September rolling around can only mean one thing, a new football season getting underway. The NFL returned after its annual six-month vacation on September 7th, and it did so in shocking fashion. The reigning champion Kansas City Chiefs have built somewhat of a dynasty in recent years, reaching at least the AFC Championship game in each of the last five seasons.
They welcomed an upstart Detroit Lions side to Arrowhead Stadium, and they were heavily favored to begin their defense of the Lombardi in dominant fashion. Their performance was anything but, and it was the Michigan-based side that escaped Missouri with a narrow one-point victory. And that wasn’t the only shocking story of the opening weekend.
Another talking point of the close season has been veteran quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The 39-year-old four-time MVP was traded from the Green Bay Packers to the New York Jets, with the latter finally having a franchise quarterback talented enough to lead them to glory. However, barely six minutes into his debut for the MetLife Stadium outfit, A-Rod went down with an ankle injury and scans confirmed that he will miss the entire season.
Elsewhere, there were plenty of shocking results, with some of the most successful names in recent seasons all suffering defeat. The Cincinnati Bengals were thumped 24-3 by the rival Cleveland Browns, while the Buffalo Bills still managed to lose to the Jets despite Rodgers’ injury. The Minnesota Vikings only lost four games throughout the entirety of last season however, they are already 0-2 after losing on home turf to the Tampa Bay Buccanneers and on the road at the Philadelphia Eagles.
Those are the early talking points, however, there haven’t been too many changes in the betting odds just yet. With that being said, let’s take a look at the early contenders for the Lombardi this season.
The biggest winners from the opening weekend of the new campaign were last season’s NFC runners-up, the San Francisco 49ers. They romped to a 30-7 victory on the road at Acrisure Stadium against the Pittsburgh Steelers, with former Mr. Irrelevant and third-choice quarterback Brock Purdy throwing for 220 yards and two touchdowns. Following that dominant display online bookmakers have installed the Californians as the Super Bowl favorites, shortening their odds of success down to +600.
Despite their opening-day defeat, it would be impossible to rule out the Chiefs just yet. In Patrick Mahomes, the Arrowhead Stadium side has the finest quarterback on the planet in their ranks at present. His brilliance was on full display at Super Bowl LVII back in February as his MVP-winning performance helped his team overturn a ten-point half-time deficit to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles. They have plenty of winnable fixtures on the horizon however, and odds of +700 could provide value to plenty of punters.
Speaking of the Eagles, they too are priced at +700, however, they have begun the new season in brilliant fashion. They already have two wins under their belt from their first two games, firstly knocking off the formerly feared New England Patriots on the road. They then defeated their NFC rival, the Minnesota Vikings, picking up a 34-28 victory at the Linc on game-week two’s installment of Thursday Night Football.
Jalen Hurts provided one of the all-time great Super Bowl performances back at Super Bowl LVII, albeit in a losing effort. He has been at his very best once again throughout the opening weeks of the new campaign. He managed three touchdowns in the recent victory against the Vikings (two rushing, one passing) and if he can continue in similar fashion, the Eagles will be there or thereabouts come the end of the season.
Remember when we mentioned earlier that the San Francisco 49ers were the biggest winners on the opening weekend of the season? Yeah, well, that wasn’t strictly true. That honor goes to the Dallas Cowboys.
The Lone Star State side dismantled the New York Giants by an embarrassing scoreline of 40-0, and they laid down a marker that this year may very well be the one to end 18 years of hurt for the Cowboys faithful. However, when it comes to Big D, we have heard it all before. In recent years though, Dallas has improved and made it to the divisional round of the playoffs last season before running into the 49ers. Could they go a couple better this year?
Finally, we have the Buffalo Bills, who are currently the fifth favorites for glory at odds of +1000. Last season, the New York state-based side was the favorites for the Lombardi all year long however, the postseason curse reared its ugly head once more as they were downed by Joe Burrow and his Cincinnati Bengals.
In Josh Allen, the Bills have one of the greatest quarterbacks in the league on their roster, and it’s imperative that he gets back to his best as soon as possible. Defeats such as the one at MetLife Stadium against the Jets cannot happen if they are serious about a first-ever Lombardi this term.