While the smaller field make it easier to predict a champion, recent history shows us that anything can happen.
None of the last three Super Bowl winners had first-round byes and early upsets are becoming more prevalent than ever in the NFL playoffs.
For this reason, it is smart to look beyond just the top options when attempting to predict a Super Bowl champion. There are a few quality teams with long odds that could end up paying out big money in February.
Here are the odds to win the Super Bowl for every remaining squad, along with a look at the smartest bets to bring you good value.
|San Francisco 49ers||7-1|
|New England Patriots||17-2|
|Green Bay Packers||20-1|
|Kansas City Chiefs||30-1|
|New Orleans Saints||30-1|
|San Diego Chargers||50-1|
via Vegas Insider
Green Bay Packers (20-1)
Heading into the season, the Green Bay Packers were considered one of the top teams in the NFL. However, injuries to key players—including former MVP Aaron Rodgers—had the squad struggling for a good part of the year.
The good news for the Packers is that their star quarterback returned from injury in Week 17 and helped them defeat the Chicago Bears to make the playoffs.
Judy Battista of NFL.com tweeted out what many are thinking at this point:
Can't imagine the rest of the NFC field is all that delighted to see Aaron Rodgers in the post-season.— Judy Battista (@judybattista) December 30, 2013
Green Bay is 6-2 this season when Rodgers plays a full game, and his 104.9 passer rating makes a real difference. The Packers will again have one of the most dangerous offenses in the league while their defense will start playing with more confidence going forward.
Although the NFC bracket will be incredibly competitive, Green Bay has as good of a chance at making a run as any team in the league. With these odds, it is hard to turn it down.
Indianapolis Colts (30-1)
Focus seemed to be a real issue for the Colts during the regular season. They displayed a great deal of talent in their big wins, but they also lost winnable games where they simply did not seem ready to play.
However, that should not be an issue once the playoffs begin. On the team's official website, defensive end Cory Redding discussed the team's lofty goals since last season:
(It’s the) same team as far as the core guys in the locker room, added with new pieces. (It’s) the same mindset, be very dominant, win games, get into the postseason and give ourselves a chance to touch that Vince Lombardi Trophy, period. Everybody bought in, whatever it takes.
After losing in the first round a year ago, the Colts know what it will take to advance this time around. Meanwhile, they have also proven that they are capable of beating the best teams in the league, with victories over the Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers.
These wins should give Indianapolis confidence in the postseason that could help it make a deep run this winter.
The Colts have the ability to beat anyone in the league when they play their best. In high-pressure games like this, you can certainly see them winning four games in a row to take home a Super Bowl.
Kansas City Chiefs (30-1)
Although the Chiefs play the Colts in the first game of the playoffs, Kansas City is another squad capable of surprising everyone to win it all.
Despite finishing 2-14 last season, the Chiefs have proven to be among the best teams in the league with the No. 5 scoring defense in the NFL to go with a dynamic offensive attack led by Jamaal Charles.
There are serious question marks surrounding Kansas City's struggles down the stretch, but a lot of that wa due to the absence of linebacker Justin Houston, who will be returning against the Colts. Bleacher Report's BJ Kissel discussed the difference that Houston will make in the lineup:
Houston's impact in this game might not be seen on a box score necessarily, but in how the Colts approach him. His presence might simply open things up for his teammates, and that might be exactly what the Chiefs need right now.
In any case, Houston's return means good things for the Chiefs defense.
Few other teams in the AFC playoff picture can match the Chiefs on the defensive side of the ball, something that will give the squad a chance to win any game.
None of the six teams on that side of the bracket are unbeatable, giving Kansas City a legitimate chance to make a run at the title.
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