2019 Super Bowl odds: Saints and Chiefs continue to trade spots each week in simulation
Despite not playing last week, the Saints still jumped the Chiefs again
With Wild-Card Weekend over, we're into the teeth of the playoffs. The divisional round features some teams that are incredibly tough to beat at home, as the Saints and Chiefs play as the No. 1 seed in their respective conferences. The Eagles shocked the world by advancing past the Bears, whereas the Cowboys took care of business against the stubborn Seahawks. In the AFC, the Colts took their rubber match against the Texans and the Chargers exacted revenge upon the Ravens.
Now, things get really real. The Saints are hosting the Eagles, the Colts are visiting Kansas City, and the Rams and Cowboys are playing in a vintage showdown as the Chargers head to Foxborough to play the Patriots in a heavyweight quarterback matchup. The Chargers saw a huge bump in their odds by shaking off their lost to the Ravens.
Interestingly, simulations balked at who the favorite is. After bumping the Chiefs over the Saints last week, the two teams flip-flopped again despite neither one playing a game. Obviously the matchups are factored in -- the Eagles arguably matchup worse to the Saints than the Colts do to the Chiefs -- but with both teams coming off a bye it shows how closely knotted they are.
Super Bowl LIII odds
|New Orleans Saints||9/4||23.1%||43%|
|Kansas City Chiefs||9/2||22%||39.5%|
|Los Angeles Rams||9/2||16%||32.6%|
|New England Patriots||5/1||15.4%||30.4%|
|Los Angeles Chargers||8/1||10%||19.3%|
As I mentioned above, the Saints are back on top. That might have something to do with who they're playing, or it could come down to the health of the team. However, whatever the case is, simulations like the Saints over the Chiefs again. Last time the Saints hosted the Eagles, they routed them 48-7. While it's unlikely we'll see a repeat performance, the Saints are coming off of effectively two weeks of rest after resting key players against the Panthers in Week 17.
With that in mind, the Eagles are out to play spoiler. They've willed their way to this point, and despite needing a tipped field goal to beat the Bears, their defense has turned into something nasty. If the Saints' offensive line is anything less than very good against the Eagles' front seven, it could be a long day for the Saints offense. The Saints are 5-0 in the Superdome in the playoffs under Drew Brees and Sean Payton, but Nick Foles and Doug Pederson are 4-0 in the playoffs together. Something has to give.
Looking ahead, the Saints could be looking at either the Rams or the Cowboys. They beat the Rams and lost to the Cowboys this season -- the opposite is true for the Eagles, who lost to the Cowboys twice -- and simulations are likely factoring in a Rams win. The Saints' odds to win the conference are at 43 percent, also the best of any team.
What NFL picks can you make with confidence during the NFL's divisional round? And which top Super Bowl contender goes down hard? Visit SportsLine to see which NFL teams are winning more than 50 percent of simulations, all from the model that has beaten 98 percent of experts over the past two years.
The top contenders
Below the Saints, the Chiefs, Rams, Patriots and Chargers are being given double-digit odds to win the Super Bowl. The Chiefs and Rams boast two of the most potent offenses in the NFL, whereas the Patriots have a playoff pedigree that simply can't be ignored, even if they have been slowed down at times this year. The Chargers beat one of their toughest matchups in the AFC in the Ravens, and now they head into New England to show that they're the real deal.
For the Chiefs, the biggest question is on the sideline. Can Andy Reid get rid of the playoff bug? Patrick Mahomes may be the perfect answer to Reid's bizarrely conservative play-calling in the postseason. The Chiefs may have gotten a bad draw -- the Colts like to control the pace of play -- but Mahomes has been unbelievable. With that being said, the second-biggest question is whether or not the Chiefs can win these primetime games. They lost to the Chargers and Patriots this year (though to be fair, they beat the Chargers too). It's not a particularly favorable field for them, but they need to take it a game at a time, and that starts against the Colts.
The Rams are up next. The Rams are in for a slugfest against the Cowboys, as two of the NFL's best running backs go at it in Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott. The winner on the ground could well be the winner of this game. The Cowboys have some phenomenal linebackers, and their secondary is exceptionally physical. The Rams boast a great defensive line, and if they can force the Cowboys to try to air it out they'll be in great shape. The Rams were consistent this year, but two straight losses to the Bears and Eagles before beating the 49ers and Cardinals has raised some questions about how they'll fare in the playoffs.
If you're talking about contenders, the Patriots have to be in the conversation. However, it's worth acknowledging that these aren't the Patriots we're used to. They also suffered from some late-season struggles. But Bill Belichick and Tom Brady in the playoffs is a different beast. They would likely have better odds if their potential next game wasn't a trip to Arrowhead. However, those are still good percentages for a team with that many question marks, although their odds seem to be a little inflated for it at 5/1.
Finally, there are the Chargers, who bounced back from a rough Week 16 loss to the Ravens with a big win. The Ravens' late charge to cut the deficit to six at the end of the game is concerning, and now the Chargers have to stay on the east coast to play the Pats. Again, it's a tough matchup, but not impossible. The Chargers have their work cut out for them, but they've proven they can win on the road. They're now 8-1 on the season when traveling, so maybe they're right where they want to be.
The long(ish) shots
The teams in single digits are the Eagles, Colts and Cowboys. The Eagles lead that pack because you just can't deny the magic of Foles. At 16/1 odds, they're about where they should be in simulations. A tough game against the Saints will ultimately decide their fate, but the road to the Super Bowl may be harder for them than anyone. If their defense and offensive line keeps playing at the level it has been, the Eagles may have another Team of Destiny stamp. But first they need to take revenge on a Saints team that humiliated them last time before going on the road again in the NFC Championship Game. They've already beaten L.A., but Dallas has had their number this year.
The Colts are second-to-lowest on our simulations, and it's pretty easy to see why. They're a fun sleeper pick, but they'll need to pull off a few upsets to get the Super Bowl, where they'd have to do it again. The road to the Super Bowl is incredibly tough as a No. 6 seed, but the Colts do have a style that can control a home crowd if they get rolling.
Finally, the Cowboys are at the bottom of the odds sheet. They have a 3.9 percent chance according to simulations. With games against the Rams and the Saints or Eagles, their road is tough. Beating a divisional opponent three times in a season is a tall order, but the Cowboys do have a good style. Their strong running game and bruising defense is built for the playoffs. Just because they're the longest shot doesn't make them a bad bet.
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