NFL Playoff Picture 2019: AFC, NFC Championship Odds and Super Bowl Scenarios

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2019

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs take on Tom Brady and the Patriots in the AFC title game.
Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs take on Tom Brady and the Patriots in the AFC title game.Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

The NFL doesn't refer to it as the "Final Four," but the Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams are right where NFL fans thought they would be at the midway point of the season.

All four of the teams left playing have a decidedly offensive bent to their football personalities, and all four of them can light up the scoreboard.

As a result, the team that can play the best defense may be the team that has the biggest advantage when it comes to winning the Super Bowl.

The top-seeded Chiefs and Saints are both favored to win their championship games.

Kansas City, which overcame a 1-11 playoff record in a 31-13 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in the divisional playoff game, is a three-point favorite over the resurgent Patriots, per OddsShark. New England rolled to a 35-7 halftime lead and toyed with the Los Angeles Chargers in a 41-28 victory.

The Saints overcame a slow start to get past the Philadelphia Eagles 20-14, and they are 3.5-point favorites over the Rams. Los Angeles unleashed a furious running game and held Ezekiel Elliott in check in a 30-22 divisional playoff win over the Dallas Cowboys.

        

Odds to Win Super Bowl LIII, per OddsShark

Team, Odds
New Orleans Saints, +175
Kansas City Chiefs, +275
New England Patriots, +333
Los Angeles Rams, +350

      

Both of the conference championship games are rematches of high-scoring games during the regular season.

The Patriots beat the Chiefs 43-40 in a Week 6 Sunday night game at Gillette Stadium. The Chiefs displayed their awesome offensive talent as Patrick Mahomes threw for 352 yards and four touchdowns, while explosive wideout Tyreek Hill was basically unstoppable with seven receptions for 142 yards and three touchdowns.

Tom Brady was up to the challenge of competing against the young gunslinger as he threw for 340 yards and a touchdown. Rookie running back Sony Michel ran for 106 yards and two touchdowns, and tight end Rob Gronkowski had one of his best games of the season with three receptions for 97 yards.

The Chiefs also received a huge game from running back Kareem Hunt, who rushed for 80 yards and had 105 more as a receiver. Hunt was released by the Chiefs in November after video of a violent incident between the running back and a woman surfaced.

That's one of the big differences in this game, and so is the venue. The Patriots are a dominant team at home, but they were 3-5 on the road this season. They have not won a road playoff game since 2007, and they have dropped their last three road AFC title games. One of those losses came at Indianapolis, and the other two came at the hands of the Denver Broncos.

Still, no team knows how to prepare for a big game better than the Patriots, and they will be playing in their eighth straight AFC title game.

The Saints recorded a 45-35 win over the Rams in Week 9, and that was the first defeat of the season suffered by Los Angeles.

It was a huge game for the Saints' big three of Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas. Brees threw for 346 yards with four touchdowns and did not have an interception.

Kamara ran for 82 yards and two touchdowns, and he also caught a TD pass. Thomas was basically unstoppable as he caught 12 passes for 211 yards and a touchdown.

Jared Goff threw for nearly 400 yards in the Week 9 meeting with the Saints.
Jared Goff threw for nearly 400 yards in the Week 9 meeting with the Saints.Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

The Rams' Jared Goff threw for 391 yards and three touchdowns, while Brandin Cooks was his top receiver with six catches for 114 yards and a score.

Top running back Todd Gurley was held to 68 yards as the Rams were forced to play come-from-behind football after falling behind by a 35-14 margin in the second quarter.

A couple of the Super Bowl storylines are fairly obvious depending on the results of the championship games.

If the Saints and Patriots are victorious, the matchup between the ancient gunslingers Brees and Brady will almost certainly dominate.

If the Chiefs and Rams win, the battle between the young flamethrowers Mahomes and Goff will be prominent. Those two teams met in the Week 11 Monday night game, and the Rams won a 54-51 back-and-forth classic.

A Kansas City-New Orleans matchup will feature the diminutive Hill and the dominating Thomas. Those two may be the best wideouts in the league, while a Los Angeles-New England Super Bowl will feature a young genius head coach in Sean McVay against the older genius in Bill Belichick.

All of the potential Super Bowl matchups are compelling, and the league championship will be decided February 3 at Atlanta. 

Related

    Madden NFL 20: Release Date and Latest Info on QB1 Mode 🎮

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Madden NFL 20: Release Date and Latest Info on QB1 Mode 🎮

    Chris Roling
    via Bleacher Report

    Are the Rams and Sean McVay 1-Year Wonders?

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Are the Rams and Sean McVay 1-Year Wonders?

    Brent Sobleski
    via Bleacher Report

    Vic Fangio Bans Music at Practice: 'There's No Music in Games'

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Vic Fangio Bans Music at Practice: 'There's No Music in Games'

    Tim Daniels
    via Bleacher Report

    Latest Buzz Around Every NFL Team as Camp Season Nears

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Latest Buzz Around Every NFL Team as Camp Season Nears

    Gary Davenport
    via Bleacher Report