Backup quarterbacks have been a hot topic around the NFL this week, what with numerous starters dropping like flies starting with the 4 p.m. ET games on Sunday.
Alex Smith, Michael Vick, Jay Cutler and Ben Roethlisberger suffered injuries, which could cause them to miss multiple weeks, and that is reflected below in the latest update to our 2013 Super Bowl odds.
The 49ers (15-2) should get Smith back relatively soon considering he doesn't have a history of concussions, but without him, they tied a Rams team that shouldn't be tying San Francisco at home. Colin Kaepernick looked pretty capable insofar as backups go. Add in the fact that Seattle (33-1) is closing on them for the NFC West lead and you can see the logic.
The Bears (10-1) lost a squeaker and didn't drop too far in the odds below because they're still a team dominated by defense and Jason Campbell isn't a Caleb Hanie-level dropoff from Cutler. Plus, this isn't season-ending like 2011, so Cutler should return relatively soon.
You do notice an uptick in the Packers (15-2) stock, though, as they come off a bye week healthier and eyeing that division.
Philadelphia (200-1) was still technically hanging around the "long-shot" area for contenders last week at 90-1, but the Eagles have fallen off the odds cliff, heading into adios territory. That's partially because they could be rolling with Nick Foles the rest of the season and also partially because they simply aren't making the playoffs. Disaster season for Andy Reid and Co.
And then there's the Steelers (16-1): Ben Roethlisberger narrowly avoided death against Kansas City apparently, and even though Pittsburgh won, the Steelers saw their odds dip. That's primarily because, I would think, they're playing the Ravens next without Roethlisberger -- they will have Byron Leftwich, and winning the Super Bowl is much harder when a bye and homefield advantage is not in play.
Conversely, you can see the big jump in the Ravens' (12-1) odds this week and it's not simply because they blew out the hapless Raiders (500-1).
Other quick notes: Congrats to the Panthers, who are now less likely to win the Super Bowl in the eyes of Vegas than the Browns. Remember when the Cardinals were undefeated? But no, seriously, haha. The Falcons took a small hit after their loss, but you can see how Vegas feels about them relative to other contenders: Basically the same way everyone else does.
If I was picking any value plays here, I'd go with Tampa Bay (75-1) or Cincinnati (150-1) who are long shots to make the playoffs, much less go to the Super Bowl. Both have enough talent to pull of some crazy stuff and both have played well the past two weeks
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