No team has better NFL Super Bowl 56 Odds than Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs at +500.
The back-to-back defending AFC Champions are the overwhelming favorites to play for the Lombardi Trophy at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. The AFC club with the next highest odds? The Buffalo Bills, who are a distant second at +1000.
Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who humiliated Kansas City 31-9 in Super Bowl 55, have the best odds in the NFC at +600.
The Chiefs fell one game short of becoming the first team to repeat as Super Bowl Champions since the 2004 New England Patriots.
General manager Brett Veach invested valuable money and draft capital into fixing up the offensive line that was badly exposed in the aforementioned Super Bowl loss to Tampa. Now, the pieces are in place for Kansas City to win a third consecutive conference title.
Of course, it’s championship-or-bust for the NFL’s premier team.
The Chiefs have gone 37-8 in the regular season under Mahomes since 2018. They have reached three consecutive AFC Championship Games, with the lone defeat (2018) coming to the Patriots in overtime.
Kansas City has the NFL’s best quarterback (Mahomes), and a future Hall of Fame head coach in Andy Reid.
The 63-year-old has found countless ways to fully unlock Mahomes’ decorated and unprecedented skill set. And as we saw in Super Bowl 55, the only true way of shutting down this Kansas City offense is to disrupt Mahomes in the pocket all game long.
do Brown Jr., Kyle Long and Joe Thuney headlining a new group of offensive linemen, defenses can’t possibly expect to follow the Bucs’ blueprint. That was a once-in-a-lifetime performance by Todd Bowles’ defense.
Throw in the fact that Steve Spagnuolo’s defense has finished in the top 10 in scoring each of the last two years, and you have a team with no legitimate weakness.
The AFC Challengers Have Serious Flaws
Not only are the Chiefs the AFC’s most complete team, but their biggest challenges come with notable roster holes. The Bills had no answer for Mahomes, Travis Kelce or Tyreek Hill in last year’s two meetings (both Kansas City victories), and there are serious concerns regarding that pass rush.
The Cleveland Browns added Troy Hill, John Johnson III, Jadeveon Clowney and Gregory Newsome II to their defense, but will the defensive line consistently generate pressure on Mahomes? Can Baker Mayfield match Mahomes blow-for-blow?
He struggled to move the ball in the AFC Divisional Round loss to K.C., who managed to keep Cleveland’s explosive rushing game in check.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are relying on a fading Ben Roethlisberger to carry them one more time before his Hall of Fame career ends. The Steelers will also run a new offensive line that no longer has the ultra-reliable veterans in Maurkice Pouncey (retired), Alejandro Villanueva (signed with the Baltimore Ravens) or David DeCastro (retired).
On paper, the Ravens should be a serious challenger to Kansas City. But Mahomes is 3-0 against Lamar Jackson and company. And Baltimore’s lights-out defense has had no answer for Mahomes, who has completed 70.45 percent of his passes against them for nine touchdowns and only one pick.
Also, Jackson has to show that he can win a big game with his arm. His 1-3 playoff record serves as a reminder that Baltimore can’t expect to win a Super Bowl by rushing for 200-something yards per game in the playoffs. It’s just not going to happen.
The Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts both upset the Chiefs in 2019 regular season play. But Tennessee’s pass rush recorded just 19 sacks last season, and free agent pickup Bud Dupree isn’t going to fix that alone. KC’s pass-catchers easily overmatch the Tennessee defensive backs, too.
The Colts would certainly give Kansas City a run for their money, but there are health concerns for quarterback Carson Wentz. Also, the Colts’ pass-catching unit simply isn’t as deep as Kansas City’s, so it’s hard to take them in a potential shootout.
You can’t say any of these main challengers in the AFC have a significant advantage over Kansas City. The Chiefs have the best offense in the league, and their defense is more than capable of shutting down any unit in a big game.
The experience also helps greatly. As evidenced by their consecutive AFC title game appearances and Super Bowl 54 championship, this team knows how to rise to the occasion when it matters most. And until/unless someone else in the AFC shows they can do that, the Chiefs should be considered the heavy favorites to represent the conference in Super Bowl 56.