The NFC is the deeper of the two conferences entering the 2017 NFL season. There are more than a few options that could emerge as the class of the conference come December. Even some of the long shots don’t seem that far away from contending for a Super Bowl. Here are the best teams to bet on in the NFC and the largest favorite to avoid in 2017.
Favorite Who Will Disappoint: Dallas Cowboys
Dallas had a great season last year, finishing atop the NFC with a 13-3 record. However, it does not look they will reach the same level of success in 2017. The Cowboys have a much tougher schedule in 2017, playing the Falcons, Packers, Raiders and Broncos to name a few. They also play in one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL.
The suspension of Ezekiel Elliott looms large for the team. If he cannot play for up to six games, the Cowboys may struggle. The back taking over duties for Elliott will have to do so behind a slightly lesser offensive line after the retirement of Doug Free and some shuffling of the remaining pieces. Lastly, the Cowboys defense has too many glaring holes to hide for a second straight season. All told, it is strange to see the Cowboys ranking so high on the futures list for the NFC. They should still be a good team, but they are not Super Bowl bound.
A Long Shot Worth A Shot: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers have been building the last few seasons and may be closer to their ultimate end goal, a trip to the Super Bowl, than expected. Jameis Winston progressed well in his sophomore season and should be even better in 2017. The Bucs added DeSean Jackson and drafted OJ Howard to compliment Mike Evans. This gives Winston a diverse arsenal of receivers he can target on any given Sunday.
The Bucs defense looks promising entering 2017. Gerald McCoy (defensive tackle) and Lavonte David (linebacker) are two of the best players at their positions and will help the Bucs improve as a unit in 2017. If they can win the NFC South or at least make the playoffs, they will be a tough out for any team in the postseason.
Prediction: Green Bay Packers
After spending the last few years getting so close to another Super Bowl, the Packers are finally ready to return to the Promised Land and maybe even bring the Lombardi Trophy back to Wisconsin.
Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFL right now and is the frontrunner for this year’s MVP award. While Rodgers’ has shown he can carry an NFL franchise on his shoulders, the amount of gifted playmakers on Green Bay means he will not need to. The additional of Martellus Bennett gives the Packers their best tight end since Jermichael Finley. The running game should improve too, helping the Packers find more balance in their offensive attack.
The Packers’ defense may not be the best group in the league, it is good enough to get the group to the Super Bowl. The Packers defense is opportunistic and at times relentless, built around generating turnovers and sacking the quarterback. Their job is to close out games and as long as Rodgers remains healthy, they will have plenty of opportunities. Take the Packers to reach Super Bowl LII.
Odds To Win NFC
Arizona Cardinals +1000
Atlanta Falcons +650
Carolina Panthers +800
Chicago Bears +5000
Dallas Cowboys +600
Detroit Lions +2500
Green Bay Packers +450
Los Angeles Rams +5000
Minnesota Vikings +1200
New Orleans Saints +2000
New York Giants +800
Philadelphia Eagles +1800
San Francisco 49ers +6600
Seattle Seahawks +500
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +1500
Washington Redskins +2500