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Diner morning news: Odds are anyone’s guess

No one knows the future, but one key is having a big thrower at QB. Michael Lombardi

Print This February 09, 2010, 10:10 AM EST

QUOTE: “Never make predictions, especially about the future.” -- Casey Stengel

The 2009 season was over for less than an hour and Vegas was already putting up odds about teams going to the Super Bowl next season. I have a hard time figuring out who will go to the Super Bowl in December of the current year, let alone predicting one year in advance. (I know Matt “I love me some Texans” Bowen can do this, though — and by the way, congrats to the Bowen family on their new addition. A Texans fan for sure.)

The odds are below -- before free agency begins, before the draft, before any trades or cuts or before any player movement. What I find interesting is that Vegas oddsmakers can make these kinds of predictions when everyone who is intimately involved in the NFL knows the next three months can change the power structure of the league. Or can it?

This offseason, the final eight teams will be limited in their ability to change their teams or add to their teams, so they must use the draft or trades to add the one or two players to get them over the top. Of the top 10 teams below, only New England, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia will have the ability to make any player moves they want based on operating in the uncapped year. As a result, expect their them (and their odds) to change this coming May.

Watching the Super Bowl, it’s clear that to win the big game a team must have a big thrower playing quarterback, someone who can make tough throws and run a sophisticated offense that can score points. The rules have changed so much that the NFL is a passing league, and without an effective passer, there’s very little chance the Super Bowl can be an achievable goal. The list below is formulated because of the quality of the quarterback play from each team, no matter what these teams do this offseason. When teams look over this list, their first reaction might be, “We can improve. We will be better than this once we make a few moves.” But without the quarterback in place, that kind of thinking is just hoping for success, not planning for success. This list should reinforce to every personnel man in the league, every team builder in the league, that they must fix the quarterback, first and foremost.

Odds to win Super Bowl XLV

1. Indianapolis Colts - 13/2
2. San Diego Chargers - 8/1
3. New England Patriots - 10/1
4. New Orleans Saints - 10/1
5. Pittsburgh Steelers - 11/1
6. Dallas Cowboys - 12/1
7. Green Bay Packers - 12/1
8. Minnesota Vikings - 12/1
9. Philadelphia Eagles - 16/1
10. Baltimore Ravens - 20/1
11. New York Giants - 20/1
12. New York Jets - 25/1
13. Tennessee Titans - 25/1
14. Atlanta Falcons - 30/1
15. Cincinnati Bengals - 30/1
16. Arizona Cardinals - 35/1
17. Chicago Bears - 35/1
18. Houston Texans - 35/1
19. Carolina Panthers - 40/1
20. Miami Dolphins - 45/1
21. San Francisco 49ers - 45/1
22. Seattle Seahawks - 45/1
23. Denver Broncos - 50/1
24. Jacksonville Jaguars - 50/1
25. Washington Redskins - 50/1
26. Buffalo Bills - 100/1
27. Cleveland Browns - 100/1
28. Detroit Lions - 100/1
29. Kansas City Chiefs - 100/1
30. Oakland Raiders - 100/1
31. St. Louis Rams - 100/1
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 100/1

Proposed rule change on three-point stance

I know Commissioner Roger Goodell is going to look into whether eliminating the three-point stance will help cut back on concussions, but I’m not sure this will help. The one coaching point we were all taught when we first learned to play football was to keep our pad level down; do not play high. Most offensive linemen today play in a two-point stance in order to deal with pass rushers and not waste time setting up. In a two-point stance, players are automatically playing taller, and this works for offensive linemen, but not for defensive linemen. I would think putting them in a two-point stance might create higher pad level.

Follow me on Twitter: michaelombardi

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