The stage is set for the NFL postseason!
The NFL certainly didn’t disappoint with drama in Week 18. After the Jaguars upset the Colts to eliminate Indianapolis from playoff contention and the 49ers pulled off an overtime over the Rams to crush the short-lived hopes of Saints fans, NFL fans were glued to their TVs into the final seconds of Sunday night football rooting for a … tie?
Luckily for the city of Pittsburgh, the most important field goal of the season was kicked by the Raiders with two seconds remaining.
Big Ben survives to play at least one more game.
He’ll now face the reigning AFC champions at Arrowhead. Can there be more drama left in this crazy NFL season?
I think you can count on it.
Here are the Super Bowl futures odds for the remaining 14 teams at SI Sportsbook.
With the playoff stage officially set, I asked the betting team at Sports Illustrated: Who is going to win it all? Here are their responses.
Check the NFL Playoff Lines at SI Sportsbook
SI Betting & Fantasy's Kyle Wood:
I'm inclined to pick the Packers, who have the NFC's only first-round bye and scored wins over three of their four potential divisional round opponents. But I'm going with Josh Allen and the Bills, who enter the playoffs riding a league-best four-game winning streak and own the best scoring differential (+194). Buffalo gets the Patriots in the super wild card round, a matchup that sounds a lot better for the Bills after they exacted revenge on their division rival in Week 16 on the road. The AFC is full of hot teams like the Chiefs, Titans and Bengals that the Bills will have to get through. Still, I believe in Allen and Buffalo's defense to come out of the conference and beat whoever stands in their way in Los Angeles.
BET: Bills (+700)
SI Betting's Matt Ehalt:
I think this is finally the Packers' year. Everything seems to be going right for them. But there's no value in betting them +350. I got them at much better value in the offseason and will gladly keep that ticket. While the 49ers may be the sexy pick, I'm not sure Jimmy G can win four straight games. Instead, let's take a chance with the Bills at +700. Elite quarterback? Check. Strong defense? Check. The lack of a running game scares me, but Allen can make up for that with his improvising ability. They already beat the Chiefs too. Let's just hope the weather Saturday isn't a repeat of what it was for the previous Patriots-Bills game in Buffalo...
BET: Bills (+700)
SI Betting & Fantasy's Jen Piacenti:
Woah, woah, woah, Ehalt! The 49ers are a sexy pick? Ok, maybe that +2000 looks sexy now, but it’s not very sexy when the Cowboys send them packing out of AT&T stadium next week! The Cowboys at +1000 is the most sexy pick, seeing as how they actually have a quarterback with an attached thumb and their defense leads the league in takeaways. Yes, the Packers look to be firing on all cylinders, but we have seen Aaron Rodgers choke down the stretch before. And speaking of choking down the stretch, Josh Allen still has to prove he can get out of his own way in the playoffs. I also really like the Titans here. Their defense has improved, and they are getting Derrick Henry back. I’ll pick them for the AFC title, but give me that +1000 for America’s Team to go all the way!
BET: Cowboys (+1000)
SI Fantasy's Craig Ellenport:
Talk about no respect. Four teams -- including two from the AFC -- have better odds of winning the Super Bowl than the Titans, despite Tennessee being the top seed in the conference. The Bills and Chiefs have better odds -- even though Tennessee defeated both teams earlier in the season. People forget Derrick Henry was head and shoulders the best player in the NFL before he got hurt in Week 8. With Henry back for the playoffs, I’ll take the Titans at +800.
BET: Titans (+800)
SI Betting's Frank Taddeo:
This is by far the most wide open the NFL playoffs I can remember going back to the early 1980s. Although the Packers and Bucs won 13 games, they are far from unbeatable. I am holding a Rams ticket at odds of +950 placed backed in September, but I am far from convinced they can win their first-Round game against Arizona. I believe the winner will come from the NFC, so for me that rules out seven teams. I don't believe the Eagles can win it either so thats eight teams. The Bucs simply have too many issues to repeat in a difficult NFC after their first-Round matchup. In these markets I believe in shooting for value so I will go with the Cowboys at odds of +1000. I love their offense and their defense could be peaking at the right time - not to mention they a star and a true game-changer on the back end in Trevon Diggs. Yes, its the Cowboys who often come up short in the playoffs but I believe in a wide-open affair there simply is no value investing in either Green Bay or Kansas City at short odds - even if they are the most likely participants.”
BET: Cowboys (+1000)
MMQB'S Gary Gramling:
The four NFC division winners are on pretty even footing, each with flaws popping up over the last month of the season. The Bucs are running low on weapons, the Rams are razor-thin in terms of depth and have been turning it over too often, the Packers, who suffered defensive collapses in each of the past two NFC title games, had a rash of coverage busts in two of their last four games (and the other two games were against Sean Mannion and the meaningless finale). The Cowboys led the NFL in Football Outsiders’ DVOA and Weighted DVOA, as well as my own metric, luck-adjusted point differential. The biggest question is whether their defense will hold up, and while it’s never great to rely so heavily on taking the ball away against quality offenses, the return of DeMarcus Lawrence, pairing with Micah Parsons, gives them an expansive and overwhelming pass rush. There’s an argument to be made that Dallas is the NFL’s best team heading into the postseason, but the odds have them seventh. And if your mental block is Mike McCarthy, well, he has won a Super Bowl.
BET: Cowboys (+1000)
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Check the Latest Lines at SI Sportsbook
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