After expanding the playoff field to 14 teams for the first time in NFL history, the first “Super Wild Card Weekend” is officially in the books. We are now down to just eight teams, with the Chiefs and Packers set to join the playoff party this weekend after earning first-round byes with their regular-season efforts.
The biggest story of the expanded playoff field came from the Browns shocking 48-37 beat down of the once 11-0 Pittsburgh Steelers in a game they controlled from literally the first snap of the game.
Cleveland was not the lone six-seed to advance in the NFL playoffs, however, as the sixth-seeded Los Angeles Rams went on the road to exact revenge on division rival Seattle and sent the 12-win Seahawks to a surprising first-round exit.
Here’s how the rest of the odds to win Super Bowl 55 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa shake out.
Odds to Win Super Bowl 55 (Divisional Round)
|Team||Current Odds||Opening Odds|
|Kansas City Chiefs||+200||+220|
|Green Bay Packers||+400||+450|
|New Orleans Saints||+600||+750|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+750||+900|
|Los Angeles Rams||+1600||+3300|
The Magnificent Six (Seeds)
Thanks to their respective upset victories over the weekend, the Rams (+3300 to win Super Bowl before playoffs) and Browns (+6000 to win Super Bowl before playoffs) saw the biggest movement in the Super Bowl futures market.
Despite each team landing upset wins over teams with 12-4 records, the betting public is still not feeling either teams’ chances at a shot at the conference championship.
The Rams’ reward for ending their division rivals’ season is a trip to Lambeau Field to meet the well-rested Packers and likely 2020 NFL MVP, Aaron Rodgers. As if that wasn’t a daunting enough task for the Rams, they enter Saturday’s divisional round with two injured quarterbacks and Aaron Donald fighting through a rib injury.
The Rams have 196 yards.
Cam Akers has 122 😤
— Overtime (@overtime) January 9, 2021
With their health concerns to John Wolford (neck) and Jared Goff (broken thumb), expect McVay to once again lean heavily on young Cam Akers, who was instrumental in the Rams’ upset of Seattle on Saturday.
While the Rams are currently trying to plug a litany of holes in the dam leading into their matchup with the explosive Packers, the Browns are suddenly finding themselves getting a lot of guys back following a three-week battle with a mini COVID-19 outbreak that caused a whole host of issues for the ‘Dawg Pound’ leading into their first playoff game in 18 years.
“Coach Stefanski – this one’s for him!”
Our locker room was HYPE last night pic.twitter.com/e64iINixwO
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) January 11, 2021
The most notable return to the Browns is that of head coach Kevin Stefanski, who gets the reward of meeting Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes off a bye week at Arrowhead Stadium to begin their title defense.
But if this weekend showed us anything, it’s that we should stop doubting the magnificent six seeds in these NFL playoffs.
Brady vs. Brees – One Last Chance at Lombardi?
The Buccaneers and Saints will reacquaint themselves on Sunday afternoon when they meet in New Orleans for what will likely be the final matchup between NFL legends Tom Brady and Drew Brees.
The two iconic quarterbacks also recognize the gravity of this matchup, as Brady posted an image on his Twitter account on Monday showing him and his counterpart appearing on the History Channel as a pair of old guys.
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) January 12, 2021
And honestly, Brady isn’t wrong in bringing up age. With Drew Brees turning 42 on Friday, the combined age of 85 will be the oldest for two quarterbacks facing off against each other in NFL history.
The previous mark was 84, set when Brady and Brees met each other in two regular-season matchups, both of which were completely dominated by the Saints.
Oddsmakers provided both New Orleans and Tampa Bay with modest bumps in their Super Bowl odds, but they still are ranked second and third respectively to capture their franchise’s second Lombardi trophy.
Should the Packers take care of business in their matchup, the NFC Championship could feature a Brady vs. Rodgers or Brees vs. Rodgers showcase with a berth to Super Bowl 55 on the line.
Sign us up.
Lamar vs. Josh Could Be an Instant Classic
The QB class of 2018 has shown up in a big way in the 2020-21 NFL postseason.
Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson, and Josh Allen each notched the first playoff wins of their respective careers, marking just the second time in NFL history that three 1st-round quarterbacks from the same draft will start in the Divisional Round of the playoffs in the same year.
AFC divisional round: Ravens at Bills, 8:15PM (Saturday)
Lamar Jackson vs. Josh Allen for a trip to AFC championship game.
Who predicted this during the draft three years ago?
— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) January 11, 2021
However, it’s the matchup between 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson and likely MVP-candidate Josh Allen that has most neutral football fans more excited than a teenager at a Justin Bieber concert.
Lamar Jackson used an efficient day in the passing game (17 of 24, 179 yards, TD, INT) to open up the necessary lanes to run all over a suspect Titans’ defense to the tune of 136 yards on 16 carries.
Allen, meanwhile, had a phenomenal performance in his second-career postseason game, throwing for 324 yards and two touchdowns while adding another 54 yards and a touchdown with his feet.
Saturday night could feature the best game of the entire NFL playoffs as the two hottest teams in the AFC are set to square off.
While the Chiefs are still considered the heavy favorite to repeat as Super Bowl champions, the Bills are still considered as the third most-likely team to hoist the Lombardi trophy with the newest odds listing Buffalo at +550. The Ravens still hold a lot of value at +750 as a sneaky sleeper to get out of a loaded AFC and gun for their third Super Bowl crown.