A year ago at this time, there were nine NFL teams with +10000 odds or worse to win the Super Bowl. There are currently four. There are more teams viewed as reasonably being able to contend this season, which means there is a smaller pool of true longshots.
Here is the best possible outcome for several teams least likely to hoist the Lombardi Trophy (odds via SportsLine consensus):
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+8000)
Tampa Bay may have the youngest roster coming into the NFL this season. It is a team that has embraced transition in short order following Tom Brady's second retirement. The roster still has valuable contributors 30 years old or above like linebacker Lavonte David, wide receiver Mike Evans and pass rusher Shaquil Barrett, but there is an eye towards the future.
In a relatively weak NFC South division, the Buccaneers may actually be able to compete and even sneak into the playoffs. It does them no good to play in the middle because that will make it more difficult to find a long-term answer at the quarterback position. Fans may not like it, but the best-case scenario for this franchise is to continue developing those young players and land a top-10 draft choice that could be used on a quarterback.
A last-place finish would likely signal a change in the coaching staff, and that gels with the timeline of taking a rookie quarterback even more.
Washington Commanders (+8000)
The present and future is dependent upon second-year quarterback Sam Howell. Can Howell be a viable starter in this league or is he a place holder for higher aspirations? Las Vegas seems to feel the latter is true based on the odds, but he showed promise in the preseason.
First-round draft picks litter the roster. Washington is in a position to compete. It is a matter of how far its quarterback can take it. The best case scenario is that Howell is the guy and the front office can continue building around him with the likes of Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and more. If the bottom falls out and they end up with a top-5 draft choice, that is not a bad outcome, either. The true worst-case scenario is being stuck in the middle of the draft order and out of contention for a top quarterback prospect. Washington has found itself in that exact position so many times in recent years.
Tennessee Titans (+10000)
Three of the four worst teams in the NFL will come out of the AFC South? Logic does not support that idea. Head coach Mike Vrabel's teams always rise to the occasion, and their defense should be stingy.
Tennessee has drafted a quarterback on Day 2 of the NFL Draft each of the past two years, but neither has been able to displace veteran Ryan Tannehill going into the regular season. The best-case scenario is that either Will Levis or Malik Willis do something that has the organization intrigued going into next season because it is clearly ready to move on from Tannehill. If one of those quarterbacks stepping up and securing a playoff berth happen on the same timeline, that is just icing on the cake.
Indianapolis Colts (+12500)
Indianapolis' roster is strange. They have holes in many areas and even more question marks. Regarded as one of the youngest rosters in the league, the Colts are hoping to find some building blocks under first-year head coach Shane Steichen. If No. 4 overall selection Anthony Richardson flashes, then nothing else will matter. In that scenario, the franchise will be feeling good about itself going into next year's draft but they need to identify other key skill talent and answers at offensive tackle.
The dynamics surrounding the organization and star running back Jonathan Taylor seem unstable at best. Taylor is a sensational player but the best case scenario involves finding clarity in the matter; whether that involves a lucrative contract extension or trading him for draft compensation in the off-season.
Arizona Cardinals (+20000)
Re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, Arizona is viewed as one of the worst teams in the league after being in line to pick No. 3 overall, and it has one of the older rosters. It is time to remodel. If 2023-24 is going to be another rainy season, then at least look for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Neither the new front office nor the coaching staff is tied to Kyler Murray. They will eat some exorbitant dead salary cap hits over the next few years if they move on from the former No. 1 overall selection, but USC quarterback Caleb Williams is a special prospect. Murray has been unable to avoid injury, and this would give first-year head coach Jonathan Gannon a vested interest. Arizona also holds Houston's first-round pick, which should be very early in the draft order. The best-case scenario is that Arizona and Houston finish as the two worst teams in the league, and the franchise has .
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Houston Texans (+20000)
Houston's situation is similar to that of Indianapolis. If C.J. Stroud proves he is a foundational piece in the offense, the win-loss record will not matter at the end of the day. Houston has one of the oldest rosters in the NFL so it needs to identify the players worth keeping around. Can offensive guard Kenyon Green take a step forward? Can Nico Collins or John Metchie III solidify roles for themselves? Is Dameon Pierce's running style going to mesh with the new offensive design?
The best-case scenario is that Stroud and edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. are exactly what the organization envisioned when they were selected No. 2 and No. 3 overall, respectively, while head coach DeMeco Ryans is able to instill a strong culture in the locker room. The Texans may not win a bunch of games in 2023, but they need to be feisty and show up each and every week.