Odds to make the Super Bowl Final 2019
The race for Superbowl 53 in Atlanta, Georgia just got much more interesting in both the NFC and AFC. In the finals 3 weeks of the season all is up for grabs. Top seeds, bye weeks and the 6 seed in each conference all hang in the balance and nobody with a fighting chance can afford to slip up down the stretch.
The race to Atlanta
The AFC contenders
Look who's rounding into form
Last night the Los Angeles Chargers went from being the AFC's dark horse to being a legitimate threat to play in the Superbowl this February. By going into Kansas City and shocking the Chiefs with a gutsy last second, come from behind victory, they've given themselves a shot at the 1 seed but also shown that it doesn't matter if they're the 1 seed or not.
They can go into difficult environments and still pull out a win. Many of our experts have been high on the Chargers all season. Currently they sit at +750 to win the Superbowl and +400 to win the AFC on BODOG.
And next week KC have to go into Seattle, which is a game they could easily lose and open the door to Philip Rivers to snatch home field advantage. If you're feeling frisky the Chargers might be play.
Past their best before date
Steelers Quarterback Big Ben will be playing through a rib injury for the remainder of the season and with his tendency to stand in the pocket and take hits it's probably not going to get better. And even when he was fully healthy he was the reason they are not in a top 2 spot in the AFC and in pole position for a 1st round bye. In their last 3 losses at Denver, home to LA and at Oakland (yikes) he has had opportunities to win all those games, and failed to execute.
The Pats are in the 2 seed and have shot at the 1 seed but it would be a travesty if this mediocre version of the Pats dynasty got pole position. And in the Brady-Belichek era, the Pats have never won a Superbowl without being the number seed 1 in the conference.
You never know in this crazy world, but this shouldn't be their year.
This brings me to the Houston Texans who are currently +800 to win AFC. Deshaun Watson would be one of the top 5 quarterbacks in the NFL right now that I would want leading a final drive to win a playoff game.
His poise and ability to deliver when it matters can not be discounted. BUT, by DVOA his offensive line ranks 31st in the NFL in pass protection and in the playoffs where excellent pass rushing teams like the Steelers, Chargers and Chiefs all loom, this feels like a fatal flaw that even Watson can not overcome.
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The Divisional round teams
So the NFC feels a little more clear. The Rams and Saints will have first round byes meaning that unless one of the Seahawks, Cowboys and Saints can pull off a road upset that will be your NFC title game.
ODDS TO WIN THE NFC ON BODOG
So the only question I need to ask is, can Trubisky, Prescott or Wilson knock off a top seed on the road?
Now what behooves the top seeds is that one of these 3 really good teams will knock off each other, and the most distinct home field advantage probably in all of the NFL lies with the Saints.
As currently seeded, Wilson and the Seahawks will have to go to Dallas first and the winner of that would play New Orleans. Now as we have already seen the Cowboys have the defense to stifle the Saints, but can either of the Seahawks or Cowboys do it again, in the Superdome after Drew Brees' and Sean Payton have had 2 weeks to scheme. History says no.
So then we move on to the potential rematch from NFL week 14 between the Bears and the Rams, where it doesn't feel like the home field advantage for the Rams that exists for the Saints. The Bears are just a nightmare matchup for the Rams offense and similarly, but to a lesser degree, the Rams D is more than capable of neutralizing the Bears scheme. Again, with an extra week to prepare, the Rams should edge it in warm weather, but I'm not as confidentwith this one.
Now the seeding could change, meaning that the Bears go to New Orleans the winner of Seahawks-Cowboys plays in LA. I think the Rams matchup much better with Cowboys, as Aqib Talib would get the shot to lockdown Amari Cooper which can really turn the Cowboys into a one dimensional offense.
Of all potential playoff matchups, Rams-Cowboys feels like the easiest to handicap. There's a way to exploit the Cowboys defense with slot receivers and running backs catching the ball and with the bye week, McVay would be able to get that done.
If the Seahawks play the Rams it will be the 3rd matchup this season with the first two being Rams' wins by a combined 7 points. If I am Rams fan, Russell Wilson magic would have my stomach in knots for the entire 4 quarters.
If the Bears then go to play the Saints it will be a game of Chess between Sean Payton and Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who when he was with the 49ers used to give Drew Brees a lot of problem. However, the excellent Saints run D should be able to create enough long down situations that would force Trubisky to win the game with his arm, which is not the way for Bears to win a football game.
Every potential NFC matchup intrigues BUT until the Saints relinquish home field, they are the clear cut play.
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