Bills & Bucs The Favorites To Meet In February
The Buffalo Bills are just over a week removed from a stunning 9-6 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dropped a second consecutive game to the Washington Football Team in Week 10.
Despite that, the reigning AFC runner-ups and the defending Super Bowl champions still carry the highest Super Bowl odds entering Week 11.
The Bills remain the favorites to win Super Bowl LVI at +600, though it’s a noticeable drop from the +500 odds they carried in Week 9. The Buccaneers, who occupy the No. 4 seed in the NFC, are still the favorites in the conference at +650.
Like the Bills, Tampa Bay has seen their Super Bowl odds decrease. Their odds were listed at +500 just a week ago.
Fans won’t have to wait long to see a potential Super Bowl LVI preview. The Bills and Bucs will square off at Raymond James Stadium in Week 14 (4:25 p.m. EST).
The Bills sit at 6-3, half a game up on the New England Patriots for tops in the AFC East. The Buccaneers — aiming to win their first division title since 2007 — are also 6-3 and one games up on the New Orleans Saints for first in the NFC South.
Rams, Cowboys & Packers Round Out Stacked NFC
Four of the five top Super Bowl LVI favorites reside in the NFC.
After the Bills and Bucs, Bucs, the top betting favorites are the Los Angeles Rams (+800), Dallas Cowboys (+800), and Green Bay Packers (+850).
The Rams and Los Angeles Chargers share SoFi Stadium, which will host Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13.
Sean McVay’s group will look to become just the second team to play in a Super Bowl held inside their own venue; last year’s Bucs first accomplished the feat. The Rams sit at 7-3, and they occupy the NFC’s top wild-card spot. They are currently one game behind the Arizona Cardinals for the NFC West division lead.
The Rams defeated the defending champs at Sofi Stadium back in Week 3, further cementing themselves as a legitimate championship contender.
This team went to the Divisional Round a year ago with Jared Goff behind center. But the L.A. offense has reached a new level with January trade acquisition Matthew Stafford, who’s in the running for the MVP Award.
Having landed former Pro Bowl wideout Odell Beckham Jr. and Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller, the Rams are once again all-in and promise to be a tough out come January.
Though the Cowboys were heavily expected to win the NFC East, the 7-2 squad has surpassed expectations in Week 11.
Dallas currently occupies the No. 3 seed in the NFC, and it’s thanks to several factors.
The Cowboys lead the league with an average of 31.6 points per game. Dak Prescott is enjoying an MVP-like season, completing 70.3 percent of his passes for 2,341 yards and 20 touchdowns against only five interceptions.
Ezekiel Elliott has returned to his All-Pro form after the worst season of his career, even though Tony Pollard has earned a plethora of carries himself. “Zeke” has 663 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, and he’s well on his way to his fourth career 1,000-yard season.
By far the best No. 2 back in the league, Pollard is enjoying a career year with 445 rushing yards and one rushing score. He has been dynamic in the passing game as well, with 23 catches for 204 yards.
But the Cowboys wouldn’t be in Super Bowl contention if not for the work of defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and young stars Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs.
A year ago, Dallas allowed 29.6 points (28th in the league) and 386.4 yards (23rd) per game. In 2021, they’re only allowing an average of 21.7 points (10th best in football) and 354 yards (15th) per game.
The Cowboys have already racked up 17 takeaways. Diggs is responsible for eight of those (he leads the league in interceptions), including two pick-sixes. Parsons, the No. 12 pick of this year’s draft, looks poised to run away with Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.
With an explosive offense and a turnover-happy defense, the Cowboys have all the pieces in place to make a deep run.
The 2021 Packers look even more dangerous than the 2019 and 2020 squads that both lost in the NFC Championship Game. And that’s despite injuries to key players such as All-Pro corner Jaire Alexander and Za’Darius Smith.
The Packers are sitting pretty at 8-2 and will claim their third straight NFC North division title. Aaron Rodgers is having another MVP-like season (2,186 yards, 17 touchdowns, and four picks in nine games). Davante Adams is once again in the running for the receiving crown (65 catches for 864 yards and three touchdowns), while Aaron Jones and second-year back A.J. Dillon lead an ultra-dominant rushing game.
But it’s Green Bay’s defense that especially gives this team optimism for a Super Bowl run. New defensive coordinator Joe Barry is overseeing a group that a) ranks third in scoring defense (18 points allowed per game) and b) just shut out Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field.
Green Bay’s defense has allowed 28 or more points in each of their last four NFC Championship appearances (2014, 2016, 2019, and 2020), all losses.
But if Barry’s group continues to hold down the fort, and as long as the offense doesn’t miss many beats come January, another Lombardi Trophy will very much be within Green Bay’s reach.
Featured Image by Nomad369 en Pixabay