Originally Published: September 4, 2013 1:55 p.m.
What good is the day before the start of the NFL season without Super Bowl picks?
Let's first look at who Vegas likes.
Vegasinsider.com sent the Jaguars and Raiders off to NFL Siberia by pinning 300-to-1 odds on each to win the Super Bowl. Laying $10 down on each makes a good gag gift for the football gambling junkie in your life or makes good conversation over wings while watching Monday Night Football's upcoming doubleheader.
Cardinals fans are looking at 100-to-1 odds for the Lombardi Trophy to be parked in Glendale after a ticker tape parade down Central Avenue.
At the risk of reaching for novelties, I'm going for a brothers Super Bowl sequel. But not the Harbaughs.
Through ridiculous odds, we'll follow up a Harbaugh-coached Super Bowl with a Manning-quarterbacked Super Bowl as Peyton and Eli meet at the Meadowlands on Feb. 2.
The Broncos, we all know about.
Vegas has Peyton and the orange crew as top dogs, making Denver 7-to-1 favorites to win the trophy, and with good reason.
Adding Wes Welker to an already speedy receiver corps will keep Peyton bathing in the Fountain of Youth. A year under his belt with Denver's system, a year healthier after an uncertain return from injury, and the right blend of motivation and opportunity could make for a career year for #18. Which would mean a banner year for the Broncos.
We'll see how LB Von Miller's six-game suspension impacts the defense. The Broncs will have a bump or two along the way, but they'll be at the Meadowlands.
Playing ... the Giants?
Don't get me wrong, I love the 49ers (15-to-2 favorites to win it all). Already loaded, the offense added Anquan Boldin in the offseason and has Colin Kaepernick on fire. The defense returns 9 of 11 starters.
The Niners will be pushed in their own division by Seattle, however. They'll finish the regular season with a hit to their confidence when they lose to the Seahawks in Week 14 and an upset loss to the Cardinals in Week 17 in Glendale, and the gas will run out.
No one ever looks at the Giants as a serious contender, and maybe that's what back-to-back nine-win seasons will do. That's also when Eli and Tom Coughlin are at their best.
Their defense last year was awful, so they went and improved it. A combination of draft picks (DT Johnathan Hankins) and free agent acquisitions (DT Cullen Jenkins, DT Mike Patterson) saw to that. There's the freak Justin Tuck, of course. And if Jason Pierre-Paul can bounce back from back surgery and a second-half of the season disappearance last year (he did participate in practice on Monday this week, so his chances of playing in Week 1 are good), the Giants could be a real sleeper on defense.
The team will also be rested to make a run. Including a Week 9 bye, the Giants will be home (home of this year's Super Bowl, by the way) for four straight weeks during a critical stretch, including key games with the Packers and Cowboys. By Week 13, that's generally when Eli's furnace starts heating up.
No one will pick them early, and everyone will count them out late. But if healthy and restructured on defense, this Giants team has one more run left in them. When they knock out the Niners in the playoffs, it's straight ahead to the Super Bowl.
Which will just happen to feature a Manning brothers frenzy in the week leading up to it, and in which we'll all surely tire of Archie Manning face time.
That's when big brother (not Cooper Manning) will show Eli why the Broncos are the class of the AFC.
Super Bowl MVP goes to Peyton.
Broncos 26, Giants 18.