The landscape of the National Football League changes every week. Where we thought teams lined up before Week 1 can (and usually does) end up being completely different to where they actually end up come Week 17. But all teams are focusing on one goal, even if it calls for a season to be tanked in the meantime. Everyone is aiming for the Super Bowl. And that’s exactly what we’ll focus on here. Every week, I’ll highlight three teams that most improved their Super Bowl winning odds.
Week 8 is a wrap and we’re now headed into Week 9, so let’s get started. All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.
Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4, +8000)
I’ve typically been focusing on teams who have a realistic shot at making the playoffs. While the Jaguars don’t seem to fit that mold, hear me out. Both the Jags and Titans won last week, improving to 4-4 (just one win less than the division-leading Colts) and shortening their Super Bowl odds from +10000 (T-19th-shortest) to +8000 (T-16th-shortest.) We’re at the halfway point in the season, and while the Colts and Texans look like the superior teams, the AFC South is still up for grabs.
So, why the Jaguars and not the Titans? Primarily because the Jags have an easier schedule. Five of their remaining eight games are against teams that currently have a losing record, compared to just two for the Titans. Jacksonville has also been more consistently competitive. Aside from its first game of the season against Kansas City, every loss has been by one possession. Finally, the Jaguars still technically control their own fate. If they won out (which I’m not saying will happen,) Gardner Minshew and the Jags would be AFC South winners. It’s unlikely, but it’s definitely possible.
Philadelphia Eagles (4-4, +2200)
Following two losses and dropping below .500 for the second time this season, the Eagles continued beating up on AFC East opponents by handing the Bills their second loss. It’s not easy to go into Buffalo and score 31 points, but the Eagles exercised their ground game and ran for 218 yards and three touchdowns. Philly didn’t shorten its Super Bowl odds, but due to other teams stretching theirs, it went from having the 10th-shortest to being tied with the Cowboys (4-3) for the 8th-shortest.
The Eagles are nearly through the hard part of their schedule. Their next three opponents are the Bears (who have been very vulnerable as of late,) the Patriots (which comes after the Eagles’ bye week) and the Seahawks, all of which are at home. If Philly can make it through that stretch with even just one win, it will be in great shape to fight for the NFC East, assuming Dallas doesn’t run away with it.
New England Patriots (8-0, +225)
I’ll admit, I’m a Patriots fan. I always try to avoid my biases. I actually haven’t written about them in this article all season. But with a lack of teams cutting their Super Bowl odds this week, plus the consistent dominance of the Pats, it’s finally time. With a win against the Browns last week, Tom Brady and co. moved to 8-0 on the season, once again trimming their odds from +250 to +225. They’ve held the shortest odds throughout the entire season.
As we head into the halfway mark of the season, we can reasonably start talking about records. This is arguably the best defense we’ve seen in the modern era of football, and it’s led to a +189 point differential for New England. If that pace continues, the Patriots would break their own record (+315 in 2007) for best point differential in a season. Non-Patriots fans will argue that they haven’t played any challenging opponents, but after the next five weeks, people won’t be able to make that point. Sunday night, New England heads to Baltimore. The next four games? Eagles, Cowboys, Texans, Chiefs. It’s time to see what this team is really made of.
Odds and lines subject to change. See website for actual odds.
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