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In a little over 8 weeks, the greatest sport and the best sport to gamble on returns. People have started to break down who will be on their fantasy team, and fans have convinced themselves that this will be their year, even though their team missed the playoffs last year. This is the time when fans are the most hopeful, no injuries are happening in training camp, and your heart isn’t broken because you haven’t yet realized that your team sucks.
I have gone over who will win each division and the teams’ over and under. Today we will look at the odds for the NFC teams to make the playoffs. If you read my division futures for the NFC, you’ll know that I think that the Chicago Bears, New York Giants, Los Angeles Rams, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will win their division. Who will sneak in and get the Wild Card spots? Maybe one of those teams that I picked to win the division won’t, but can sneak into the playoffs via the Wild Card.
Unfortunately for the Cardinals, they are playing in the hardest division. Maybe if they were in the NFC East or the NFC South, they could sneak in the playoffs, but playing in the NFC West means six games against good teams. Kyler Murray and Deandre Hopkins lead the Cardinals. Kyler Murray is a great runner, but that puts his health in question. Last year he played all 16 games but was banged up. On the other hand, their defense is in the bottom half of the league; last year, they finished with the 19th overall defense. They tried to add J.J. Watt to strengthen their defense, but I don’t think it’ll be enough. Since the NFC West is such a tough division, their defense is suspect, and Kyler Murray’s health is questionable, I’m not picking them to make the playoffs.
Just a couple of years ago, the Falcons blew a 25 point lead to the Patriots in the Super Bowl. Since then it has been turmoil in Atlanta; Kyle Shanahan left for the 49ers, Julio Jones was traded to the Titans, and Matt Ryan was in trade rumors all offseason. Last year, the Falcons finished with a 4-12 record but lost 7 games by five points or fewer. Maybe if they’d won those games, their odds to make the playoffs would be worse. Last year, they were led by a good offense and a horrible defense. They finished with the 8th overall offense and the 23rd overall defense. I don’t think Matt Ryan will be traded, but he won’t be enough to lead Atlanta to make the playoffs, which is why I’m not taking them to win the division.
The Teddy Bridgewater experience is over in Carolina, and the Sam Darnold experiment begins. Last year, Christian McCaffery was hurt for most of the year. Will a healthy McCaffery make a huge difference and lead the Panthers to the playoffs? If you’re unsure about their offense, you should know that their defense has even more problems. Last year, they finished with the 26th overall defense. I don’t believe in Sam Darnold, their defense, or McCaffery’s health, which is why I’m not taking them to make the playoffs.
If you aren’t like me, who believes that Chicago will win the NFC North, maybe you’ll believe that they’ll make the playoffs via the Wild Card. Last year, the Bears made the Wild Card going 8-8. All da Bears need is an average offense, and they could greatly improve their record. Da Bears made the playoffs even though they had the 30th overall offense. Chicago’s record was all because of their defense, which finished with the 6th overall defense. Will the addition of Andy Dalton and Justin Fields transform their offense? I believe so, which is why I’m taking them to make the playoffs.
I know that Dallas is the favorite to win the NFC East, but I don’t believe in them even making the playoffs. They have gone all-in on offense with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb, and Ezekiel Elliott. Their defense is a black hole since they were ranked 28th overall last year. Not only is their defense a problem, but Dak Prescott is coming back from a broken ankle that made him miss most of last season. Every game will end as a shootout, and even though I don’t believe in their defense, they are playing in a division that didn’t have a single team with a winning percentage last year. With the great offense and an easy division, I’m taking the Cowboys to squeak into the playoffs.
The Lions have the highest odds not to make the playoffs, and for a good reason. Last year, they were bad on both sides of the ball; they had the 26th overall defense and the 27th overall offense. That offense was with QB Matthew Stafford and WR Kenny Golladay being on the team. Kenny Golladay signed with the Giants in the offseason, and Matthew Stafford was traded to the Rams. In exchange for Stafford, the Lions received picks and Jared Goff, the new starter for Detroit. It’s not breaking news that I’m picking the Lions not to make the playoffs.
I just talked about how the Lions traded Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff. Last year Goff led the Rams to the 14th overall offense. Will Stafford lead Los Angeles to a better offense? I believe so, but there was a report today that Cam Akers will be out for the season because of a torn Achilles. I believe that Sean McVay can make any running back into a great player. Remember when C.J. Anderson came off the streets and looked like a star in McVay’s system? Regardless of their offense, they have a great defense led by Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey. Last year they had the 2nd overall defense. The addition of Matthew Stafford, great head coaching by McVay, and a great defense is why I’m taking them to make the playoffs.
Last year the Vikings missed out on the wild card going 7-9. Mike Zimmer is known for a great defense, but that wasn’t the case for last year. They finished with the 23rd overall defense. Kirk Cousins is a middling quarterback, and the Vikings were a middle of the pack offense 16th overall offense. Their offense will take a hit since losing Kyle Rudolph to the Giants. Dalvin Cook every year has health issues, and I can see that happening again this year. It never feels good to gamble money on Kirk Cousins; in addition to their bad defense, I’m taking them to miss the playoffs again.
This is a new era for the Saints since Drew Brees retired. Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston will be competing for the starting quarterback position. Last year Hill won the position while Brees was injured. In the four games that he started, he went 3-1. Hill and Brees led the Saints to the 4th overall offense. This year with Brees gone, Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara will need to carry the offensive workload. Their defense should be great again since not losing any big-name players. Last year they had the 6th overall defense. I can see New Orleans either being great or horrible. I’m leaning to the horrible side and for them not to make the playoffs.
Last year the Giants were one game away from tying the Football Team for the NFC East. That was with Saquon Barkley being injured and missing the majority of the season. Daniel Jones was also banged up and missed a couple of games. New York made huge improvements in the offseason. They added WR Kenny Golladay and TE Kyle Rudolph to improve their offense which finished as the 23rd overall offense. New head coach Joe Judge revamped the Giants defense, which finished as the 17th overall defense. With the additions they made in the offseason, another year of improvements by Barkley and Jones, and Judge improving their defense, I’m taking them to make the playoffs.
As a die-hard Eagles fan, I’ve accepted that we are in full rebuild mode. It was only a couple of years ago when Nick Foles led the Eagles to a great underdog story capping off with winning the Super Bowl. That entire team is almost gone. Doug Pederson was fired and replaced by Nick Sirianni. Carson Wentz is now on the Colts, and the Eagles have decided that Jalen Hurts the quarterback of the future. In the four games that Hurts started, he went 1-3, had a 52 completion percentage, 6 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 1,061 yards, and a 41 QBR. The Eagles no longer have a stone wall defense but are in the top half of the league with a 13th overall defense. I don’t have much faith in rookie head coach Sirianni, Jalen Hurts, and I think the defense will start to decline, so I’m not taking them to make the playoffs.
Last year the 49ers were riddled with injuries. Jimmy G only played six games, Nick Bosa 2 games played, Dee Ford 1 game played, and George Kittle 8 games. In the offseason, they made big changes while moving up in the draft to get QB Trey Lance. Jimmy G is the supposed starter for week one, but trading up for Lance is not a good look for Jimmy G’s future. Even though they dealt with injuries, they still finished in the middle of the league on both offense and defense. They had the 19th overall offense and 15th overall defense. If the 49ers stay healthy, both their offense and defense will be back on top. This is why I’m taking them to make the playoffs.
Last year Seattle won the NFC West, going 12-4. There was drama with Russell Wilson at the start of the offseason where he did but didn’t request a trade. If he gets traded, which I don’t think he will, the odds of missing the playoffs will plummet. Every game last year was a shootout for the Seahawks; they had the 9th overall offense. Their defense, on the other hand, was horrendous as they finished with the 23rd overall defense. To rub salt in the wound, they lost CB Shaquill Griffin to Jacksonville. I have no faith in their defense, and I don’t think Seattle will keep winning these shootouts. In addition, with them being in the hardest division, I don’t think they will make the playoffs.
Tampa Bay has the worst odds to make the playoffs the closest team is the 49ers at -205. The Super Bowl champs went 11-5 last year, but made the playoffs because of the Wild Card since the Saints won the NFC South last year. The last time a Super Bowl winner missed the playoffs the next year was in 2016 when the Broncos went 9-7 and missed the playoffs. To be fair after Peyton Manning won the Super Bowl he retired in the offseason. Tom Brady is back again along with all of the starters from last year. Last year they were great on both sides of the ball finishing with the 5th overall offense, and the 4th overall defense. I see them doing the same thing again this season which is why I’m picking them to make the playoffs.
Washington won the NFC East last year, going 7-9. The Football team will need to make the playoffs via the Wild Card since there has been no repeat division winner in the NFC East since the Eagles went back to back in 2004. They were led by a great defense that finished with the 6th overall defense. Their offense, on the other hand, was horrendous as they finished with the 28th overall offense. They tried to improve their offense by signing Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick will have some insane 400-yard games, but he never has a great full season. I don’t think that their defense will be enough, and I don’t have faith in Fitzpatrick, so I’m taking them to miss the playoffs.
If you noticed, I only have six teams making the playoffs. With all of the drama that is happening with Aaron Rodgers, sportsbooks don’t have odds on them to make the playoffs. Whenever their odds do come out, and if Rodgers is under center, I’ll take Green Bay to make the playoffs. If a huge dramatic trade does happen and Rodgers is no longer in Green Bay, I would take the Saints to make the playoffs instead of Green Bay.