4. New York Jets (+350 odds to win Super Bowl XLV)
The New York Jets certainly proved that they have one of the best coached defenses in the playoffs after they stumped both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in huge playoff matchups. The natural hatred that fed this team heading in to those matchups was fueled by head coach Rex Ryan, and it remains to be seen if he has that same sort of resentment for the Pittsburgh Steelers. I bet that he doesn’t and this team might have trouble finding a reason to be as passionate as they were. Simply put, I’m just not sure how much anger fuel they have left in the tank to keep that swagger going.
3. Chicago Bears (+450 odds to win Super Bowl XLV)
The curious thing about the Chicago Bears is how they almost let the Seattle Seahawks back in to the game very late in the fourth quarter. That killer instinct wasn’t there. They were up by so many points that it’s almost as if they didn’t care that Seattle outscored them 21-7 in the fourth quarter. That’s the situation where you go for the jugular, and the Bears did the opposite.
So what does that say about this team? Ultimately, I’m not completely sure that they can win a slugfest. They seem to allow teams back in to the mix late in games, and frankly they’ve done that all season. Against two fourth quarter dynamos like Sanchez and Roethlisberger, that’s not the mentality you want to have. Of course, they have to get past Aaron Rodgers to even have a crack at those two.
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2. Green Bay Packers (+175 odds to win Super Bowl XLV)
These odds seem off to me. The Packers are a great team, and have perhaps the best pure quarterback remaining the playoffs (which is saying a lot considering the company), but they still have to play on the road to get to Dallas.
That’s perhaps the only reason to hold the Packers back in the NFL Power Rankings as we grade the odds to win Super Bowl XLV. The reason to bet on them to win the Lombardi Trophy is that Aaron Rodgers is submitting an unreal playoff run so far. He has thrown for 546 passing yards, 6 touchdowns, no interceptions and completed 49-of-63 passes for a 77.8 completion percentage.
The Packers have always been a “could have” team in the eyes of the 2010 NFL season. They could have won the NFC North if they had a rushing game. Aaron Rodgers could have had a career season had his receivers not been injured. They might have well gone perfect if they hadn’t sent a billion players to the injured reserve.
No team – other than perhaps Pittsburgh – has gone through more trying times than the Green Bay Packers and that’s invaluable when you’re warring in the trenches of the playoffs. That tenacity and resiliency is amazing, but they still have to get to the big game and that’s something the team ahead of them has done more often.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers (+200 odds to win Super Bowl XLV)
When Pittsburgh’s star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger first emerged as a threat, we tagged him as a quarterback who “just wins big football games”. Cue Roethlisberger’s playoff career statistics: 11 games, 9-2 SU, 61.6 completion percentage, 2,465 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions capped off by two Super Bowl rings already. Roethlisberger has also had 24 games where he’s led viscious, fourth quarter comebacks for his team.
Back that up with the best ranked defense in the playoffs and you have the team that should be favored in the odds to win Super Bowl XLV. The Steelers rank first in overall defense, giving up just 14.5 points against this season, and squashed the Baltimore Ravens in a slugfest of a game. Sure, there are obviously doubts about this team in terms of odds to win Super Bowl XLV, but Roethlisberger has proven that you simply don’t bet against him in the playoffs.
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