Heading into Week 16 of the NFL season, several teams appear to be legitimate contenders to win the 2015 Super Bowl. Three teams are tied for the best record in football, while five others are just one game worse with 10 wins.
Just prior to Week 1, the odds favored a rematch of last year’s big game, only with a different result. The Denver Broncos were expected to represent the AFC against the Seattle Seahawks, who defeated them by 35 points in last year’s big game. Peyton Manning had led the Broncos to 13 wins in consecutive seasons, while the Seahawks had the league’s best defense last season, and a young quarterback that continued to improve. The New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints were among the favorites, as well.
NFL experts saw the 2014 season shaking out in a similar fashion. According to the preseason predictions at ESPN.com, Denver was the consensus pick to win the Super Bowl. While the Broncos have lived up to expectations, a few popular picks among experts have had disappointing years.
The 49ers were eliminated from playoff contention with a loss to the Seahawks in Week 15. San Francisco was such a popular choice among ESPN staffers and contributors that they were the consensus pick to be the NFC champion.
New Orleans ranks right behind San Francisco as the most disappointing teams. Through 14 games, the Saints have one fewer victory than the 49ers, but they still have a chance to make the postseason. The NFC South has been so bad that the Saints are in first place and the overwhelming favorite to grab the No.4 seed in the NFC.
With two weeks remaining in the regular season, the betting odds at Bovada.lv favor a matchup between the Patriots and Seahawks. The Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions are among the favorites, though they were not a popular preseason choice by experts.
Below are 2015 Super Bowl predictions that were made by 15 different NFL experts, before Week 1.
Pete Prisco (CBS Sports): Broncos over Packers
Jason La Canfora (CBS Sports): 49ers over Patriots
Pat Kirwan (CBS Sports): Patriots over Packers
John Breech (CBS Sports): Broncos over Saints
Will Brinson (CBS Sports): Saints over Steelers
Josh Alper (Pro Football Talk): Saints over Patriots
Curtis Crabtree (Pro Football Talk): Seahawks over Patriots
Mike Florio (Pro Football Talk): Seahawks over Patriots
Darin Gantt (Pro Football Talk): Broncos over Eagles
Michael David Smith (Pro Football Talk): Packers over Broncos
John Clayton (ESPN): Seahawks over Broncos
Mel Kiper (ESPN): Patriots over Seahawks
Chris Mortensen (ESPN): Saints over Patriots
Adam Schefter (ESPN): Saints over Colts
Bill Barnwell (Grantland): Packers over Broncos