The exciting part about this exercise is that we can follow the ups and downs of our beloved Saints throughout the regular season via the variations of their odds not only to make it to the Super Bowl, but first to even make it to the playoffs, win the NFC South, or earn a first round bye in the playoffs.
My favorite website to look at Super Bowl odds throughout the regular season is Five Thirty Eight (FTE). They use the well-oiled Elo rating system. The system was invented by physicist Arpad Elo, and originally designed to rate players in zero-sum games, like chess. The system assigns a gain value to the winner and a loss value to the loser such that the sum of the winner’s gain and the loser’s loss is equal to zero.
This week, the Saints were idle, with their bye coming extra early in this new 17-game regular season schedule. However, despite New Orleans not playing, other teams won and lost, which adjusted the odds. Who rose? Who fell?
Let’s look at the standings:
The Top 10
NFC South leaders and defending champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reclaimed their place atop the Super Bowl LVI winning odds, after a midweek victory over the mediocre Philadelphia Eagles. The Ravens jumped to second after their dismantling of the Los Angeles Chargers, while the Bills fell to third following a narrow loss to the Tennessee Titans on Monday night. Interesting tidbit: the top 10 is evenly split between the NFC and AFC with five team apiece.
The Muddled Middle
The New Orleans Saints did not play a game this past week, so their Elo rating did not change. However, New Orleans maintained its position with the 11th odds of winning the Super Bowl (2%). Behind New Orleans we find the Browns, who dropped out of the top 10 where they were last week after yet another loss, this time to the high-flying Arizona Cardinals. The Saints’ next opponent, the Seahawks dropped from 13th to 19th after losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road on Sunday night. Did you notice? The Carolina Panthers who were 21st last week dropped into the last tier this week after losing their third game in a row. Were the kitties just a flash in the pan? Time will inevitably tell.
The Bottom 10
At the back of the classroom with all the troublemakers we now find our friends the Carolina Panthers (24th), as mentioned earlier in this piece. Carolina lost their talisman, running back extraordinaire Christian McCaffrey to a severe hamstring injury that will keep him out for at least five games. McCaffrey is starting to look like a very brittle Lamborghini: amazing when he is at full speed, but fragile and hard to maintain. Without him, quarterback Sam Darnold has quickly turned back into a pumpkin, dishing out interceptions Oprah-style. The Panthers are now 3-3 after starting 3-0, and luckily for them, the road ahead includes the lowly New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons and... gasp, the so-so New England Patriots. Who would’ve thought that we would see the day when playing the Pats would be at least a 50/50-win proposition? That is the beauty of life and sports, they both come at you fast.
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