2019 Super Bowl odds: Chargers get spike with huge win over Chiefs, Saints overwhelming favorites
The Chargers may be putting themselves in conversation as the AFC team to beat
There should really be only one takeaway from this week's playoff odds: The Browns are not mathematically eliminated in Week 16. Sure, they would need an utter and complete miracle to get in but, and I'm not being glib, the turnaround they've had is simply incredible and, equally importantly, fun.
The top of these standings didn't shake up as much as you'd think this week. Yes, the Chargers beat the Chiefs on one of the gutsiest calls of the year, but they still need a break to win the AFC West. For that reason, the Chiefs are still the most favored team in the AFC, but the margin is getting slimmer.
On the other side, who can catch up to and beat the Saints? Despite only 12 points last week, they were able to outlast the Panthers on "Monday Night Football." However, the gaps in the NFC look slimmer. The Rams have dropped two straight, and the Bears have won two in a row while the Seahawks will try to recover from a Team Chaos loss against the 49ers last week.
Super Bowl LIII odds
|New Orleans Saints||3/2||27.5%||47.48%||100%||100%|
|Kansas City Chiefs||7/1||17.24%||32.78%||72.1%||100%|
|Los Angeles Rams||5/1||14.4%||28.39%||100%||100%|
|New England Patriots||8/1||12.69%||22.2%||99.9%||99.9%|
|Los Angeles Chargers||7/1||9.29%||18.58%||27.9%||100%|
|Green Bay Packers||OFF||0%||0%||0%||0%|
|New York Giants||OFF||0%||0%||0%||0%|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||OFF||0%||0%||0%||0%|
|New York Jets||OFF||0%||0%||0%||0%|
|San Francisco 49ers||OFF||0%||0%||0%||0%|
The Saints look human, but they're still the frontrunners in an NFL that's full of teams struggling at the worst time. They now need a win or a Rams loss on Sunday to clinch the No. 1 seed in the conference, and if the playoffs run through the Superdome, they'll be tough to beat. Drew Brees will have to prove against the Steelers on Sunday that all he needed was a return to the friendly confines of New Orleans to get back his MVP-caliber season after a three-game road trip.
The Saints have a few key players waiting in the wings, as Terron Armstead and Ted Ginn are hoping to return soon. Against the Panthers last week, they had Cameron Tom in place at center while Andrus Peat moved out to left tackle. Arguably the best line in the NFL has been dealing with those injuries, so if they're full strength Sunday against the Steelers we may see if that 27 percent number is too high.
The other contenders
The Chiefs are still the team to beat in the AFC, sitting at around 17 percent despite last Thursday's loss. Patrick Mahomes is still playing at a high level, and they're in the driver's seat for the No. 1 seed in the AFC -- if they don't slip up, the AFC playoffs should go through Arrowhead. The Chargers did a lot of things right against the Chiefs, but we'll see if Eric Berry is able to see the field more for Kansas City after being limited to 30 snaps against the Chargers last week.
The Rams are reeling right now, having lost two straight games, both of them in primetime. Losing in the spotlight only exacerbates the problem, as now everyone can see that the Rams just might be human. The juggernaut has been derailed by the Bears and Eagles in the past two weeks, with Todd Gurley rushing for a combined 76 yards in those games. The secret is out: Take Gurley away, and you hurt the Rams' rhythm. That's easier said than done, but it can be done, and it has been in all of the Rams' losses.
The Patriots are still there, but two straight losses also have them in a precarious position. They've lost their in to a bye week and are now relying on the Texans to slip up, but their schedule favors them with games against the Bills and Jets. We'll have to see how much losing Josh Gordon affects the offense, but at least for the moment, this is not the Patriots team we're used to. There's still time, but this team has very real concerns.
And now making an appearance in the contenders section are the aforementioned Chargers! It's hard to spike at this point in the season, but the Chargers are now up to nearly a 10 percent chance, and for good reason. They've been winning games without Melvin Gordon, but Gordon and Keenan Allen should be back on the sidelines come next week.
Still in the mix
The Cowboys suffered a serious speed bump against the Colts last week, getting stomped 23-0 to derail a four-game winning streak. They looked completely inept, but there is good news: They're still heavily favored to win the NFC East, even with a win from the Redskins this week behind Josh Johnson. They'll have to get Ezekiel Elliott back to form, but if they're able to come out and play well against the Buccaneers this week they can write last week off as an anomaly. With that being said, their odds are not proportionate to their chances to win -- 20/1 is generous for them, so they'd be a hard bet.
The Bears, meanwhile, are suddenly threatening for a bye week in the first round of the playoffs. They're now 10-4 -- just a game back of the Rams -- with games against the 49ers and Vikings remaining. The Rams are 11-3, but the Bears have proven that they can play with and beat them. Mitchell Trubisky has looked good for them again, and last week's win over the Packers was doubly sweet, as it eliminated them from contention.
In the wild card slots, the Seahawks and Vikings have both shown both flashes of brilliance and bafflingly bad losses. They were on opposite sides of the spectrum last week, with the Vikings routing the Dolphins as the Seahawks were beaten by the 49ers. Seattle's life doesn't get any easier with a game against the Chiefs approaching on Sunday, as the Vikings travel to Detroit.
The Texans still have plenty to prove in the AFC South, and they're in a similar situation to the Bears -- a team in a largely underperforming division threatening for a playoff spot. Deshaun Watson has looked very good this season as DeAndre Hopkins continues to be a top-flight receiver, and JJ Watt is still leading a very strong defense. If the Texans manage to hold onto this bye week, they're a team that could generate a lot of attention very quickly.
There's also a battle going on in the AFC North right now, as the Steelers continued to confuse with a win over the Patriots just a week after losing to the Raiders. This week, they take on the Saints in the Superdome, a tall order. The Ravens are trying to steal that playoff spot from the Steelers, and they can show just how good they are with a win on Saturday against the Chargers.
The long shots
The NFC East and the AFC South are the only real divisions with longshot odds, as the Colts and Titans fight for a wild card and the Eagles and Redskins squabble to either try to steal the NFC East or take a wild card slot. There's a lot going on between those four teams, but all four teams play each other in divisional match-ups to end the season, which has the potential to be extremely fun.
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