It's Week 18 of the NFL regular season, and there are still some playoff berths up for grabs. Although 11 teams have already clinched spots in the postseason, three more will do so this weekend.
But the playoff field has started to take shape, and it's becoming clear which teams are the top contenders to make it to Super Bowl LVI. Still, anything can happen once the postseason begins. And any team that makes it there could make a run to a championship.
However, some teams are going to have better odds to win the Super Bowl than others. The Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs are expected to be among the favorites this year, although there are others that could prevent those teams from making it all the way.
With one week to go in the regular season, here's a look at the current odds to win the Super Bowl, followed by predictions for how the playoffs could unfold.
Green Bay Packers: +380 (bet $100 to win $380)
Kansas City Chiefs: +500
Buffalo Bills: +750
Los Angeles Rams: +850
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: +900
Dallas Cowboys: +1100
Tennessee Titans: +1200
New England Patriots: +1600
Indianapolis Colts: +1800
Arizona Cardinals: +2000
Cincinnati Bengals: +2000
San Francisco 49ers: +3500
Los Angeles Chargers: +4000
Philadelphia Eagles: +5000
Las Vegas Raiders: +10000
New Orleans Saints: +13000
Pittsburgh Steelers: +40000
Baltimore Ravens: +40000
Via DraftKings Sportsbook
For the second year in a row, the Packers will host the NFC Championship Game. But just like last season, they're going to come up just a bit short of reaching the Super Bowl.
Last year, Green Bay was the No. 1 seed in the NFC, which meant it got to host Tampa Bay in a battle for the NFC title at Lambeau Field. But the Buccaneers held on for a 31-26 victory, and they went on to defeat the Chiefs in Super Bowl LV.
This time, it will be a different team that comes to Green Bay and wins the NFC Championship Game. And it will be the Rams, who may be peaking at the right time with the playoffs on the horizon.
Los Angeles had a three-game losing streak to fall to 7-4 earlier this year, a stretch that ended with a 36-28 loss at Green Bay. Since then, the Rams have reeled off five straight victories, and if they beat the 49ers on Sunday, they'll be the NFC West champions for the first time since the 2018 season.
Cooper Kupp is having one of the best seasons by a wide receiver in NFL history, and he's one of several top playmakers on Los Angeles' offense. When quarterback Matthew Stafford is playing up to his potential, the Rams offense can be dangerous and difficult to stop.
Stafford has played in only three playoff games in his career, so he's going to be motivated to try to lead Los Angeles on a deep run in his first season with the team. He has the talent around him to make it possible.
Also, the Rams defense is capable of a better performance than the one they had the last time they faced the Packers. It'll probably be a high-scoring matchup, but Los Angeles is capable of getting key stops when necessary.
So, while the Packers will enter the postseason with the best record in the NFL and will win their first playoff game, they're going to fall short of their goals. Instead, the Rams will reach the Super Bowl for the second time in four years.
In 2017, the Bills ended an 18-year playoff drought. Last season, they notched their first two postseason victories since the 1995 campaign. And this year, they're going to make even more progress.
Buffalo, which reached four consecutive Super Bowls from the 1990 to 1993 seasons, is finally going to win the big game for the first time in its history.
The Bills have faced some adversity this season, after they opened the year among the top Super Bowl contenders. At the end of Week 14, they were 7-6 and in second place in the AFC East after losing five of their previous eight games.
But late in the regular season, Buffalo has gotten back on track. It has won three straight games to move back to the top of the AFC East standings, and it will win its second straight division crown with a victory over the Jets on Sunday (which shouldn't be difficult to achieve).
It can be important to enter the postseason with momentum, and the Bills are going to prove that. They're capable of beating the other top teams in the AFC, which they proved with a win over the Chiefs in Week 5 and a narrow loss to the Titans in Week 6. And Buffalo may not have even been playing its best at that point.
Quarterback Josh Allen has become even more of a leader for the Bills, and their roster is filled with talented players on both sides of the ball. They also now know what it takes to be successful in the playoffs after beating the Colts and Ravens to reach the AFC Championship Game last year.
A matchup between the Bills and Rams in Super Bowl LVI should be highly competitive. Those teams haven't played during the 2021 season, either, so there's no indication of how such a game could go.
However, the prediction here is that Buffalo will outlast Los Angeles in a back-and-forth Super Bowl. And with that, the Bills will finally claim the top prize in the NFL after coming close so many times during the early 1990s.
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