If there is one thing we can count on football fans to do after Week One of the NFL season, it is to overreact. A team or player performs a certain way, and we are quick to praise or condemn them as the next big thing or the subsequent big failure. These assumptions often end up being wrong—unless we are talking about the New England Patriots.
In recent years, the Patriots have gotten off to slow starts, and everyone started to predict impending doom for the franchise. Of course, they have been wrong every time.
But the Patriots did not get off to a slow start this year. They dominated the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football on both sides of the ball. The defense, which has often needed a few games to warm up, dominated a good Steelers offense.
As for the offense, it looked fantastic—and it is only going to get better once Antonio Brown takes the field.
So, with Sunday night’s performance in mind, is it safe to say the Patriots are going to make the AFC Championship game? Not necessarily win it, but just make it there, again? What about the Super Bowl? For those who think they know the answer to those questions, DraftKings has a bet for you:
- New England Patriots to play in the AFC Championship game
o Yes -121
o No 100
- New England Patriots to play in NFL Championship game
o Yes +200
o No -250
They are practically a lock to win the AFC East again (-1430). The Bills and Jets did not look anywhere near as good as fans had hoped they might be, and Miami—well, they were present. It is hard to say whether they showed up with how the game went. But they aren’t going to be competitive this year.
So, they will win their division and be either the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the AFC (with the Kanas City Chiefs being the other). That means they will need to win just one playoff game to make it back to the AFC Championship Game for a ninth consecutive season.
Based off what we saw Sunday, the only team that may have a chance to beat the Patriots in the AFC is the Chiefs. Since they will be the No. 1 or No. 2 seed (whichever the Patriots are not), the two will not see each other until the AFC title game.
While the odds only give them a 54.75 percent chance of making it there, it is probably a pretty safe bet to take.
However, it is not as easy to say whether they will make it back to the Super Bowl. Patrick Mahomes and the Kanas City Chiefs looked as dominant as ever on offense, and their defense wasn’t bad. Then again, they did let a rookie quarterback go 22-25 for 275 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception.
If a rookie can do that, then Tom Brady can tear them apart.
The Patriots odds of winning the AFC championship are +200 (+285 for the Chiefs). Based off how everyone played Sunday, it is probably a safe bet that they will win the AFC again and make it back to the Super Bowl.
Take the ‘Yes’ on both.