The 2014 NFL playoffs get going on Saturday, which means spreads are out for this weekend and odds are out for Super Bowl XLVIII. Bovada Sports has released their odds, and they have installed the Denver Broncos as 11/4 favorites, and the San Diego Chargers as 35/1 longshots.
The site also released odds for all 36 possible Super Bowl matchups. Below you can review each potential matchup, ranked in order of odds. Some could provide all-time great Super Bowl entertainment, and others will leave you hoping for great commercials.
Thanks to our bloggers from Acme Packing Company, Arrowhead Pride, Bleeding Green Nation, Cat Scratch Reader, Cincy Jungle, Mile High Report, and Pats Pulpit for their assistance in some of the storylines.
This "chalk" matchup brings serious AFC West history to the forefront. The Broncos and Seahawks squared off in the AFC West from 1977 through 2001, during which the Broncos had a 34-18 lead in the all-time series. Russell Wilson was named starter after he dominated the Broncos in Week 3 of the 2012 preseason. Now, as he gets discussed among the elite quarterbacks in the NFL, he gets a chance to take on the elite of the elite.
New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks - Odds: 15/2
This has plenty of potential for good storylines. Pete Carroll vs. the team that fired him. Richard Sherman and Tom Brady finally get to resolve U Mad Bro?! Tom Brady vs. Russell Wilson. Bill Belichick scheming his offense against one of the best defenses in the league.
Denver Broncos vs. Carolina Panthers - Odds: 9/1
The John Fox Bowl! The Panthers needed a change when they fired Fox, and the Broncos had their reasons for hiring him in 2011. Both moves have worked out, and considering these two teams had the top two picks in the 2011 NFL Draft, these are impressive turnarounds. From a purely football perspective, Peyton Manning vs. the Panthers defense is one of the juicier possibilities.
Denver Broncos vs. San Francisco 49ers - Odds: 9/1
A rematch of the 49ers' 55-10 decimation of the Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV will only get us so far. We've lost a chance at Aldon Smith and Von Miller in the "We're not J.J. Watt" sweepstakes. Nonetheless, we still could have a great matchup of styles in this one. Peyton Manning and the high octane Broncos offense facing the stout 49ers defense? The Broncos defense attempting to corral Colin Kaepernick? This could be some great football.
Denver Broncos vs. Green Bay Packers - Odds: 12/1
It's high time we had a rematch of their Super Bowl XXXII thriller. The Broncos veteran QB this time around already has a Lombardi under his belt, but he'd enjoy a second one. On the other side, Aaron Rodgers is looking for another title to further solidify his Hall of Fame legacy. It is worth noting the Packers' 2-1 record against Manning makes them the only NFC team with a winning record against him.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Seattle Seahawks - Odds: 14/1
If this match-up happens, based on early prognostications from the perspective of each team's strengths, the game's first points will probably be scored ... in overtime. Cincinnati's defense has limited some of the league's top offenses this year. On the other hand, the Bengals' offense hasn't secured the football much this year, something that Seattle could take advantage of.
Denver Broncos vs. Philadelphia Eagles - Odds: 16/1
Manning set as many records as he could (passing yardage pending), but Eagles QB Nick Foles actually finished the season as the only quarterback with a higher passer rating than Manning. The two teams met up in Week 4, a 52-20 Broncos win, but Michael Vick was at the helm for Philadelphia in that one.
Denver Broncos vs. New Orleans Saints - Odds: 22/1
This could very well be a rematch of Super Bowl XLIV. The Broncos offense might as well be a reincarnation of the old Colts offenses. This Super Bowl around however, there's no Tracy Porter! We get two of the premier quarterbacks of our time in Manning and Drew Brees. And we get two head coaches in John Fox and Sean Payton that were defensive coordinator and offensive coordinator, respectively, of the New York Giants in 2000-01.
New England Patriots vs. San Francisco 49ers - Odds: 25/1
The Brady-Kaepernick storyline will get plenty of play, particularly with Brady having grown up in the Bay Area. Where this gets really interesting, however, is that you've got two teams that have gone to the last two NFC and AFC conference championship games. Both are 1-1 in those games, and both lost the one trip to the Super Bowl. The winner gets the monkey off the back, while the loser is left with all sorts of questions.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Seattle Seahawks - Odds: 25/1
Two of the best quarterbacks to come out of the 2012 draft class are on display. While RG3 was arguably the most high-profile rookie last year, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson have emerged as the two best from that class thus far. The Colts were one of three teams to beat the Seahawks this season, so Seattle has a little revenge in mind.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Seattle Seahawks - Odds: 25/1
How about a throwback AFC West matchup? It might not be sexy, but this could be a thoroughly entertaining defensive battle.
New England Patriots vs. Carolina Panthers - Odds: 25/1
The Panthers arrived on the scene with a 24-20 win over the Patriots on Week 11 Monday Night Football. It was a great game with a controversial finish. Can we hope for more controversy on an even bigger stage? Sticking with our food angle, this would be BBQ vs. lobster -- who ya got?
New England Patriots vs. Green Bay Packers - Odds: 33/1
This rematch of Super Bowl XXXI provides the stage for the first ever meeting between Brady and Rodgers as starters. Few teams endured more injuries over the course of the 2013 season than Green Bay and New England, yet each maintains an explosive offense that can run with anyone. More importantly, if we get a snow storm at Super Bowl XLVIII, which two teams would be better prepared than these two?
San Diego Chargers vs. Seattle Seahawks - Odds: 33/1
I'm not entirely sure how this one snuck this far up the odds. I suppose we could chalk it up to the fact that the Eagles' first home game has come against the last four Super Bowl champions. And the year before that, it was their second home game. It's science! This game features two of America's most relaxed cities: Sunny San Diego and rainy Seattle.
New England Patriots vs. Philadelphia Eagles - Odds: 40/1
A rematch of Super Bowl XXXIX ... maybe Nick Foles will throw up in the two-minute drill! The more intriguing part of this is the battle of two of the great minds in football. Chip Kelly and Bill Belichick are buddies. Back in training camp, these two teams scrimmaged against each other for a couple of days in Philadelphia. The Patriots looked like the better team by far, but has the gap has closed?
Cincinnati Bengals vs. San Francisco 49ers - Odds: 40/1
The Bengals' two trips to the Super Bowl have resulted in two heart-breaking losses to the 49ers. This becomes the ultimate revenge game for Bengals fans of the 80s. As Cincy Jungle's Josh Kirkendall quoted from The Wrath of Khan, "He tasks me. He tasks me and I shall have him! I'll chase him 'round the moons of Nibia and 'round the Antares Maelstrom and 'round perdition's flames before I give him up!" More important? We get to bust out old video of the Ickey Shuffle.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Carolina Panthers - Odds: 40/1
The game of the Big Cats could turn into a battle of two quarterbacks that were selected from the otherwise under-performing quarterback class from the 2011 NFL draft. At the end of the day, neither quarterback will ever feel safe in the pocket again with the pass rush that the Bengals and Panthers can produce.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Green Bay Packers - Odds: 66/1
These two teams met up way back in Week 3 in a wild one in Cincinnati. The Bengals jumped out to a 14-0 lead before giving up 30 unanswered points to the Packers. However, the Bengals stunned Green Bay with 20 unanswered points in the final 20 minutes. The comeback was completed on a stunning turn of events on 4th and 1. Packers running back Johnathan Franklin fumbled on the play, leading to a Terrance Newman 58-yard return for a touchdown. There were a combined seven turnovers, so at least the Bengals and Packers know how to make it interesting.
New England Patriots vs. New Orleans Saints - Odds: 66/1
Spy-gate vs. Bounty-gate for all the marbles!
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Philadelphia Eagles - Odds: 75/1
We've got a rookie head coach against the second-longest tenured head coach in the NFL. Kelly's offense against Mike Zimmer's defense could be a chess match for the ages. However, if Good Andy Dalton shows up against the Eagles' 29th-ranked defense, it might not matter.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Carolina Panthers - Odds: 75/1
How about the No. 1 pick of the 2011 NFL Draft against the No. 1 pick of the 2012 NFL Draft? And some Panthers fans were a bit peeved when Luck went back to school in 2011, thus creating the only non-Cal fan base to dislike him.
This also qualifies as the Bill Polian Bowl. Polian was the first general manager in Panthers history, and attempted to build the quickest Super Bowl champion in league history.
Indianapolis Colts vs. San Francisco 49ers - Odds: 75/1
The Luck vs. Jim Harbaugh storyline would be thoroughly beaten into the ground. Unfortunately, it would overshadow a rematch that could be a great game.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Carolina Panthers - Odds: 75/1
We've got two of the last three No. 1 picks in Cam Newton and Eric Fisher. We've got Big Red vs. Riverboat Ron. More importantly, we have the battle of BBQ. Carolina vs. Kansas City -- again, who ya got?
Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Francisco 49ers - Odds: 75/1
Alex Smith vs. Jim Harbaugh and Kaepernick. The 49ers and Chiefs have exchanged quite a few players, with several 49ers going east this year, but Smith vs. Harbaugh/Kaepernick would get thoroughly beaten into the ground.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. New Orleans Saints - Odds: 100/1
The battle of Who Dey and Who Dat will be settled, with fans shouting at each other that they created their respective slogan first. It was the Bengals, unless you ask a Saints fan. Oh wait, there's a game?
Indianapolis Colts vs. Green Bay Packers - Odds: 100/1
From Brett Favre vs. John Elway to Kurt Warner vs. Tom Brady, the "veteran quarterback against the young gunslinger" narrative has long been a staple of the Super Bowl. A matchup of the now 30-year-old Rodgers and second-year wunderkind Luck could produce an all-time classic championship game. And Cal and Stanford fans can go nuts over it.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Philadelphia Eagles - Odds: 100/1
Luck vs. Foles. The top pick of the 2012 NFL Draft vs. a third round after-thought. Luck has been what we thought he would be, while Foles has emerged on the scene with the Chip Kelly offense. The game also features front office connections as Colts GM Ryan Grigson was once Howie Roseman's number two man in Philadelphia.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Green Bay Packers - Odds: 100/1
The long-awaited rematch of Super Bowl I is at hand!
The First Take storyline will be Smith vs. Rodgers. The 49ers drafted Smith over the local talent Rodgers, and Rodgers has never forgotten. They've met in the regular season, but Smith lost his job to Kaepernick before last year's 49ers-Packers divisional matchup.
Off the field, Chiefs GM John Dorsey spent 28 years with the Packers as a player, scout and executive before taking over the Chiefs last January. Additionally, Andy Reid spent the first six years of his NFL coaching years offensive line coach, and then quarterbacks coach for Brett Favre. Mike McCarthy got his big break as quarterbacks coach with the Chiefs.
San Diego Chargers vs. Carolina Panthers - Odds: 100/1
Philip Rivers went to college at N.C. State. I don't think it's quite a homecoming matchup, but it's interesting. And I suppose we've got the battle of fish tacos vs. BBQ. I'm more of a BBQ man myself.
San Diego Chargers vs. San Francisco 49ers - Odds: 100/1
How about a little bit of California Love back east? We get a rematch of Super Bowl XXIX, and I can't imagine how the cold will impact these California fan bases coming to New York. These two teams meet every preseason, and head coach Mike McCoy is originally from San Francisco.
San Diego Chargers vs. Green Bay Packers - Odds: 150/1
It wasn't that long ago that Rodgers and Philip Rivers were the two hottest young quarterbacks in the NFL. Their careers went in opposite directions for several years, but new head coach Mike McCoy has revitalized Rivers. A Super Bowl matchup between the two in the New York cold could make for great theater.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Philadelphia Eagles - Odds: 150/1
Nothing to see here ... oh wait, hello there, Andy Reid. This storyline wouldn't get run into the ground too much, would it?
San Diego Chargers vs. Philadelphia Eagles - Odds: 150/1
In the last four years, the team the Eagles play in their home opener goes to the Super Bowl and wins it (Saints, Packers, Giants, Ravens). The Eagles lost to the Chargers in an entertaining, close game early in the season. This would probably be the most fitting Super Bowl opponents.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. New Orleans Saints - Odds: 175/1
The Saints get a crack at Alex Smith for the first time since he beat them in 2012, in a wild divisional round matchup in San Francisco. The Chiefs won two games in 2012, and one of them somehow came on the road in New Orleans. So you're saying Sean Payton might have been a little bit helpful for the Saints last season?
Indianapolis Colts vs. New Orleans Saints - Odds: 175/1
A rematch of Super Bowl XLIV, minus Peyton Manning ... so it's basically a completely unrelated game.
San Diego Chargers vs. New Orleans Saints - Odds: 200/1
These two have the longest odds to emerge out of their respective conferences, and for good reason. The Chargers stumbled in at 9-7. The Saints have to win three road games, and they've proven incredibly inconsistent on the road this season. The best storyline will be the obstacles both have to overcome to get to the Meadowlands.