Earlier this week I wrote that the Panthers (14-1) are a viable Super Bowl contender. Looks like Vegas agrees with me. Their odds are as high as they've been all season long on Bovada.lv. As recently as Week 7 they were 150-1. That's what a five-game winning streak will do for you, and it's a reminder of how quickly things can change in the NFL.
The real reason I keep talking about this though? To remind you about my preseason sleeper for the Super Bowl. If you say enough about it you can't jinx it.
Anyway, I wouldn't bet on the Panthers at 14-1, simply because there's no real value there, unless you're totally convinced they'll handle the Patriots (9-1) on Monday night this week. If they do that we might not see them this low again barring a serious losing streak. I buy into the idea that a team with Cam Newton at quarterback and a defense featuring Charles Johnson, Greg Hardy, Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short -- not to mention Luke Kuechly at linebacker -- can win it all.
Cam isn't the ideal candidate to pull of a Joe Flacco-style run through the playoffs but he's breaking out in a real-quarterback-progression kind of way this season. Don't rule it out.
- The Rams (750-1) and Vikings (750-1) staved off "elimination" with their wins this week! Your move, Bills (1000-1).
- More NFC North movement after this weekend, with the Lions (20-1) doing a steady climb after beating the Bears (50-1). Chicago and the Packers (25-1) continue their quick descents thanks to quarterback injuries.
- The NFC East is so hilariously wide open. The Giants (50-1) started the season 0-6! The Eagles (33-1) are probably my pick for the "favorite" but they're tied with the Cowboys (33-1) in real life so why not Vegas too?
- The Cardinals (100-1) are creeping and might be a nice little investment given their schedule.
- The Jets (75-1) are in the playoffs if the season ended today. What a world we live in.
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