NFL Playoff Bracket 2019: Super Bowl Scenarios, Odds Before Divisional Round

Megan ArmstrongContributor IJanuary 11, 2019

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - DECEMBER 30: Fans cheer during a NFL game against the Carolina Panthersat the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 30, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The 2018 NFL season is close to its conclusion, but so much still remains to be resolved between now and Super Bowl LIII on February 3.

As evidenced already by the Wild Card Round, no team is a lock. ESPN's Louis Riddick confidently picked the Chicago Bears to win this year's Vince Lombardi Trophy, but the Bears are sitting at home after an improbable field-goal miss launched the champion Philadelphia Eagles into the divisional round.

Any Super Bowl LIII scenario is at least somewhat plausible—including a rematch between the Eagles and New England Patriots or a rerun of Week 11 and perhaps the greatest Monday Night Football game of all time between the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams.

But before getting into those scenarios, there's business to attend to in the divisional round. All four home teams are favored this weekend, but Wild Card Weekend saw three out of four home sides lose.

Take a look at the latest odds heading into the divisional-round slate, followed by potential Super Bowl LIII scenarios.

All odds provided by OddsShark



8 teams remain! #NFLPlayoffs https://t.co/KiRo75Q45Y


Divisional Round

Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs (-5)

Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots (-4)

Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams (-7)

Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints (-8)


Super Bowl

New Orleans Saints (+250)

Kansas City Chiefs (+400)

Los Angeles Rams (+400)

New England Patriots (+550)

Los Angeles Chargers (+900)

Indianapolis Colts (+1200)

Philadelphia Eagles (+1400)

Dallas Cowboys (+1800)


Super Bowl Scenarios

It doesn't take much analysis to state that No. 1 seeds are tough outs. In recent NFL history, No. 1 seeds in both the AFC and NFC have made it to the Super Bowl more often than not. 

Just last season, the Patriots and Eagles were the No. 1 seeds and both made Super Bowl LII. The 2016 Dallas Cowboys are the only No. 1 seed in the last 10 No. 1 seeds not to make the showpiece event—they lost to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round.


Of the last ten No. 1 seeds in the NFL playoffs, the Cowboys are the only one that didn't end up making the Super Bowl. https://t.co/LjDisWk7r7

Even with that established fact, the No. 1 seeds face difficult roads to Atlanta this year—even if they are both set to face No. 6 seeds this weekend.

The Chiefs will start the divisional-round games by hosting the Colts, who snuck into the playoffs by winning the final game of the 2018 regular season. As has been well-documented, Kansas City has a nightmarish track record against Indianapolis in the playoffs. 

Since 1995, the two teams have played each other in the postseason four times, with the Colts winning all four meetings. In 2003, the No. 2-seeded Chiefs lost at home to the No. 3-seeded Colts, 38-31.

However, the most heartbreaking defeat came in a 2014 wild-card matchup, where Colts quarterback Andrew Luck led what was at the time the second-largest comeback in NFL history.

Luck will be under center again on Saturday afternoon, but second-year quarterback (and probable NFL MVP) Patrick Mahomes will lead the Chiefs in the postseason for the first time.

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - DECEMBER 30:  Quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs greets teammates during player introductions prior to the game against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium on December 30, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

As for the NFC, the No. 1 seed belongs to the Saints. While the Mercedes-Benz Superdome has been an intimidating place to play in the Drew Brees era, the Eagles aren't your typical No. 6 seed—being the Super Bowl champion and all.  

The Saints have already hosted the Eagles once during the regular season, beating Philly 48-7 in Week 11. Of course, Nick Foles was not the quarterback for Philadelphia; he returned to the fold in Week 15 when Carson Wentz went down with an injury again.

As mentioned above, the Bears were pinned as true Super Bowl favorites. Foles improbably guided the Eagles—even as a No. 1 seed—to the franchise's first Super Bowl win last season. This is just a roundabout way of stating what has become the obvious: Do not underestimate Philly and Foles.

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Nick Foles is 3-0 when trailing in the second half over the last 2 postseasons. All other quarterbacks are a combined 4-15. What's more, Foles has the best winning percentage in franchise history for a quarterback to have made at least 15 starts (including playoffs). https://t.co/J3QR18GPpT

Brees and Foles attended  the same high school and share the status of Super Bowl MVPs, but only one can move on. The Saints haven't made it beyond the divisional round since 2009, the year they won the Super Bowl.

Elsewhere in the NFC, and speaking of Week 11 rematches, the Cowboys will pay a visit to the Rams (No. 2 seed). Even though some trash has been talked, running back Ezekiel Elliott made clear via the Dallas Morning News the Cowboys' goal is to make the Super Bowl regardless of opponent.

However, should the Rams win as most expect, the possibility of a rematch of the epic Week 11 Monday Night Football game between L.A. and Kansas City remains alive. 

The other L.A. team, the Chargers, have a tall task in New England, but it is not an impossible one—even if Philip Rivers is 0-7 all time (including postseason) against the Tom Brady-led Patriots.

This year's Chargers are 8-1 (including their wild-card win in Baltimore) on the road, and the 41-year-old Pats quarterback is showing his age.

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Tom Brady is 7-0 against Philip Rivers including the playoffs. That's tied for the 3rd-best record in quarterback matchups in the Super Bowl era. https://t.co/sbg2KUYHq1

Should the Chargers and Chiefs win, we'll get a rematch in the AFC Championship of Week 16's Thursday Night Football, when L.A. beat Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium on a last-second two-point conversion.

Should the Patriots and Chiefs win, we'll get a rematch of Week 6 Sunday Night Football, in which New England hung on to win at home thanks to a field goal as time expired.

But should the Colts upset the Chiefs, we could see Indy get revenge on the Patriots for 2014's AFC Championship or a rematch of Super Bowl XLIV when New Orleans beat Indy, 31-17.

Are you rooting to see Super Bowl 52 all over again with Brady's Patriots and Foles' Eagles? What about the Cowboys making their first Super Bowl since 1995? Can the 2018 remix of The Greatest Show on Turf avenge the St. Louis Rams' Super Bowl XXXVI loss to New England?

Heading into Saturday, much is to be decided and any of the above scenarios are in play.


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