2019 Super Bowl odds: Patriots' chances drop despite win, Chiefs' chances rise despite loss
Super Bowl simulations now put the Pats at about 10 percent to win it all
We'll certainly see our share of backups playing on Sunday, as the Saints have clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC and the Rams and Bears could rest some starters too. However, there's some riveting football to be as seen as well. The Vikings can get into the playoffs if they do their job and get a win over the Bears, while the Eagles need a Bears win and to win themselves. In the AFC, things are particularly interesting.
The Ravens are in a similar position to Minnesota, only they're playing for a home game on wild-card weekend. It's "win and they're in" as they host the Browns. Should the Browns win and notch an 8-7-1 record, the Steelers could get in with a win over the Bengals. Even more fun: The Colts and the Titans are playing for a playoff spot as well.
That marks five games that are must-see this weekend; six if you think the 49ers can mess with the Rams a bit and give the Bears a chance at a first-round bye. There are plenty of interesting scenarios to be had, but when you look at Super Bowl-caliber teams, simulations are clear: Home field advantage is a big deal in the playoffs.
Super Bowl LIII odds
|New Orleans Saints||8/5||28.12%||47.44%||100%||100%|
|Kansas City Chiefs||4/1||20.64%||38.68%||87.8%||100%|
|Los Angeles Rams||5/1||14.02%||27.43%||100%||100%|
|New England Patriots||6/1||10.08%||22.83%||100%||100%|
|Los Angeles Chargers||18/1||6.27%||13.45%||12.2%||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%|
Saints fans had to be wary of banking on home-field advantage too much heading into the final stretch of the season, but they can breathe easy in Week 17. With last Sunday's win over the Steelers, the road to the Super Bowl is through the Superdome. That marks bad news for the NFC, as the Saints are 6-1 this season at home, with their only loss coming on opening day against the Buccaneers. The running back tandem of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara is picking up the slack for New Orleans, but the real story is the defense.
Lost among the talk of Drew Brees for MVP is that we're finally seeing the answer to the question "what if Drew Brees got help from his defense?" The Saints are eighth in the league in points against, 13th in yards against and tied for eighth in takeaways. This Saints team has a different feeling from the teams from 2006-2016. Brees will almost certainly throw for fewer yards than he did last year, which was already his lowest as a Saint -- and yet this particular Saints team's opportunism has it looking like a real contender.
Listen to Will Brinson, Nick Kostos, Pete Prisco and R.J. White pick all the Week 17 games on the Pick Six Podcast:
The other contenders
The Chiefs are back up around 20 percent to win the Super Bowl, helped along by the Ravens' win over the Chargers, but their loss on the road to the Seahawks isn't doing them any favors. They're still in the driver's seat -- a win over the Raiders will lock in the No. 1 seed -- but two straight losses against good teams has Chiefs fans (and some Eagles fans) experiencing a little bit of deja vu. The Chiefs ending up with a wild-card spot would be a disappointing way for their regular season to end, but playoffs are playoffs.
The Rams got a decisive 31-9 win over the Cardinals, and they still have a bye in the NFC. All they need to do to clinch that bye is beat the 49ers. They'll be playing concurrently with the Bears, who are a game out of the No. 2 seed in the NFC, but the Bears are playing a Viking team that has to win at home -- a game that would be challenging for Minnesota in more neutral circumstances. Todd Gurley may end up resting against the 49ers. The Rams find themselves around 15 percent in simulations to win the Super Bowl.
The Patriots pulled things together with a 24-12 win over the Bills (though takers of the 12.5 spread may not call that "pulling it together"), yet their odds to win the Super Bowl actually fell. The Pats are now at about 10 percent, down from about 12 percent a week ago. Still, while Tom Brady may not look as terrific as we've come to expect, the Patriots are always contenders until further notice. This team still has a bye locked in, and a win over the Jets makes that official. If the Patriots lose that bye week to the Texans, then it may be time for some serious concern.
Still in the mix
The Chargers are by no means out of the race, but their loss to the Ravens is ominous. Naturally it could have been a hangover from their win over the Chiefs, but it knocked them quite a bit. They undoubtedly did not want to have to rely on the Chiefs losing to the Raiders to win the AFC West and, thus, the AFC, but that's where they're at. So they'll just need to make the best of it.
The Bears are in an interesting spot, as they'll be scoreboard watching a bit during their game against the Vikings. To make things even weirder, the Bears could be playing their wild-card opponent this week. If the Vikings win then they're in, and they'll be playing the Bears on wild-card weekend. So the Bears have to be worried about injuries and tipping their hand against a divisional opponent. That is a perfect storm.
The Seahawks are, to be frank, terrifying right now. They're hot, and they're the type of team that looks like it could come into someone's stadium and shock them. Russell Wilson is playing some outstanding football, and the defense -- thought before the season to be a liability -- has been pretty OK. With last week's win over the Chiefs, this is a team no one wants to play right now.
Then there's the Ravens, who are ahead of quite a few teams on this board despite having a shot to miss the playoffs completely. They're playing the enigmatic Browns this weekend, and a loss there and a Steelers win gets the Steelers in. As we know, however, the NFL is all about getting hot at opportune times -- and the Ravens have won five of their last six.
Finally, the Texans are hanging out in the AFC South, waiting to prove that they belong in the Super Bowl conversation. They could still sneak in for a bye if the Jets pull off an upset of the Patriots, and the Texans beat the Jaguars. Despite trailing quite a few teams that they're ahead of in the standings when it comes to Super Bowl odds, they could get a chance to prove themselves soon. The Texans' loss to the Colts hurt them, but they got a big win Saturday over the Jets.
The long shots
The Colts and the Titans are in a fun win-and-they're-in situation this weekend, with the Titans coming out better in simulations. The Colts are another dangerous-looking team with a stingy defense, while the Titans just find imaginative ways to win.
Then there are the Vikings and Eagles fighting for the last spot in the NFC. The Vikings are favored there, as they don't need help -- they just need to win. The Eagles are surging behind the energy of Nick Foles at quarterback; they're just hoping it's not too little too late.
Finally, the Steelers are on the outside looking in for the time being. They suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Saints last week in a thriller in the Superdome, so they'll need to take care of business against the Bengals on Sunday and hope that the Browns help them out.
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