In honor of school opening and the NFL kicking off another season, let's start the year with a one-question pop quiz to be graded in February.
Answer before the New York Giants play the Washington Redskins tonight.
Who's going to win the Super Bowl?
Dallas? New England? Indianapolis? San Diego? Philadelphia?
Haven't forgotten about the defending champion Giants, have you?
A lot of people don't like the Giants' chances of repeating after the retirement of seven-time Pro Bowl defender Michael Strahan, the season-ending knee injury to fellow Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora, and the trade of former Pro Bowl tight end Jeremy Shockey to New Orleans.
Their current odds of repeating are 25-1, according to John Avello, director of race and sports operations at Wynn Las Vegas.
"There is not a lot of respect for this team out of the box," Avello, a New York native, Giants fan and oddsmaker for 21 years, said in a telephone interview Tuesday night. "This is not your normal Super Bowl winner. Normally people are jacked up on the Super Bowl winner, looking at them to make another run, and that's not the feeling I am getting from the team and the customers that bet these games."
Most bettors wagering on whether the Giants will win more or fewer than nine games this season are taking the under, Avello said.
In addition to the Giants' personnel losses, many feel that everything aligned right for the team last season and that every club in the NFC East has improved, making their job that much more difficult, Avello said.
The last time a Super Bowl champion was this overlooked was Tampa Bay in 2003, he said. The Buccaneers went 7-9 and missed the playoffs.
"We love it, we love it," middle linebacker Antonio Pierce said with some deep sarcasm. "We ask for more. Honestly, it's not enough yet. Please add on."
The positive for the Giants is that they are playing the Redskins, a team bound to get their attention.
Not only do Tom Coughlin's players have to be ready to adjust to the wrinkles of new Redskins coach Jim Zorn, but they also have memories of their two meetings last season.
New York had to rally in the second half to win the first game, and then did little against the Redskins in a 22-10 loss at Giants Stadium in December — the third of four straight home losses to end the regular season.
"It won't be just a regular game because it is our season opener and it means so much more than the preseason," said Zorn, a first-time head coach replacing Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs. "It is kind of the next phase, if you will, for every NFL team. Now you are starting the season; the record counts."
Coughlin could not be happier to play a real game after an offseason of parades, tributes, a White House visit and a ring ceremony to celebrate the organization's third Super Bowl title.
"I'm excited about that," Coughlin said. "I feel like our team always has something to prove and there is nothing different about it."
While the Giants will be without Strahan, Umenyiora and Shockey, the team has not changed much otherwise.
Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning will lead the same 11 men on offense who took the field against the Patriots in February in the stunning 17-14 win. The one change this season is that receiver Plaxico Burress of Virginia Beach, who had the winning reception in the title game, is healthy and looking to build on a career-best 12 TD receptions.
Having Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka at the defensive ends will be the biggest change in Steve Spagnuolo's second season as coordinator. Kiwanuka was moved from linebacker.
Veteran John Carney will replace the injured Lawrence Tynes (knee) as the place-kicker for the opener.
Washington returns the vast majority of its starters from a team that went 9-7 and lost at Seattle in the first round of the playoffs. Quarterback Jason Campbell is mastering Zorn's West Coast offense, while Clinton Portis leads the running game.
Greg Blache has replaced Gregg Williams as the defensive coordinator, but the system is similar and possibly more player-friendly.
"They didn't show all their cards in the preseason," Pierce said. "They showed a little bit, but they are working on other things and probably game-planning against us a little, just like we've been doing against them.
"After the first 15 plays, we'll know what their game plan is and what their state of mind is," he added.
And after the game, we might know more about whether the Giants have a better than 25-1 chance of repeating.
Tonight's game WHO: Washington Redskins (0-0)at N.Y. Giants (0-0).WHEN: 7 p.m. TV: NBC 10 12.On Page D2 After being cut, Tatum Bell takes an ex-teammate's luggage. Roundup.Dailypress.com Keep up with the season at dailypress.com/redskinscentral.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun