With the NFL regular season in the rearview mirror, it is time to look ahead to the 12 remaining teams still playing football in January. There are clubs with what seems like a legitimate chance to win the Lombardi Trophy and those are strictly one and done material.
Let's break it down into groups and you should know all the odds are courtesy of Intertops.
New Orleans has been the best team all season and deserves the top seed. The Saints have a decided home field home field edge to reach the Super Bowl. Though the offense was a little bumpy to close the season, there is little reason to think they won't be sharp after a couple weeks off. With the run defense No.2 (No.1 most of the season) and the pass defense improving, plenty of reasons to back Saints.
It really makes sense Kansas City and the L.A. Rams have the same odds. These were the top scoring teams in the NFL, with a myriad of ways to score, both with talented young quarterbacks playing in the perfect system for them. Each has a defense that can make any football bettor cringe if matched up against a defense that curtails their scoring. It's no secret that they have to score to win and that is not the best formula for success. Yet, in any one game scenario, if their offense is controlling the narrative, they can win.
Do Not Sleep On These Clubs
New England is New England and as long as Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are there. However, there is a difference, because, in almost every other year since these two came together, they would be in the upper group. The offense is less explosive and lacking in playmakers. The defense has been carved up its numbers are helped by playing six games in the AFC East. Playoff experience still counts, which keeps the Patriots in the mix.
Three weeks ago, the word among all wise guys was the L.A. Chargers were the team to beat in the AFC. The talk has lessened with the Bolts losing to Baltimore and having to face them again this week, but there is still not a more complete team than the Chargers, who are 8-1 SU in all away games this season.
Chicago has the defense and the diversity on offense and has beaten the Rams and should have defeated New England. The only real question is can Mitchell Trubisky win a playoff game in the fourth quarter with his team down six or fewer points.
Thanks For Playing!
Baltimore - There are reasons to like the Ravens with their fabulous running game and defense and back in 2000 they won a Super Bowl with a somewhat similar team. Still, that was 18 years ago and football's played far differently, making it hard to win four times with a one-dimensional offense.
Dallas - The Cowboys have the defense to win one time, but they lack the offense at 20.2 PPG to go on the road and win at the Coliseum.
Houston - Just 2-2 in last four games and the Texans seem to have lost their edge after the nine-game winning streak.
Indianapolis - Dangerous squad with Andrew Luck and strong work going on in the trenches. Just not their time yet.
Seattle - Remarkable season and few would have even had them at this point, as they were the third-youngest team to start the year. Love the running game and Russell Wilson, but not keen on average defense and special teams are anything but. (special).
Philadelphia - Excellent story of overcoming a great deal of adversity to return to the playoffs, but there is an - Exit sign - with a trip to Chi-Town.