CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The quest for respect that motivated the Carolina Panthers much of this past season once again could be their mantra in 2014.
Early Las Vegas odds have the reigning NFC South champions (12-5) anywhere from tied for sixth to seventh to win the Super Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.
San Francisco is next at 6-1, followed by New England (7-1), Green Bay (16-1), New Orleans (16-1), Cincinnati (20-1), Carolina (20-1) and Indianapolis (20-1).
The LVH's immediate line after Seattle pummeled Denver 43-8 on Sunday night had Carolina behind NFC South rival Atlanta (18-1) as well.
RJ Bell of Pregame.com in Vegas has the Panthers tied for seventh with Atlanta and Cincinnati at 25-1. Seattle is the favorite at 7-1, followed by Denver (8-1), San Francisco (8-1), New England (12-1), Green Bay (20-1) and New Orleans (20-1).
So according to the odds maker, the Panthers will be the second- or third-best team in their division.
I already can hear coach Ron Rivera & Co. playing the lack of respect card.