Sports Specs

The four favorites to win the Super Bowl at the halfway point of the NFL season

Sam Janssen

More stories from Sam Janssen



At the midway point in the NFL season, every team has played at least eight games and it is easier to form an opinion of who has the best shot at reaching the ultimate goal: the Super Bowl.

The four favorites as of Monday, Nov. 9 are all early-season favorites, and some of whom have had to prove they can live up to the pre-season hype.

Kansas City Chiefs

As the defending Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs will probably sit atop the list of favorites to win this Super Bowl for the duration of this season, until they possibly get eliminated from the playoffs.

Barring an injury to Patrick Mahomes, the best quarterback in the NFL today, the Chiefs are the rightful favorites to defend their crown this season.

Most recently, the Chiefs escaped a tightly contested matchup with the Carolina Panthers, winning 33-31 on the shoulders of Mahomes’  four touchdowns on 372 passing yards.

They do not have the same caliber of defense as the AFC’s other top contenders — the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens — but their offense is the most dangerous in the league by far and it is difficult to picture them not making a deep run in the playoffs.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers are the only undefeated team left in the league, as they narrowly defeated the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday to give themselves an 8-0 record.

In that game, the Cowboys played their fourth different quarterback they have used this season. They gave Garrett Gilbert — who was signed by the Cowboys off of Cleveland’s practice squad in October — the start and he played much better than anyone could have expected.

The Cowboys led this game 19-9 heading into the fourth quarter, but Ben Roethlisberger was able to make a comeback, leading the Steelers to score two touchdowns and a field goal in the fourth quarter to escape with a 24-19 victory.

Roethlisberger has shown expected aging, from a 38-year-old quarterback, but he has put together a really solid season.

Pittsburgh’s defense is the strength of their team, and may be the best in all of the NFL. If they can stay healthy, they can hope to ride their defense to win their first playoff game since 2016 this postseason and make a run at a Super Bowl.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers still have the third-highest odds for favorites to win the Super Bowl this season. They are also the favorites from the NFC, despite suffering an overwhelming 38-3 defeat to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

This is two disappointing performances by Tampa Bay in a row, as they hardly defeated the lowly New York Giants the week prior, narrowly escaping with a 25-23 win.

Nothing went right for Tampa Bay against New Orleans, as this is the most lopsided loss of Tom Brady’s entire career.

Drew Brees and the Saints torched Tampa Bay’s defense all afternoon, with Brees putting together one of his strongest performances in a season he has frequently shown he is an aging 41-year-old.

Tampa Bay’s star-studded offense has lived up to the hype in several games in this season, but Brady and his cast of weapons had by far their worst showing of the season in this game.

It is still easy to name Tampa Bay as one of the favorites in the NFC, as their group of talent on offense is potentially the most dangerous in the entire league besides Kansas City.

Brady is only nine games into his tenure in Tampa Bay, and they still have time this season to work out the kinks in their offense before the playoffs come around.

Altogether, Brady has looked pretty sharp this season for his age, and there is no reason to believe the team cannot get back on track and be in the thick of the race in the NFC this postseason.

New Orleans Saints

New Orleans has beaten their division rival, the Buccaneers, both times they faced them this season, as they also beat them in the opening week of the season.

The Saints’ offense is looking better now than it did at times earlier this season, and they have won their last five games.

They also have a relatively favorable schedule in the second half of the season, so they could easily vie for the divisional title over Tampa Bay.

The Saints have looked like Super Bowl favorites in each of the last several postseasons and they have suffered heartbreaking losses in each of the last three. The team lost twice in dramatic fashion to the Minnesota Vikings and once in the NFC Championship game to the Rams in the 2018 season.

Brees does not have many playoff runs left in him at his age, so if the Saints are going to win a second Super Bowl with their future hall-of-famer quarterback, this may be the last year they can do so.

Janssen can be reached at [email protected]