- The Ravens are now +200 Super Bowl favorites, inching closer to securing home-field advantage in the AFC
- San Francisco (+700) and Seattle (+1000) will likely battle for the No. 1 seed in the NFC in Week 17
- The Saints (+600) and Packers (+1400) are the other NFC teams still in contention for first-round byes
By Week 15, one would expect to have a solid grasp on which teams are good and bad, but the NFL never loses its ability to surprise.
Looking positively lifeless under dead-duck coach Jason Garrett, the Cowboys effectively ended the Rams’ playoff hopes with a 44-21 beatdown on Sunday. The 49ers also fell victim to a classic trap game, losing 29-22 to the five-win Falcons.
With more shockers sure to be in store over the season’s final two weeks, let’s look at the latest odds at BetOnline and go over the playoff pictures in both the AFC and NFC.
ODDS TO WIN SUPER BOWL 54
|Team||Current Odds||Trending||Last Week|
|New England Patriots||+450||↔||+450|
|Kansas City Chiefs||+600||↑||+700|
|New Orleans Saints||+600||↑||+750|
|San Francisco 49ers||+700||↓||+500|
|Green Bay Packers||+1400||↔||+1400|
|Los Angeles Rams||+15000||↓||+5000|
AFC PLAYOFF BRACKET ALMOST SET
Supposedly suffering from an injured quad heading into the Thursday nighter against the Jets, Lamar Jackson sealed up the NFL MVP race by throwing five more touchdowns in a 42-21 primetime win. Now sitting at 12-2, the Ravens (+200) only need to win one of their remaining games (@Browns, Steelers) to clinch home-field advantage in the AFC.
Cornerback Stephon Gilmore continued to make his case for Defensive Player of the Year, returning an interception 64 yards for a touchdown in New England‘s 34-13 demolition of the one-win Bengals.
Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore should be the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, but let’s stop ignoring JC Jackson. https://t.co/YGya5Nwhf5 pic.twitter.com/3XI4KtrZ5G
— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) December 17, 2019
Thanks to Gilmore and company, the Patriots (+450) are a league-best +24 in turnover differential, but their offense continues to be consistently awful. A yards-per-attempt average of 7 is commonly recognized as the Mendoza Line between competent quarterbacks and total bums. Over his past four starts, Tom Brady has YPAs of 5.1, 6.9, 4.7 and 4.4.
The Chiefs (+600) continue to climb up the board following a 23-3 win over the Broncos. Now a remarkable 26-3 in the AFC West since 2015, Kansas City’s much-improved pass rush and secondary easily make them the No. 2 contender in the AFC after Baltimore.
The Jekyll & Hyde Texans (+3300) showed up to Tennessee on Sunday, dealing a major blow to the Titans‘ (+6600) playoff chances. Tennessee now needs to win their remaining two contests (Saints, @Texans) and hope that Pittsburgh loses to either the Jets or Ravens, who will be likely sitting players in Week 17.
Sean McDermott has now led the Bills to the playoffs twice in his first 3 seasons.
Wade Phillips, Gregg Williams, Mike Mularkey, Dick Jauron, Chan Gailey, Doug Marrone, and Rex Ryan led Buffalo to the playoffs 0 times in the previous 17 seasons, since 2000. pic.twitter.com/N5hywf3YZE
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 16, 2019
Despite showcasing one of the league’s ugliest offenses in a 17-10 loss to the Bills on Sunday night, “Duck” Hodges and the Steelers (+6600) are still a good bet to make the postseason. And let’s get a round of applause for Buffalo (+4000), who clinched their second playoff berth in three seasons after 17 years out in the cold.
Sadly, even if the 10-4 Bills beat the 11-3 Patriots this weekend, they would need New England to lose to the tanking Dolphins in Week 17 to claim the AFC East.
NFC PLAYOFF SEEDS STILL UP IN THE AIR
With their 30-24 victory over the Panthers, Seattle (+1000) has now won nine games by 7 points or less, tied for the most ever through 14 games. Whether they’re good or just lucky, either way the 11-3 Seahawks can clinch the NFC’s No. 1 seed if they win out against the Cardinals and 49ers.
San Francisco‘s unexpected last-second loss to Atlanta dropped their odds from +500 to +700, opening up a nice buying opportunity. Expected to be fully healthy for the postseason, the 11-3 Niners can still secure home-field advantage with victories against the Rams and Seahawks.
This photo of a lone Chargers fan among a sea of Vikings might be the sports photo of the year.https://t.co/HRVdBh1X0V
— The Big Lead (@thebiglead) December 17, 2019
Since being blown out by the Niners in Week 12, Green Bay (+1400) has piled up Ws against the Giants, Redskins and Bears. While the 11-3 Packers control their own destiny for the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye, they’ll face a serious test in Minnesota this weekend.
The 10-4 Vikings can’t claim the NFC North with a win on Sunday. Thanks to the tiebreaker, the Pack will also have to lose to Detroit in Week 17. Essentially, that means Kirk Cousins will have to win at least three road games en route to the Super Bowl. Even at +2500, that’s hard to pull the trigger on.
The Cowboys (+3300) and Eagles (+4000) will battle it out for the NFC East title this weekend, but it’s hard to imagine either of these inconsistent teams winning more than a game in the postseason.
From one ?to another@TomBrady @drewbrees pic.twitter.com/zOx2dVVSuj
— SNF on NBC (@SNFonNBC) December 17, 2019
Finally, the NFL’s new career leader in touchdown passes has New Orleans (+600) in prime position to sneak into a playoff bye if they can get a little help.
After suffering devastating defeats in each of the past two years, it would only be fair for the football gods to award Drew Brees and the Saints with a little luck this postseason