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Only four times in the history of the NFL has a team finished the regular season undefeated: The Chicago Bears did it in 1934 and 1942, the Miami Dolphins in 1972, and the New England Patriots in 2007. Because going unbeaten is so rare, odds for teams finishing the 2020 season 16-0 are long. Does any team have a realistic chance to accomplish the feat this year? Probably not, but here are the odds and top contenders to go unbeaten.
|Kansas City Chiefs||+2500|
|San Francisco 49ers||+5000|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+5000|
|New Orleans Saints||+15000|
|Green Bay Packers||+25000|
|New England Patriots||+25000|
Oddsmakers believe the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens have the best shot at going 16-0, and even they are a distant 25-1 to do it. Still, Kansas City is the most likely team to go undefeated because of one person: Patrick Mahomes. As we saw last postseason, Mahomes and the Chiefs' explosive offense can quickly erase a big deficit, making them a threat to win even when they don't play well. They came from behind in all three playoff games en route to winning a Super Bowl.
Mahomes is 28-8 in his NFL career as a starter, and while going unbeaten is extremely difficult, anything is possible with him under center.
The Ravens finished with the NFL's best record last year, going 14-2 behind league Most Valuable Player Lamar Jackson. After a 2-2 start, the Ravens won 12 straight games to close out the regular season. The scary thing is Baltimore could be even better in 2020 with the additions of defensive linemen Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe, along with an impressive draft class that adds to depth to a team already loaded with talent.
The one question still surrounding the Ravens is whether the offense can play from behind. Baltimore fell behind early in its playoff loss to the Tennessee Titans and never recovered. A tough schedule that includes games outside the division versus the Chiefs, Patriots, Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, and Indianapolis Colts makes the Ravens running the table unlikely.
The 49ers are coming off a 13-3 regular season, and while recent Super Bowl losers don't have a great track record the following year, San Francisco looks built to buck the trend. The 49ers finished 2019 ranked top five in total offense, total defense, and rushing offense. The talent is there to make a run at an unbeaten season, but quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo must be more consistent. Jimmy G threw 13 interceptions last year despite San Francisco featuring the NFL's second-ranked rushing attack.
The NFC is deeper than the AFC, and a brutal schedule with games against the Cowboys, Patriots, New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills, and Seattle Seahawks (twice) doesn't bode well for a 16-0 season in San Francisco.
The Buccaneers are vastly overvalued in the NFL futures market and there is no better example than Tampa Bay being 50-1 to finish the regular season 16-0. To put this in perspective, the Saints are 150-1 to go undefeated and New Orleans has one of the most talented rosters in the NFL. The Bucs finished 7-9 in 2019 and will obviously be much better this season with the additions of quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski. But are a soon-to-be 43-year-old quarterback and a recently retired tight end enough to improve the Buccaneers by nine games? No way.
If you want to put a little pizza money on a long shot to go 16-0, pass on the overvalued Bucs and take a stab with the more talented Saints.
Thomas Casale is theScore's supervising editor of sports betting. He's been following the sports betting industry for almost 30 years. A devoted fan of the wishbone offense, Thomas bets on all sports but specializes in college football, NFL, and college basketball. Find him on Twitter @TheTomCasale.