In a weekly feature during the NFL playoffs, we'll break down the chances of each team winning the Super Bowl in New York/New Jersey. Yes, we realize it doesn't add up to 100 percent, just roll with it.
1. Seattle Seahawks — 2-1 odds. In my mind, the Seahawks are the team to beat. It's true, they're a much different team at home, where they'll be until the big game. They aren't accustomed to playing in the frigid cold with snow on the ground, which they most likely will be in the Meadowlands. But that defense is the top unit remaining in the playoffs, only tested by Denver's offense. And you know the saying, "Defense wins championships." So there you go.
2. Denver Broncos — 3-1. The Broncos have homefield advantage like the Seahawks, but they've also failed in recent years in the postseason, including last season when they lost to eventual champion Baltimore. Peyton Manning has been an absolute machine this year, but the Broncos have proven this season they are susceptible to the occasional junker. A Seahawks-Broncos matchup is going to be titanic, and give me Seattle.
3. San Francisco 49ers — 7-1. Like Seattle, the Niners' defense is one of the league's best. The 49ers' offense is good enough, and Colin Kaepernick showed once again on Sunday that he can take over a game with his legs, much like he did last postseason despite not doing it much during the regular season.
4. New England Patriots — 9-1. The Patriots should beat the Colts and their porous defense at home in Foxboro. But after that, it's going to get a whole lot tougher going to Mile High to face the Broncos. Rob Gronkowski's season-ending injury is a huge blow to the Pats, taking away their most dynamic weapon in the passing game and a huge red-zone target.
5. Carolina Panthers — 10-1. The team most likely to knock off one of the top four, the Panthers have a home game this week against the 49ers coming off a first-round bye with a stellar defense and a play-making quarterback in Cam Newton. Sound familiar? Well, it's a lot like the 49ers team. If the Panthers can knock off the Niners, bump them up to that No. 3 spot.
6. Indianapolis Colts — 20-1. There's not much of a chance of upset here, but as we said above, the Patriots playing without Gronkowski is a much different team. And Andrew Luck is capable of being very special, as he proved on Saturday. T.Y. Hilton is emerging into a game-changing wideout, but playing the Patriots at home might be too much.
7. San Diego Chargers — 35-1. The Chargers already won one game on the road, and they did it in dominant fashion. But there's no way they can beat the Broncos and Peyton Manning at home, right? Well, they did it just a few weeks ago. That game was a Thursday night affair with short prep. Now the Broncos have a full week and a full two weeks of rest. But, Philip Rivers is in in the midst of a career year, and if he's hot, along with Keenan Allen, there's a chance.
8. New Orleans Saints — 50-1. The biggest sure thing this weekend? The Saints are going to lose. Sure, I thought the same thing as they went to Philadelphia, but now they've met the end of the line, going to Seattle to face the Seahawks — a team that has haunted the Saints in recent years.
Eliminated: Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers.