2019 Super Bowl odds: Chargers jump again as Steelers stumble, Saints remain on top after loss to surging Cowboys
The Saints are still the team to beat despite a tough road to the No. 1 seed in the NFC
Two things remain true after Week 13. First: The Saints are favored by simulations to win the Super Bowl. Second: The Chiefs have far better odds to win the AFC over the Chargers despite a game separating them. Both of those things may be a little surprising at first glance. The Saints' road to the No. 1 seed looks far tougher, with the Rams' biggest remaining test coming on Sunday against the Bears. The Chargers, meanwhile, beat a tough Steelers team in comeback fashion while the Chargers struggled to get over the Raiders.
However, all of these factors really come down to recency bias clouding vision. The Chiefs in actuality struggled against a divisional opponent with nothing left to play for except a draft pick, while the Saints have already beaten the Rams this season. The Steelers, meanwhile, are still struggling. In the other conference, the Cowboys are absolutely surging after snapping the Saints' 10-game win streak.
Amid all of this, the Patriots are quietly lurking and they have a road to a first-round bye in the playoffs. With three of their last four games being divisional and the outlier being against the Steelers, their schedule is a bit more favorable than the Chargers, who still have games against the Chiefs and Ravens on the schedule. It's a big ask, but the Chargers are still gunning for the AFC West, and they have a chance to get there.
Super Bowl LIII odds
|New Orleans Saints||3/1||22.74%||41.49%||99.9%||100%|
|New England Patriots||5/1||19.1%||35.52%||100%||100%|
|Los Angeles Rams||5/2||18.02%||35.51%||100%||100%|
|Kansas City Chiefs||9/2||16.85%||31.71%||87.2%||100%|
|Los Angeles Chargers||9/1||5.8%||11.93%||12.8%||98.6%|
|Green Bay Packers||200/1||0.03%||0.12%||0.2%||2.8%|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1,000/1||0.02%||0.03%||0%||1%|
|New York Giants||1,000/1||0%||0.01%||0%||0.1%|
|New York Jets||OFF||0%||0%||0%||0%|
|San Francisco 49ers||OFF||0%||0%||0%||0%|
The Saints only scored 10 against the Cowboys last Thursday, but they hung tight atop our simulated standings. Their lives did get harder, however. The idea of a team coming into a playoff Superdome and winning seems laughable, but after playing the Bears on Sunday the Rams will be up against the Eagles, Cardinals and 49ers, hardly a gauntlet. The Saints find themselves in the opposite position. They have the Buccaneers on Sunday before playing the Panthers, Steelers and Panthers again.
Drew Brees will try to bounce back after a poor performance against the Cowboys, but Saints fans can take solace in the fact that the defense looked stout once again against Ezekiel Elliott, and it's far easier for the Saints to fix their offense than defense. They'll need to play consistent football down the stretch, because even though the Panthers and Steelers have faltered of late, nothing comes easy, and even the Buccaneers could be a stumbling block if the Saints overlook them (as Week 1 -- their only other loss this season -- proved).
The other contenders
The Chiefs may have thought they'd get some breathing room when the Steelers jumped out all over the Chargers, but there will be no reprieves in the AFC West. Philip Rivers is having an MVP-caliber year, and the Chargers are stubbornly hanging around. They even got that win without Melvin Gordon. With that being said, the Chiefs are still clearly the team to beat in the division, while the Patriots have emerged as frontrunners in the AFC (surprise!). To make matters worse for Kansas City, the Patriots have three games against the Dolphins, Bills and Jets and an outlier game against the Steelers. The Chiefs, meanwhile, have the Ravens, Chargers and Seahawks over the next three weeks, and the Pats hold the tiebreaker. If they deserve to be a No. 1 seed, they'll prove it here.
In the NFC, the Rams now hold the No. 1 seed and it doesn't look like anyone is going to touch them or the Saints for first round byes. The Rams struggled a bit with the Lions at time offensively, but another dominant performance from Aaron Donald and a late surge by Todd Gurley put the Motor City Kitties away. Their goal is now to fend off home field advantage from New Orleans. As mentioned above, the thought of going into New Orleans for a potential NFC Championship Game match-up would be a daunting one, and although the Rams don't have the most decisive home field advantage, it still levels the playing field a bit if both teams get to that point. Should the Bears manage to upset the Rams, there's an outside chance that theirs or the Saints' byes could be challenged by Chicago even after the Bears' loss to the Giants, but their schedule is moderately tougher due to a season finale against the Vikings.
Still in the mix
The Texans took down another team for their ninth straight win, although once again it was a team they arguably should have beaten in the Browns. Nevertheless, Houston now holds the NFL's longest winning streak, and they've nearly put the AFC South out of reach for the stubborn Colts. The Chargers, meanwhile, are making moves while the Steelers continue to slip and stumble. The Steelers are doing themselves no favors, and if nothing else they have to beat the Raiders and Bengals if the Patriots and Saints outplay them. James Conner's ankle injury is worse than expected, so the Steelers have to lean on Jaylen Samuels down the stretch of the season. That will definitely put more pressure on the elite receiving duo of Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster, so Ben Roethlisberger will need to be patient.
In the NFC, the Bears and Cowboys look like future division winners. Calls to fire Jason Garrett feel like eons ago, and the Cowboys got a gritty win against the Saints on Thursday. As the Redskins continue to deal with injuries to their quarterbacks, most recently losing Colt McCoy, their postseason hopes are fading fast. The Cowboys' defense looks nasty right now, and they look like they could be a problem down the stretch. The Bears are battling with the Vikings, and a bad loss to the Giants on Sunday has things in the North looking a little tighter. The Seahawks, meanwhile, look like a very real playoff team after blowing out the 49ers for their third straight win. Russell Wilson is back to playing at an elite level, and the Seahawks are in a similar vein as the Cowboys in that they look like they could wreak havoc on the powerful teams in the NFC.
The long shots
The Colts hit what may have been a fatal stumble on Sunday, losing 6-0 to the Jaguars in a performance that only got more depressing as it went on. They couldn't move the ball at all, and despite the defense's bets efforts, they just weren't able to get points on the board. The Titans righted the ship with a win over the Jets, but their path to the playoffs is long and winding as well. The Chargers have all but locked up a wild card spot, and the AFC North looks like the loser of Ravens vs. Steelers could come out of it. It'll be tough for that second spot to come out of the South, and it'll be tougher to catch the Texans at the top.
In the AFC North, the Steelers and Ravens are battling. Lamar Jackson is out to singlehandedly save John Harbaugh's job, leading the birds to their third straight win over the Falcons on Sunday. The Steelers, meanwhile, are trending in the opposite direction, having dropped two straight. Of course, two of the Ravens' last four games will come against the Chiefs and Chargers, so although they're only half a game back, it's not an easy route there. The only thing they can take solace in is that the Steelers also play two of the NFL's best down the stretch.
In the NFC, the Eagles are starting to scratch and claw their way up the ranks again. They've won two straight games since their drubbing at the hands of the Saints. They have a big game against the Cowboys on Sunday, and they have the Rams the week after that, so they'll have their work cut out for them.
Pick Six Newsletter
Get the day's big stories + fun stuff you love like mock drafts, picks and power rankings.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox for the latest sports news.
There was an error processing your subscription.
McCoy, who was owed $13 million in 2019, won't be back in Tampa Bay next season
The Patriots added to their defense by bringing back a familiar face in Danny Shelton
Foster was injured just three reps into Washington's OTA period
Any and all marijuana use is currently prohibited by the NFL, with suspension as punishmen...
The Steelers quarterback owns up to the comments he made that might have offended his former...
Let's break down exactly which QB would be the best investment