After going through the longest regular season in National Football League (NFL) history, there are now just 14 teams left standing in the playoffs.
The stage is now set for the sudden-death playoff round where all 14 – seven from the National Football Conference (NFC) and an equal number from American Football Conference (AFC) – try to knock each other out to win a conference title and advance to the Super Bowl LVI, the winner-take-all championship finale of the 2021 NFL season.
The winners of the two conferences will meet on the rectangular field of SoFi Stadium, a sports and entertainment complex in Inglewood, Los Angeles, which will host the Super Bowl for the first time in almost 30 years. The SoFi Stadium has a large seating capacity of 70,000 to 100,000, but organizers are managing their expectations due to the raging pandemic that brought in only 25,000 fans during the same event last season.
The ultimate destination is the championship podium, where the Super Bowl winner gets to take home the prestigious Vince Lombardi trophy and enjoy the adulation of millions of fans across the country watching live at the SoFi Stadium, and on TV and other live streaming media.
The Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans are the only teams assured of spots in the round of four of the two-bracket playoffs as leaders of their respective conferences during the regular season.
All the rest would have to fight for every point to score a win and avoid elimination. This means every team has to summon every star in the constellation to align and prevent the slightest miscue to win every game and continue their quest for the conference title and eventually the Vince Lombardy trophy.
Odds Sharks.com is not into astrology and prefers to use science, logic, and mathematics to predict and calculate the outcome of games. While the Packers are on top of the oddsmakers’ radar in the NFC, the other contenders are not too far behind and are as menacing, specifically last season’s champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Los Angeles Rams, and Dallas Cowboys. In the AFC, sports seers think last year’s losing finalist Kansas City Chiefs are still a force to reckon with, followed by Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans.
Will it be the Packers’ turn to play in the Super Bowl? Will it be a repeat between the Chiefs and the Buccaneers in the finals? Can the Titans sustain their momentum to win the NFC and head for the Super Bowl?
Computer savvy seers are still at a loss, and would rather focus on calculating the odds between two teams at the start of every game. With every victory or loss, the odds of every winning team improve.
But if you really want to know how each team stood before the start of the playoff season, here’s what our sports seers think in the order of best, better, and good – Green Bay Packers, +380; Kansas City Chiefs, +450; Buffalo Bills, +800; Tampa Bay Buccaneers, +800; Tennessee Titans, +850; Los Angeles Ram, +1000; Dallas Cowboys, +1200; Cincinnati Bengals; Arizona Cardinals, +2500; Las Vegas Raiders. +6000; Philadelphia Eagles, +6000; and Pittsburgh Steelers, +9000.
Remember that at this stage of the tournament, the chaff has been separated from the grain during the regular season. Each game will be dangerously close, with odds makers refining their calculations and predictions literally at every touchdown.
Not good for the faint of heart, but very good for the NFL, which continues to battle the odds against Covid-19 and has been at the losing end since the deadly virus reared its ugly head at the Chinese in 2019 and at the Americans in 2020.