2019 Super Bowl odds: Rams favored in NFC despite loss to Saints, simulations like AFC team to win title
Head to head isn't everything in the NFL
Through nine weeks, people are ready to crown the Saints champions. They beat the Rams on Sunday and the offense looks utterly unstoppable -- plus the Saints added a guy named Dez Bryant to the mix. However, the Rams are still tops in simulations to win the NFC. Why? Look at the schedules.
The combined record of the Rams' final seven opponents is 28-30, whereas the Saints are contending with teams with a 36-22-1 record, including four more divisional games. One against the streaking Falcons, two against a Panthers team that has undoubtedly not forgotten that it lost to the Saints three times last year and one against the Buccaneers, the only team to beat the Saints this year. Those Panthers are also trying to claw their way up the NFC standings, and their games against the Saints will ultimately determine how they're viewed come playoff time.
In the AFC, it's mostly more of the same. The Texans have actually played their way into serious conversation with another win over the Broncos, while the Chargers are still sitting far behind the Chiefs and Patriots, who are clearly the teams to beat. Both conferences look extremely top-heavy right now, but the sheer number of competitors in the AFC is a bit surprising. The Steelers have willed their way back into the discussion, but the Ravens were big losers this week with their third straight loss.
A quick note: These are listed in order of Super Bowl simulation percentages, per SportsLine.
Super Bowl LIII odds
|New England Patriots||6/1||23.02%||37.85%||98%||99%|
|Los Angeles Rams||5/2||17.12%||31.08%||98%||99%|
|Kansas City Chiefs||9/2||16.81%||30%||84.7%||99%|
|New Orleans Saints||7/2||15.35%||31.08%||84.4%||96.2%|
|Los Angeles Chargers||14/1||5.9%||12.32%||15.3%||95.4%|
|Green Bay Packers||40/1||0.36%||1.15%||10.5%||20.2%|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||500/1||0.03%||0.13%||0.2%||3.4%|
|New York Jets||2,000/1||0.01%||0.04%||0.1%||0.7%|
|New York Giants||2,000/1||0%||0%||0.1%||0.1%|
|San Francisco 49ers||10,000/1||0%||0%||0.1%||0.1%|
Despite the insane week in the NFC, the ones to dethrone reside in the AFC. The Patriots are currently the favorites with a 23.02 percent chance in simulations to win the Super Bowl. A win over Aaron Rodgers in a marquee quarterback showdown did nothing to hurt the Pats' chances, and the AFC East is once against New England's to lose. The team has been streaking, and that is continuing.
Sunday, the Patriots will face the top scoring defense in the NFL in the Titans. Coming off Sunday's game against the Packers, every game matters in the AFC, especially because it's going to be tough to get past the Chiefs if all roads end up leading through Arrowhead. The conversion of Cordarrelle Patterson to running back is a delightfully Bill Belichick-esque move, and it's paid dividends in the early parts of the process for New England.
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The other contenders
Yes, the Rams lost their first game of the season Sunday and yes, it was to one of the other NFC teams that looks like a title contender in the Saints, but that doesn't knock them out of the spot of second favorites to win the Super Bowl. In fact, the loss barely hurt their chances in projections, knocking them down to 17.12 percent from 17.36 percent. The Rams are still outrageously talented, and one loss doesn't change that.
With that being said, the Saints have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with, and Bryant's addition will only add to that. This is a team that has one of the best offensive lines in football, a balanced attack, and a defense that, while suspect, has proven it can make plays at key times in games. The Saints' strength of schedule is the real challenge here, starting with a cold game in Cincinnati on Sunday.
In the AFC, the Chiefs are the ones to look out for if anyone is going to unseat New England. As I said above, getting the No. 1 seed is key, as Arrowhead is a nightmare for visitors. Kareem Hunt has kind of been buried in the conversations around Todd Gurley and Alvin Kamara, but he's been superb for the Chiefs. We'll have a clearer picture of the Chiefs' status after they play the Rams in two weeks.
So which teams should you back in Week 10 of the NFL season? And which Super Bowl contender gets a huge scare? Visit SportsLine now to see which teams are winning more than 50 percent of simulations, all from the model that has outperformed 98 percent of experts tracked by NFLPickWatch.com the past two seasons.
Still in the mix
The Panthers notched yet another win on Sunday, beating the Buccaneers by 14 points for their third straight win. Cam Newton has been a monster under center, and the Panthers' defense features a Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate in Donte Jackson. The Panthers will have a chance to prove their worth come the end of the season, as they play the Saints in two of their last three games. But before they get to that point, they'll have to at the hands of the Steelers on Thursday.
Speaking of the Steelers, they are another team to be wary of in the AFC. After starting the season 1-2-1, they've ripped off five straight wins and look like they can take the AFC North again. James Conner looks like a star, and Antonio Brown is still putting up Antonio Brown numbers. Teams that can overcome slow starts are always dangerous, and the Steelers look to be really hitting their stride.
Then, of course, there are the Chargers. Philip Rivers is having a career year at 36 years old, while Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler are among the elite tandems in the NFL. The Chargers defense hasn't allowed 20 points or more in four weeks, and they look like a team to be wary of. The Chiefs should be checking in their rear-view mirror for this team, because one slip up could get them in trouble for the division.
The Bears and the Texans can also do some damage. The Texans are shredding it right now, and they've won six straight games. The Bears, meanwhile, are hanging tough in the NFC North and Khalil Mack looks like he's poised to return against the Lions. Both of these teams are dangerous and can do some damage in the postseason with great pass rushers, and in the weak NFC North and AFC South, they have chances to get there.
The long shots
The Seahawks did themselves no favors with a loss to the Chargers last Sunday, and life only gets tougher as they play the Rams next week. The up-and-down Seahawks can still do some damage from a wild card slot, but they need to figure out a way to get some consistency from both of their units.
In the NFC East, the Eagles and Redskins look like they're going to take things down to the wire. The Eagles notched a win over the Jaguars in London two weeks ago and play the Cowboys coming off a bye, and the Redskins are battling an array of injuries that sunk them against the streaking Falcons.
Speaking of the Falcons, Julio Jones finally scored his first touchdown of the year on Sunday! In one of the toughest divisions in football they're looking to climb their way back into the wild card hunt. Catching the Panthers and Saints will be difficult, but the NFC South did field three teams in the playoffs last year. The team is eligible to get Deion Jones back the week before Thanksgiving, and if the offense keeps playing at the level it has, it's a team to be wary of come January.
Finally, the NFC North has all sorts of problems. The Vikings finally looked dominant in a 10-sack performance over the Lions, while the Packers faltered against the Patriots. The Lions are now 3-5 and look to be fading. These teams are chasing the Bears, who have had some high highs this year. As talented as the Vikings are, they need to show some consistency before they help their chances.
The NFC, as good as it is, affords the luxury of good teams eating each other. The AFC does not. The Dolphins, Titans and Ravens all look like they can contend for wild card spots, but the Chiefs, Patriots, Steelers, Texans and Chargers look to be a cut above the fold at the moment. The Bengals do too, for the most part, but the injury to A.J. Green hampers that team in a big way. Until his return, the Bengals are looking firmly in the longshot category.
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