The NFL has a ton of parity, at least in terms of teams reaching the postseason. Every year since the league switched to a 12-team playoff format in 1990, at least four new teams have made the postseason from one year to the next.
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
That said, there’s usually one dominant team in one division per conference, the New England Patriots in the AFC East being a good example. The Green Bay Packers have been the Patriots of the NFC in the North Division. Thus, there’s usually at least one repeat division champion in each conference each season. That wasn’t the case, though, in 2017 as all four NFC division champions were new. Could it happen again in 2018?
The biggest NFC divisional betting favorite is the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles at -175 in the NFC East. Their division title last year was their first since 2013, and they won the franchise’s first Super Bowl despite losing starting quarterback Carson Wentz in Week 14 to a season-ending knee injury. Backup Nick Foles played his way to Super Bowl MVP honors. Will Wentz be ready for Week 1? Signs seem to be pointing that way.
The Dallas Cowboys (+350), who had the NFC’s best record in winning the NFC East in 2016, are considered the only realistic divisional challenger to the Eagles.
In the NFC West, the rising Los Angeles Rams are -130 to repeat. They had the NFL’s highest-scoring offense in 2017 after having the lowest-scoring one the season before as first-year head coach Sean McVay worked wonders. The Rams went all-in this offseason in trades and free agency in landing some big names such as Ndamukong Suh and Brandin Cooks.
The San Francisco 49ers (+275), who closed last year on a five-game winning streak behind trade acquisition quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, figure to be the Rams’ primary NFC West competition.
In the NFC North, the Minnesota Vikings are +125 to win the division again. They reached the NFC Championship Game a season ago yet let starting quarterback Case Keenum walk in free agency. The Vikings believe they upgraded by signing former Washington Redskin Kirk Cousins in free agency. Green Bay (+140) is going to be right there if Aaron Rodgers is healthy. He wasn’t for more than half of 2017.
And in the NFC South, the New Orleans Saints are +180 to go back-to-back despite losing starting running back Mark Ingram for the first four games of 2018 for a PED suspension. The Saints have a 1A at the position in reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Alvin Kamara. The NFC South is the most wide-open NFC division as the Atlanta Falcons (+185), Carolina Panthers (+290) and even Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+600) all could win it. The Bucs have the longest division drought in the NFC South, last winning it in 2007.