By: Sportsbook Review
When exactly did the AFC become the weak sister of football? Maybe it was 2015, when Peyton Manning finally ran out of gas after leading the Broncos to an upset Super Bowl title. It takes more than one man to ruin a conference, but Manning’s demise may have been the tipping point. Look at how bad things have become: Our quick-and-dirty AFC win total projections for 2018 only has two teams in double digits, the New England Patriots (12 wins) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (11 wins).
All the good stuff is happening in the NFC. It feels like we’ve gone back in time about 30 years, except the Philadelphia Eagles are Super Bowl champs instead of the San Francisco 49ers. That could change sooner rather than later, of course. The Niners are rocketing up the Super Bowl LIII odds list, which we’ve used as a baseline to generate the following very rough estimates for everyone’s 2018 win totals in the NFC:
Philadelphia Eagles: 11 wins
They won’t have the same betting value as last year when they were +4500 to win Super Bowl LII, but the Eagles should be just as good on the football field.
Dallas Cowboys: 9 wins
As over-valued as RB Ezekiel Elliott may be from a betting perspective, a full season with him in the backfield should make Dallas better than last year’s 9-7 crew.
Washington Dinkers-N-Dunkers: 7 wins
I suspect these guys will be showing up a lot in my 2018 NFL picks. Will Washington be this year’s Eagles? Alex Smith can do a pretty good Nick Foles impersonation.
New York Giants: 6 wins
New head coach Pat Shurmur was Andy Reid’s QB coach and Chip Kelly’s offensive coordinator in two separate stints with the Eagles. I think I see a pattern here.
Green Bay Packers: 11 wins
Aaron Rodgers just hasn’t been the same since QB coach/OC/AHC Tom Clements was run out of town. We’ve already sold high-ish on the Packers here at the home office.
Minnesota Vikings: 11 wins
The Vikings are in much better shape as a football team than Green Bay. They just don’t have the same brand recognition.
Detroit Lions: 6 wins
I wanted to make this seven wins, but for now, the Lions are tied with the next team on our list at +6600 to win Super Bowl LIII. That’s just not right.
Chicago Bears: 6 wins
New head coach Matt Nagy was on Andy Reid’s staff with the Eagles before joining him in Kansas City as QB coach, then offensive coordinator. I think I see a pattern here.
New Orleans Saints: 10 wins
They’ve finally found a healthy balance between offense and defense, and between passing and rushing. As long as QB Drew Brees doesn’t fall apart at age 39, the Saints should continue apace.
Atlanta Falcons: 9 wins
This was a league-average team over the course of the 2017 season, but the Falcons did improve along the way. Maybe 10-6 next year?
Carolina Panthers: 8 wins
I don’t know if there’s enough left of QB Cam Newton to keep the Panthers going in 2018.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 6 wins
QB Jameis Winston continues to develop. He shouldn’t have made the Pro Bowl in 2015, but he played pretty close to that level last year.
San Francisco 49ers: 10 wins
The Niners just made QB Jimmy Garoppolo the highest-paid player in the NFL. That should tell you pretty much everything.
Los Angeles Rams: 10 wins
Seems strange to put a team that’s on the ascendancy at 10 wins when they just went 11-5, especially with the next two division rivals in great peril.
Seattle Seahawks: 8 wins
The organization is there, but it’ll take a while to recapture the magic they created through the 2010-12 drafts.
Arizona Cardinals: 7 wins
Not much going on here now that the Bruce Arians-Carson Palmer Era is over. Rookie head coach Steve Wilks doesn’t even come from the Andy Reid coaching tree.