Sports What chance does each remaining team have at winning the Super Bowl?

Sports What chance does each remaining team have at winning the Super Bowl?

Sports

We’re through the “amuse bouche” phase of the NFL Playoffs with Super Wild Card Weekend in the books, and honestly … we didn’t learn a ton. Outside of the Cowboys losing, it was all chalk, and the weekend was more about weeding out the teams who got to say “we made the playoffs,” but really had no business being in the postseason to begin with (looking at you Steelers and Eagles).

Now we can look more closely at the teams left. The chance of a wild upset that could influence the Super Bowl is largely removed, and you could make a compelling case for any of the eight teams left to make a run and potentially hoist the Lombardi. Of course, we know not all teams are created equal — and we’re still fairly early in the postseason process. So let’s look at the teams left, and rank their chances.

NFC

The elements that makes the NFC most compelling this season are the categories the remaining teams fall in. We have the favorite in Green Bay, two teams following a similar blueprint that has a history of working with the Buccaneers and Rams, then the 49ers who are an agent of chaos in an otherwise predictable playoff slate.

The Packers have been the class of the NFC since their Week 1 shocker against the Saints. Everything continues to click for Green Bay on the field, with Aaron Rodgers’ self-destruction off the gridiron being the only blemish on an otherwise spotless season. Obviously they’re going to be the favorite to make the Super Bowl based on status alone, and the only thing that could ruin this is some sort of implosion.

The Buccaneers and Rams are really interesting cases. Both are completely in “win now” mode, with Tampa Bay setting the blueprint last season for taking aging players and propping open the window with boat loads of cash. Initially it seemed Los Angeles was doing some minor retooling with their QB change to Matthew Stafford, but this gave way to major in-season acquisitions like Odell Beckham Jr. and Von Miller, who have elevated the team into a juggernaut.

In isolation the Rams have a better roster top to bottom, but they don’t have Tom Brady.

Last, but not least, we have the 49ers. I’m sure not even the most die-hard Niners fan would have expected the team to do this well before the start of the season. Keep in mind they went in on trading for Trey Lance, which seemed to precipitate an anticipated rebuild — but instead San Francisco is just playing really great football. The defense is strong, the offense is volatile and dangerous with Deebo Samuel being one of the most fun dudes in all of football. They’re just fun to watch.

Here are my predictions for the NFC

This is done by mapping potential outcomes to games based on several factors including similar games, offensive/defensive expected points, with an independent tilt for current roster strength. I have bolded the outcomes I believe will happen, but other possible results are listed in order to work out the final potential of a team to win the Super Bowl.

Divisional Round

Packers (62%) def. 49ers (38%)

Rams (55%) def. Buccaneers (45%)

Conference Championship

Rams (65%) def. 49ers (35%)

Buccaneers (62%) def. 49ers (38%)

Packers (61%) def. Buccaneers (39%)

Packers (58%) def. Rams (42%)

Chance of making the Super Bowl

Note: These will not add up to 100% due to independent odds

Packers: 60%

Rams: 54%

Buccaneers: 49%

49ers: 37%

AFC

The AFC is so different to the AFC it’s stunning. Where the NFC feels like it’s better right now, the AFC is where the future of the entire league lies. We have elite teams currently like the Chiefs and Bills who are a piece or two away from being world-beaters, and up an up and coming teams in the Bengals who are destined for greatness unless they have huge front office mishaps.

Inside all this are the Tennessee Titans. This was a team dominating all season long, then Derrick Henry got hurt. It changed the complexion of the entire season for the Titans, but this team still kept winning games. They beat the Rams and 49ers, who NFC playoffs teams, both without Henry — then were pushed by the Saints and lost to the Steelers, so it’s all very up in the air. There’s potential here for a major run, or a complete whiff. I don’t think there’s anything in between.

The two best, most complete teams in the division are the Chiefs and Bills, both of whom have the least potential to completely blow up. They will cannibalize each other this weekend — which really opens the door for something weird to happen. It’s not fair how this played out, but it is what it is.

There’s no question Cincinnati would be the feel-good team to make it out of the conference. From worst in the NFL to the Super Bowl using young players and coaching talent would be one of the most remarkable turnarounds in recent memory. I actually think this has potential, just because of how erratic the Titans are.

Here are my predictions for the AFC

This is done by mapping potential outcomes to games based on several factors including similar games, offensive/defensive expected points, with an independent tilt for current roster strength. I have bolded the outcomes I believe will happen, but other possible results are listed in order to work out the final potential of a team to win the Super Bowl.

Divisional Round

Bengals (51%) def. Titans (49%)

Chiefs (56%) def. Bills (44%)

Conference Championship

Bills (67%) def. Bengals (33%)

Bills (61%) def. Titans (39%)

Chiefs (72%) def. Titans (28%)

Chiefs (62%) def. Bengals (38%)

Chance of making the Super Bowl

Note: These will not add up to 100% due to independent odds

Chiefs: 63%

Bills: 57%

Bengals: 41%

Titans: 39%

Super Bowl winning chances

Using the same methodology, here is every potential Super Bowl matchup, and the favorite. Once again my prediction will be bolded.

49ers (53%) def. Bengals (47%)

Titans (51%) def. 49ers (49%)

Bills (64%) vs. 49ers (36%)

Chiefs (68%) def. 49ers (32%)

Buccaneers (60%) def. Bengals (40%)

Buccaneers (61%) def. Titans (39%)

Bills (53%) def. Buccaneers (47%)

Chiefs (56%) def. Buccaneers (44%)

Rams (67%) def. Bengals (33%)

Rams (69%) def. Titans (31%)

Rams (55%) def. Bills (45%)

Chiefs (59%) def. Rams (41%)

Packers (77%) vs. Bengals (23%)

Packers (74%) def. Titans (26%)

Packers (57%) def. Bills (43%)

Packers (54%) def. Chiefs (46%)

This all brings us to … chance to win the Super Bowl

Packers: 16%

Chiefs: 15%

Rams: 14%

Bills: 14%

Buccaneers: 13%

49ers: 11%

Bengals: 9%

Titans: 8%

These are the cumulative odds of each team moving from their upcoming playoff game, through the divisional playoff round, winning the Conference Championship, and finally winning the Super Bowl.

Naturally, when a team is eliminated their percentage would be redistributed to the remaining teams, which is how we finally bring us to two teams, both with a chance of winning it all.

I think this whole exercise is interesting in breaking down just how close all the playoffs are when we consider every factor. Your gut right now might say “____ is definitely winning it all,” but in reality there are so many potential points of failure along the way that nobody has a runaway chance early in the playoffs. That’s what makes all this fun.

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