Who Is Faring Best To Reach The Super Bowl?

Who Is Faring Best To Reach The Super Bowl?

With the regular season part of the NFL 2021 drawing to a close it is possible to get a better idea of which sides might reach the Super Bowl. 

A firm picture of which 14 teams will compete in the play-offs is emerging, with most of those coveted post-season slots having been filled at this point in the season. Here we will take a look at which of the teams has the strongest chance of going all the way to the Super Bowl.

Favorites for the Super Bowl

Most of the sides that have clinched their divisional championships this season are no surprise. Green Bay, Dallas and Kansas City have been strong NFL contenders for years while Tampa Bay are defending Super Bowl champions. Their presence in the play-offs is something most of us would have expected going into the season.

Looking at the current Super Bowl betting odds, it is not Tampa Bay who rank favorites to retain their crown though. The bookmakers have the Green Bay Packers as the current top pick for this year’s Super Bowl at +400. Their regular season NFC Conference record is the best in the whole league, so it is not hard to see why they are rated so highly ahead of the play-offs. 

Green Bay also have the advantage of claiming the top seed play-off spot for the NFC thanks to their huge win over the Vikings in the penultimate regular season fixture. That guarantees them a favorable play-off tie, but they are not the only side with a good chance.

Kansas City are also in a strong position, with the AFC West title under their belts and that is supported by odds of +500. It is unusual for a team with five regular season defeats to make the play-offs, but the last team to do so – the Raiders back in 2002 – went on to become Super Bowl champions. They have improved in defense this season – which would not be hard, based on previous years – and probably have the most offensive firepower of all the contenders.

It was a defeat by Cincinnati Bengals that consigned Kansas City to that fifth loss and they have proven to be one of the real surprise packages this season. Cincinnati stormed to their first AFC North championship in six years and that has some Bengals fans dreaming of a first-ever Super Bowl title. 

They shut down the potent Kansas City offense through the simple tactic of getting the ball to wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. The performance of this rookie – three touchdowns, 11 passes and 266 yards – typified what has made Cincinnati great this season. Their other star player has been quarterback Joe Burrow, ensuring they are in the play-off mix – even with outsider odds of +2000 for the Super Bowl.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers are ranked third favorites for a second successive Super Bowl at +750. They have been hampered to a massive degree by injuries this season, but they are expected to have running back Leonard Fournette available again for their play-off matches, which will make a big difference.

They also have the seemingly ageless Tom Brady, which will make more than one observer think that they are worth taking a chance on.

Games that could be decisive

There are several sides still competing for the last three play-off spots, but the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens are only in with very slim shots. That leaves Indianapolis Colts, LA Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders from the AFC and San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints for the NFC.

Key games that will determine the final places include the Colts vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, which the Colts have to be favorites to win. An AFC South record of 2-14 for the Jaguars shows why the Colts are backed at 85% to claim a play-off place from this game.

The Chargers against the Raiders is a more enticing match-up, as they have similar divisional records this season. The Raiders have a slight edge at 58%, but this is one play-off battle to watch with interest.

When it comes to the fight for the Super Bowl, Green Bay are favorites to see off all contenders in the NFC – especially with top seeded status. There are so many world class teams in this section though that it is hard to call, as Tampa Bay in particular have more than enough to overcome them.

The AFC is more unpredictable, with Kansas City the team to beat, but Cincinnati current favorites to take the top seeded spot. Any match-up between these two could be decisive.

The NFL season is entering its most exciting part and there are a number of sides that could take the Super Bowl title at this stage.

About the author

Tom Bernes

Tom Bernes is the Editorial Director at The Next Hint Inc.

Prior to joining The Next Hint Inc, Tom had a hand in a number of online and print publications, including as chief copy editor and Government Technology Magazine as managing editor. He also did a stint in Sydney as group editor of RBI Australia's manufacturing group, which is when he also developed an affinity (a love, really) for cricket.

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