Only four teams remain in the NFL playoffs, with each of these aspiring teams making great cases thus far as for why they’ll become the next team to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in Houston on February 5.
However, the playing field is not as level as you may think. The folks over in Vegas have just released their odds for the eventual Super Bowl LI winner, and a perennial playoff contender with a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback still stands out above the rest of the pack. Read on below to see how the final four juggernauts of the gridiron have been priced by the oddsmakers right after when Sunday’s slate of Divisional-Round showdowns were wrapped up.
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New England Patriots (+160)
Some people would argue that the Patriots were not who they thought they were in eliminating the Texans from the postseason on Saturday considering that Tom Brady had a lackluster afternoon throwing the ball (287 yards, two touchdowns and two picks on 18-of-38 passing). And yet, the oddsmakers still have Bill Belichick and Co. as the front-runners to win the Super Bowl for the second time in three years.
First off, the Pats are an amazing 16-3 at home in the playoffs under the Belichick/Brady era, as well as an even more superb 4-1 in AFC title games. Then there’s breakout running back Dion Lewis, who scored three of his team’s TDs against Houston – one on the ground and a couple via special-teams returns – to give the team more depth on the attack.
Throw in the fact that the Steelers’ supposedly prolific offense sputtered in the Divisional Round (more on that later) leading up to Sunday’s showdown in Foxborough, and New England has every right to stake claim of its status as overall favorites to win Super Bowl LI.
Atlanta Falcons (+200)
Still flying quite under the radar are the Falcons, who thoroughly impressed the football world by decimating the Seahawks, 36-14, in the Divisional Round. Matt Ryan, who became the first quarterback to throw for 300 or more yards, three touchdowns and no picks against a Seattle defense under Pete Carroll, deserves every bit of the MVP award this season with his stunning performance last Saturday.
Atlanta’s defense is also showing great signs of improvement, having flustered Seattle’s Russell Wilson all afternoon en route to the former Super Bowl champion throwing two picks, getting sacked three times, and limiting the Seahawks offense in general to just 16 points.
There seems to be no containing this potent Atlanta offense. And along with an improved defense in tow, the Falcons could very well win their very first Lombardi Trophy in franchise history indeed.
Green Bay Packers (+375)
Although the Packers had to eke out a 34-31 victory over the top-seeded Cowboys on Sunday, it’s clear that these Cheeseheads are brimming with confidence behind their two point-producing stars.
Aaron Rodgers, as expected, bailed out his team with some crafty plays down the stretch of Sunday’s contest in spite of some fits. He now has 24 TD passes and just one interception over his last nine starts.
The other unlikely hero is kicker Mason Crosby, who nailed a couple of 50-yard field goals with less than two minutes left to seal Dallas’ fate on Sunday and has not missed a postseason field-goal attempt in 21 tries.
If there’s an offense that can hang tough with the Falcons’ own barrage, it’s got to be Green Bay’s. And if the impending shootout between these two NFC standouts goes down the wire, we’ll give the edge to the Packers to come out on top yet again like they did in Dallas. Rodgers, by the way, has thrown 10 touchdowns and hasn’t been picked off yet in four career starts in the Georgia Dome.
Pittsburgh Steelers (+400)
If six field goals are enough to send you to the AFC Championship Game, then take it. Just ask the Steelers, who couldn’t find the end zone against the Chiefs’ stout defense on Sunday night but still outplayed the home team behind great running and their own brand of defense.
In an evening when Ben Roethlisberger had another rough going on the road, Le’Veon Bell took charge of his team’s offense with 30 carries for 170 rushing yards to become the running back with the most yards in his first two playoff games in NFL history (337). Pittsburgh’s D, meanwhile, forced two key turnovers and kept Kansas City well in check at just 4.6 yards per play.
There’s no denying that Pittsburgh has an uphill battle in New England this coming Sunday. But if they can control possession of the ball with Bell running amok again and their defense putting great pressure on Brady like what the Texans did recently, the Steelers might very find themselves at the big game for the fourth time in this millennium and eventually extend their own NFL record with a seventh Super Bowl title when all is said and done.
Create a betting account now to place your stakes on any of these knockout Super Bowl contenders before it’s too late!
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