Not a day has passed since the final second ticked off the clock in Super Bowl XLVI, the final game of the 2011 NFL season, but Las Vegas already has posted their first set of Super Bowl Odds for the 2013 season. God Bless America.
So, where do the Pittsburgh Steelers stand? Let's take a look.
2013 SB Odds
Green Bay Packers: 6/1
New England Patriots: 7/1
New Orleans Saints: 8/1
Philadelphia Eagles: 12/1
Pittsburgh Steelers: 12/1
Houston Texans: 12/1
Baltimore Ravens: 14/1
New York Giants: 15/1
Several things stand out to me. Firstly, even though the New York Giants have proven to be wildly inconsistent during the regular season in recent years, their roster seems to be well suited to contend with the league's best once again in 2013. They're not excessively old on either side of the ball, they have a top-shelf quarterback, and the defense will likely only get better collectively.
I like the way they stacked the AFC contenders (though I think the Pats are terrible value at 7/1 right now; they'll fall down to the pack a bit at some point next season when their defense again starts to look like it's not championship caliber). But I think it's fair to rank the Steelers and Texans as the next best teams in the AFC. Watch out for Houston next season. If they can catch a few breaks in the injury department, they'll be a load to handle.
Ravens fans could easily argue, however, that their team belongs ahead of both the Steelers and Texans.
They did, after all, have New England on the ropes in the AFC Championship Game. Despite getting long in the tooth in places, the Ravens have drafted well in recent years and should improve in more areas than they regress.
Plenty of time to assess the strength of teams' rosters later this spring and summer once free agency and the 2012 NFL Draft have come and gone, but a fun first look at who's again expected to be in the conversation in the final stages of next year.