Super Bowl Odds 2014: Power Ranking Top Contenders' Title Chances

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent IDecember 30, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 08:  Quarterback Russel Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks throws against NaVorro Bowman #53 of the San Francisco 49ers in the first quarter on December 8, 2013 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.  The 49ers won 19-17.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

It should be no surprise that the No. 1 seeds in the AFC and NFC will enter the postseason with the lowest odds for the Super Bowl.

Bovada has the Seattle Seahawks as the favorites to win the Super Bowl at 11-4, and the Denver Broncos are right behind them at 3-1. While I place the Broncos right behind the Seahawks in the below rankings, that does not come at the top of my rankings. 

Have a look at Bovada's odds for each of the 12 playoff teams, and then I'll take a look at my top three contenders.  

Super Bowl Odds
Seattle Seahawks11-4
Denver Broncos3-1
San Francisco 49ers13-2
Carolina Panthers10-1
New England Patriots10-1
Cincinnati Bengals16-1
Green Bay Packers16-1
Philadelphia Eagles16-1
New Orleans Saints20-1
Kansas City Chiefs25-1
Source: Bovada

No. 1: San Francisco 49ers

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 08:  Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers objects to a penalty of unnecessary roughness with head linesman Tony Veteri #36 in the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks on December 8, 2013 at Candlestick Par
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers enter the playoffs as a wild-card team, but they still carry the third-lowest odds to win the Super Bowl. It is easy to see why.

The 49ers do not have nearly as easy a path to the Super Bowl as the others on this list, but there wasn't a more impressive team to close the season. 

The 49ers finished the regular season on a six-game winning streak. Although four of those wins came over teams with losing records, they also boast of a win over the Seahawks and the surging Arizona Cardinals.

Also, the 49ers play a brand of football that can succeed in any environment. They are a run-first offense that leads the NFL in rushing. Also, they play outstanding defense. 

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 1: Linebacker Patrick Willis #52 of the San Francisco 49ers gestures after sacking quarterback Kellen Clemens #10 of the St. Louis Rams during the third quarter of their game on December 1, 2013 at Candlestick Park in San Fran
Stephen Lam/Getty Images

The 49ers are third in the NFL in points allowed, fourth in yards allowed per game and sixth in yards allowed per play. 

On top of this, the 49ers can draw on their experience from their run to the Super Bowl last season. Also, they have the clutch veteran and Super Bowl champ Anquan Boldin in the mix this year: 

That gives San Francisco the kind of consistent attack that can run off four straight playoff wins. 

No. 2: Seattle Seahawks

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 29:  Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks looks on during the game against the St. Louis Rams at CenturyLink Field on December 29, 2013 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Rams 27-9.  (Photo by Otto Greule J
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The Seahawks locked up the NFC's No. 1 seed on Sunday, and they make for an intimidating opponent in the noise factory that is their stadium. 

Seattle has lost just once all season at home. Giving hope to the rest of the NFC, however, is the fact that the loss came in Week 16. 

In Week 17, the Seahawks were dominant at home. Led by a defense that didn't allow the St. Louis Rams to pass 100 yards of total offense until deep into the fourth quarter, the Seahawks prevailed, 27-9.

Still, the Seahawks are far from invincible. The offense has been struggling. Russell Wilson turned in four of his seven lowest QBR rankings for the year in the final four games of the season, and Marshawn Lynch has failed to reach the century mark in rushing in each of his last six games.

Seattle's defense has looked great to finish the year, but as we saw in the Week 16 loss to the Arizona Cardinals when Carson Palmer was intercepted four times, that defense can't get the job done alone. 

So, even though the Seahawks will get the 49ers in Seattle and the 49ers have looked terrible in Seattle in recent years, it is those late-season offensive struggles that have me placing them below the 49ers.

No. 3: Denver Broncos

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 29:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos shots instructions to his team during their game against the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum on December 29, 2013 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With Peyton Manning leading the highest-scoring regular-season offense in the history of the NFL, the Broncos will enter the playoffs with the ability to outscore any team. 

Not only are the Broncos the highest-scoring team, but they rank first in yards per game and red-zone scoring percentage, and they are second in yards per play and third-down conversion percentage. 

Defense is another story. The Broncos are 22nd in points allowed and yards per game. They are also 18th in yards allowed per pass. With a pass rush that is 20th in sack percentage, Denver has struggled against the pass all season. 

Just as concerning is the fact that the run defense has tailed off. After spending the first part of the season among the league leaders, the Broncos are eighth in rushing yards allowed per game and 10th in yards allowed per rush. 

The Broncos have the ability to hoist the Lombardi, but their defense also leaves them vulnerable. 

All odds according Bovada on Dec. 29. All stats via on Dec. 29, 2013.


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