X

NFL Playoff Standings 2021: Post-Divisional Round Rankings and Super Bowl Odds

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2021

Kansas City Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen celebrates after an NFL divisional round football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021, in Kansas City. The Chiefs won 22-17. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)
Reed Hoffmann/Associated Press

The Kansas City Chiefs are still listed as the favorite to win the Super Bowl, but that status could be put into question in the next week depending on the health of Patrick Mahomes.

The 25-year-old quarterback was unable to finish the divisional-round victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday after he was placed into concussion protocol.

Kansas City showed in the fourth quarter of that victory that it is capable of holding things together with Chad Henne in place of Mahomes, but if it has to win with the backup in the AFC Championship Game, it could alter the complexion of the Super Bowl hunt.

The Buffalo Bills are one of two franchises headed on the road Sunday that have not been at this stage in over a decade.

Buffalo's last AFC Championship Game appearance came in 1994, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last played in the NFC Championship Game in 2003.

Of course, one of those two road teams has a six-time Super Bowl winner at the helm in Tom Brady, who can beat Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers to advance to a title clash in his home stadium.

            

Super Bowl Odds

Odds via NFL" target="_blank">DraftKings Sportsbook.

Kansas City (+200; bet $100 to win $200)

Green Bay (+220)

Buffalo (+325)

Tampa Bay (+450)

     

NFL Power Rankings

1. Kansas City

2. Green Bay

3. Tampa Bay

4. Buffalo

            

Until Mahomes is declared out for the AFC Championship Game, the Chiefs have to be viewed as the top candidate to win the Super Bowl.

Following the win over Cleveland, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid told reporters Mahomes "is doing great right now."

Kansas City handed Buffalo one of its three regular-season losses in Week 6. The Chiefs defense held the Bills to a single first-half touchdown in that contest and limited Josh Allen to 122 passing yards.

The AFC's No. 1 seed holds an edge from that victory and through its experience at this stage of the postseason.

Kansas City is slated to host its third consecutive AFC Championship Game, while Allen will be leading the Bills into their first conference championship weekend since the Jim Kelly era.

If Mahomes is out, Kansas City's defense will be asked to put in a similar performance as it had in Week 6 and in Sunday's victory.

The Chiefs held Baker Mayfield to 204 passing yards and did not allow the Browns to take the lead in the fourth quarter after Mahomes was downgraded to out.

In the worst-case scenario, Henne will have to lead the Chiefs on a few scoring drives, but he could get some needed support from the ground game.

Darrel Williams totaled 78 yards on 13 carries versus Cleveland, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire is expected to return from an injury, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The NFC Championship Game is expected to be much closer with two of the most experienced quarterbacks in the NFL going up against each other.

The previous trips by Brady and Rodgers to conference championship weekend give them an edge over Allen when it comes to reaching the Super Bowl.

Some may think Green Bay has a slight edge as the home team, but Tampa Bay won twice on the road to reach this stage.

In addition to having elite quarterbacks, both NFC finalists possess defenses that are coming off strong performances.

Tampa Bay intercepted Drew Brees on three occasions and forced a fumble Sunday, while Green Bay held the Los Angeles Rams to 244 total yards.

Green Bay has not allowed an opponent to score over 20 points in the last four games and the Bucs have decreased their point concession in the previous three contests.

If the defenses play at a high caliber once again, we could be in for a low-scoring battle on the "Frozen Tundra" instead of a shootout between Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks.

         

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from Pro Football Reference and ESPN.

         

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL).

Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (CO), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), or call or text the TN REDLINE: 800-889-9789 (TN).

21+. NJ/PA/WV/IN/IA/CO/IL/TN only. In partnership with Meadows Racetrack & Casino. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.