- Editor’s note: the following article was drafted prior to MLB postponing Opening Day due to the coronavirus pandemic
- Bet Online has early NFL Division Odds for all 16 NFC teams
- The Lions (+800), Buccaneers (+700) and Cardinals (+900) all offer intriguing upside this offseason
- The Eagles (+125) could be a safe bet in the NFC East with the Cowboys set to lose some key free agents
After a long month of tedious Tom Brady rumors, an avalanche of news is set to drop from every corner of the NFL next week.
Players will vote to approve or decline the new collective bargaining agreement by this Saturday, the franchise-tag deadline for teams is on Monday morning, and then free-agent negotiations open immediately after that.
Before the storm, let’s look at the odds to win all the NFC divisions at Bet Online and state the cases for some teams who could surprise.
ODDS TO WIN NFC NORTH
|Green Bay Packers||+140|
A LEAP WITH THE LIONS (+800)
This one requires a huge leap of faith, but hear me out: With the third-overall selection, Detroit is in the catbird seat of the NFL Draft.
Should a quarterback-starved team like the Dolphins or Chargers trade them a bounty of picks to move up for Tua Tagovailoa, the Lions would be in position to instantly rebuild their defense and add weapons for Matt Stafford.
Matthew Stafford’s back is ‘completely healed,’ according to wife https://t.co/n3w4jxWfmm
— MLive (@MLive) March 3, 2020
At the same time, the Vikings have the least salary cap space in the league and could trade star receiver Stefon Diggs if his cryptic social media posts are any indication. The Bears also continue to express a bewildering level of commitment to Mitch Trubisky, and 36-year-old Aaron Rodgers is already in steep decline phase.
ODDS TO WIN NFC SOUTH
|New Orleans Saints||-350|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+700|
BETTING ON THE BUCCANEERS (+700)
Bruce Arians sure hasn’t sugar-coated his thoughts on Jameis Winston after the short-sighted signal caller became the founding member of the 30/30 club in 2019.
When asked if his team could win with another quarterback back in December, the 67-year-old coach savagely replied, “With another quarterback? Oh yeah. If we can win with this one, we can definitely win with another one, too.’’
Adam Rank calls Bucs WR Chris Godwin ‘the next great NFL receiver’ https://t.co/bhMYcqiyy0
— The Bucs Wire (@TheBucsWire) March 3, 2020
With no shortage of QB options floating around in free agency, the Buccaneers should be able to find an immediate upgrade for a high-powered passing attack featuring Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.
Tampa’s defense also jumped from dead-last in the league in 2018 to fifth-best under new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, so there’s plenty of reasons to be bullish on the Bucs this season.
ODDS TO WIN NFC WEST
|San Francisco 49ers||-125|
|Los Angeles Rams||+375|
THE CASE FOR THE CARDINALS (+900)
While the 49ers and Seahawks look like the class of the division, Arizona has already secured the two most important ingredients to a winning in the NFL: a smart offensive mind in coach Kliff Kingsbury, and a good-to-great quarterback in Kyler Murray, who last year joined Cam Newton as the only QBs in NFL history with 3,500-plus pass yards and 500-plus rush yards in their rookie seasons.
With the No. 8 overall pick in April’s NFL Draft, the Cardinals could potentially reunite their reigning Rookie of the Year with Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb. General manager Steve Keim also has the cap space to bring in a pass-catching weapon like Robby Anderson.
Kyler Murray but with multiple talented receivers has the potential to break fantasy footballpic.twitter.com/oMaMXNzEtR
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) March 8, 2020
Sure, their defense is also a mess, but before dismissing any of these underdog picks, keep in mind that San Francisco was at +550 to win the NFC West last offseason.
ODDS TO WIN NFC EAST
|New York Giants||+650|
FLYING WITH THE EAGLES (+125)
Okay, here’s where we break from format. The Giants and Redskins can’t be backed under any circumstances and it’s hard to express confidence in the Cowboys given the number of balls they have in the air at the moment.
With the team likely to franchise quarterback Dak Prescott, losing wide receiver Amari Cooper and cornerback Byron Jones in free agency seems like a distinct possibility.
Kurt Warner has some constructive criticism for Carson Wentz https://t.co/B4wA2qWLc1
— BleedingGreenNation (@BleedingGreen) February 29, 2020
Meanwhile, after a couple of quiet offseasons following their Super Bowl 52 win, Philadelphia looks poised to be active on the market again. Here’s what Eagles GM & EVP Howie Roseman said at last month’s NFL Combine:
“We’re hopeful that if we go into the free-agent market that maybe we’re signing guys that are more core guys than more one-or-two-year guys, and we look at it from building our team over a two-or-three-year perspective as opposed to just kind of this one-year window.”
That sounds like a guy who’s about to spend some serious money.