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.
Who rose? Who fell? Let’s look at the standings:
The Top 10
The Arizona Cardinals replaced the Green Bay Packers atop the Super Bowl Odds rankings this week, after Green Bay was idle this past weekend, while the return of Kyler Murray and Deandre Hopkins fueled Arizona to yet another victory for the 10-2 leaders of the NFC. Behind Arizona, the Packers, Pats, Bucs, and Chiefs round out the top five. How does Bill Belichick do it? Remember when the Saints went up to Foxboro and manhandled the Pats? Back then, New England looked like a team that would be packing early for the winter. Now they seem to be on a potential collision course with...Tom Brady and the Bucs. Wouldn’t that be something?
The Muddled Middle
Just like last week, the Los Angeles Rams are just outside the top 10, following their romp over the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars. The Cincinnati Bengals and Joe Burrow continue their maddening up and down season, falling hard to the Los Angeles Chargers at home due to a bevy of self-inflicted wounds. These are the teams that are unlikely to make much noise if they reach the playoffs but could pull off a first round upset or two.
The Bottom 10
Our beloved Saints are now firmly entrenched in the bottom 10, but hey look! The Saints have the best odds of making it to the postseason among teams in the bottom 10, and by a wide margin. This of course is largely due to their relatively weak remaining schedule: at the New York Jets (3-9), at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-3), against the Miami Dolphins (6-7), against the Carolina Panthers (5-7) and at the Atlanta Falcons (5-7). Apart from the Bucs contest, the Saints could win four of their last five games and finish the season 9-8, which in a top-heavy NFC, could mean a Wild Card invite. First things first however, the Saints must go up to New Jersey and beat a dreadful New York Jets team. If the way things have gone for New Orleans this season is any indication, that will not be an easy task.
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