The Packers and Chiefs keep winning, getting close to the all-important No.1 seed in their respective conferences. With two weeks left in the regular season, there still is a lot to be decided. How will those top seeds play a part in voters deciding who wins MVP, Coach of the Year and other NFL awards. We break down where the value lies in these awards races.
So maybe Aaron Rodgers is indeed that good. Maybe he can overcome voters who will hold grudges for his off-the-field behavior with COVID-19 and a potential holdout. I was skeptical, but the 38-year-old is now the odds-on MVP betting favorite at -170. Tom Brady dropped all the way to +700 and is tied for the second favorite with Jonathan Taylor.
It sure feels like a high price for Brady, who leads the NFL in passing yards and touchdowns. Green Bay currently holds the NFC's top seed but even if the Packers win out, the MVP is not automatically that team's quarterback. Now, Rodgers is more than just the top seed's QB. He makes it look so easy with 33 touchdowns and only two interceptions since the opener. He's the reigning MVP for a reason.
Jonathan Taylor (+700) is an interesting choice. I wrote last week that I feel some voters will want to feel special and vote for a running back. Taylor is worthy of consideration, having helped Indy become a playoff team. It would also be an easy cop-out for voters who didn't want to decide between quarterbacks Brady and Rodgers. Perhaps Taylor is still in the hunt.
Can Brady, Taylor or a long shot beat out Rodgers? Green Bay does have a losable game on Sunday, hosting Minnesota. I realize it's Kirk Cousins in prime time but let's not forget that the Vikings won the first meeting. That obviously would shake up the race. However, even with two final wins, I do not think Rodgers has this locked up ... but maybe kickoff time will do the trick. Last year, Rodgers solidified his campaign by torching Tennessee on Sunday Night Football in the Green Bay's penultimate game. The broadcast booth of Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth certainly swayed voters with their high praise and MVP discussion, and that exact same situation could repeat itself this weekend.
Super Bowl odds
At some point the Chiefs will lose, right? Eight straight wins and Kansas City (+425) is now a Super Bowl co-favorite with Green Bay.
In my eyes, the Chiefs have an easier path to the Super Bowl, given the muddled AFC playoff picture. Compare that to the NFC's elite, and it is a little puzzling the betting market has Green Bay on the same level as K.C. I am not saying this for a head-to-head matchup on a neutral field. Rather, look at the combined probability of defeating their potential opponents.
Following a bye, the Packers would likely have to beat two opponents at home from a pool of the Bucs, Rams and Cowboys. But Kansas City would seemingly have to only go through a tandem of Tennessee, Cincinnati and Buffalo. I don't see that as comparable but perhaps I am just splitting hairs. Either way, the Chiefs have made a remarkable run and are at least fostering memories of the units that reached the Super Bowl.
At this point in the season, it's hard to find value in a one-way betting market. Sometimes you catch a break if the books are liable on a team, such as the Lakers in NBA pools, but nothing stands out right now. Dallas (10/1) does look tempting but a Super Bowl run would hypothetically mean beating the 49ers and Rams at home and then winning at Lambeau. And that's just to reach the Super Bowl.
Do we have any takers on the Bengals at 30/1? They're currently the 3 seed and the AFC is not exactly a predictable playoff bracket. Joe Burrow is legitimate but can we see it happening? Not too long ago the Eagles won it all with a backup quarterback, as Nick Foles outlasted Tom Brady in the Super Bowl. I suppose anything is possible.
Super Bowl futures
• I cannot comprehend how Matt LaFleur is a +175 favorite for Coach of the Year at DraftKings. Awards are mostly about narratives. If Rodgers is the reigning MVP and currently an odds-on favorite to win again, then how is his coach deserving of this recognition? The whole rationale behind Rodgers is that he's so talented and dominates opposing defenses. Has LaFleur done that amazing of a job to stand out among 31 other coaches? Bizarre.
• With the Patriots losing back-to-back weeks, this awards race is legitimately wide open. I do not understand how Andy Reid is 60/1, given how Kansas City can end the season with a nine-game win streak and the AFC's top seed. The Chiefs will have done it while transforming the team midseason to develop the defense. This run is not because Patrick Mahomes is brilliant. Reid at 60/1 is an automatic bet right now.
• The race for AP Offensive Player of the Year won't go down in the annals of sports history, but I am legitimately fascinated by it. Jonathan Taylor and Cooper Kupp are -110 co-favorites at DraftKings. Each guy is dominating his position and it's hard to argue with either case. Your guess is as good as mine as to who takes it home.