NFL Longshot Picks To Make The Playoffs

Posted by Ted Merrick on July 26, 2016 in

Every year, there are surprises in the NFL betting odds for the regular season. No one expected the Cowboys to go 4-12 last year, but that’s what happens when the starting quarterback goes down to injury and the general manager has decided to save money by signing traffic cones to play backup. No one expected Houston to win the AFC South last year — or Matt Hasselbeck to have a terrific year with the Colts — but both happened because of Andrew Luck’s lacerated kidney. Let’s take a look at some of this year’s NFL longshot picks to make the playoffs.

In Depth Analysis On The NFL Longshot Picks To Make The Playoffs

 

 

Favorites to Win

Well, the division titles will likely to go to the usual suspects. Here’s who I like to win in each of the eight divisions:

NFC East: Dallas
NFC North: Green Bay
NFC South: Carolina
NFC West: Seattle

Wild cards: Arizona and Minnesota

AFC East: New England
AFC North: Cincinnati
AFC South: Indianapolis
AFC West: Oakland

Wild cards: Baltimore and Kansas City

Smart Picks

In my mind, the biggest locks among these favorites are Dallas, Carolina and Indianapolis. They are far and away the best team in their divisions (barring catastrophic injuries at the talent positions). New England is also fairly solid unless they implode and start 0-4, in which case the Jets could sneak past them. However, I don’t see Belichick allowing that to happen. He’s prepared backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to well.

Longshots

Well, let’s go back to the Houston Texans:

They added Brock Osweiler at quarterback, replacing Brian Hoyer. Osweiler played very well for Denver in relief of the injured Peyton Manning, even keeping the starting job until he ran into turnover trouble against the San Diego Chargers in Week 17. He is an upgrade at the signal caller position, and the Texans have a solid defense as well.

How about those Washington Redskins?

Kirk Cousins showed that he is a legitimate NFL starting quarterback last season and earned a ton of kudos for his leadership. The defense is an issue, particularly in the secondary. But the Redskins played with a lot of momentum down the stretch, and if the Cowboys slip, Washington could slide in and win another title.

Then there are the Denver Broncos:

The quarterback position is a major question, with Mark Sanchez the presumptive starter ahead of rookie Paxton Lynch, who is more of a project than a starter at this point in the process. It’s impossible to ignore that stifling Denver defense, but at least Manning and Osweiler could move the team up and down the field. Three-and-outs will wear the Bronco defense out….but if Sanchez finds a way to move the ball, this team could still make the playoffs.

Finally, let’s look at the New York Jets:

Geno Smith is back, and Ryan Fitzpatrick is holding out at this writing, so the quarterback position is a mess right now. This team was headed to the playoffs until Week 17 last year, and they still have a terrific secondary. They definitely could slide into one of those wild card slots.