With wild card weekend in the rear-view mirror, only eight teams are still alive in the race for the Vince Lombardi Trophy. One of them, the New England Patriots will play their first postseason game on Saturday – and the reigning world champions are favored to defeat the visiting Tennessee Titans to advance to their seventh straight AFC championship game.
If you ask Pro Football Focus, New England is favored to advance even farther into the playoffs all the way to its second straight world championship. The analytics website published its updated playoff predictions yesterday and sees the Patriots as the overwhelming choice to win Super Bowl LII:
The graphic above illustrates not only how the Patriots are seen as the most likely team to win the Super Bowl but also how the AFC is more top-heavy than the NFC: New England's and Pittsburgh's odds of advancing to the conference title game (85.5% and 70.3%) and to the Super Bowl (65.4% and 24.1%) are significantly higher than those of the teams' NFC counterparts.
Of course, odds and statistical models mean little once Saturday's game is kicked off. Still, they show how the Patriots are in the middle of yet another productive season – one that might very well lead to the team's sixth Super Bowl title.