It’s looking more and more like the Steelers are heading towards an inevitable clash with the New England Patriots to see who’ll stand on top of the hill as kings of the AFC.
According to my favorite predictive rankings algorithm, the Steelers have 13.4% chance of winning the Super Bowl, which is neck and neck with the Minnesota Vikings … Although, I think somewhere along the way the rating system got broken, because It holds the Eagles in high esteem still, with an 18.6% chance of winning it all. And there is no way the Eagles will fly all the way to a nest full of rings with such a heavily broken wing.
This is all the more confirmed when we check Heritage Sports for the latest odds to win the Super Bowl. The Philadelphia Eagles have fallen back to +1100 (11 to 1 odds). The New England Patriots are the market-wide favorites at +210 (2.1 to 1). The Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers come in at 5 to 1 and 6 to 1 respectively. It is important to keep an eye on these odds because Las Vegas has historically had a great bead on these outcomes.
Finishing the season 13-3, with a #2 seeded playoff berth, the Men of Steel earned a much-deserved Round-1 bye. The other bonus that goes with this is home-field advantage in Round-2. If the Jacksonville Jaguars win-out against the Buffalo Bills, Bortles and company will have to fly up to ‘Blitzburgh’ to face the Steelers in the Division Round. If the Bills win, The Steelers will host either the Chiefs or Titans.
The easiest path to the Super Bowl would lead through the Jags. It’s been a long time since the Bills have made the playoffs and I am happy for their fans … but I am hoping they take an unlucky loss so that the Jaguars come to town instead. Not that I think the Bills would come out victorious in Pittsburgh … but the Jaguars would be an easier matchup, and I feel like the Steelers would come into the next game better rested and with less bruising.
But we’ll have to wait and see which path presents itself. The Buffalo Bills find themselves as 8.5-point underdogs against the Jacksonville Jaguars. This must be due to the question marks surrounding McCoy and the thought process that the Bills won’t be able to move the ball if he isn’t ready to play. Still, I don’t see how the Jaguars with ‘Blame it on Blake’ leading the charge could possibly be justified as 8-and-a-half to 9-point favorites … it’s ridiculous.
All Roads Lead Through New England
The Patriots also finished the season 13-3 and though they were not as dominant as in years past, they have a lot of momentum at the moment and home-field advantage sitting comfortably in their back pocket if it comes down to a Steelers-Patriots AFC Championship game.
This meeting seems inevitable and I have syllables that should help give rise to hope. JuJu Smith-Schuster. The rookie is looking really good, boxing out and overpowering defensive veterans. If AB’s ankle is ready by January 14th, that would be great … but I don’t think he is needed just yet. The JuJu-Martavis tandem should be enough and Brown can make sure that he is fully ready for the showdown against the Pats. With the way Smith-Schuster and Bryant are playing, adding a healthy Antonio Brown back into the mix could be too much for the Patriots defense to handle.