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|
Super Bowl 50 Favorites
New England Patriots
Grading Jordy Nelson's Deal with the Raiders
Grading the Kirk Cousins Contract
Grading the Allen Robinson Contract
Guice Is the Superstar Prospect to Remember
Simms: Lamar Jackson Is No.1 QB in 2018 Draft
Biggest Winners and Losers from NFL Combine
Where Will Jimmy Graham Land?
Simms: Barkley Is on a Different Planet
Where Would the Dolphins Trade Jarvis Landry?
Where Will Kirk Cousins Land?
Building the Perfect QB Prospect for the Draft
James Washington Is the Top Riser at WR for NFL Draft
Eagles Fans Celebrated Exactly as You Would Expect
Melvin Gordon Keeps It Real About the Pats
Draft Prospects to Target If You Miss Out on Top Guys
Future 1st Rounders in 2018 Recruiting Class
Winners and Losers from Senior Bowl Week
Winners, Losers of Conference Championships
Winners and Losers of Divisional Round
Lefkoe's Locks: Gambling Preview and Prediction for Divisional Sunday
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.