DraftKings Sportsbook has four teams as favorites to advance to Super Bowl XLI. Of those teams, the Green Bay Packers lead the way with +350 odds. Behind the Packers are the Chiefs at +400, Bills at +500, Buccaneers at +550.
While none of the odds is particularly surprising, one of the weekend’s games that could shuffle things up is the Rams visiting the Bucs. Tampa Bay hasn’t had the same kind of luck keeping their core players on the field this season as they did a year ago. Running backs Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones II missed last week, Antonio Brown is no longer on the team, and Rob Gronkowski has missed time to injury.
Tampa Bay has a stout run defense but is susceptible to giving up a lot of yards and points through the air. They’ll be pairing up again a Sean McVay offensive scheme that has come to life with Matthew Stafford under center. The absence of Robert Woods certainly hurts the Rams' offense but Cooper Kupp has been a machine. There are plenty of weapons in a backfield that includes Cam Akers and Sony Michel — Darrell Henderson has been the lead back all season and is designated to return from IR but will not play against the Bucs.
Perhaps the biggest factor in the outcome could be the ability of the Rams to pressure Tom Brady with their front four, led by All-World defensive tackle Aaron Donald. If the Rams can get a lead and keep Brady off-balance in the pocket, there’s a chance Los Angeles could stun the defending Super Bowl champs.
Lines for today’s games include the Titans as home favorites over the Bengals by 4 and the Packers as home favorites over the 49ers by 5.5. Tomorrow’s games show the Chiefs as 1.5 home favorites and the Bucs as 2.5 point home favorites.
In this writer’s opinion, the dark horses in the playoffs are the Bengals and Rams who could conceivably reach the Super Bowl. If this occurred, the Rams would be favored. Interestingly, this would give a Super Bowl team home-field advantage for a second straight season, and it would be only the second time this would have happened in league history.