Updated Super Bowl Odds: San Diego Stays Alive
The world didn't expect it. I didn't expect it. And even the numberFire algorithms didn't expect it.
But Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers traveled to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium, a place the Bengals were undefeated this season. In fact, as we noted earlier in the season, the Bengals were the best defensive unit in the NFL when they played at home, all things remaining the same around the league.
Unfortunately for Cincinnati fans, they got "Bad Andy Dalton", as the Red Rifle played an awful second half, throwing two interceptions and fumbling the ball once. San Diego won, despite being severe underdogs on the road.
As a result, the Chargers move to Denver where they'll face numberFire's top power-ranked team from 2013. Though Denver's defense has played below expectation according to our Net Expected Points data throughout the season, they've played far above expectation offensively, totaling the best offense our database has ever seen. And because of that, we think they still have the best chance to not only win their conference, but the Super Bowl as well.
|Team||Conf Champ %||Super Bowl %|
|New Orleans Saints||21.40||10.78|
|New England Patriots||20.85||8.75|
|San Francisco 49ers||15.24||6.18|
|San Diego Chargers||8.83||3.22|
The team with the second-best chance, by no surprise, is the other number-one seed, Seattle. The Seahawks finished the 2013 season with by far the best defensive unit, preventing nearly 100 points compared to what an average team in their situation would have. Russell Wilson-led the squad to the eighth-best offense in the NFL, giving them perhaps the most balanced team in the country.
However, because the competition is tougher in the NFC (New Orleans, Carolina and San Francisco are all top-10 nERD teams), the Seahawks may have a tougher road. Conversely, Denver will face San Diego this week (11th-best team in terms of nERD) and either Indianapolis (12th) or New England (7th) in the AFC Championship.
We'll continue to update this table as the season's end gets closer. And, of course, be prepared for game previews throughout the week.