The NFL playoffs are about to begin, and the favorites to win Super Bowl 55 are already established. The reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs are the current +200 betting choice to repeat as champions.
In fact, oddsmakers are counting on an historic Super Bowl replay of sorts. The Green Bay Packers are listed as the +433 second wagering pick in the 2021 online Super Bowl betting.The 14-2 Chiefs are -115 odds-on favorites to win the AFC Championship, while the 13-3 Packers are the +140 chalk to capture the NFC Championship. Both teams enter the postseason as the No. 1 seed in their respective conferences, earning them a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
If the form charts hold, NFL fans will get a replay of the very first Super Bowl game. On Jan. 15, 1967, the Packers whipped the Chiefs 35-10 in the inaugural Super Bowl contest at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
Packers Were Dominant
In 1966-67, Packers quarterback Bart Starr was named NFL MVP and Green Bay beat Kansas City in the Super Bowl. This season, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is the favorite to be named NFL MVP and a Packers-Chiefs Super Bowl matchup is being projected.
Green Bay, champions of the NFL for the fourth time in six years, took the field for that first Super Bowl game as 14-point favorites over the AFL champion Chiefs.
However, Kansas City played the Packers tough in the first half. Green Bay’s halftime lead was just 14-10.
The Packers took control in the second half. The final 30 minutes saw Green Bay score three unanswered touchdowns to take the 35-10 verdict. Starr threw for two TDs, both to Max McGee. Elijah Pitts ran for two TDs and Jim Taylor rushed for one.
Super Bowl Rematches
If the Packers and Chiefs were to meet in this season’s Super Bowl, it would be the eighth rematch in Super Bowl history. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys have actually clashed three times in the big game.
Dallas has also played twice against the Buffalo Bills. Theirs was the only Super Bowl rematch to happen in successive seasons.
The New England Patriots faced the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants and St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams twice each. Other Super Bowl replays include Washington-Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers-Cincinnati Bengals.
You can even bet on a potential Chiefs-Packers Super Bowl 55. It’s the favored call in an exact Super Bowl matchup prop wager at +300.
Speaking of rematches, the 1966 AFL Championship Game to determine the first Super Bowl participant saw the Chiefs drub the Buffalo Bills 31-7. Buffalo is the AFC’s No. 2 seed and these two teams could easily clash in this season’s AFC Championship Game.
Chiefs An Offensive Juggernaut
Kansas City finished the NFL regular season as the league’s most potent offense. KC averaged an NFL-high 415.8 yards per game.
The Chiefs were also the NFL’s No. 1 passing offense, clicking for 303.4 yards per game. Kansas City was the only NFL team to pass for at least 300 yards a game.
In terms of productivity, Kansas City was the NFL’s No. 6 scoring offense, putting up 29.6 points per game. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes led the NFL in passing yardage per game (316) and tied with Rodgers for the lowest interception percentage (1.0) in the league.
Travis Kelce set an NFL single-season record for reception yardage by a tight end (1,416). Wide receiver Tyreek Hill caught an AFC-leading 15 TD passes. He also posted an NFL-best 14 yards per touch.
Green Bay Packs A Potent Punch
The Packers were the NFL’s most productive offense, scoring 31.8 points per game. Green Bay enters the playoffs riding a six-game winning streak. The Pack was the league’s fifth-best team in terms of total offense (389 yards per game).
Rodgers was the league’s most proficient passer. He led the NFL in passing TDs (48), passer rating (121.5), completion percentage (70.7), TD pass percentage (9.1) and QBR (84.4).
Packers wideout Davante Adams snared an NFL-leading 18 TD receptions. Adams also led the league in receiving yardage per game (98.1). Fellow wide receiver Marquez Valdes- Scantling posted the league’s highest yards per catch (20.9)
Why USL2 is the Coolest Soccer League in the USA
Soccer continues to grow in popularity in the USA. The most obvious signs of this are in the MLS (Major League Soccer), which has expanded to 28 teams, with two more franchises scheduled to join by 2023. New teams such as LAFC, Austin FC, and Charlotte FC, who broke the MLS attendance record in their first game, have been well received by their local communities. In addition, they have helped to raise the profile of the sport with some clever branding and community engagement.
The MLS has also picked up many new fans from abroad. The creation of fan groups, inspired by European “Ultras”, has resulted in a unique atmosphere. At first, this seemed manufactured, but it has taken on a life of its own. Many MLS teams are adopted by the local Hispanic communities, but they have also gained popularity amongst the LGBT communities, with rainbow pride flags now a regular feature in stadiums across the country.
However, it’s not just the Major League that has developed a cult following. In the lower leagues, there are some incredible soccer communities developing. The USL2 (United Soccer League Two) is a hotbed of cult teams, cool branding, and community spirit.
One such team is the Minneapolis City Soccer Club. The club is known as the Crows, and this is reflected in their logo, which was on a shortlist of five in a vote for the best crest in the league. Their Citizens support group are among the most loyal in the division and their groundbreaking soccer shirts are sought by collectors across the globe. The community-run club previously competed in the NPSL (National Premier Soccer League), winning the North Conference in 2018, 2019, and 2021. They stepped up to the USL2 in 2022.
A new look for West Virginia
Another new name to appear in 2021 was West Virginia United, which reached the conference playoffs. West Virginia has always lacked any major league sports teams but has a thriving college sports scene. It is also becoming a major destination for sports and casino gambling in the east of the country thanks to its five West Virginia online casinos, which offer online sports wagering. This growth in the gambling sector is expected to have a knock-on effect on the sports scene as more revenue is generated in the region. Like Minneapolis, West Virginia has also nailed their branding with a super cool logo that pays pay homage to the blue ridge mountains. The rebranding coincided with a kit deal with major sports brand Puma.
The ink has yet to dry but we are incredibly excited about this one! We have penned our new apparel partnership with @PUMA !! We couldn’t have imagined a better partner to display our badge and colors #WVUTD 🟢🔵⚪️ pic.twitter.com/MiBWqsvUVx
— West Virginia United (@wvutd) May 7, 2021
The team began life as West Virginia Chaos in 2003 before merging with the youth teams of Charleston FC and Fury Soccer Club to form West Virginia Alliance FC in 2018. They joined USL2 in 2019 and it is hoped that the latest change of name will be permanent as the club looks to provide a stable first-team environment in the fourth tier of the US soccer, as well as a development team in the USL Academy system.
Surprisingly, West Virginia United did not make the final shortlist for the best new crest in the USL2 poll. Nonetheless, they were up against some stiff competition, most notably, winners One Knoxville SC who made a brilliant video to show how their crest was designed.
Magic behind the crest! pic.twitter.com/7nnZNadUOF
— One Knoxville SC (@OneKnoxSC) August 19, 2021
Other teams featured in the vote were Louisiana-based Blue Goose SC, Ballard FC of Washington, and Vermont Green FC, but these teams are about more than just branding.
In the tier above (USL1), there are also some cult clubs including Forward Madison FC, the self-styled “world’s second favorite team.” They made an instant impact after launching in 2019 thanks to their smart social media work and colorful kit designs, but it is USL2 that is leading the way in the fast-growing world of cult community soccer clubs.
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