Now that the NFL playoff teams have been set, John Vogel has all of the relevant information ahead of the biggest part of the NFL season.

The NFL playoffs are set! Fourteen NFL teams are officially in contention for an appearance in Inglewood, California, at SoFi Stadium for Super Bowl LVI. It’s been a wild NFL regular season and there are rumors that the Super Bowl will be moved from California potentially to Miami, Florida. This postseason could be as wild as the regular season was.

As the odds have opened in Vegas, the Green Bay Packers, led by the likely NFL most valuable player Aaron Rodgers, are the favorites to win the Super Bowl entering the postseason, coming in at +380 odds (a $100 bet will profit $380). The Kansas City Chiefs have emerged as the AFC favorites to face them, coming in at +500.

SeedAFC TeamSB56 OddsNFC TeamSB56 Odds
1Tennessee Titans+850Green Bay Packers+380
2Kansas City Chiefs+500Tampa Bay Buccaneers+750
3Buffalo Bills+750Dallas Cowboys+1100
4Cincinnati Bengals+2100Los Angeles Rams+950
5Las Vegas Raiders+7000Arizona Cardinals+1700
6New England Patriots+1700San Francisco 49ers+3100
7Pittsburgh Steelers+7000Philadelphia Eagles+5000

The five most likely Super Bowl LVI match-ups (per Vegas);

  • Green Bay Packers vs Kansas City Chiefs
  • Green Bay Packers vs Buffalo Bills
  • Green Bay Packers vs Tennessee Titans
  • Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Tennessee Titans

The AFC teams in the hunt

The AFC has been the overall stronger but tougher conference in the NFL this year. The playoff teams have combined for a 74-44-1 record this season. Here are where we project the teams matching up against each other:

TeamQuarterbackQB DepthRB/FB’sWR/TE’sOLineDLineLBs DBs STsCoachOverall
TitansRyan Tannehill (B+)C-AA-B-B+BC+B-A-86
ChiefsPatrick Mahomes (A)BC+AA-BB-B-A-A88
BillsJosh Allen (A-) CCB+B+AB-BA-B+87
BengalsJoe Burrow (A-)C-B+AC+B-BBBB85
RaidersDerek Carr (B)BB-BB+B+B-BB+C84
PatriotsMac Jones (B-)C-ACBB+A-A-B+A+86
SteelersBen Roethlisburger (B-)C+BB+BABB+B+A-87

The Tennessee Titans are the biggest sleeper team in this group. After missing star running back Derrick Henry for most of the season, the Titans will get him back at the start of the playoffs and have an extra week to let him rest and recover to prepare for this game. They’ve played well this season without him, but clearly are a much better and more physical team when he is playing.

The nucleus to a Super Bowl caliber team has been found in the trenches. The overall best unit up front is the Buffalo Bills, who have allowed just 27 sacks on Josh Allen and have collected 42 with a stout pass rushing unit. We like the potential the Bills have with Josh Allen and the rotating defensive front which has been successful in the playoffs over the last five years.

The NFC teams in the hunt

The NFC has been a much top-heavier conference when compared to the AFC, but have some of the most prolific, overall well built teams in the league. The NFC teams have combined for an 80-39 record this season. Here is where they match-up with each other on our team building formula:

TeamQuarterbackQB DepthRB/FB’sWR/TE’sOLineDLineLBsDBsSTsCoachOverall
PackersAaron Rodgers (A+)C+A-A-ABB-BB+A-89
BuccaneersTom Brady (A)B-BB+A+B+AB-BB+89
CowboysDak Prescott (A-)C-A-AB+A-B+B-B-B+88
RamsMatthew Stafford (A-)CB-B+B-AB-B+BA87
CardinalsKyler Murray (A-)C-B-B+BA-A-BB+B86
49ersJimmy Garoppolo (B-)B-A-A-B+B+AC+B-A-86
EaglesJalen Hurts (B)BB+B-B+B+C+B+B+B85

The Dallas Cowboys are a dangerous sleeper team with a prolific offense this season led by Dak Prescott. With his incredibly deep receiving corps and the strong overall run presence, the Cowboys can score a lot of points and make things difficult against their opponents.

As we discussed in the AFC section, the most success found consistently in the playoffs over the last five years has been in the trenches. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the best in this area, and they have the greatest quarterback of all time leading their team. The Buccaneers will be a dangerous team to play anywhere in this playoff cycle – yet again.

Home field advantage

The eight division winners earn themselves the opportunity to play with home field advantage at some point of the playoffs.

TeamStadiumCrowd FrenzyRecord TYRating
Green Bay PackersLambeau FieldPassionate (9)8-010
Tennessee TitansNissan StadiumLoyal (7)7-27
Tampa Bay BuccaneersRaymond James StadiumLoyal (7)7-18
Kansas City ChiefsArrowhead StadiumFrenzy (10)7-29
Dallas CowboysAT&T StadiumLoyal (7)5-36
Buffalo BillsHighmark StadiumPassionate (9)6-38
Los Angeles RamsSoFi StadiumModerate (6)5-36
Cincinnati BengalsPaul Brown StadiumPassionate (8)5-47
Italics indicated home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The Green Bay Packers legendary Lambeau Field (pictured above) is one of the greatest venues in the league and the credit for that is given to the fans. The Packers faithful rock their home turf and make the atmosphere, already difficult to play in because of the weather and elements, a respectful glow that is difficult to operate in. The Packers are 8-0 at home this season and have home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The Kansas City Chiefs have one of the loudest stadiums in Arrowhead Stadium, and have repeatedly set the world record for the loudest event in world history. It’s a nasty place to play for AFC teams, who will likely have to play through Arrowhead in the wild card and divisional playoff.

How teams have fared on the road this season

We’ve harped on home field advantage and the plays that it can bring to an NFL team in the playoffs. Now, we’re going to talk about the opposite factor – how playoff teams have fared this season on the road.

SeedAFC TeamRecordRatingNFC TeamRecordRating
2Kansas City Chiefs5-35Tampa Bay Buccaneers6-37
3Buffalo Bills5-36Dallas Cowboys7-27
4Cincinnati Bengals5-36Los Angeles Rams7-28
5Las Vegas Raiders5-36Arizona Cardinals8-19
6New England Patriots6-27San Francisco 49ers6-36
7Pittsburgh Steelers3-54Philadelphia Eagles6-36

The two most impressive teams on the road in the playoffs this season are the Arizona Cardinals and the New England Patriots. Both teams will perform throughout the playoffs exclusively on the road as wild card teams. Let’s spend a little bit of time and talk about why these teams have seen so much success this season on the road.

Factors for success

The Cardinals have the impressive 8-1 record on the road this season with wins over the Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, and Dallas Cowboys. They haven’t been push-over teams that they have faced. The key has been that the Cardinals have been able to run the ball well in opposing stadiums and silence the home crowds. Kyler Murray has thrown 15 touchdowns to 3 interceptions while compiling a 109.2 passer rating, taking advantage of the run game opening lanes across the field. They will be a real threat throughout the playoffs this year.

The Patriots won their first six games on the road this season before dropping their last two. They’ve taken down the Buffalo Bills, Los Angeles Chargers, and Atlanta Falcons. However, for the most part, the teams that New England has taken on the road have been lower tier, non playoff teams.

Wild Card Weekend Projections

The Schedule (Projections)
1/15 4:30 (NBC) – Las Vegas Raiders (24) @ Cincinnati Bengals (27)
1/15 8:30 (CBS) – New England Patriots (23) @ Buffalo Bills (31)
1/16 1:00 (FOX) – Philadelphia Eagles (20) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (30)
1/16 4:30 (CBS) – San Francisco 49ers (16) @ Dallas Cowboys (20)
1/16 8:15 (NBC) – Pittsburgh Steelers (13) @ Kansas City Chiefs (34)
1/17 8:15 (ESPN) – Arizona Cardinals (30) @ Los Angeles Rams (24)

The results
Las Vegas Raiders 16 Cincinnati Bengals 23
New England Patriots 17 Buffalo Bills 47
Philadelphia Eagles 15 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31
San Francisco 49ers 23 Dallas Cowboys 16
Pittsburgh Steelers 21 Kansas City Chiefs 42
Arizona Cardinals 11 Los Angeles Rams 34

Divisional Round Projections (Added 1/18)

1/22 4:30 (CBS) – Cincinnati Bengals (23) @ Tennessee Titans (26)
1/22 8:15 (FOX) – San Francisco 49ers (20) @ Green Bay Packers (31)
1/23 3:00 (NBC) – Los Angeles Rams (20) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (23)
1/23 6:30 (CBS) – Buffalo Bills (24) @ Kansas City Chiefs (27)

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By John Vogel

NFL Draft Analyst. Dad.

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