NFL Playoffs

NFL Playoff Odds: Dissecting 2014 Super Bowl Chances for Each Team

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 08:  Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks throws against linebacker Dan Skuta #51 of the San Francisco 49ers in the second 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
R. Cory SmithSenior Writer IDecember 30, 2013

With the playoffs finally set and kicking off officially on Jan. 4, just 12 NFL teams have hopes of achieving the ultimate goal of winning the Super Bowl.

Teams such as the San Diego Chargers and Green Bay Packers backed into the playoffs thanks to Week 17 wins. Then there are clubs such as the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks, whose playoff chances were never in question as they clinched the No. 1 seed in their respective conference.

Prior to the Wild Card Round on Saturday afternoon, here are the odds for each team to win the Super Bowl and a quick analysis of how it will or won't happen.

All Super Bowl odds courtesy of Bovada.com.

Super Bowl Odds for Every Playoff Team
TeamOdds
Seattle Seahawks11-4
Denver Broncos3-1
San Francisco 49ers7-1
New England Patriots9-1
Carolina Panthers10-1
Green Bay Packers12-1
Cincinnati Bengals16-1
Philadelphia Eagles16-1
New Orleans Saints20-1
Kansas City Chiefs25-1
Indianapolis Colts33-1
San Diego Chargers40-1
Bovada

 

Seattle Seahawks (11-4)

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 29:  Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks passes under pressure from linebacker Alec Ogletree #52 of the St. Louis Rams at CenturyLink Field on December 29, 2013 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Ram
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Why They'll Win It: The Seattle Seahawks are comprised of one of the best offenses and defenses in the NFL, ranking No. 1 overall in total defense and fourth in rushing offense. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks will play every game at home, too, after clinching home-field advantage, and it is certainly an advantage the Hawks have in front of their home crowd.

According to Will Brinson of CBS Sports, Wilson isn't the least bit nervous about their chances:

Why They Won't: While the odds are slim that the Seahawks will falter on the road to the Super Bowl, they could run up against a more experienced playoff team such as the Denver Broncos or New England Patriots in February. Before they get there, teams like the Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers could knock them off, as the Seahawks did show signs of weakness at home against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 16.

 

Denver Broncos (3-1)

December 29, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) watches from the sideline during the third quarter against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 34-14. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Why They'll Win It: Peyton Manning is having the best season ever at the quarterback position. He broke both the touchdown and passing yards records for a single season and has led the Broncos to the best record in the AFC. With a balanced attack—four different receivers have 10 or more touchdowns—Denver has the tools to get Manning his second Super Bowl ring.

Why They Won't: The defense has been much worse this season than it was last year, and the team currently ranks 19th in the NFL in total defense. As great as Manning has been in the regular season, his playoff woes have been chronicled for years. In his 16-year career, Manning has reached the Super Bowl just twice.

As ESPN's Numbers Never Lie points out, Manning hasn't exactly had much luck advancing in his last five playoff appearances:

 

San Francisco 49ers (7-1)

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 03:  NaVorro Bowman #53 of the San Francisco 49ers reacts against the Baltimore Ravens during Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on February 3, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Ravens won 34-31.  (Photo by Christ
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Why They'll Win It: Experience is certainly on the 49ers' side. San Francisco made the Super Bowl last season and arguably looks like the best NFC team entering the playoffs. With a defense that ranks third overall in the NFL and an offense that boasts names such as Colin Kaepernick, Vernon Davis and Frank Gore, the 49ers could avenge last year's loss in February.

Why They Won't: San Francisco has come a long way since its loss in Week 2 of the regular season against the Seahawks, but that game was certainly a reminder of what Seattle is capable of at home. In order to make the Super Bowl, the 49ers will have to win in Seattle, where they've been outscored 71-16 in their last two visits.

 

New England Patriots (9-1)

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 29:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots walks into position before a game with the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on December 29, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Why They'll Win It: If the New England Patriots have proven anything over the last two weeks, it's that they can still win without Rob Gronkowski, who's out for the season. With Tom Brady behind center and Bill Belichick on the sidelines, the Patriots certainly have playoff experience.

SportsCenter's official Twitter account pointed out just how much experience the Pats have on their side with Belichick as a coach:

Why They Won't: The aforementioned loss of Gronkowski means New England is down one of its most reliable targets. With players like Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins—rookies with no playoff experience—expected to pick up the slack down the field, it will catch up to the Pats. Plus, their defense ranked 15th in the AFC during the regular season.

 

Carolina Panthers (10-1)

Dec 22, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly (59) reacts in the fourth quarter. The Panthers defeated the Saint 17-13 at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Why They'll Win It: Carolina has one of the most feared defenses in the NFL and an offense that can more than get the job done in the postseason. Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis have led a defense that ranks second overall in the NFL and has brought the team from 1-3 to the playoffs.

As for the offense, Cam Newton has proven he can put the team on his back and can play in pressure situations, regardless of whom he has to pass the ball to, such as in Week 16 against the New Orleans Saints.

Why They Won't: Under coach Ron Rivera, the Panthers have played in as many playoff games as I have—none. Despite the fact that both sides of the ball can dominate nearly any game, the experience of clubs such as the 49ers and Packers could mean an early exit for Carolina if it can't overcome those obstacles.

 

Green Bay Packers (12-1)

Dec 29, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb (18) catches the game-winning touchdown against the Chicago Bears during the fourth quarter at Soldier Field. The Green Bay Packers win 33-28. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA T
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Why They'll Win It: The Packers have benefited from quite a bit of luck to get to the playoffs at 8-7-1, but they are finally healthy heading to the postseason. With Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb returning to a team that was already being carried by Eddie Lacy and Jordy Nelson, the Packers have the offense to make it to the Super Bowl.

Why They Won't: The one downside of the Packers losing Rodgers for eight games this season is that they lost the chance for a No. 1 or No. 2 seed. With the road to the Super Bowl going through either Carolina or Seattle—who are a combined 14-2 at home this season—the chances of getting to February look slim for Green Bay.

And as Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel discusses, the health of linebacker Clay Matthews, who had a second surgery on his thumb, is a key storyline for the defense.

 

Cincinnati Bengals (16-1)

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 17:  Vontaze Burfict #55 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates during the NFL game against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium on November 17, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Why They'll Win It: At times, the Cincinnati Bengals have looked like one of the strongest teams in the AFC. With offensive playmakers such as A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard paired with a defense that ranks No. 1 in the conference, the Bengals have the tools to achieve the ultimate goal of wearing a Super Bowl ring.

Why They Won't: The inconsistent play of Andy Dalton has been a catalyst for the Bengals' success and lack thereof this season. In the final game of the season, Dalton threw four interceptions against the Baltimore Ravens but was bailed out by his defense, as ESPN pointed out on Twitter:

If the Bengals falter in the playoffs, it will likely be due to Dalton's up-and-down play. 

 

Philadelphia Eagles (16-1)

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 29:  Nick Foles #9 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks to pass in the first quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on December 29, 2013 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Why They'll Win It: Nick Foles has been a crucial component for the Eagles this season, but with a durable running back like LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia has one of the best backfields in the playoffs. McCoy not only finished with the most rushing yards in the NFL this season, but his 1,607 yards also set the Eagles rushing record, as their official Instagram account reported:

That type of tandem means the Eagles can run up the score on nearly any opponent in the NFC, bring those talents to the Super Bowl and pull off an improbable run.

Why They Won't: For all of their explosive playmakers on offense, the Eagles lack that type of talent on the defensive side. The Eagles rank last in total defense among other NFC playoff contenders and are ahead of only the Packers in scoring defense. When Philadelphia faces one of the top four teams in the NFC—who also are all top four in the NFL in total defense—those defensive woes could cost it a shot at lifting the Lombardi Trophy.

 

New Orleans Saints (20-1)

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 29:  Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints warms up before his team takes on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 29, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Why They'll Win It: The Saints have one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL thanks to Drew Brees, and the fourth-best defense in the NFL in both yards and scoring. With Brees yet again playing at a high level this season, he could win the second Super Bowl of his career with New Orleans.

Why They Won't: For everything the Saints have accomplished this season as an 11-5 team, most of that success has come in the Superdome. Unfortunately, New Orleans is the No. 6 seed and will not be able to host a playoff game.

At 3-5 on the road, the Saints look like a much different team than they do in New Orleans. As Steve Keeley of Fox 29 in Philadelphia points out, those road woes have been evident in the playoffs as well: 

 

Kansas City Chiefs (25-1)

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 15:  Jamaal Charles #25 of the Kansas City Chiefs runs for a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on December 15, 2013 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Why They'll Win It: The Kansas City Chiefs have had one of the most remarkable turnarounds in NFL history after going 2-14 last season and finishing 11-5 this year. That nine-win difference is thanks in large part to Andy Reid, but on the field, it's all about the success of the defense and Jamaal Charles.

Why They Won't: Simply put, the Chiefs haven't looked good against playoff-caliber competition. Kansas City played six games against teams that made the playoffs and finished 1-5—though one of those games was without its starters against San Diego.

As John Buccigross of ESPN reported, the Chiefs' recent record in the playoffs looks even worse:

 

Indianapolis Colts (28-1)

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 22:  Quarterback Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts passes during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on December 22, 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Why They'll Win It: The Indianapolis Colts have multiple weapons on offense that can get the job done in the playoffs. With Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton and a running back tandem of Donald Brown and Trent Richardson, the Colts can certainly pull off a few upsets to make the Super Bowl.

Why They Won't: While Indy's struggles this season without Reggie Wayne due to an ACL injury have been well documented, the real issue is the defense. Ranking 20th in the NFL this season in yards allowed, the Colts defense has been pushed around all season and won't hold up in the playoffs either. 

 

San Diego Chargers (40-1)

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 29:  Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers warms up for the game with the Kansas City Chiefs at Qualcomm Stadium on December 29, 2013 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Why They'll Win It: Oh, San Diego. After getting off to a mediocre start to open the season, the Chargers rattled off four straight wins to close out and clinched a playoff spot with the final seed in the AFC. Their chances look slim, but with Philip Rivers at the helm, the Chargers are capable of anything.

Why They Won't: Like a few other teams in the playoffs, the Chargers are void of a defensive corps that can carry them to February. Ranking last in the AFC in passing yards and 13th in total yards per game, San Diego's offensive fireworks won't be enough to overcome a lackluster defense.

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