The 2020 NFL Playoffs kick off in a little over 24 hours, and 12 teams have a shot to win the whole thing. The playoffs for any sport are a crap-shoot given the shorter nature, but among the big four professional sports in America, the NFL can be the craziest.
The MLB, NBA, and NHL playoffs all offer best-of-five and best-of-seven series, and so with at least three rounds in each, you have to win double digit games to win the whole thing. The Washington Nationals had to win 12 games to win the World Series, while the Toronto Raptors and St. Louis Blues each had to win 16 games to win their league’s title.
The Super Bowl champion will win either three or four games depending on if they have a first round bye. It just takes getting hot at the right team. The best team can be that hottest team, but the door is open for all sorts of craziness.
With that in mind, we’re going to take a look at why each of the 12 teams could win Super Bowl 54. The teams are ranked based on their DraftKings Sportsbook Super Bowl odds as of Thursday afternoon heading into Wild Card weekend.
Baltimore Ravens : +220
Divisional round update: Down go the favorites! The Titans knocked off the Ravens 28-12 to advance to the AFC Championship Game. Derrick Henry rumbled all over Baltimore and the Titans defense did a great job containing Lamar Jackson.
Nobody is hotter right now, and they’re most everybody’s favorite. Lamar Jackson is playing other-worldly football, and just as important in some ways, their defense has improved considerably with the addition of Marcus Peters. They’re the favorites for a reason.
San Francisco 49ers: +400
NFC Championship Game update: The 49ers beat the Packers 37-20 to advance to Super Bowl 54 where they will face the Chiefs. Raheem Mostert rushed for 220 yards and four touchdowns. The defense forced Aaron Rodgers to throw two interceptions and lose a fumble.
Divisional round update: The 49ers beat the Vikings 27-10 to advance to the NFC title game. Jimmy Garoppolo dominated on the opening drive, but an interception led to the 49ers focusing more on the ground game. The 49ers defense suffocated the Vikings, holding them to 147 yards of total offense. San Francisco will face the winner of the Packers-Seahawks Divisional round game.
The 49ers are getting healthy at the right time, with Dee Ford expected back for their Divisional round contest. The pass rush has not been the same in his absence. Couple that with Jimmy Garoppolo playing his best football at the moment and Kyle Shanahan’s offensive wizardry on display, and the 49ers are a strong contender to win it all.
Kansas City Chiefs: +450
AFC Championship Game update: The Chiefs came back from a 10-0 and 17-7 deficit to beat the Titans 35-24 and advance to Super Bowl 54 where they will face the 49ers. The Titans jumped on top early and were impressing particularly on defense. However, the Chiefs offense found life once again in the third quarter. Patrick Mahomes threw for 294 yards and three touchdowns, and led the Chiefs with 54 rushing yards while adding a rushing score.
Divisional round update: The Chiefs came back from a 24-0 deficit to thump the Texans 51-31. The offense struggled with drops and a key turnover gave Houston a chance to jump on top early. However, the Chiefs offense started clicking in the second quarter and put together a 51-7 run in the second, third, and fourth quarters for the win. They will host the Titans in the AFC Championship Game.
If it wasn’t for the Ravens, Kansas City would be the Super Bowl favorites. They made it through Patrick Mahomes’ absence with a dislocated knee cap and have won six straight to close out the season. Mahomes and that offense make this team go, but it’s the defense that would put them over the top. The unit was atrocious early in the year, but has been among the best over the past month.
New Orleans Saints : +600
Wild Card round update: The Saints lost 26-20 in overtime to the Vikings. Dalvin Cook had a big game, but this was as much about the ineffectiveness of the Saints offense as anything else. How much was on the Vikings defense vs. the Saints offense will be debated for much of the coming offseason in New Orleans.
The betting public is big on the Saints, leading to better odds for them than a Packers team that has a first round bye. The Drew Brees-Michael Thomas connection is deadly, and even though every defense knows Brees will throw to Thomas, they can’t stop it. The Saints’ defense has been shaky at times, but if New Orleans wins Super Bowl 54, it will likely be because they were just too overwhelming on offense.
Green Bay Packers : +1000
NFC Championship Game update: The Packers lost to the 49ers 37-20 and were eliminated from the playoffs. They dropped behind 27-0 and while Aaron Rodgers made some big plays late, it was the proverbial too little too late.
Divisional round update: The Packers beat the Seahawks 28-23 to advance to the NFC Championship Game where they’ll travel to face the 49ers. Aaron Rodgers had a solid game thanks to a monster effort from Davante Adams. The Packers star receiver finished the day with 160 yards and two touchdowns. The Packers defense had five sacks, and a critical sixth on a two-point conversion attempt.
If you want a value play among Super Bowl 54 odds, the Packers might be it. A first round bye is a huge deal, and yet people like the Saints more. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers passing game has struggled at times to get on track, but there’s no denying the talent there. Green Bay has won five straight, but doesn’t feel like a particularly hot team. If the offense can click a bit more and the run defense can be just average, this is a dangerous team.
New England Patriots : +1200
Wild Card round update: The Patriots lost to the Titans 20-13. The offense struggled to get going and could not stop Derrick Henry most of the night.
The Patriots blew their chance at a bye, but how many people want to bet against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick? Although they looked abysmal against Miami — even Stephon Gilmore got torched by DeVante Parker — that defense is still No. 1 in the NFL. Brady and company will need to get that offense in gear, but with a defense that can still dominate, this is a team that can still get hot and silence the doubters.
Seattle Seahawks : +2500
Divisional round update: The Seahawks lost to the Packers 28-23. Seattle could not stop Davante Adams all night long, as he finished with eight catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns and was the difference-maker in this one. Props as well to the Packers defense, who sacked Russell Wilson five times.
Wild Card round update: The Seahawks beat the Eagles 17-9 to advance to the Divisional round. Russell Wilson made some big plays, but a shoutout to DK Metcalf who had a monster game, including the touchdown a touchdown and the final game-clinching reception. Seattle will face Green Bay in the Divisional round.
Losing Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny to injury has been a huge blow, but this is still a team with Russell Wilson. I’d argue they’re a little over-valued in the back half of the odds board, but Wilson could very well put this team on his back and carry them to the promised land. I never want to underestimate Wilson.
Philadelphia Eagles : +3000
Wild Card round update: The Eagles lost 17-9 to the Seahawks, and injuries were the story once again. Carson Wentz suffered a first half concussion that knocked him out of the game. Josh McCown put forth a game effort, but it came up short as the Eagles’ offense stalled out.
The injury bug has been brutal for the Eagles, and yet they managed to win out their NFC East slate to capture the division. They get one home game, and if they can advance from there, it buys some of their injured players a little more time to get healthy. If they can get four games from Derek Barnett, and at least three from Zach Ertz, they could get hot and make a run. Carson Wentz is one of the big x-factors given he has never appeared in a playoff game.
Houston Texans : +3300
Divisional round update: Texans lost 51-31 to the Chiefs. Houston jumped out to a 24-0 lead, but was outscored 51-7 the rest of the way. The defense had been a problem all season, and the Chiefs shredded the unit.
Wild Card round update: The Texans beat the Bills 22-19 to advance to the Divisional round. DeShaun Watson was key to the win, but J.J. Watt looked great in his return to help key the Texans defense in the second half. Houston will face the Chiefs in the Divisional round.
DeShaun Watson is as dangerous as they come, and is reason enough to roll the dice on Houston. And if Will Fuller can return and play through the postseason without aggravating any injuries, that offense is in great shape. However, the big x-factor could be J.J. Watt. The star defensive end returns from injured reserve, and nobody really knows what to expect from him. The Texans defense has been poor this season, with the adjusted sack rate one of the worst in the NFL. Watt may do nothing in a rusty return, but given his talent, he could make a huge difference for that defense. If he comes back and plays the full postseason, this defense could get a huge shot in the arm.
Minnesota Vikings : +3300
Divisional round update: The Vikings lost to the 49ers 27-10. Dalvin Cook was entirely shut down, and the 49ers pass defense kept Kirk Cousins from doing much of anything.
Wild Card round update: The Vikings beat the Saints 26-20 in overtime to advance to the Divisional round. Dalvin Cook and the defense were huge, but Kirk Cousins stepped up at the most important time, making two huge throws in overtime to secure the win. The Vikings will face the San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional round.
It’s difficult betting on Kirk Cousins to not only win one big game, but to win four straight, but there’s plenty more to like about the Vikings. They rank seventh in defensive efficiency and tenth in offensive efficiency. They’re getting healthy at the right time, with running back Dalvin Cook and linebacker Erik Kendricks both returning. I don’t like their Wild Card matchup with New Orleans, but if they can spring the upset, things open up in a big way for them.
Buffalo Bills : +4500
Wild Card round update: The Bills lost 22-19 to the Texans in the Wild Card round. The defense gave them some opportunities, but Josh Allen insanity and DeShaun Watson magic cost them in the end.
It’s reasonable to be skeptical about Josh Allen and the Bills offense. They rank 22nd in efficiency, and even though it came against the 12th ranked schedule, Allen is wildly inconsistent. But I could see Tre’Davious White and the rest of that defense going on a heater for four games.
Tennessee Titans : +5000
AFC Championship Game update: The Titans fell to the Chiefs 35-24 and were eliminated from the playoffs. Tennessee had a pair of ten point leads in the first half, but their offense struggled in the second half. Derrick Henry rushed for 69 yards and a touchdown, while Ryan Tannehill threw for 209 yards and two touchdowns.
Divisional round update: The Titans stunned the Ravens 28-12 to advance to the AFC Championship Game. Derrick Henry rushed for 195 yards and threw a touchdown and the Titans defense effectively shut down the Ravens offensive attack when they needed to. Lamar Jackson had a big yardage performance, but much of it came once they were well behind. They will travel to face the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game.
Wild Card round update: The Titans upset the Patriots 20-13 to advance to the Divisional round. Derrick Henry keyed this upset with 182 rushing yards and 22 receiving yards. The defense capped it with a pick-six in the closing seconds. Tennessee will face the Ravens in the Divisional round.
I don’t think anybody would have predicted how well Ryan Tannehill might play once he took over as starting quarterback in place of Marcus Mariota. But somehow it’s happened, and he along with Derrick Henry have turned this Titans offense into a force to be reckoned with. If they can get past the Patriots top-rated defense, life gets easier in that regard. I don’t think their defense can stop Patrick Mahomes or Lamar Jackson, but they have the offense to keep up the rest of the way.
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