We’ll come right out with it and apologize for thinking things would be different with this Dallas Cowboys team. They weren’t and now the Cowboys will likely be looking for a new head coach and maybe even a new quarterback. We also missed (by a hair) with the Los Angeles Rams Super Bowl long-shot after their 24-23 loss to the Detroit Lions in the Wild Card Round. We still hold out hope the Baltimore Ravens can come through and run the table. But if we’re looking at the odds on DraftKings Sportsbook for Super Bowl 58, there’s still value heading into the Divisional Round. Here are some teams to consider throwing some money on.
2024 NFL Playoffs
Super Bowl 58 odds
The Niners and Ravens come off bye and their odds both increased. San Fran went from +220 to +175 and Baltimore went from +330 to +290. So if you snagged either team before the Wild Card Round, good job, the odds were always going to move slightly. The Lions, Bucs, Texans and Packers are big movers after advancing in the Wild Card. The Bucs, Texans and Packers were all underdogs going into their matchups.
Super Bowl Predictions
We’re still going to ride with the Ravens. This Texans team looks dangerous but that doesn’t seem to matter given the spread is -9 in favor of BAL. The Ravens only concern would be having not played meaningful football lately while Houston has had to endure playoff games the past two weeks.
The Ravens and Texans faced each other in Week 1 with Baltimore winning 25-9. This is a different CJ Stroud we’re talking about but it’s also an MVP Lamar Jackson. The defense held strong for the Ravens in that win. They’ll need a similar outcome in the Divisional Round to advance. Baltimore also didn’t have Mark Andrews for that Week 1 matchup but could get the tight end back this week.
The key here is the Ravens’ secondary vs. a depleted receiving core for Houston. In Week 1, Tank Dell, Robert Woods, Noah Brown and Nico Collins are all healthy. Now, the team is down to Collins, Woods, John Metchie III and Xavier Hutchinson. The Ravens can stick Brandon Stephens or Marlon Humphrey on Collins and make the rest of the receivers beat them.
Also don’t expect Jackson to make mistakes like Joe Flacco did in the Wild Card. The Texans-Browns game was 24-14 at halftime before Flacco threw back-to-back pick-6’s to essentially throw the game away. Don’t expect that from the soon-to-be MVP. Baltimore was tied for the NFL lead in turnover differential at +12. The Browns were -9 going into the Wild Card.
People may also point to Houston’s offensive line and its ability to keep Stroud upright. The Ravens led the NFL in sacks with 60 on the season. Stroud is going to be under immense pressure in this contest. He’s got the talent to overcome this but it’ll be an uphill battle given the type of coverage the Ravens’ secondary can roll out.
Even if the Ravens’ offense doesn’t roll in the Divisional Round, I don’t think it’ll matter much. Baltimore’s defense should get to Stroud, force him to make uncomfortable throws. Can Houston cover? Perhaps. Is it going to matter? I don’t think so. Ravens should make the AFC Championship.
Pick: Ravens +290
The Lions seem to be going under valued a bit. You’ve got three AFC teams in the top-4 in this Super Bowl odds market. That doesn’t check out for me. We saw the Bucs and Packers advance in the NFC. The 49ers are very good. Are they unbeatable? Absolutely not. So if the Lions can take care of business vs. Tampa Bay at home, why not them?
The defense came up big vs. the Rams in the Wild Card. Detroit is gaining some momentum and could end up having most of the country behind the team. This already might be the best team in Lions history. Detroit should be able to shut down Rachaad White and take the run away. That means Baker Mayfield has to sling it to beat Detroit. The Bucs were barely tested by the Eagles on Monday. So this lines up well for the Lions to pick up another win and reach their first NFC Championship since 1991.
It really comes down to Jared Goff taking care of the ball and establishing the run. WR Amon-Ra St. Brown should eat. David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs can match any other team in the run game. TE Sam LaPorta appeared to be OK despite the knee injury. LaPorta should only get healthier as the playoffs go on. The offense is balanced and the defense almost never cracks. The Lions have a legit shot at the Super Bowl and from there, anything is possible.
Pick: Lions +900
It has to be the Packers after that performance in the Wild Card as 7-point road dogs to the Cowboys. It’s Mike McCarthy and it’s Dallas. The Cowboys are known to choke in these spots. But I don’t think anyone saw that coming. Head coach Matt LaFleur dismantled the Cowboys’ defense with motion. RB Aaron Jones looks as good as he has all season. The Packers are another team (like Houston) that has played multiple “playoff” games needing a win in Week 18. QB Jordan Love is now being touted as the best in the NFC. But let’s get into the defense.
It wasn’t great in the Wild Card round; the Packers still surrendered 32 points and over 500 yards of offense. Had it not been for the early turnovers and blown coverages, Green Bay could have lost that game in a close matchup. What the defense did well was get to QB Dak Prescott and force him into bad throws. The Packers also did a decent job making a few big stops on 3rd and 4th downs. If the pass rush can keep this up and the defense can limit big plays, it’ll just come down to the offense putting together sustained drives. It’s easier said than done but the Cowboys win was eye-opening.
If you look at what the Niners did all season, two of their big wins at the time were over the Cowboys and Eagles. Those don’t look as impressive now. Other than that, their signature wins are against the Steelers, Rams and Bucs. But there are two very clear trends that led to San Fran losing.
- Get to Brock Purdy and force him to turn it over
- Stop Christian McCaffrey
The first one is way easier to accomplish than the second. But taking away what Prescott did, the Packers held Cowboys RBs Tony Pollard and Rico Dowdle to 17 carries for 67 yards total. That’s just under 4.0 yards per carry, which is great. We also know Purdy doesn’t use his legs all that often and shouldn’t kill you on the ground.
As for CMC, that’s going to be very difficult. He’s only faced the Packers twice — once in 2019 and before that in 2017 as a rookie. So it’s hard to gather anything from those box scores. CMC should get his but the key is keeping him in check and limiting big plays, specifically for TDs. The Packers have the personnel to get it done. DTs Kenny Clark and Devonte Wyatt have done a great job against the run and have also combined for 13 sacks and 15 tackles for a loss. Veteran LB De’Vondre Campbell is also healthy and a big body up the middle.
If you’re MLF, Joe Barry and the Packers, you unleash hell on the line of scrimmage and hope Purdy makes a few mistakes. Green Bay was able to take advantage of short fields vs. Dallas. The Packers would also need CB Jaire Alexander to take away at least one of Deebo Samuel or Brandon Aiyuk. It’s a lot to ask but the Packers winning this game after what we saw last week isn’t out of the question. From there, beating the Lions or Bucs is feasible and anything can happen in the Super Bowl.
Remember, Green Bay did this back in 2010-11 — snuck into the playoffs as the 6-seed, ran the table in the NFC and won the Super Bowl. That defense was vastly better and the offense was led by Aaron Rodgers and a stable of receivers (Jordy Nelson, Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones). But this Packers team has an edge at RB with Aaron Jones, has a deep receiving core that is healthy, a QB gaining confidence, and a decent pass rush. There are elements to a title winning team within Green Bay. For that, it’s not a bad idea to sprinkle on the Packers in the SB58 market.
Pick: Packers +2500