Are the New England Patriots still the odds-on favorites to return to the Super Bowl out of the AFC this season?
The Patriots are the defending Super Bowl champions, having defeated the Los Angeles Rams, 13-3, in Super Bowl LIII. But the prevailing perception among football observers and fans is that the Kansas City Chiefs are ready to overtake the Patriots for AFC supremacy and maybe win Super Bowl LIV next February in Miami.
Better check with the oddsmakers before going with that, however. The sportsbooks aren’t ready to give up on the Patriots just yet.
BetOnline.AG released the odds of making the playoffs for every NFL team going into the 2019 season. And New England is still the front-runner by that measure, listed as an -800 favorite to return to the postseason. Put another way, the Pats’ chances of making the playoffs are at 84.2 percent.
By comparison, the Chiefs are listed as a -500 favorite. That puts Kansas City’s chances at 78.9 percent.
Last season, the Patriots defeated the Chiefs, 43-40, in Week 6. That gave Kansas City its first loss of the 2018 campaign. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes completed 23-of-36 passes for 352 yards with four touchdowns, but two interceptions. Running back Kareem Hunt also provided strong production with 10 carries for 80 yards rushing and 105 yards on five catches. Receiver Tyreek Hill was typically explosive, notching seven receptions for 143 yards and three touchdowns.
On the other side, Tom Brady only threw for one touchdown but went 24-for-35 in passing. Additionally, running back Sony Michel notched the second 100-yard game of his rookie season. He rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. Also standing out was tight end Rob Gronkowski, who compiled 97 yards receiving on just three catches.
As expected, the two teams faced each other again in the postseason, clashing in the AFC Championship Game. While many anticipated a Chiefs-Saints Super Bowl matchup, the Patriots spoiled those expectations with a 37-31 victory and went on to win the sixth Lombardi Trophy during the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady era.
Despite a 24-point fourth quarter, three touchdown passes from Mahomes, and hosting the game at Arrowhead Stadium, the Chiefs fell short due largely to the Patriots controlling the ball for nearly 44 minutes and limiting Hill and tight end Travis Kelce to a combined 65 receiving yards and no touchdowns. Kansas City was also without Hunt, who had been released after being suspended for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
The Patriots and Chiefs will clash at least once during the 2019 season, scheduled for a Week 14 matchup at Gillette Stadium on Dec. 8. That game will be televised on CBS.
Follow the Heavy New England Patriots page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!