The Wild Card games are over, and the 14 playoff hopefuls have been whittled down to just eight. We are still over three weeks from the Super Bowl, but it isn’t too early to look ahead to the big season finale in Arizona.
This is one of the busiest times for sports analysts and bookmakers alike, and NFL fans and football bettors are already studying the various ways to bet on the Super Bowl.
So, what clues did we pick up from the Wild Card games and which teams are the most likely contenders to be taking part in the 2023 Super Bowl?
Niners can edge out Eagles
An immense performance from Daniel Jones, who became the first quarterback in playoff history to pass for 300 yards, rush for 75 yards and throw two touchdowns, took the Giants past the Vikings. However, while Jones certainly caught the eye, Minnesota’s defense has been a problem all season, and the Giants are unlikely to repeat their performance in Philadelphia.
The Eagles beat the Giants twice in the regular season, by an aggregate 70-38 and though this one may be closer, New York is outmatched in all departments against these opponents.
Dallas Cowboys fans may be celebrating at the moment, but the Bucs did not have a great season, and things are about to get a lot tougher for Mike McCarthy’s team. They couldn’t beat the 49ers on their own patch last season, and it won’t be any easier in San Francisco.
The 49ers look strong in every department. All they need is for Brock Purdy to keep errors to a minimum and let the array of attacking weapons orchestrated by Kyle Shanahan go to work. The Eagles have been strong all season, but the 49ers may just be able to edge past them in what should be a titanic NFC conference game.
Chiefs set for another AFC title
Cincinnati and Buffalo will line up in what promises to be an epic divisional game, but Kansas City will have a far easier task than they would have expected against the Jaguars.
All credit should go to Doug Pederson for steering his team to this point, but there is no way that the Jags should have come back from a 27-point deficit to beat the Chargers, and there is very little for the Chiefs to worry about in the divisional game.
The fact that a Chiefs versus Bills matchup would be held at a neutral venue offers Buffalo some hope if they come through against the Bengals, but both Cincinnati and Buffalo have significant weaknesses. Josh Allen’s turnover tendency was not punished by the Dolphins but will surely cost his team at some point in these playoffs, and the Bengals are missing three key offensive linemen, which leaves them extremely vulnerable against the Chiefs, who rank second for sacks in the NFL.
At this stage, the 49ers and the Chiefs look to be the most likely candidates to play in the Super Bowl, but there are sure to be plenty more twists in this season’s story before it is over.