As the 2024 NFL season winds down, the journey to the Super Bowl is becoming increasingly intense, with several teams showcasing their prowess and potential.

The Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, and Cincinnati Bengals have each shown unique strengths and challenges in the 2023-24 NFL season, making them key teams to watch in terms of NFL bets and fantasy football considerations.

Let’s delve deeper into the teams leading the charge and those making surprising advances, offering a comprehensive look at the evolving NFL landscape.

The Top Favorites

The leading teams in the AFC and NFC have separated themselves from the pack as the overwhelming favorites to reach the Super Bowl.

Baltimore Ravens

Leading the AFC with an impressive 13-3 record, the Ravens have risen as top contenders, especially after their 33-19 win over the 49ers and 56-19 thrashing of the Dolphins.

Their current odds of +350 to win the Super Bowl mirror their solid position and consistent performance throughout the season behind quarterback Lamar Jackson. They have clinched the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye in the playoffs. 

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers continue to be a powerhouse, leading the NFC with an impressive 12-4 record. Their balanced attack of offense and defense has been a key to their success, making them the favorites to win the Super Bowl at +210. Despite tripping up against the Ravens, they still are in a good position and have clinched the No. 1 seed in the conference, meaning the postseason will have to go through Baltimore and San Francisco.  

The Contenders

The following teams are expected to challenge the 49ers and Ravens for the right to represent their conferences in the Super Bowl.

Dallas Cowboys

At 11-5 and in first place in the NFC East, the Cowboys are positioned well and sit as the No. 2 seed in the NFC. Their huge yet controversial victory over the Lions could net them at least two home playoff games.

Their favorable odds of +850 reflect their robust gameplay and potential for success in the postseason.

Kansas City Chiefs

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The Chiefs have had a turbulent season but still find themselves at 10-6 and locked in as the No. 3 seed in the AFC. Despite some recent losses, their playoff experience and ability to produce plays at critical junctures make them dangerous in the postseason. At +950, they provide good value as they seek to become the first team to repeat as Super Bowl champions since the Patriots in 2002.

Miami Dolphins

With an 11-5 record, the Dolphins have navigated a challenging schedule with remarkable offensive skills. However, they face a colossal Week 18 battle against the Buffalo Bills, with the winner being crowned AFC East champion.

A division title would earn the Dolphins the No. 2 seed and at least two home playoff games. Miami is currently +1400 to win the Super Bowl.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles are going through some serious late-season struggles. After starting the year 10-1 and seemingly a lock to win the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC, the Eagles have four of their last five games and are now in second place in their own division and slated as the No. 5 seed. Still, their experience and offensive talent alone make them a dangerous team in the postseason. The Eagles odds to win the Super Bowl are currently +1200.

Detroit Lions

The Lions have clinched the NFC North and sit at 11-5, set to host their first playoff game since 1993. The Lions have demonstrated significant improvement and resilience, and despite losing on a controversial call in Week 17 against the Cowboys, they are in a good position to make a postseason run.

Despite longer odds at +2200, their performance this season suggests a team that has evolved and become more competitive.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills’ season is going the exact opposite of the Eagles. After a gut-wrenching loss to the Eagles that dropped them to 6-6, the Bills have won four straight, including a pivotal road win in Kansas City. Now 10-6, they are one win away against the Dolphins from winning the AFC East and clinching the No. 2 seed in the AFC. However, if they lose, there’s a chance they could miss the playoffs altogether. Odds seem to favor Buffalo not just to beat Miami on the road next Sunday but also to win the Super Bowl, as they have favorable odds of +950​​.

Emerging Dark Horses

The following teams may be long shots, but when the playoffs start, they have the same record as everyone else and have the potential to surprise everyone and make the Super Bowl.

Cleveland Browns

The Browns have shown resilience and a strong defensive effort despite facing injuries and other setbacks. With a current record of 11-5, the Browns have managed to stay competitive and are locked into the No. 5 seed, where they will travel to the home stadium of the AFC South winner. Their defense, yielding only 261.1 yards a game, is noted for being one of the best in recent seasons. Quarterback Joe Flacco has been crucial in providing a spark for the offense. The Browns are +3500 to win the Super Bowl.

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams were left for dead after a disappointing 2022 season and a dreadful start to 2023. However, Matthew Stafford has experienced a resurgence, and the offense has gotten huge lifts from running back Kyren Williams and wide receivers Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua. Now at 9-7, winning six of their last seven, they are one win away from making the playoffs and being a dangerous team that no one wants to see come January. The Rams are +5000 to win the Super Bowl.

Photo: Unsplash

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