The NFL playoffs are upon us, with the AFC Wild Card Round taking place on Saturday followed by the NFC on Sunday.
The Super Bowl favorites are sitting at home, but they will be watching closely to see who they'll play in the divisional round.
While the teams on byes probably won't admit to rooting for anyone in particular, there are a few scenarios that appear to create easier paths to the Super Bowl.
Here's a look at the entire playoff schedule, the Super Bowl odds and a breakdown of the top contenders.
|Super Bowl 50 Odds|
|New England Patriots||+450|
|Kansas City Chiefs||+1600|
|Green Bay Packers||+2200|
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It's rare to see a team that went 2-4 down the stretch listed among the Super Bowl favorites.
A major factor in the New England Patriots' struggles was their health, as Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Sebastian Vollmer were among the key players to miss games in December.
Gronkowski and Amendola have already returned to the lineup, with Vollmer and Edelman joining them soon, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter:
Patriots' WR Julian Edelman and OT Sebastian Volmer both on track to return in time for NE's Divisional Playoff game, per sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 3, 2016
If the Patriots are back to full strength, they should be considered heavy favorites to win at home in the divisional round and advance to the AFC Championship Game.
With home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and a perfect 8-0 record at home this season, it's clear why the Carolina Panthers are listed among the favorites.
However, it's worth noting the divisional-round scenarios don't play into their favor.
If the red-hot Seattle Seahawks defeat the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, they'll advance to play Carolina the following week. Meanwhile, the No. 2 seed Arizona Cardinals will host either the struggling Green Bay Packers or the Washington Redskins.
The Panthers pulled off a fourth-quarter comeback to defeat the Seahawks earlier this season, but it was far from an easy victory. The two-time defending NFC champs are certainly equipped to pull off the upset in Carolina.
The Cardinals find themselves in an odd position, needing to root for NFC West rivals the Seahawks for a couple of games.
If Seattle defeats Minnesota on Sunday and upsets Carolina the following week, Arizona would then host the Seahawks in the NFC Championship Game.
Should the Panthers win their divisional playoff game, however, Arizona would be forced to go on the road for the NFC title showdown.
Neither presents an easy path, especially since Seattle dominated the Cardinals in Arizona in Week 17. But obviously the Cardinals would feel more comfortable staying at home throughout the NFC playoffs.