Teams like the Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens all performed well enough to make Week 17 one of the most memorable days of the 2018 NFL season, and now it's time to put the regular season to bed and prepare for the playoffs.
The Bears won a road game against an opponent that desperately needed the game, the Colts came through in a win-and-in situation, and the Ravens came through with a defensive stand when they needed it most. The Browns may have lost, but they played a spectacular game and served notice that if they find the right coach, they will be a legitimate playoff contender in 2019.
However, the 2018 season belongs to the 12 teams that earned spots in the postseason. The New Orleans Saints come into the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the NFC, and they are favored to win the Super Bowl.
The Saints are +250 to win the Super Bowl (bet $100 to earn a $250 profit), per OddsShark, followed by the Los Angeles Rams at +400. The Kansas City Chiefs are the AFC's top seed and betting favorite at +470, followed by the Chiefs at +650.
The defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles are the longest shot on the board at +3500.
Here's a look at the Super Bowl odds for all 12 teams.
Wild-Card matchups (all point spreads from OddsShark)
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans (-2.5)
The Colts are the hottest team in the league as the playoffs get underway with nine wins in their last 10 games.
Much of the credit has to go to quarterback Andrew Luck, who has come back from a shoulder injury that kept him out all of last year in spectacular fashion. He has completed 67.3 percent of his passes for 4,593 yards with 39 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
The Indianapolis defense has also stepped up, as the Colts ranked 11th in yards allowed during the regular season. That's a major step up from recent seasons, as they were 30th just a year ago.
The Texans have the offensive firepower to go a long way in the postseason with quarterback Deshaun Watson and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins leading the way.
Houston has long had a superstar-laden defense with J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Benardrick McKinney, but they have never had a franchise-defining run in the postseason.
Prediction: Indianapolis 28, Houston 24
Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys (-2.5)
The Seahawks exceeded expectations this year as they made major changes on defense, but the unit still played with the fervor that the old Legion of Boom used to demonstrate on a regular basis. Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is one of the best hitters and most dependable tacklers in the league. He leads the Seahawks with 138 stops.
Russell Wilson (35 TD passes, 7 interceptions, 65.6 completion percentage) has his detractors, but he will come through with his best throws when the Seahawks need them most. Additionally, this team can run the football with power, as Chris Carson has rushed for 1,151 yards and nine touchdowns.
The Cowboys surged during the middle of the season and the combination of quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott can be formidable.
The Cowboys have home-field advantage, but if they don't assert themselves early, they could have an issue here.
Prediction: Seattle 23, Dallas 21
Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore Ravens (-2.5)
The Ravens went to Los Angeles two weeks ago and beat the Chargers on their home field, and that victory keyed their run to the AFC North title.
The top-ranked Baltimore defense slowed down Philip Rivers and the Chargers offense significantly, and there's no reason to think it will be better for Los Angeles when they have to go cross-country and step up on the road.
The Chargers had the second-best record in the AFC, yet they are just the No. 5 seed in the AFC playoff structure. That could create an "us-against-the-world" attitude that could help them focus.
The Ravens started to improve when rookie Lamar Jackson replaced Joe Flacco in the lineup. The young quarterback is far from a finished product and is a better runner than passer, but he has shown big-play ability
The Ravens' defense is led by C.J. Mosley, and the hard-hitting linebacker had a team-high 105 tackles. It will be tough to move the ball against the Baltimore defense.
Prediction: Baltimore 24, Los Angeles 17
Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears (-5.5)
The Eagles struggled throughout the season in their post-Super Bowl year, but they did enough in the final month of the season to earn the No. 6 seed in the NFC playoffs.
Nick Foles is once again under center in place of injured starter Carson Wentz, but Foles suffered bruised ribs in the Week 17 win over the Redskins. While it can be expected that he will be in the lineup. throwing the football with sore ribs is painful.
The Bears are one of the top stories of the year in the NFL, as first-year head coach Matt Nagy has developed a creative offensive attack with second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio has built a magnificent defense featuring pass rusher Khalil Mack (12.5 sacks, six forced fumbles).
Chicago is talented, loose and peaking.
Prediction: Chicago 27, Philadelphia 20