The NFL released each team's schedule for the 2019 regular season on Wednesday night, and predictions are already running rampant.
Among them, very early Super Bowl LIV odds:
The Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots being co-favorites at +600 (bet $100 to win $600) is particularly interesting given how the two went at it in 2018. The Patriots kept the Chiefs out of Super Bowl LIII by winning the AFC Championship Game 37-31 in very dramatic, overtime fashion.
New England then went on to win the Super Bowl 13-3 over the Los Angeles Rams.
The Patriots also beat the Chiefs in the 2018 regular season, handing Kansas City its first loss of the season in Week 6. That game came down to a Patriots field goal as time in regulation expired.
However, these won't be the same squads taking the field in 2019.
Most notably for New England is the loss of All-Pro tight-end Rob Gronkowski as the 29-year-old Future Hall of Famer announced his retirement in March. Other exits include defensive coordinator Brian Flores, who was hired as the Miami Dolphins head coach, and defense end Trey Flowers to the Detroit Lions.
Regardless, Vegas sides with the Patriots because they have won six Super Bowls since 2002—including, of course, last season. Time and time again during that span, head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady have punished those who bet against them.
Even entering a season in which he will turn 42 years old, Brady is NFL royalty and continues to find ways to adapt his game in order for the Patriots to keep winning. While nobody will take Gronk's place, added to Brady's supporting cast on Tuesday was wide receiver Demaryius Thomas through a one-year deal.
As for the Chiefs, all favorable odds start with quarterback and 2018 NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes. Last season, the 23-year-old flipped the league on its head by throwing for 50 touchdowns and 5,097 yards in his first season as a full-time starter.
According to Vegas, Mahomes will evade the infamous sophomore slump. That said, the Chiefs' Super Bowl aspirations will live or die by their defense.
A very strong argument can and has been made that the Kansas City defense is what cost the Chiefs a Super Bowl trip last season. Brady threw what would have been the game-ending interception late in the fourth quarter, but it was called back due to linebacker Dee Ford lining up offside.
Ford has since been traded to the San Francisco 49ers. The Chiefs also let linebacker Justin Houston walk in free agency (signed by the Indianapolis Colts) and released safety Eric Berry. Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton was fired, and Steve Spagnuolo has been hired.
The first look at how these changes—and others—affect how these two match up will come in Week 14 when the Chiefs visit New England.
After the Chiefs and Patriots sit the New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears at +1000. The Saints are favored interestingly above the Los Angeles Rams (+1200) who controversially beat the Saints in the NFC Championship Game.
Perhaps the most interesting team favored at +1200 is the Cleveland Browns, whose odds were undoubtedly swayed by the acquisition of star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. from the New York Giants.