NFC Playoff Odds as OTAs Begin: Can Lions Roar Back into the Postseason?

  • Bovada has updated playoff odds for all 16 NFC teams
  • The Panthers (+240) are an incredible value if Cam Newton’s shoulder can get healthy 
  • The Lions (+475) and Washington (+500) are intriguing long-shots after strong offseasons

With organized offseason activities (OTAs) now underway across the league, NFL teams are finally getting to see their new draft picks and free agency additions on the field.

This is a time when almost any coach can dream big and convince themselves they’re Super Bowl bound, so let’s do the same here. Looking at the playoff odds at Bovada, we’ll outline some best-case scenarios for a few NFC postseason long shots.

Odds to Make NFL Playoffs

NFC Teams “Yes” odds at Bovada “No” odds at Bovada
Arizona +800 -1600
Atlanta +150 -180
Carolina +240 -300
Chicago -145 +110
Dallas +110 -140
Detroit +475 -700
Green Bay -105 -125
Los Angeles Rams -350 +275
Minnesota +105 -135
New Orleans -350 +275
New York Giants +525 -850
Philadelphia -210 +170
San Francisco +230 -290
Seattle +150 -180
Tampa Bay +500 -800
Washington +500 -800

*All odds taken on 05/21/19

Carolina Panthers (+240)

Cam Newton recently said his twice-repaired shoulder was “feeling great” and gym rat Christian McCaffrey is boasting that he’s bigger, stronger and faster than ever. While you have to be careful when reading the never-ending supply of NFL offseason puff-pieces, the Panthers are an incredible value at +240 to make the playoffs.

Before Newton took a hit on his throwing shoulder in week 10 against Pittsburgh last season, the quarterback was playing some of his best football under offensive coordinator Norv Turner, completing over 66 percent of his passes through week 9. In addition to CMC, Cam will be throwing it to two potential breakout receivers in Curtis Samuel and D.J. Moore, who forced 17 missed tackles in his rookie year (3rd most in the NFL).

Making the most of his second go-around as Carolina’s GM, Marty Hurney spent the offseason beefing up the team’s offensive line, moving up in the draft to select Ole Miss tackle Greg Little in the second round, resigning tackle Darryl Williams, and bringing in Matt Paradis, the consensus best center in free agency.

While the defense remains a concern, the Panthers could have a top-five offense with a healthy Cam, who remains one of the NFL’s most-underrated players.

Detroit Lions (+475)

Last season, the Lions on-field play was every bit as dishevelled as Matt Patricia’s sideline appearance, as Bill Belichick’s bearded disciple stumbled to 6-10 record in his first year in Motown. Year two will be no easier in a loaded NFC North where it’s playoffs or bust for the Bears, Packers and Vikings, but at almost 5-1 to make the postseason, there’s a lot to like about this Lions team.

Sophomore running back Kerryon Johnson averaged 5.4 yards per carry last season before hitting injured reserve with knee problems. The 21-year-old now looks to be the center-piece of the attack under new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell after Detroit drafted a strong blocker in T.J. Hockenson at No. 8 overall.

The Lions also have ascending wide receiver Kenny Golladay, who looks more than capable of improving on his first 1,000-yard season if quarterback Matt Stafford can rebound from a miserable season that saw him throw his fewest touchdown passes (21) since 2012.

While the Lions are certainly not a sure thing, they have the talent to roar into the playoffs.

Washington (+500)

The first day of OTAs could not have gone worse for Washington linebacker Reuben Foster, who was carted off the field with a torn ACL. Still, the team’s young defense remains promising. Adding to a defensive front that includes 2017 and 2018 first-round picks Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne, Washington signed safety Landon Collins to a massive six-year, $84 million contract in free agency, and then traded up in the draft for athletic linebacker Montez Sweat.

While the Eagles or Cowboys are both far more likely to win the NFC East, many seem to forget that the Washington were 6-3 last year before losing Alex Smith to a gruesome leg injury in week 11. If first-round pick Dwayne Haskins can build on his impressive early showing in camp and prove himself to be the top quarterback in the draft class, Washington could earn a surprise playoff berth.

Steve Dominey

Steve has almost 15 years of experience in marketing, PR and sports television. After acquiring a Journalism degree from Carleton University, he assembled highlight packs for Canada's most-watched sports network (TSN) before transitioning to a career in communications. He describes himself as a good father, great dog owner, and mediocre gambler and husband.