NFL Longshot Picks To Make The Playoffs

Posted by Peter Boysen on August 9, 2016 in

Each day brings us closer to the opening week of the 2016 NFL regular season. Even now, there are some teams that appear to be locks to make the playoffs, but there are also some real longshot picks to get into the postseason tournament. Every year brings at least one of these surprise candidates into the playoffs, so let’s take a look at the teams that are likely to have the best NFL odds to pull off the upset.

NFL Longshot Picks To Make The Playoffs

The Sure Pick: Baltimore Ravens

Last year, the Ravens suffered through a miserable campaign, but that’s what happens when you lose your starting quarterback for the majority of the season to an injury, and when most of your defense ends up on the trainer’s table as well. Joe Flacco is back to lead the offense, which makes Baltimore a contender right away. The rub on this team is that they really don’t have the elite running back they need to make the offense balanced, and they don’t have wide receivers who have been able to gain separation and make big plays in the past. Even so, the tough Ravens defense is back, and they could work their way into a wild card slot.

The Longshot by Nature: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jameis Winston progressed even faster last year in his rookie season than many of the prognosticators had thought he would. The Buccaneers also have a defense that brings a ferocious pass rush (although they tend to give up big passing plays down the field). So if the Bucs can slide up past Atlanta in the standings this year, they could make it to 9 or 10 wins and a wild card berth. It will depend on whether the Falcons play like the team that started 5-0 or the dumpster fire that started soon afterward, and it will also depend on Winston keeping that same level of play — and continuing to improve in his decision making.

 

 

The rational pick: Washington Redskins

I know it’s a little odd to put a reigning division champ as a long shot to make the playoffs the following season, especially when they didn’t really suffer any major losses to free agency, but the return of Tony Romo and Dez Bryant to the Dallas offense means that the Cowboys are the real favorite to take the NFC East. However, the Redskins have an opportunistic front four on their defense, making it tough for the opposition to run and making opposing passers get rid of the ball in a hurry. Kirk Cousins showed that he has the decision making skills and the accuracy to be a legitimate starting quarterback. So they’re a definite consideration for one of those NFC wild cards.

 

The good looking pick: Oakland Raiders

I’ve been raving about the Derek Carr – Amari Cooper passing connection throughout the entire offseason, and the Raiders also have a primo pass rush. They are ready to make a lot of noise in an AFC West that has the reigning Super Bowl champ (who swapped Peyton Manning out for Mark Sanchez), an iffy Kansas City Chiefs team that plays solid ball but isn’t spectacular and an elderly San Diego Chargers team. If these Raiders go on a tear, we could be talking about a division title, not just a wild card entry.