Two Underdogs Whose Lombardi Odds Have Been Slashed Ahead of Next Season

The 2023 NFL season was one of the most unpredictable in recent years. Yes, Patrick Mahomes and his Kansas City Chiefs continued their dynasty era by claiming the Lombardi for the second straight year and third time in five years, but they weren’t the dominant franchise that we have come to know.

Throughout the course of the regular season, the Arrowhead side faltered like we have never seen before. They lost the season’s curtain raiser at home to the Detroit Lions and throughout the second half of the campaign, they lost half of their final ten games. As such, that left them with an unfavorable postseason journey, twice taking them on the road to the Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens, tests that they would pass with flying colors. Next year, NFL odds providers have made the reigning champions the +275 favorites to become the first team in history to complete the vaunted threepeat, but there is a whole host of underdogs whose odds at Super Bowl glory have shortened in recent weeks.

Last term, we saw the aforementioned Lions and the Cleveland Browns rise to the fore and end playoff hoodoos. Next season, however, two more will be looking to do the same.

Houston Texans

The Houston Texans are a team often overshadowed by the more storied franchise within the Lone Star State, the Dallas Cowboys. However, while the Arlington-based outfit has faltered in the postseason in recent years, shining in the regular season before falling to an early exit, DeMeco Ryans’ men instead shone. They managed to win the AFC South ahead of the Jacksonville Jaguars in a shocker, before defeating an upstart Browns side in the midst of a fairytale of their own in the wildcard round

Key to their resurgence has been the phenomenal play of quarterback C.J. Stroud. During last summer’s draft, he was overlooked by the Carolina Panthers, who instead selected Bryce Young with the first overall pick. But the Charlotte side’s loss was the Texans’  gain and they were only too happy to take the former Ohio State star with their number two pick. And what a decision it turned out to be.

The 22-year-old had a blockbuster maiden campaign at the NRG Stadium, winning Rookie of the Year honors in the process. He threw for a rookie-record 470 yards in a 33-30 victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and he wasn’t done there. He steered the Texans to the AFC South title for the first time in four years, before securing a trip to the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

The defense, too, has seen a resurgence with the addition of linebacker Zach Cunningham. His leadership and relentless pursuit of the ball have added a layer of toughness and resilience, turning the Texans into a formidable opponent on both sides of the ball. With strategic acquisitions and the emergence of these key players, the Texans have shed their image as Texas’ overlooked team, becoming true contenders for the Lombardi Trophy.

New York Jets

The New York Jets have long been the subject of ridicule and despair, with their last significant success dating back to the era of Joe Namath. The MetLife side is currently on the longest postseason drought in the league and hasn’t featured in the playoffs in 14 years. Their last appearance came way back in 2010 when they were downed in the conference championships by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Last season was supposed to be their return to the big time. Their drafting of superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers from the Green Bay Packers was supposed to revolutionize the franchise and breathe new life into the green half of New York. However, unfortunately, A-Rod’s campaign was ended just six minutes into his debut and the Jets once again wouldn’t make it to the postseason.

This close season, however, the four-time MVP has returned to full fitness and despite being 40 years of age, he will be on the Green Machine’s roster next term. That is expected to be the catalyst for the breaking of their own postseason hoodoo and the bookies have sat up and taken notice, making the East Rutherford outfit a +2500 contender for the Lombardi next term, ahead of the likes of some heavyweight sides such as the Miami Dolphins and Seattle Seahawks,

A-Rod is expected to be aptly supported by running back Michael Carter, whose ability to evade tackles and secure crucial yardage has infused dynamism into the Jets’ offense. Cornerback Bryce Hall has become a linchpin for the Jets’ defense, his impressive coverage skills and game awareness effectively neutralizing opposing receivers. But all things will revolve around Rodgers, just as they were expected to last season.

The fitness of their franchise star is of paramount importance. Despite being in the twilight years of his career, one final shot at the Lombardi may not be past Rodgers, just like with Tom Brady in Tampa Bay. However, should he be downed early once more, then the Jets’ postseason jinx will continue.

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