The NFL season will be here soon enough and for the first time ever we will see a 17-game schedule over 18 weeks. There are so many questions entering this year, chief among them is the status of last year’s MVP, Aaron Rodgers, will he or won’t he play for the Packers? There is also the living legend, Tom Brady, and whether he will continue to defy Father Time and play at an elite level at the age of 44, and capture his eighth Super Bowl ring?
But those are questions left unanswered for now but what we can do is gaze into our crystal ball and predict the eight-division winners for this upcoming 2021 NFL campaign. And as an added bonus, we will reveal the current NFL odds on each team to win their respective divisions to get an idea of which teams are contenders versus those that are pretenders.
Without further ado, below are our predictions for the final standings with the odds to win the division in parentheses next to every team. Let’s go!
Buffalo Bills -150
New England Patriots +300
Miami Dolphins +375
New York Jets +1600
Winner: Buffalo Bills (-150) – We found out last year that the Patriots’ dynasty had much more to do with Tom Brady than Bill Belichick after TB12 left Foxborough for the sun-splashed climes of Tampa Bay and proceeded to win a Super Bowl while the Patriots fell to under .500 for the time in 20 years. Coincidence? Not!
The Bills quickly filled the void at the top of the AFC East and will do so again as Josh Allen has developed into a dynamic passer and a threat running the ball. Although every team in the AFC East will be better this year, the Bills still have the most potent roster from top to bottom. However, we do expect to see the Patriots become a contender once again after reconstructing their roster in the offseason when they went on a shopping spree during free agency. Check sportsbookreview.com to know all you need.
Baltimore Ravens +135
Cleveland Browns +145
Pittsburgh Steelers +380
Cincinnati Bengals +1400
Winner: Baltimore Ravens (+135) – Lamar Jackson is due for a huge uptick after his numbers dropped precipitously coming off of his 2019 MVP campaign. And despite averaging a whopping 31.2 points per game last year, the Ravens are, on paper at least, a more explosive offense this season after signing guard Kevin Zeitler and wide receiver Sammy Watkins in free agency while selecting wide receiver, Rashod Bateman, in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Although Browns’ fans are insisting this iteration will be a click better than last year’s edition that went 11-5 and made the postseason parade for the time in forever, they just don’t have enough gas in the tank to catch the high-flying Ravens. As for Pittsburgh, they took a deep dive late in the year, losing four of their last five, and got bounced in the opening round of the playoffs by the Browns. Needless to say, their window has closed.
Tennessee Titans +105
Indianapolis Colts +110
Jacksonville Jaguars +700
Houston Texans +2500
Winner: Indianapolis Colts (+110) – The AFC South is a two-horse race between the Titans and Colts. Those are the only two teams to consider because, despite the lofty odds on the Jags and Texans, there is no value in losing. Tennessee and Indianapolis landed with identical 11-5 records last season with the Titans copping the division title because of the tiebreaker.
I suspect this will be a tight race again but ultimately the Colts will emerge on top. They watched Phillip Rivers bid adieu but made a savvy trade in acquiring Carson Wentz. Although the second overall pick in the 2016 draft had his share of difficulties in Philadelphia, he gets a fresh start to spread his wings in Indianapolis, and let’s not forget that prior to getting injured in 2017, he was having an MVP caliber season. I believe in Wentz, as he will have a superior offensive line protecting him and better weapons at his disposal than he had in Philly. The Titans will be good but the Colts will be better.
Kansas City Chiefs -250
Denver Broncos +500
Los Angeles Chargers +600
Las Vegas Raiders +1200
Winner: Kansas City Chiefs (-250) – The Chiefs have little competition in the AFC West and the oddsmakers couldn’t agree more as evidenced by their status as the prohibitive favorites at -250. The KC train derailed last season when three of their five starting offensive linemen were injured all around the same time. As good as Mahomes is, if he doesn’t have time in the pocket, he won’t be able to deliver the ball to his chosen target.
But the Chiefs made a bold signing in free agency when they inked guard, Joe Thuney, to a five-year, $80 million pact. His presence will be an enormous boost to Mahomes’ standing upright in the pocket throughout the season. If Denver manages to trade for Aaron Rodgers, then things could get interesting but right now, the Chiefs are on the road to redemption after getting waxed by the Bucs in the Super Bowl last season. Don’t bet against them!
Dallas Cowboys +135
New York Giants +350
Philadelphia Eagles +650
Winner: Washington Football Team (+200) – If defense truly does win championships, then Washington will be your 2021 Super Bowl champions. Okay, that’s a bit much but certainly good enough to win a rather anemic NFC East. Ryan Fitzpatrick is the flavor of the month under center in Washington and he will be an upgrade over last season’s musical chairs at quarterback. The opening day starter in 2020, Dwayne Haskins, proved he’s not ready for primetime, and might never be, despite being chosen in the first-round – a pick Washington would love to have back.
Haskins is now in Pittsburgh and the WFT has a proven veteran under center with one of the finest defenses in the league. While many believe Dallas is the best in class, we disagree as Prescott is coming off of an injury and Ezekiel Elliot is trending way down from his peak performance season a few years ago. The Giants and Eagles will struggle so no worries there. DC will get a division winner this season!
Green Bay Packers -120
Minnesota Vikings +240
Chicago Bears +375
Detroit Lions +1600
Minnesota Vikings (+240) – It appears as though Aaron Rodgers is dug in and residing underneath a bunker until the Packers cede to his trade demands. If this holds true then Jordan Love will be the man under center but he simply doesn’t have the weapons, with the notable exception of All-Pro Davante Adams, nor the offensive line to get it done. Remember, the Packers lost three of their starting linemen in the offseason which puts the raw and untested Jordan Love at a big disadvantage.
Therefore, we will turn to the Minnesota Vikings as our NFC North victors. Kirk Cousins launched for over 4200 yards with 35 touchdowns and 13 picks last season and has a phenomenal second-year receiver in Justin Jefferson returning to the fold. He will also have the supremely talented slot receiver, Adam Thielen, as a weapon as well as an athletic tight end in Irv Smith. Minny seizes control of the North this year.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -175
New Orleans Saints +325
Atlanta Falcons +600
Carolina Panthers +1000
Winner: Tampa Bay Bucs (-175) – As much as we would like to make a case for one of the other teams in the NFC South, we can’t ignore the looming specter of Tom Brady and the Super Bowl champion Bucs. Drew Brees has ridden off into the sunset in New Orleans while Matty Ice and the Falcons should be better this season than their dismal 4-12 mark from last year. The Carolina Panthers own the most electric tailback in all of football with Christian McCaffrey but one man is not enough. The Bucs get the blue ribbon again in the South.
Los Angeles Rams +200
San Francisco 49ers +205
Seattle Seahawks +275
Arizona Cardinals +475
Winner: Arizona Cardinals (+475) – This will be the most hotly contested divisional race in the league and it wouldn’t surprise us one iota if the Cardinals rose to the top of the talented heap. It’s quite likely Matthew Stafford could go off with his new team in LA after toiling in a football purgatory that was Detroit throughout his career. It is also possible Russell Wilson and the Seahawks could emerge with the best record in the NFC West as they are always a hard-hitting, offensively prolific team with one of the best quarterbacks in the game calling the shots. Maybe San Francisco will return to their Super Bowl form from a few years ago but the dynamic duo of Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins, along with Rodney Hudson at center whom they acquired for a third-round pick will be vital to Murray being able to deal in the pocket. Great odds here on a dark horse that could be the Cinderella story of the 2021 season.