NFL Playoff Odds: Breaking Down Each Wild Card Team's Chances at a Deep Run
With the NFL playoffs once again upon the world, it's time to start handicapping teams. While there's plenty of great teams in the Super Bowl hunt, none may be as interesting as the wild cards.
Plenty of teams sneaked into the wild-card spots, and plenty of them are riding into January red hot.
But with three playoff games to play before the Super Bowl—all of which are sure to be on the road—each team has it's own set of challenges to endure.
While a deep playoff run is improbable for most, some could have better odds than you think.
Seeding: AFC Sixth
Odds of a Deep Playoff Run: 50/1
After losing four straight earlier in the season, it looked like the Bengals were toast. They then went on to win seven of their last eight to clinch the last AFC Wild Card spot.
And while Cincinnati effectively dismantled Pittsburgh and Baltimore in the final two weeks of the season, they still face an uphill battle.
The Bengals travel to Houston this Saturday for their first game. The Texans are one of the most balanced teams in football, and Cincinnati will have to be perfect to beat them.
If they somehow get through this weekend, they'll square off with the Broncos at Denver. Denver's are 7-1 at home this season, and Peyton Manning only gets better in the playoffs.
Cincinnati made a great end of the season run to get this far, but the playoff deck is surely stacked against them.
Seeding: NFC Sixth
Odds of a Deep Run: 22/1
With the collapse of the Chicago Bears, the Minnesota Vikings were able to sneak into the playoffs.
Their first opponent will be the Green Bay Packers this Saturday at Lambeau Field. It'll be deja vu for these two teams, as the Vikings clinched their playoff spot with a 37-34 win over the Packers last Sunday.
While Green Bay has played inconsistently this season, they've only lost one game at home—and that was the first game of the season.
But Adrian Peterson is a man on a mission, and he's been electric against the Packers. In their two matchups this season, Peterson rushed for 409 yards and three touchdowns.
If Minnesota can get through this one, they'll have their hands full against the Falcons—though Atlanta was inconsistent down the stretch.
Riding the momentum of a four-game win streak to close out the season, a shot at the NFC Championship game could be a possibility for the Vikings.
Seeding: AFC Fifth
Odds of a Deep Playoff Run: 35/1
Andrew Luck was everything the Colts hoped he was, leading Indianapolis to an 11-5 record and AFC Wild Card spot.
Unlike their wild-card counterpart, the Cincinnati Bengals, the Colts have a great shot at winning their first game this Sunday against Batlimore.
The Ravens have stumbled into these playoffs, losing five of their last six games. Injuries have taken their toll, and they could be easy pickings for the Colts. Indy doesn't play fantastic defense, but Baltimore doesn't play great offense.
But if they do get through this round, they'll be staring down the Denver Broncos. While Peyton Manning versus his former team is a playoff dream come true, it puts all the pressure on the Colts to be perfect.
Luck has done everything right this season, but it's unfair to expect the rookie to get further than the divisional rounds.
Seeding: NFC Fifth
Odds of a Deep Playoff Run: 9/1
No wild-card team enters the playoffs hotter than the Seattle Seahawks. They enter January having won four in a row by a ridiculous margin of 170-43.
The Hawks road woes have been well documented this season (they've only won three games away from Seattle), but it may not matter at this point.
Seattle's first opponent will be Washington this Sunday. RG3 and Russell Wilson will provide a great battle of the rookie quarterbacks, and the Redskins come into this game with just as much momentum.
But Seattle's physical defense is back to full strength, and that will give the Skins fits.
Next up for Seattle would be either Atlanta or San Francisco.
And while the Hawks split their season series with the Niners, they most recently trumped San Francisco 42-13.
Seattle still has a tough road ahead, and they can't underestimate any of the teams they face. But of all the wild-card teams, none has a chance at a deep run quite like the Seahawks.