Breaking Down the Super Bowl Odds of Every Remaining Team
And then there were eight. With the NFL's divisional round on tap this weekend, that's how many teams are left with a shot at Super Bowl LIV. Naturally, some have a better chance of lifting the Lombardi Trophy than others.
There were notable upsets on Wild Card Weekend, with both sixth seeds and the No. 5 seed Seattle Seahawks making it to stage two. Unsurprisingly, the Baltimore Ravens, who haven't lost since Week 4, are more heavily favored than the 9-7 Tennessee Titans.
Just how good is each team's chance of winning it all? That's what we'll examine. We'll dig into each team's strengths and weaknesses, their matchups and the latest Super Bowl odds from Caesars.
The Houston Texans have the worst Super Bowl odds, and that shouldn't come as a shock. Houston did win the AFC South and survive Wild Card Weekend, but this is a flawed team that could struggle against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
The biggest issue for the Texans is their 29th-ranked pass defense. It barely held up against Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills and will face a much stiffer test in Patrick Mahomes. Houston may find it hard to win a shootout against Kansas City too—something it did in the regular season with a 31-24 win at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 6—as No. 2 receiver Will Fuller V has a groin injury.
"I'm not sure that I'll be able to sit up here and tell you that yeah, he's all the way back," head coach Bill O'Brien said, per CBS Sports' Jordan Dajani.
On the other hand, the Texans have quarterback Deshaun Watson, who is capable of creating magic in clutch situations. They also have that prior win over the Chiefs.
Houston, however, could be in serious trouble if it does make it past Kansas City. The Texans don't match up well with the Ravens, who blasted them 41-7 in Week 11. If Tennessee also manages to pull off an upset, though, Houston would host a team that hasn't defeated it twice in a season since 2007—with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.
The Titans may be a long shot to win Super Bowl LIV, but they're probably the one team the Ravens didn't want to see in this round. Tennessee presents Baltimore with a real challenge because of running back Derrick Henry.
At 6'3" and 247 pounds, Henry punches through opposing defenses like an oil drill. And since Henry has 4.54-second 40-yard dash speed, it's amazing anyone works up the courage to attempt to tackle him when he has a full head of steam.
The Titans can use Henry and the running game to keep Lamar Jackson and the Ravens offense off the field. If they can get another round of efficient play out of quarterback Ryan Tannehill—who finished the regular season with a league-best passer rating of 117.5—Tennessee should put a fair share of points on the board.
When Baltimore last lost—40-25 against the Cleveland Browns—it was because it couldn't control the running game.
The Titans, however, do not possess the sort of shutdown defense that can limit Jackson and the Ravens. They allowed 359.5 yards per game during the regular season, which ranked 21st in the NFL. It Saturday's game becomes a track meet, Tennessee could be in trouble.
And if it makes it past Baltimore, it will face another potent offense in Kansas City or Houston.
The Minnesota Vikings outlasted the New Orleans Saints in an overtime thriller Sunday, proving they can be a dangerous road team this postseason. That's huge because Minnesota won't host a game.
The win over New Orleans also showed running back Dalvin Cook is back to 100 percent and that Kirk Cousins can indeed deliver in a big-time moment. Cousins engineered a nine-play, 75-yard drive in overtime to seal the win. Cook amassed 130 rushing and receiving yards to go with two scores.
With an offense that also features Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and Kyle Rudolph, the Vikings have plenty of firepower. With a defense that allowed just 18.9 points per game in the regular season (fifth in the league), Minnesota is also capable of winning low-scoring, physical affairs.
Can the Vikings do it against the San Francisco 49ers this weekend? After watching them handle the Saints, it feels possible.
Make no mistake, Minnesota is dangerous. However, the Vikes would have to play the rest of the way on the road—and against the Seahawks or Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game. Minnesota lost at Seattle in Week 13 and dropped both of its regular-season matchups against Green Bay—including convincingly (23-10) the last time around.
Seattle has the best odds of any team to emerge from Wild Card Weekend, which is a bit surprising. This is a flawed team with a sagging defense—ranked 26th overall and 27th against the pass—and significant injuries.
Left tackle Duane Brown, for example, is still recovering from knee surgery. Running backs Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny and C.J. Prosise are done for the year. With Marshawn Lynch and Travis Homer leading the backfield, the ground game is a weakness. The Seahawks totaled just 64 rushing yards against the Philadelphia Eagles, and 45 of them came from quarterback Russell Wilson.
That win—which may largely have happened because Carson Wentz was knocked out of the game in the first quarter—didn't inspire a lot of confidence.
There are a few reasons to believe in Seattle, however. It has Wilson, one of the most playoff-tested quarterbacks remaining in the tournament. As long as Wilson is healthy, the Seahawks have a chance in a close game.
Seattle has also thrived on the road this season, winning eight of nine games away from CenturyLink Field.
Perhaps most important is the fact that the Seahawks already own regular-season wins over the Vikings and 49ers. They shouldn't be considerable underdogs if they advance to the NFC Championship Game.
Green Bay Packers
Like the Seahawks, the Packers have a quarterback in Aaron Rodgers who can deliver in key situations. They also have an aggressive and opportunistic defense and perhaps the most underrated running back duo—Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones—in the game.
Fresh off a bye and with home-field advantage, Green Bay also has health and logistical advantages over Seattle.
The inconsistency of the Packers offense, however, is a concern. While the weapons are there, the points haven't always been. Green Bay averaged 23.5 points per game during the regular season (15th in the league) and failed to top 23 in a game over its final four.
Perhaps the bye gave the Packers time to figure out what does and doesn't work.
"There's I think too many concepts that we've really tried to hit and keep hitting and make it work, and we just aren't on the same page timing-wise," Rodgers said, per the team's official website. "And that's why this has been a good week to just self-scout."
Given Seattle's own inconsistencies and injury concerns, Green Bay is rightfully favored in the divisional round. However, it would be a serious underdog in an NFC title game against the 49ers. San Francisco dominated the Packers 37-8 in Week 12.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs have a good chance of reaching Super Bowl LIV—and not just because they're only one of two teams to beat the Ravens this season.
Kansas City's offensive prowess is no secret. Patrick Mahomes is back to his pre-injury form, and he has Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins at his disposal. Only four teams scored more than the 28.2 points per game Kansas City did in the regular season.
What really makes the Chiefs dangerous, though, is their emerging defense. A liability last season, the unit came together in the second half of the season under new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. It was particularly good against the pass, due in no small part to the pressure generated by Frank Clark, Chris Jones and Co.
Kansas City finished the regular season ranked seventh in scoring defense (19.3 points per game allowed) and eighth in pass defense (221.4 yards per game). It didn't allow more than 21 points over its last six games.
The issues for the Chiefs are twofold: They've struggled to field a consistent rushing attack and have a tough time against the run. They should be able to exploit the Texans' putrid pass defense, but their inability to control things on the ground could spell disaster against Tennessee or Baltimore in the AFC title game.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers are the NFC favorites, and it's not hard to decipher why. With a creative rushing attack, an evolving passing game and a swarming defensive front, San Francisco has the tools to match up with any team.
Just consider that the Niners finished the regular season ranked second in scoring, second in rushing, second in yards allowed and first in pass defense. Of the team's three losses, two came in the final seconds of regulation, while one came in overtime.
San Francisco isn't going to be an underdog to any team in the conference, and it should handle Minnesota in the divisional round.
The 49ers can play a sort of ball-control game and still put points on the board, forcing the Vikings into must-score situations. That's added pressure that, in addition to the San Francisco pass rush, could make life miserable for Kirk Cousins.
The Niners will also benefit significantly from a bye—home teams are 7-1 in the divisional round over the last two years. The Vikings are coming off an overtime game and playing on a short week against a physical opponent. San Francisco is rested and ready for some smash-mouth football.
Can anyone stop Lamar Jackson and the Ravens offense? That is perhaps the biggest question in the NFL world heading into the second round of the playoffs. Baltimore hasn't lost a game since September, and Jackson, nearly certain to be the MVP, has had a season for the ages.
Jackson finished the regular season with 3,127 passing yards, 1,206 rushing yards, 43 touchdowns accounted for, just six interceptions and only two lost fumbles. The Ravens averaged 33.2 points per game, the most in the NFL.
Jackson will be hard to contain, and Baltimore could have running back Mark Ingram II back in the lineup this week against Tennessee.
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Ingram experienced some tightness in his injured calf this week but "still has a chance to play." Gus Edwards started in place of Ingram in Week 17 and finished with 130 rushing yards.
The Ravens, however, aren't just an offensive juggernaut. They are that, but their defense has also grown into a strong unit. Over the last eight games, Baltimore surrendered an average of just 13.3 points.
While the Ravens aren't flawless, they don't have a glaring weakness. Their biggest concern might be that, of the seven other teams remaining, four have already gotten a firsthand look at Baltimore. The Chiefs, Texans, 49ers and Seahawks could be better prepared if they face the Ravens a second time.
Whether that can translate to a win, of course, is another matter.