The NFL has long since become defined by the remarkable parity that seems to exist season after season. Somewhere between the strenuous first 16 games and then the gritty playoffs, any given team that comes into the proceedings considered a heavy favorite inevitably runs into a brick wall that somehow nobody saw coming.
For that reason, picking the favorites and underdogs in the NFL is not akin to doing it in baseball or even basketball. On any weekend, any team can fall – a lesson that the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers learned early in their run to championship glory last year.
This time around, though, the team that nobody saw coming one season earlier has the biggest target on its back. According to the oddsmakers at Cantor gaming (via the Washington Post), the Packers are 9-5 favorites to capture a second consecutive NFL title come the eve of Feb. 5. Despite questions about the Green Bay’s defensive potency and even factoring in the unlikelihood of winning back-to-back titles, the powers that be feel confident enough in Aaron Rodgers and Co.'s chances to anoint them as the team to beat.
On top of that, the good folks from Pregame.com list the Packers as having a 32 percent chance of winning it all in 2012.
By the same token, the oddsmakers have also picked the team they feel has the worst shot at capturing a Super Bowl win this year and, unsurprisingly, that team is the Denver Broncos. Despite Tim Tebow’s somewhat magical run over the course of the middle parts of this season, his Denver squad appears to have come back down to earth and the likelihood of them getting past the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card round is slim. As per Cantor Gaming, they’re 120-1 underdogs to win a championship this year.
While the Packers are holding down the favorites slot in the NFC, it’s Tom Brady and the New England Patriots who are being listed as favorites in the AFC. According to Pregame.com, they have an 18 percent chance at winning the title this year.
Wild Card weekend kicks off this Saturday at 4:30 p.m., eastern time.