a fine representative from a nice crop of rookie quarterbacks. I’m a little shaky on head coach Pete Carroll. They also have trouble winning on the road, which any of these teams will have to do. I think we can find a better candidate.
New Orleans. The Saints won a Super Bowl just a few years ago. Drew Brees is a future Hall Of Famer and still one of the best in the game. They have now won 5 of their last 6. The real head coach, Sean Payton, is sitting out the season suspended. Joe Vitt is the interim HC and I honestly don’t have enough history on him to display any confidence. But their defense is not just bad, it’s record-setting-ly awful. This just isn’t going to be their year.
Tampa Bay. The Bucs have a nice team and are a great story. I’m one of Josh Freeman’s biggest fans. But they are a few years away at best.
Minnesota. The Vikings have surprised this season. Leslie Frasier has been the most improved coach in the league and Christian Ponder has made strides in his second year. They just aren’t nearly ready.
Washington. A week ago the Redskins’ HC Mike Shanahan was talking about playing for next year. Scratch them. They aren’t going anywhere.
I seriously doubt any real sleepers come off the mat in the AFC. The last wild card spot will likely be taken by the Indianapolis Colts. Cincinnati is also a possibility. Honestly, the Mayan apocalypse has a better chance of happening than any of those or other teams winning a Super Bowl.
That leaves me with the most likely candidate: the Dallas Cowboys. You have no idea how much it pains me to write that. I’m from Pittsburgh. We don’t like the Cowboys. It must be something in the Iron City beer. But as a handicapper I have to be objective.
First of all, the Cowboys have a very favorable remaining schedule, four home games and two winnable road games. Their raw numbers on either side of the ball are not great. But they have star athletes, playmakers, on both offense and defense.
I have never been one of those to knock Tony Romo. I realize he’s not the greatest, but I believe you can win a Super Bowl with him as your quarterback. They are .500 on the road, which is all you can ask of a team. Unfortunately I have no confidence in their head coach Jason Garrett and even less in defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. They are far from a perfect candidate.
To make it worth your while, you would have to take at least 50-1 for a Super Bowl win. Even that is not a recommendation I would make to anyone betting significant money. But if you are looking for a long shot for your entertainment dollar I think the Cowboys give you the best chance.
Just please don’t tell anyone from Pittsburgh I wrote this. On my next trip home I want to be able to eat a Primanti Brothers sandwich without being paranoid about any unwanted extra ingredients.
Chris Andrews has over 30 years of experience as a bookmaker in Nevada. You can follow him on Twitter@AndrewsSports. Chris has a dedicated thread in the Pregame.com forums, answering your questions and more. Contact Chris at [email protected].