The NFL Playoffs begin with a full slate during Wild Card Weekend, with four teams receiving first round byes, thus will get the extra week of rest until the Divisional Round of the postseason next weekend. While the league and its coaches and players know the importance of home field advantage, the odds favor the same idea, as the two top seeds in both the AFC and NFC are the odds on favorites to win Super Bowl XLVII.
Here is a look at the complete break down of which teams are currently given the best shot to win Super Bowl XLVII and emerge as victors throughout the NFL Playoffs.
1. Denver Broncos – 2:1 – The Broncos clinched home field advantage throughout the AFC Playoffs as the No. 1 seed following a wild finish to the regular season. With NFL MVP favorite Peyton Manning leading the way in front of a strong defense, the Broncos certainly have a right to be called the favorites.
2. New England Patriots – 3:1 – It is always difficult to bet against Tom Brady, especially with the Patriots having discovered a ground game in 2012. The defense is still suspect, but with that offense, New England is always a force to be reckoned with, especially as they continue to get healthy during the bye week.
3. San Francisco 49ers – 4:1 – The 49ers have looked up and down at times this season, although they have had an offensive resurgence behind Colin Kaepernick, as he has supplanted Alex Smith as the team’s starting quarterback. With an outstanding defense and great run game, San Francisco is as good as any team out there when they play at their best.
4. Atlanta Falcons – 6:1 – Judging by past failures in the postseason, as well as how they finished the regular season, it is hard to expect anything more than another early exit from the postseason for the Dirty Birds. They had another solid regular season to secure the top spot on the NFC, but can you really trust them in the playoffs?
5. Green Bay Packers – 8:1 – The Pack is back, despite the fact that they dropped a close one on the road against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 17 that allowed their NFC North counterpart to get into the playoffs while falling out of the No. 2 spot. This offense is still explosive, and the defense is getting better.
6. Seattle Seahawks – 9:1 – The only road team to be favored during Wild Card weekend, the Seahawks are as good as any team defensively, even away from home. Russell Wilson joined the top rookies conversation as the season progressed, and this is the team who nobody wants to face.
7. Washington Redskins – 20:1 – Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris have done a fantastic job to turn around the 2012 season for the Redskins just to get them into the playoffs. They are the only home underdog this weekend, but can you bet against a team who has played so well?
7. Houston Texans – 20:1 – The Texans may have been the odds on favorite just three or four weeks ago, but they have fallen on hard times. If the defense can wake up and the offense can move the ball again by feeding Arian Foster over 20 times, Houston can still make a run. If not, they could be out in a few days.
9. Baltimore Ravens – 25:1 – Ray Lewis returns, but for how much longer? The fierce linebacker announced that this will be his final run, whether it lasts one game or one month culminating with a Super Bowl win. Either way, I just couldn’t trust Joe Flacco in a big game, especially on the road if the Ravens win this weekend.
10. Cincinnati Bengals – 50:1 – The Bengals have a very formidable defense, but the offense stalls out far too often. Having to play on the road will be no easy task, especially during Wild Card weekend. Cincinnati had a good season, but I don’t see it continuing past Saturday afternoon.
11. Minnesota Vikings – 75:1 – Behind Adrian Peterson, I suppose anything is possible. The same can be said of Christian Ponder, who still looks shaky under center for Minnesota. The defense is alright, but facing the Packers in a rematch from one week ago at Lambeau Field will be extremely difficult.
12. Indianapolis Colts – 80:1 – The Colts are arguably the biggest surprise in this season’s NFL Playoffs, behind No. 1 pick Andrew Luck. They are playing with great emotion right now with the return of head coach Chuck Pagano, but I feel that can only take them so far.