Updated Super Bowl Odds for Every NFL Team Heading into Week 10

Nick KostosContributor INovember 6, 2013

Updated Super Bowl Odds for Every NFL Team Heading into Week 10

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    Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

    The midseason point of the NFL season is officially behind us, meaning that the second half of the season is here. It's time for the stretch run.

    It's now that we'll truly see the playoff-caliber teams separate themselves from the squads that'll be on the golf course come January.

    As always in this piece, I'll provide you with analysis of all 32 teams. Here are the updated Super Bowl odds for every NFL team heading into Week 10, courtesy of Bovada.

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Odds: None Listed

    The Jacksonville Jaguars come out of their bye week with no Super Bowl odds, meaning that the boys in Vegas think there's a 0 percent chance that they'll win the Super Bowl.

    The boys in Vegas are right.

    The team has finally pulled the plug on the failed Blaine Gabbert experiment, with Chad Henne set to start at quarterback in Tennessee despite Gabbert being healthy. The selection of Gabbert with the 10th overall pick of the 2011 draft proved to be a disastrous one for the Jaguars' old regime, spearheaded by the inept Gene Smith.

    For coach Gus Bradley and general manager David Caldwell, the goals for the remainder of the season are clear: continue to develop their cavalcade of young players and win a game.

    While it's likely that both Bradley and Caldwell would return in 2014 even if the team was to go 0-16, owner Shad Khan doesn't seem like the kind of guy whose patience you want to test.

    Next Game: at Tennessee

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Odds: None Listed

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the dubious distinction of being the only team besides the Jaguars to receive no Super Bowl odds. Once again, the boys in Vegas are right on in their assessment, as there's a better chance of Toronto mayor Rob Ford being reelected than Bucs coach Greg Schiano raising the Lombardi Trophy.

    Tampa Bay actually acquitted itself extremely well against the Seattle Seahawks, opening up a 21-0 first-half lead. Alas, the upset wasn't meant to be, as the team eventually lost 27-24 in overtime. It's worth noting that the team played extremely hard for Schiano. It would have been an easy spot for the team to lay down, but it instead showed grit and determination.

    Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon has actually been pretty solid, despite losing all five of his starts. He's thrown eight touchdown passes against only three interceptions and seems due for his first victory, which could very well come this Monday night, when the Bucs host the only franchise in more turmoil than they are: the Dolphins.

    Despite the team playing hard and Glennon's improvement, though, the bottom line is that the Bucs are 0-8. With all the talent strewn throughout their 53-man roster, that's totally unacceptable. 

    Don't expect Schiano and his staff to be back in 2014.

    Next Game: vs. Miami (Monday Night Football)

St. Louis Rams

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    Michael Thomas/Getty Images

    Odds: 1,000/1

    The St. Louis Rams' latest defeat surely knocked them out of playoff contention, as they dropped to 3-6 with a 28-21 home loss to Tennessee.

    The team has now dropped two straight games without injured quarterback Sam Bradford, who is done for the year with a torn ACL. While the Rams played hard and nearly came away with two victories, they couldn't get it done at the end.

    Running back Zac Stacy has been a major bright spot for the club, as he's averaging 4.6 yards per carry. He looks like a keeper and someone the offense can build around moving forward.

    2013 has been a bitterly disappointing one for the Rams, who expected to contend in the NFC West. They have no chance of making the postseason.

    Next Game: at Indianapolis 

Minnesota Vikings

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    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    Odds: 1,000/1

    Football fans across America must have been quite naughty in a past life. It's the only explanation for the football gods giving us yet another Minnesota Vikings game in prime-time this week, as the team will host the Washington Redskins on Thursday night.

    Minnesota has been putrid, following up last year's surprise playoff campaign with a 1-7 start in 2013. The quarterback carousel has been vomit-inducing to anyone watching, with Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman taking turns stinking up the joint. It says something about something that Ponder has clearly looked like the best option.

    It's doubtful that coach Leslie Frazier survives this disaster of a season. There is talent on the roster, but the team must address the quarterback position in the offseason, lest it waste another season in the prime of star running back Adrian Peterson.

    Next Game: vs. Washington (Thursday Night Football)

Buffalo Bills

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    Odds: 750/1

    Even though they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, dropping their record to 3-6, it's hard not to be impressed with the Buffalo Bills and coach Doug Marrone.

    If the Bills had started even a marginally competent quarterback against the Chiefs, they would have won the game. Unfortunately for Buffalo, Jeff Tuel is not a marginally competent quarterback, so the team lost.

    Still, there's no question that the team is moving in the right direction. With rookie quarterback EJ Manuel set to return this week and the team's draft class (Manuel, receivers Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin and linebacker Kiko Alonso, among others) looking like a grand slam, things are looking up in lovely western New York.

    Even running back C.J. Spiller has joined the party, shaking off the effects of a nagging ankle injury to look like the Spiller of old against Kansas City. His playmaking ability is something to watch moving forward.

    The Bills won't be a playoff team, but the foundation for success has been laid for years to come.

    Next Game: at Pittsburgh 

Oakland Raiders

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Odds: 500/1

    Now, that's the Oakland Raiders team most of us expected to see this season! Oakland looked positively awful against the Philadelphia Eagles, allowing quarterback Nick Foles to shred them to the tune of seven (seven!) touchdown passes in a grotesque 49-20 defeat.

    It was a major setback for the Raiders, who had significantly overachieved up until this past Sunday. Coach Dennis Allen and coordinator Jason Tarver's defense looked totally lost. Rookie cornerback D.J. Hayden might turn out to be a good player, but he was targeted early and often by Philadelphia and was a liability in pass coverage.

    Making things worse are the injuries suffered during the loss by quarterback Terrelle Pryor and running back Darren McFadden. While Pryor should be good to go this Sunday, it's hard to imagine the injury-prone McFadden, who seems to be made of ceramic, shaking off the effects of a recurring hamstring malady to play.

    Although the Raiders are 3-5, the first half of the season has to be considered a success. If the team can stay competitive and Pryor can continue to evolve into a franchise quarterback, the entire campaign will be viewed as positive one for the Silver and Black.

    Next Game: at NY Giants

Atlanta Falcons

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Odds: 500/1

    The Atlanta Falcons came into the season almost universally considered to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Through eight games, their record sits at 2-6 and their odds to claim a world title are an astounding 500/1.

    Suffice to say, it's been a bitter, miserable campaign in Atlanta.

    The defense is allowing over 27 points per game, and while it's true that the unit (as well as the offense) has been ravaged with injuries, there's no question that general manager Thomas Dimitroff needs to add some playmaking ability across the board.

    The Falcons will be back in 2014, mainly because they have a franchise quarterback in Matt Ryan to build around. But make no mistake about it: They are the NFL's biggest disappointment this season, and they will be crushed this weekend by a Seattle team looking to avenge its loss in the divisional round of last year's postseason.

    Next Game: vs. Seattle

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Odds: 250/1

    Remember when the Pittsburgh Steelers had a good defense? Seriously, do you remember?

    Pittsburgh fans were likely yearning for the halcyon days of oh, say, 2012 as they watched their team's defense get absolutely annihilated by Tom Brady and the Patriots offense this past Sunday. The Steelers gave up 55 points and over 600 yards of offense, the most in team history on both counts. 

    The embarrassing loss inspired anger in coach Mike Tomlin, who is threatening to pull players out of the lineup that he doesn't feel are displaying maximum effort.

    While that's certainly Tomlin's prerogative, the problem isn't just effort; it's that the team isn't very good. 

    The offensive line is atrocious and is the albatross of an otherwise decent unit. The defense is old and slow, and it desperately needs an infusion of youth and speed. General manager Kevin Colbert assembled a flawed team. He needs to do a better job this offseason.

    Don't be shocked if and when the Bills run all over the Steelers this Sunday at Heinz Field. At 2-6, their season is over.

    Next Game: vs. Buffalo

Cleveland Browns

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    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    Odds: 200/1

    Sunday's win over the Ravens had to feel so, so sweet for Cleveland Browns fans.

    Star cornerback Joe Haden said last week that the Ravens weren't the same team as in past years, and his teammates went out on Sunday and proved him correct in a 24-18 victory. The win improved the Browns' record to 4-5, only two games behind Cincinnati for first place in the AFC North. 

    Jason Campbell has proven to be a stabilizing force at the quarterback position, and while he certainly isn't the long-term answer, he's definitely better than backup Brandon Weeden. You can win games with Campbell and a competent defense.

    A playoff run isn't out of the question for the plucky Browns, who are stocked with young talent on both sides of the ball.

    Plus, the future is extremely bright for the franchise. It appears it came up aces in the Trent Richardson deal and it possesses two first-round picks in a loaded 2014 draft. This team is a franchise quarterback away from being a perennial playoff contender.

    Next Game: at Cincinnati (Week 11)

Arizona Cardinals

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Odds: 200/1

    The Arizona Cardinals entered their bye week at 4-4, and much credit should be given to coach Bruce Arians for how well the team played in its first half of the season.

    The defense was mostly excellent. Linemen Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett, linebacker Daryl Washington and cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu are all playing at a Pro Bowl level.

    The offensive line is still a major issue, though, and if Carson Palmer is the answer at quarterback, I'd love to know the question. But the unit also has speedy running back Andre Ellington, a star in the making, and emerging receiver Michael Floyd to go along with veteran star Larry Fitzgerald.

    While Arizona doesn't have the look and feel of a playoff team, it faces a very winnable game on Sunday against the Texans, and a victory would boost the team's record to 5-4.

    Next Game: vs. Houston

Houston Texans

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    Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

    Odds: 150/1

    First off, thoughts and prayers go out to Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak from the entire B/R family. It was a scary scene watching him collapse at halftime of the team's loss on Sunday; hopefully he'll be back on the sidelines soon.

    It was a brutal defeat for Houston, which led 21-3 at halftime. Still, there were some positives to glean from the game, most notably the play of quarterback Case Keenum. He performed very well, tossing three touchdown passes to receiver Andre Johnson, and generally looked like a legitimate NFL quarterback.

    When looking at the Texans roster, it's hard to imagine their record sitting at 2-6, but there they are. Along with the Falcons, they're the most disappointing team in the NFL.

    Next Game: at Arizona

Washington Redskins

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    Odds: 100/1

    The Washington Redskins got a much-needed victory on Sunday, downing the San Diego Chargers in overtime, 30-24, after their defense stiffened on a goal-line stand in the game's waning moments to force the extra stanza.

    The win keeps Washington afloat in the putrid NFC East at 3-5 and likely has its fans harkening back to last season, when it started 3-6 before rattling off seven consecutive wins en route to a division title.

    Quarterback Robert Griffin III wasn't electrifying, but he played well enough to win. The ground game was marvelous, led by star running back Alfred Morris, and the team is now averaging five yards per rush on the season. 

    The defense still isn't great, but if it can hold opponents to around 24 points per game, the Redskins should find themselves in the thick of the NFC East hunt come Christmastime.

    Next Game: at Minnesota (Thursday Night Football)

Tennessee Titans

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    Odds: 100/1

    The Tennessee Titans picked up a crucial win last Sunday in St. Louis, beating the Rams 28-21 to even their record at 4-4 ahead of a matchup this week against the hapless and winless Jaguars.

    Running back Chris Johnson finally flashed the form that earned him the "CJ2K" moniker, rushing for 150 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries. Fellow back Shonn Greene also played well, amassing 66 yards from scrimmage and scoring a touchdown.

    The defense also came up with key stops and has been a pleasant surprise throughout the season. In particular, cornerback Alterraun Verner has had a magnificent campaign.

    A win on Sunday would push Tennessee's record to 5-4 as it makes a run at the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC. The Titans are very much in the race.

    Next Game: vs. Jacksonville

New York Jets

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    Ron Antonelli/Getty Images

    Odds: 100/1

    So, who among the reading audience thought the New York Jets would be 5-4 entering their bye week and would be coming off a totally stunning win over the Saints? 

    Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

    Gang Green has wildly exceeded expectations in 2013, and coach Rex Ryan has done a marvelous job. His defense shut down New Orleans' high-octane offense, and the run game was punishing. The 26-20 win truly personified Ryan's vision of "ground-and-pound."

    The defensive line has been a major bright spot this season, with linemen Muhammad Wilkerson and rookie Sheldon Richardson both playing at a Pro Bowl level.

    Don't sleep on the Jets as a contender for the sixth and final AFC playoff spot. 

    Next Game: at Buffalo (Week 11)

Baltimore Ravens

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Odds: 100/1

    While it certainly doesn't dull the joy of winning a Super Bowl title in this calendar year, Baltimore Ravens fans were likely a miserable bunch this past Sunday when the team fell to Cleveland.

    Even worse than losing to the Browns was the manner in which it happened, with Cleveland playing better defense and making more clutch plays to seal the victory.

    Baltimore is a mess right now. The offense couldn't run the ball if its life depended on it. Running backs Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce look absolutely stuck in the mud. Quarterback Joe Flacco doesn't have many weapons around him, and he didn't make things easy on himself by missing a bunch of makeable throws.

    The team has little margin for error at 3-5, and coach John Harbaugh knows it. He'll need to summon his best motivational tactics this week, as a loss to Cincinnati would effectively eliminate the Ravens from contention for the AFC North title and cast a significant pall over their chances to defend their Super Bowl title this January.

    Next Game: vs. Cincinnati

San Diego Chargers

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Odds: 75/1

    The San Diego Chargers missed a golden opportunity to take pole position in the race for the AFC's sixth and final playoff spot, dropping a heartbreaking 30-24 overtime decision to the Redskins.

    Still, the first half of the season needs to be considered a monumental success for San Diego. Despite possessing a less-than-optimal 53-man roster, coach Mike McCoy has the team in position to contend for the postseason. He's done a fantastic job.

    Quarterback Philip Rivers is playing at an MVP level, and the offensive line has been excellent. Rookie receiver Keenan Allen has been a revelation.

    On Sunday, the Chargers welcome Peyton Manning and the 7-1 Denver Broncos to town. Regardless of the result of the game, the team's Super Bowl odds should be very different next week.

    Next Game: vs. Denver

New York Giants

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    Rich Schultz/Getty Images

    Odds: 75/1

    Despite their atrocious start to the season, the 2-6 New York Giants have reason to feel good. They're coming off a bye week, have won two consecutive games and are within striking distance in the pathetic NFC East. Plus, the Raiders are coming to town, fresh off having 49 dropped on them by the Eagles.

    While quarterback Eli Manning and Co. have been far from majestic, the Giants still have an opportunity to make a run at the postseason. They have two games against Washington and a home date with Dallas, and they get Green Bay in two weeks in a game where the Packers likely won't have the services of quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

    If the Giants can beat Oakland on Sunday, they'll be 3-6 and very much alive in the race for the NFC East title.

    Next Game: vs. Oakland

Miami Dolphins

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    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Odds: 75/1

    The Miami Dolphins' 22-20 win over the Bengals last Thursday night feels like a lifetime ago.

    Since then, the team has been under intense scrutiny for allowing the bullying/hazing/harassing of tackle Jonathan Martin to occur. Starting guard Richie Incognito has been suspended indefinitely by the team as a result, and there's no word on when Martin might return to the Dolphins, if he does at all.

    The situation is a complete and utter disgrace, and it reflects extremely poorly on coach Joe Philbin and the locker-room culture that's developed under his watch.

    The crazy part of the entire situation is that the Dolphins are 4-4, coming off a win against a very good Cincinnati team and are very much alive in the AFC playoff race. 

    A win over the hapless Bucs on Monday night would push Miami to 5-4 and would certainly help the team begin to move past the Martin/Incognito saga.

    Next Game: at Tampa Bay (Monday Night Football)

Philadelphia Eagles

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    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Odds: 66/1

    Sid Luckman. George Blanda. Y.A. Tittle. Peyton Manning. Nick Foles.

    Nick Foles? Wait. What?

    Foles joined the aforementioned four men and two others in becoming only the seventh quarterback in league history toss seven touchdown passes in a single game when the Philadelphia Eagles eviscerated the Raiders, 49-20, improving their record to 4-5. 

    Chip Kelly's team snapped out of its offensive slump in a big way after only scoring three points on offense in the previous two games combined. The win keeps Philadelphia in striking distance of the first-place Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East.

    Foles likely earned the starting job for the rest of the season, but the starting quarterback in 2014 is probably not yet on the roster.

    If the Eagles want to prove they're a legitimate playoff contender, they need to take care of business on the road this Sunday in Green Bay, where the Packers will be without starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

    Next Game: at Green Bay

Detroit Lions

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    Odds: 33/1

    Coming off their bye week, the 5-3 Detroit Lions find themselves in a three-way tie atop the NFC North with Green Bay and Chicago, and they have to be feeling good about their chances to claim their first division title since 1993.

    While both the Packers and Bears have been hit hard with injuries, the Lions find themselves relatively healthy by comparison. 

    Quarterback Matthew Stafford is playing at a Pro Bowl level, and running back Reggie Bush has injected both electricity and balance into the offensive attack. Plus, Calvin Johnson is the best wide receiver alive, and it isn't close.

    The defense must play with more consistency over the second half, but there are pieces in place for the unit to succeed.

    If the Lions are serious about winning the division, a win in Chicago this weekend against a battered Bears squad is a must.

    Next Game: at Chicago

Chicago Bears

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Odds: 33/1

    What a gutsy, tremendous win for coach Marc Trestman and the Bears this past Monday night in Lambeau.

    Running back Matt Forte is like a fine bottle of wine, as he seems to get better with age. He was about 50 different kinds of epic in leading Chicago to victory. Backup quarterback Josh McCown played his heart out and made a ton of big throws to receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Trestman's play-calling took serious stones, and his team delivered.

    It was the kind of victory that propels a team to bigger and better things. Yes, it's true that if Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had played the entire game, the Bears likely would have lost. But that's not what happened. Instead, the Bears improved their record to 5-3, tied atop the NFC North with Detroit and Green Bay.

    With the playing status of quarterback Jay Cutler up in the air for this Sunday's ultra-important home tilt with the Lions, it could be up to McCown once again to lead the Bears to victory.

    A win would have Chicago feeling very good about its playoff chances.

    Next Game: vs. Detroit 

Carolina Panthers

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Odds: 28/1

    The Carolina Panthers are doing what great teams do: blowing out inferior competition.

    It's now been four straight weeks in which Carolina has dismantled a subpar team, the latest coming in the form of a 34-10 thrashing of Atlanta. The team has scored over 30 points in each game and won all four by double digits. Impressive indeed.

    Quarterback Cam Newton didn't perform at his best against Atlanta, but he is still playing a stretch of wonderful football, while coach Ron Rivera continues to be the NFL's preeminent riverboat gambler this side of Sean Payton. 

    The defense, led by linebacker Luke Kuechly and rookie defensive tackles Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short, has been nothing short of spectacular. Carolina absolutely has the look and feel of a playoff team.

    It plays in the most interesting game of the week against the 6-2 San Francisco 49ers. A win would have Panthers fans thinking not just playoffs, but the Super Bowl.

    Next Game: at San Francisco

Dallas Cowboys

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    Odds: 25/1

    It might not have been pretty, but the Dallas Cowboys pulled off a big win, beating the Vikings in heart-stopping fashion, 27-23, to improve their record to 5-4 and keep them atop the NFC East.

    Quarterback Tony Romo, who led the comeback, has been fantastic this season, tossing 20 touchdown passes against only six interceptions. 

    While the Cowboys are a flawed team, it's clear that, right now, they're the best the NFC East has to offer. They should be good enough to win the division and claim a home playoff game.

    Of course, they'll lose by 20 to either the 49ers or Seahawks once they get there. Jason Garrett is still a major liability as head coach, whether Dallas goes to the postseason or not.

    Next Game: at Saints (Sunday Night Football)

Cincinnati Bengals

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    Odds: 18/1

    Almost no team had as bad a Week 9 as the Cincinnati Bengals. Not only did they drop a heinous 22-20 overtime decision in Miami, but they lost star defensive tackle Geno Atkins for the season to a torn ACL.

    After three consecutive sterling outings, quarterback Andy Dalton fell back to Earth with a thud, throwing three interceptions in an atrocious performance. It was the kind of game from Dalton that fuels the critics who say he isn't good enough to win a Super Bowl.

    Despite the loss, the Bengals find themselves at 6-3 with a two-game lead atop the AFC North. The team should be good enough to still win the division and earn a home playoff game, but without Atkins, a bye may now be out of the question.

    If Dalton can't up his game, there's no way that the Bengals can string together wins in January. But they should get there for the third consecutive year.

    Next Game: at Baltimore

Green Bay Packers

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    Odds: 14/1

    Much to the chagrin of the entire state of Wisconsin, The Maestro will have to hang up his baton for a little while.

    Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the best player in football regardless of position, fractured his collarbone in the opening drive of Monday night's loss to Chicago when he was sacked by Shea McClellin. It's unclear how long he'll be out, but the expectation is two to three weeks at minimum.

    The loss of Rodgers—for any amount of time—cannot be minimized. It's not just that backup quarterback Seneca Wallace is a significant drop-off, it's that Rodgers is literally irreplaceable. 

    The Packers' next few games aren't against elite competition (vs. Philadelphia, at NY Giants, vs. Minnesota), but the team would surely love Rodgers to be healthy for its Thanksgiving tilt in Detroit.

    For now, it'll be up to Wallace to hold down the fort, and it starts Sunday against the Eagles.

    Next Game: vs. Philadelphia

Kansas City Chiefs

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    Odds: 12/1

    The Kansas City Chiefs remain the only undefeated team in football after their 23-13 win—one aided by two defensive touchdowns—over the Bills.

    If you're one of those people who points to the schedule as a way to minimize the Chiefs' accomplishments: spare me the nonsense. It's difficult to win one game in the NFL, much less nine, and the Chiefs are now 9-0. That merits significant praise period, end of story.

    The team has done it with a punishing, opportunistic defense and terrific run game, keyed by MVP candidate Jamaal Charles. Quarterback Alex Smith is careful with the football, and Andy Reid is the clear front-runner for NFL Coach of the Year.

    The Chiefs will face their first real test in Week 11 when they play the division rival Denver Broncos on Sunday Night Football

    Even if they lose that game, they will still be legitimate Super Bowl contenders.

    Next Game: at Denver (Week 11, Sunday Night Football)

Indianapolis Colts

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    Odds: 12/1

    The Indianapolis Colts' Sunday night win over the Texans was a critical one for many reasons.

    First, the game was the unofficial coming-out party of wide receiver T.Y. Hilton on a national stage. The second-year receiver caught three second-half touchdowns to lead his team to victory. Hilton looks ready to fill the void left by the season-ending injury to receiver Reggie Wayne.

    Second, the loss boosted its record to 6-2 and effectively eliminated division rival Houston from contention. 

    Third, it was yet another come-from-behind effort engineered by quarterback Andrew Luck, his 10th such display in his season and a half as the team's starting signal-caller.

    The Colts have beaten the Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks already this season and look poised to make some serious noise in January. They are a major threat to go to the Super Bowl.

    Next Game: vs. St. Louis 

New Orleans Saints

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    Odds: 9/1

    The New Orleans Saints once again showed that they're a much different team on the road than they are in the friendly confines of the Superdome, falling 26-20 to an inferior Jets squad in the Meadowlands and dropping their record to 6-2.

    The loss especially stings since the Seahawks won, swelling their record to 8-1. If New Orleans is go to go the Super Bowl, it'll face a significantly easier path if it can claim home-field advantage, and the results last Sunday serve as a significant impediment to that goal.

    Nonetheless, the Saints are a definite playoff team. Drew Brees is still one of the elite quarterbacks in football, and tight end Jimmy Graham is authoring a truly special season, as he's already hauled in 10 touchdown passes. Plus, the defense has been much better than expected under the stewardship of coordinator Rob Ryan.

    Expect the Saints to win a shootout on Sunday night against Dallas to move to 7-2. But if they can't claim home-field advantage, it's unlikely they can reach the Super Bowl.

    Next Game: vs. Dallas (Sunday Night Football)

New England Patriots

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    Odds: 9/1

    Despite playing slightly above-average football for the majority of the season, the New England Patriots are 7-2, a full two games ahead of the Jets in the AFC East. It was a masterful first nine games for coach Bill Belichick and his staff.

    As the Patriots enter their bye week, there's reason to be bullish on them. The offense is finally clicking on all cylinders, having racked up 55 points and over 600 yards of offense last week against Pittsburgh. Tight end Rob Gronkowski and receiver Danny Amendola finally appear to be healthy, and quarterback Tom Brady appears to be hitting his stride after an up-and-down first eight games.

    Because of the pedigree of Belichick and Brady, it's impossible to count out the Patriots as a Super Bowl contender. They'll be right there in January like they seemingly always are.

    Next Game: at Carolina (Week 11, Monday Night Football)

San Francisco 49ers

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    Odds: 15/2

    The San Francisco 49ers are coming out of their bye week rested and dangerous, winners of five consecutive games.

    The team received some major positive news earlier in the week with the announcement that star receiver Michael Crabtree has been cleared to return to practice. He suffered a torn Achilles this offseason, and the team has sorely missed him in what's sometimes been a moribund passing attack.

    Coach Jim Harbaugh and quarterback Colin Kaepernick have leaned heavily on running back Frank Gore, and the Ageless One has delivered a sparkling campaign. Once Crabtree is fully healthy, the offense should truly open up, and you know the defense will continue to play at a high level.

    The fact that the 49ers are 6-2 despite having been without their top offensive threat is a testament to how good the players and coaches are. 

    This Sunday's game against Carolina serves as a possible playoff preview.

    The 49ers are definite Super Bowl contenders.

    Next Game: vs. Carolina

Seattle Seahawks

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    Odds: 5/1

    Forget about style points. This isn't the BCS. 

    The Seattle Seahawks' 27-24 come-from-behind overtime victory over the Buccaneers was huge. It pushed their record to 8-1 and kept the team in the driver's seat for home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. 

    If Seattle is able to claim home-field, what team is going into CenturyLink Field and winning in January? The Seahawks would be the clear favorite to advance to the Super Bowl.

    While the offense hasn't played its best football yet, the return of dynamic receiver Percy Harvin is on the horizon, and the team should get both of its starting tackles (Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini) back in the next few weeks.

    The Seahawks need to keep banking wins in order to earn home-field advantage. Expect them to crush the Falcons on Sunday in a payback game, as their season ended in the divisional round this past January at the hands of Atlanta.

    Next Game: at Atlanta

Denver Broncos

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    Odds: 10/3

    As we did with Texans coach Gary Kubiak, we first and foremost offer our thoughts and prayers to Broncos coach John Fox and his family as he recovers from heart surgery that will keep him off the sidelines for an undetermined period of time.

    Filling Fox's role in an interim capacity will be defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, who coached the Jaguars for nine seasons.

    The team could have gone with running backs coach Eric Studesville instead, which would have allowed Del Rio to concentrate solely on the defense. However, it has the ultimate on-field coach/general in quarterback Peyton Manning, who is the NFL's MVP after nine weeks. As long as he's healthy and upright, the Broncos will be elite.

    Despite being in second place in their own division, the Broncos still have to be considered the favorite to capture the Lombardi Trophy. 

    Next Game: at San Diego