NFL Season Preview: NFC
The Wolf previews the NFC and gives all his futures bets for the conference.
NFC East Winner – Eagles
The NFC East is always one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL, with no team winning back-to-back division title since the Philadelphia Eagles in 2003 and 2004. The Cowboys are currently the $2.80 favourites to take out the NFC East, but The Wolf has his doubts, with the uncertainty still surrounding Ezekiel Elliott’s looming suspension, while both Elliott and quarterback Dak Prescott will see some regression on their outstanding rookie seasons. Another question mark hanging over the Cowboys is the potential regression of their offensive line, hurting Elliott’s production. The Wolf can’t back the Cowboys until there is more clarity on the Elliott situation and is tipping the Eagles to take out at NFC East at $4.50. Eagles QB Carson Wentz showed good command of the Eagles offence in his rookie season and is set for a strong second season in the NFL. He will be hoping new weapons Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith stay on the field and he can build chemistry with both wideouts. There is still question marks over the running back position, but The Wolf is expecting LeGarette Blount, in a committee with Darren Sproles, to be good enough to move the chains and keep the Eagles offence on the field. The Eagles front seven is one of the best in the NFL and the addition of Ronald Darby will give their secondary a huge boost. Fly, Eagle, Fly!
NFC North Winner – Vikings
The Packers have dominated the NFC North in recent years, winning the division in five of the past six seasons dating back to 2011. The Packers are very short at $1.45 to win the NFC North, mainly due to future hall of fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Wolf isn’t prepared to launch into the shorts with a few question marks on the Packers secondary, and their running game is relying on transformed wide receiver Ty Montgomery to carry the load. The Packers success will once again rely on Rodger’s arm, with The Wolf taking a gamble and backing against the future hall of famer. The Vikings are a very intriguing side this year and The Wolf’s top pick to take out the NFC North at $4.35. They won the division two years back with a 11-5 record and would love a big season, with Super Bowl L11 hosted in their backyard. Sam Bradford is a pedestrian quarterback, but if he can manage games and let the weapons on offense and defence do their jobs, the Vikings will have a successful season. The Vikings defence was their strong suit last year and it will be again this season, but there is plenty of excitement around rookie running back Dalvin Cook out of Florida State. Minnesota only have two road games prior to Week 10 and could make a quick start out of the blocks as a result, putting the pressure back on the Packers. The Bears and Lions will be just be making up the numbers in this division. At the price, The Wolf is happy to take a gamble of on the Vikings to be the kings of the NFC North.
NFC South Winner – Panthers
The Falcons took out this division last season on their way to the NFC Championship and a heart-breaking loss in Super Bowl LI. How the Falcons respond after throwing away last season’s Super Bowl will have a massive impact on this division. The side that The Wolf is warming to, is the Carolina Panthers. They’ve won the NFC South in three of the past four years and went 15-1 only two years ago before going down to the Broncos in Super Bowl 50. The Panthers offence has the potential to be one of the best in the NFC this season, with rookie running back Christian McCaffrey on the roster, QB Cam Newton returning to full fitness and wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin is due a monster year if he can stay healthy. The Panthers defence will be better this season and once again it will revolve around the NFL’s best linebacker, Luke Kuechly. Kuechly suffered a nasty concussion last season and the Panthers missed his direction on the defensive side of the ball. The schedule is pretty soft for the Panthers, with matches against the 49ers, Bills, Dolphins and Jets. The Buccaneers of ‘Hard Knocks’ fame won’t be easy-beats either and will be another side to keep the defending NFC champions – Falcons on their toes. The only issue for the Buccaneers is whether they can handle the hype, led by QB Jameis Winston, who is entering his third season in the NFL. They should beat their season win total of The Wolf is passing on Drew Brees and the Saints.
Carolina to Win NFC South @ $3.40
Carolina over 9 Wins @ $1.87
Tampa Bay over 8.5 Wins @ $1.80
Most Regular Season Tackles – Luke Kuechly @ $10
To Reach NFC Championship Game – Carolina @ $5
NFC West Winner – Seahawks
The Seahawks won the NFC West last season with a 10-5-1 record and have now won three of the last four division titles. The Wolf can’t see anything different happening this season, with both the 49ers and Rams expected to offer little resistance. The Cardinals are ageing with both Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald towards the end of their careers. Running back David Johnson is a superstar and will win the Cardinals plenty of games on his back, but it won’t be enough to challenge the Seahawks for the division title. The Seahawks will have issues with their offensive line, but on the back of Russell Wilson’s brilliance their great defence (just got even stronger with the addition of Sheldon Richardson), the Seahawks will be making a deep run in the playoffs and it wouldn’t surprise The Wolf to see them in Minnesota in February.
Seattle to Win NFC West @ $1.35
Seattle over 10.5 Wins @ $1.67
Arizona over 8.5 Wins @ $1.80
NFC Conference Winner – Seattle @ $6
Super Bowl LII Winner – Seattle @ $12
NFL Regular Season MVP – Russell Wilson @ $17