The Super Bowl is arguably the most popular annual sporting event of the year, attracting huge crowds of passionate football fans. Played on New Year’s Eve, the match pits the National Football League (NFL) champions against the American Football Conference (AFC) conference winners. The championship game traditionally ends in a nail-biter, with the audience glued to their seats with anticipation as the two combatants fight for a place in the history books.
The betting odds for the Super Bowl are always in favor of the underdog, and the latest betting odds give the New England Patriots a 5.5 point edge over the Kansas City Chiefs. What makes this year’s Super Bowl so intriguing is the fact that both teams are relatively balanced and have high hopes of making some noise during the upcoming season. However, history can often play tricks on us and leave us guessing as to the outcome of any given game. The following article will forecast the rest of the season for both teams, as well as offer some suggestions on how to hedge your bets if you’re a fan of either team.
Matchups To Watch
One of the main reasons why the New England Patriots have the 5.5 point edge over the Kansas City Chiefs is the fact that they are significantly underdogs. Even though New England won the Divisional round, the Chiefs managed to upset the Patriots in the playoffs and went on to win the AFC championship. This will be the first time that these teams meet this year, with the Patriots coming off an impressive victory over the Los Angeles Rams in the Divisional round. The Rams subsequently went on to defeat the New York Giants, improving their playoff record to 3-1. Unfortunately, the Pats will not get the opportunity to rest on their laurels, as they will face off against the defending champion Seattle Seahawks in the next round.
On the other hand, the Kansas City Chiefs are a very experienced team with two Super Bowl appearances under their belt. Led by head coach Andy Reid, the Chiefs shocked the NFL by defeating the top-seeded Denver Broncos in the playoffs. Similar to the Pats, the Chiefs will now have to battle the Seattle Seahawks for a spot in the NFC championship. The winner of this game, which is scheduled to be played on January 12th, will face the Rams in the Super Bowl.
With so much at stake, these are certainly two match-ups that you don’t want to miss. The first half of the season will be dedicated to the regular season games, while the second half will be filled with playoff contests. With only one of these teams being a favorite, let’s take a look at some of the key match-ups that you should keep an eye out for during the season.
Chiefs vs Pats
Although the Patriots have the experience edge, they are definitely the underdogs in this matchup, given that the Chiefs are hot on their heels. Having said that, the Chiefs have a few secrets up their sleeves that could give them an advantage. The first is the fact that they played the Patriots tough in the divisional round, winning both games by a combined total of 21 points. This is also indicative of the fact that the Patriots were not playing well at the time, finishing the regular season 5-11, and have since turned things around.
The other major advantage that the Chiefs have is the fact that they have two superstitions that drive them to success. First, they wear their home blue in away games, and second, they wear their hat on the other side in games against the Patriots. While these traditions may not seem essential to winning football games, the fact that they are so committed to them is. The Patriots may end up respecting the hell out of the Chiefs on this front, particularly if their efforts are founded on something more than blind luck.
Pats vs Eagles
Similar to the previous matchup, the 2018 season will also witness the return of the defending champs as the New England Patriots visit the Dallas Cowboys. As a matter of fact, these two teams have met twice already this year, with each game finishing in a tie. Even though the teams are currently tied, the fact that the Eagles are now 0-2 on the season is certainly a cause for concern. This is mainly due to the fact that the team was unable to take advantage of home-field advantage during the first two games. Despite this, the Cowboys are still considered the heavy favorites in this matchup. The main reason behind this is the fact that the Patriots are not at their best when they are away from home and are a much better team in their own backyard. This is also evidenced by the fact that they have won all three games against the Cowboys so far this year, including the earlier meeting this year in which they crushed the Eagles, 38-14.
One of the major differences between these two teams is how they value speed and movement. While the Patriots are undoubtedly a speed team, the Eagles are a whole different story. They are a traditionally slow team that runs a vertical game, relying heavily on their passing game. To make matters worse, the Eagles head coach, Doug Pederson, has been quoted as saying that his team will “dance around” the football, which will certainly make it harder for the Patriots to stop them. With Brady, Belichick, and the rest of the offense on the attack, this may well be the type of game that the Patriots win by a large margin. The question is, can the Eagles put up enough offense to keep the scoreboard ticking over?
Steelers vs Ravens
The rematch of the 2017 season features one of the most electrifying players of all time, as the Baltimore Ravens visit the Pittsburgh Steelers. Similar to the other matchups mentioned so far, this season will also witness one of the most anticipated showdowns of the year, as the Ravens, who won the Super Bowl the previous year, will visit Pittsburgh, the team that they defeated in the playoffs the previous year. These are certainly two of the most accomplished teams in the league, with the Steelers having won three Super Bowls and the Ravens having won two. The main difference this year is that the Steelers have emerged from an offseason plagued by numerous injuries, looking recharged and determined to prove that last season’s championship run was no fluke. A prime example of this new found swagger is the fact that they have won both games against the Ravens this year, including the season opener that took place in Pittsburgh.
As a matter of fact, the Steelers are now 7-0 this year and look unstoppable. The key to stopping this high-octane offense is to establish a good game plan and execute it effectively. Similar to the other games mentioned so far, the big question is which defense will come up with the stingiest performance? The only difference is that, given that the Ravens are the defending champions, it will most likely be their defense that shuts down the Steelers. Be ready to make some serious money if this game is played at full strength, as the over/under is now set at 7-point favorites. And if the game is any kind of push, the under/over is now at 8-point favorites.
Ravens vs Pats
This will be one of the biggest games of the year, not just because it’s a rematch from last year but because both teams are coming off impressive wins over the previous weeks. Looking to build on their 4-1 record, the Baltimore Ravens will host the New England Patriots, who they defeated 21-16 last year. This rematch will serve as a confirmation of sorts that last year wasn’t a fluke and that the Ravens are a force to be reckoned with.
What will make this game so special is that it’s the first time these two teams have ever met. Even more so, it will be a rematch of last year’s Super Bowl, in which the Patriots narrowly defeated the Ravens, 16-21. As a matter of fact, this is the first year that the defending champions will not be facing the team that upset them in the playoffs. In addition to being a huge game, this is also shaping up to be one of the most controversial matchups of the season. With so much at stake, this will be one that you don’t want to miss. A prime example of why this game is so important is the fact that two of the biggest names in the NFL history will be on the sidelines, as Bill Belichick and Marvin Lewis, who are a combined 92-70 during their coaching careers, are both in their 20s and lead very active lives off the football field.