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Lions, Buccaneers Improve Super Bowl Betting Odds This Week

The Detroit Lions were a playoff team last year, and are considered to be among one of the top up and coming young teams in the NFL. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers held that distinction coming off their season two years ago, before the Bucs fell back to Earth last season.

On Tuesday, the NFL free agency period officially began, with both the Lions and Buccaneers making moves that will ensure their Super Bowl betting odds will improve before they hit training camp next season. The two teams, however, made their moves in differing fashion.

For Tampa Bay, the free agency period meant getting two big name free agents that could help the team move up the bettors' pecking order next year. Former San Diego wide receiver Vincent Jackson was the first big player to sign Tuesday, agreeing to terms with the Bucs. Tampa then turned around on Wednesday and added All-Pro lineman Carl Nicks from New Orleans, and cornerback Eric Wright.

With the addition of Jackson, Nicks, and Wright, the defense gets stronger in the secondary, and the offense adds what many analysts believe are the two best players at their position. Nicks played a major role in protecting Drew Brees' blindside the past few seasons, and Jackson has been considered among the league's best receivers for years.

For Detroit, the approach to the start of free agency was completely different. Already having one of the most talented teams in the league, the Lions turned their attention towards ensuring that the league's top receiver, Calvin Johnson, was locked up long term. Johnson agreed to an eight year deal Wednesday that made the All-Pro the highest paid wide receiver ever. The deal also included $60 million in guaranteed money, the most in NFL history.

Around the league, the quarterback free agency watch is surrounding former Colts QB Peyton Manning. The free agent has visited with the Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, and Tennessee Titans. Manning is expected to pick his next playing destination by the end of the week, which could lead to several dominoes falling at his position. Matt Flynn is the most sought after quarterback on the market after Manning, but he likely will wait to make his decision until after Manning signs.

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