Denver is the 5/2 odds on favorites to win the Lombardi Trophy in 2014, followed by the Seattle Seahawks at 11/4. These teams hold onto first place in their respective divisions, and represent difficult away games for opponents, provided they can keep home field advantage.
New England and New Orleans are equally regarded, tying for third among odds-makers with at 6/1. The Patriots and Saints have signature wins against quality opponents and have high-powered offenses that can score in a hurry, but there are questions in the playoffs whether these sides can succeed away from home.
The San Francisco 49ers didn't play this week, but represent a significant fall from grace. They were given preseason odds of 6/1, but have since fallen to 12/1. The 2013 team isn't as consistent as the iteration that reached the Super Bowl a year ago, but if Colin Kaerpnick catches fire at the right time they'll be a dangerous opponent.
Carolina won its seventh-straight game and has become a hot commodity among bettors. Those placing a bet prior to the season will be thrilled with the 66/1 odds they received in September, which has since shrunk to 10/1 as Vegas responds to a dominant defense and streak by the Panthers.
Inconsistency in the AFC and several divisions up for grabs in the NFC leaves the playoff picture wide open. It will be a fascinating stretch of games to decide home field advantage, which will have a big impact on which way the Super Bowl road winds.