NFL
Via https://www.si.com/nfl/2019/01/03/nfl-playoff-predictions-2019-super-bowl-champion-picks

We are at the midway point in the 2019 NFL season and, to no one’s surprise, the New England Patriots are expected to reach the Super Bowl for the fourth straight year. Despite the fact that their toughest games of the season are ahead, this is a team that enters the midway point at 8-0 and they look to be prohibitive favorites, especially with Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro quarterback Patrick Mahomes gimpy.

While the Patriots may be the favorites, there are still a couple of teams out there in the AFC that have a shot of dethroning the current conference champions.

In the NFC, it looks to be a wide-open field, but one team is setting themselves apart.  The New Orleans Saints have quickly become the darling of the NFC, especially now that star quarterback Drew Brees has returned.

Are you wondering where to place your money on who gets to the Super Bowl? Here are some odds and information that should help you to make that decision.

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New England Patriots (+250)

The Patriots have made themselves the prohibitive favorites. They are undefeated through the first eight weeks and look to have a clear shot to hosting the AFC title game again this year. Each of the three other division leaders in the conference have at least two losses to this point, and all three of those divisions are a lot more challenging than what New England has to face. The road to the Super Bowl is definitely going through Foxboro once again.

New Orleans Saints (+550)

When the season began, New Orleans was favored to be the team facing New England in Super Bowl LIV. Those hopes seemed to have been dashed when star quarterback Drew Brees went down, but Teddy Bridgewater was sensational, helping to lead this team to a 7-1 record. Now that Brees is back and the NFC South Division is terrible, it is a good bet that this team could win 14 games or more. They clearly look to be the prohibitive favorites in the NFC.

San Francisco 49ers (+800)

Talk about a team coming out of nowhere. San Francisco finds themselves undefeated through the first eight weeks of the season at 7-0. Behind their quarterback, former Patriots signal-caller Jimmy Garrappolo, the 49ers have a potent offense, scoring 207 points which is fifth-best in the conference. However, it is that stifling defense of theirs that is the story. San Francisco has allowed just 77 points this year, the second least amount allowed, trailing only New England. Their +130 net points differential is by far the best in the NFC, making this team a real force come playoff time.

Green Bay Packers (+800)

It hasn’t been pretty in Green Bay this season, but the Packers are still 7-1 through eight weeks. Their road to the playoffs is probably the toughest of the top four most likely teams to reach the Super Bowl, primarily because their division is a lot tougher. The Vikings are at 6-2, and Detroit started out 2-0-1 before falling on hard times over the last four weeks.

Throw in the fact that the Chicago Bears won this division last season, and it is easy to see why Green Bay has some challenges ahead. However, quarterback Aaron Rodgers is starting to catch on to first-year head coach Matt Lafleur’s system and they have a top defense of their own. Should they finish the season with the top record in the NFC, just think what it will be like for San Francisco or New Orleans to come to Green Bay in January when the temperature is likely going to be below zero.

Kansas City Chiefs (+1100)

Despite the nagging leg injury to star quarterback Patrick Mahomes, this is still a team that can put up points. They are currently at 5-3 after falling to Green Bay, but Mahomes looks like he will be returning this weekend, and that’s good news for Chiefs fans.

Keep in mind that this team was a coin toss away from advancing to the Super Bowl last year. While the injury is a concern for Kansas City, the fact that Mahomes has been able to rest and not take a number of hits should mean a lot come January.

Others to Consider

There are some other contenders out there.  The Baltimore Ravens, Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys, and Los Angeles Rams all come in at +1800. Minnesota could very well challenge Green Bay for the division title, making them a real contender. Los Angeles may not even qualify for the playoffs, as both Seattle and Minnesota will likely stand in their way. Dallas is leading the weakest division in football right now, but the hype surrounding this team when the season began looks to be unmerited.

Baltimore is the one interesting team here. They are 5-2 this season, and are in a division that is playing horribly this year. The Steelers have lost their quarterback, and the Browns are looking like the Cleveland team of 2017. Cincinnati has yet to win a game this season. Don’t sleep on this team.

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