Winning the Super Bowl is one of the hardest things to do in sports, and these three franchises can attest to that. The Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions, and Carolina Panthers are three of the 12 NFL teams to never win a Super Bowl. Let’s look at these teams and see each team’s current odds to win the Super Bowl odds. Some teams have better odds than others, and we will look at their 2021 roster and predict if they are an excellent NFL bet to make this year.
Carolina Panthers (+5000)
The Panthers have the best Super Bowl odds out of these three teams, and they are also the only team out of the three to play in a Super Bowl. Carolina has only been an NFL franchise since 1995, but they have appeared in two Super Bowls, losing to the New New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVIII and the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50. In total, the Panthers have six division titles and have made the playoffs eight times, with 2017 being the last time they made the postseason.
2020 was a year of transition for the Panthers; with first-year head coach Matt Rhule and new quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina had their ups and downs and finished with a 5-11 record. Their defense was below average, ranking 18th in both points and yards allowed, but the offense was a struggle, ranking 24th in scoring and 21st in points.
A big reason for the lack of offensive production was the injury to running back Christian McCaffrey, and the Stanford alum only played three games due to a high ankle sprain and a shoulder injury. The Panthers might have been hesitant to put him back at the end of the year because he is the future of the franchise. In the 2020 offseason, McCaffrey was made the highest-paid running back in the NFL with a four-year $64 million contract extension.
With a loaded quarterback class in the 2021 NFL Draft, many thought the Panthers would be drafting their quarterback of the future. Instead, Carolina traded three draft picks in exchange for New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold. Darnold was tasked with being the savior of the Jets, but that never happened. In his three-year career, Darnold averaged 213 yards a game and threw 45 touchdowns to 39 interceptions. The Jets were 13-25 with him as a starter.
Now with a fresh start, Darnold will have the best weapons he has ever had with McCaffery paired with receivers D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson. However, NFL experts still have faith in Darnold’s talents, and maybe a change of scenery is what he needed to reach his full potential.
With the eighth pick in the NFL 2021 Draft, the Panthers took South Carolina DB Jaycee Horn, son of Pro Bowl receiver Joe Horn. The theme of the Panthers’ offseason was to improve their defense. With McCaffery coming back, the offense is destined to improve, but the defense needs to be better if they take the NFC South against receivers like Michael Thomas, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and more.
The Panthers have +5000 odds to win the Super Bowl, ranking 21st. We’d suspect the reason for the low NFL odds is the unknown the Panthers bring. Last season we saw how bad they were without McCaffery, but he will be back and, in theory, with a better quarterback.
The defense has improved, but Carolina did not make a splashy move like the Darnold trade. Nevertheless, this is a new era in Carolina, and with the retirement of Drew Brees, maybe the second spot in the division is open, and the Panthers can sneak in as a wild card team.
The mystery of the Panthers is intriguing but also scary. Looking at the odds, we like the Chicago Bears at +5000 more than the Panthers. Chicago has an established defense, and the rookie Justin Fields could prove to be a dynamic weapon. Panthers will improve. They will not finish 5-11 for the third straight year. Expect them to be above .500 and flirt with a playoff spot.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+8000)
Tank for Trevor was a success, and the Jacksonville Jaguars were able to secure the number one pick in the draft and get Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. They also hired legendary college head coach Urban Meyer, who had never coached in the NFL, let alone a head coach in football’s biggest league. There is a lot of hope and optimism in Jacksonville right now, but what will the first year of this new era look like?
The Jaguars are the same age as the Panthers, coming into the league in 1995, but they have seen far less success than Carolina, making the playoffs seven times and winning three division titles but only one since 1999.
The Jaguars are one of four NFL franchises to never make the Super Bowl. “Sacksonville” took the NFL by storm in 2017 and was the best team the Jaguars ever had, but they lost to the Patriots in the AFC Conference Championship, and shortly later, the team was dismantled. The Jaguars have been one of the worst franchises in the NFL since their inception, and the worst of it came in 2020 when they finished 1-15.
If the 2020 goal of the Jaguars was to be the worst team in the NFL, then they certainly achieved it. Jacksonville won the first game of the season against the Indianapolis Colts but lost the next 15 games, mostly in blowout fashion. Their defense and offense were one of the worst in the NFL, so there are a lot of improvements that need to be made. It will take more than just a top prospect and a big-name head coach to turn this team around.
Jacksonville had the most money in free agency to spend, and people wondered what they would go all-in and sign some big-name players. The Jags signed some players but nothing that will turn heads until they signed Tim Tebow as a tight end, spending close to nothing in the process.
Tebow was one of the greatest college quarterbacks of all time while playing for Meyer at Florida, but he has never caught an NFL pass and has not been in the league since 2015. The deal is minimum salary, but it still rubbed some people the wrong way and wondering why Tebow is getting another chance.
The Jaguars have +8000 odds to win the Super Bowl, and the duo of Lawrence and Meyers is fun and will be the reason to watch Jacksonville football, but is it enough to get an NFL bet down and expect them to win the Super Bowl?
The offense will be fun to watch as the Jaguars also drafted Clemson running back Travis Etienne to pair with Lawrence and receivers DJ Chark and Laviska Shenault Jr. Jacksonville tried to address the defense offseason. Still, we do not see enough for any significant improvements. This team will be fun to watch in 2021, but they will still be a lousy team and miss the playoffs.
Detroit Lions (+15000)
It is tough being a Lions fan. The franchise is one of the oldest in the NFL and has a rich history and great players, but their last NFL Championship came in 1957, and the Lions have never been to the Super Bowl. 2021 will be the start of a new era in Detroit, similar to Jacksonville. The Lions hired Dan Campbell to be their new head coach and acquired quarterback Jared Goff in a blockbuster trade.
The writing was on the wall for Matt Patricia in 2020 as the former Lions head coach had a 4-7 start to the season. Detroit had seen enough and let him go. With Matthew Stafford trying his best to keep the team afloat, the Lions only won one more game the rest of the season and finished 5-11. It is hard to take much away from 2020 and help shape the 2021 outlook because everything looks so different, including the signal-caller.
In one of the most blockbuster trades that looked like something out of the NBA instead of the NFL, the Lions and Los Angeles Rams switched quarterbacks. The Rams sent over Jared Goff, and a 2021 third-round pick, and two future first-round picks for Mathew Stafford. The numbers between the two quarterbacks are nearly identical, with the slight edge going to Stafford. With Goff being the younger QB and the Lions acquiring draft picks, many NFL experts thought Detroit won the trade.
In the draft, the Lions picked OT Penei Sewell from Oregon, regarded as the best offensive lineman in the draft. Detroit continued to address their weaknesses, drafting four defensive players with their last six picks. With the new coaching regime, the Lions are looking to do big things and exit the cellar of the AFC North.
The Lions are tied with the Houston Texans for the worst Super Bowl odds at +15000. We are taking the Lions over the Texans in a heartbeat. Detroit might have the worst odds because the other three division rivals are legitimate playoff contenders, but the Lions are a far superior team to the Texans. We like the direction the Lions have gone in during the offseason, and Jared Goff might be a slight downgrade to Stafford, but he is still one of the better QBs in the league. At the very bottom of the Super Bowl betting lines, we like the Lions compared to the rest of the bottom dwellers in the NFL.
All three of these teams are near the bottom of the expected Super Bowl winners because they are all in a state of transition. All three teams will have new starting quarterbacks who are, in theory, better than their predecessors. The Jags might be the worst out of the three, but they have decent odds because of the Lawrence hype, while the Panthers and Lions are coming off big trades and will be hoping that their new QB will live up to their potential.
These three franchises have never won a Super Bowl, and it is hard to expect them to win one in 2021. Stranger things have happened, however, and one or more of these teams can outperform their expectations and possibly make a surprise playoff run.