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 9 is a wrap and we’re now headed into Week 10, so let’s get started. All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.
Houston Texans (6-3, +2500)
Across the pond, Deshaun Watson marched through the Jacksonville Jaguars, winning 26-3. That completed the sweep against one division rival and amounted to their largest margin of victory this season. Meanwhile in America, the Colts fell to the Steelers, which opened the door for the Texans to claim the AFC South. The week’s events caused Houston’s Super Bowl odds to drop from +3000 (T-11th-shortest) to +2500 (T-9th-shortest).
The Texans will now enjoy their bye week to rest up for a crucial game against the Ravens. We saw what Baltimore is capable of this week after spoiling New England’s perfect season, so there’s no doubt this will be a difficult matchup for Houston on the road. But a win there would line the Texans up to potentially grab that all-important first round bye. Of course, they’ll then have to play the Colts and the Patriots in the weeks to follow, so we shouldn’t shoe in the Texans as division winners just yet. Though Jacoby Brissett suffered a MCL sprain in Week 9, making his status questionable for the time being.
Kansas City Chiefs (6-3, +1000)
With Matt Moore starting at quarterback, the Chiefs have managed a 1-1 record against two of the best teams in the NFC. Harrison Butker sealed a narrow home victory over the Vikings this week with a 44-yard field goal as time expired. It seems as though the hardest part of their schedule is behind them. The Patriots are currently the only remaining opponent with a winning record. With a two-win division lead and Patrick Mahomes approaching a Week 10 return, the Chiefs have shortened their odds from +1400 (5th-shortest) to +1000 (T-4th-shortest).
If Mahomes completes his speedy recovery and starts this week, he’ll be taking on an uninspired Titans team. Ryan Tannehill has been an improvement from Marcus Mariota, but it hasn’t been enough to boost Tennessee into contender talks, let alone playoff consideration. Even if Moore has to play for one more week, this is a game he should be able to pull off. Taking Kansas City’s odds at this point isn’t a bad shout, especially when you consider that first round bye is still up for grabs.
Baltimore Ravens (6-2, +1000)
The Ravens are the real deal. They utilized their bye week and were fully prepared for the undefeated Patriots. A 37-20 statement win following a 30-16 road victory against the Seahawks puts the Ravens right up there with the top Super Bowl contenders. They’re scoring the most points per game and running for the most yards per game of any team. This is the power of Lamar Jackson. Isn’t it funny thinking the Ravens tried to roll with Joe Flacco for some time last season? Baltimore’s odds have been trimmed from +1800 (T-6th-shortest) to +1000 (equal 4th with the Chiefs).
The Ravens are basically guaranteed to advance to 7-2 next week with a matchup against the Bengals, the only remaining winless team. As I previously mentioned, they’ll host Houston the following week which starts a string of tough games: the Rams, the could-be undefeated 49ers (not that it matters to the Ravens) and the Bills. This week’s article has turned into a conversation of which team will clinch a first round bye in the AFC. The biggest obstacle for Baltimore is avoiding a tie with Kansas City, as it lost the head-to-head earlier in the season. Either way, with an experienced head coach, a multi-faceted offense and a relentless defense, the Ravens will be a scary matchup for any playoff team.
Odds and lines subject to change. See website for actual odds.
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