It seems every season finds at least one team from each conference that comes out of nowhere to turn the NFL picks table on its ear. It was Arizona Cardinals from the NFC last season, making the postseason and nearly winning the division despite being last on the online sportsbook’s odds Over in the AFC, the LAs Vegas Raiders with a surprising run. Who will it be for the NFL’s 2022 season?
Surprising Playoff Runs
New York Jets
To Make Playoffs: Off the Board (currently)
The Jets are off to a brutal start, Quarterback Zach Wilson is expected to miss the start of the season. However, Joe Flacco is serviceable. New York will be one of the most improved teams.
There’s a stalwart offensive and defensive line, along with a skill at receiver. New York may start on a losing note, but will become one of the best teams to close out the season, especially with winnable games in each of their last four. A bet online on the Jets to sneak into the playoffs is doable.
- To Make Playoffs: +350
One team that finished strong in 2021 is the Detroit Lions. This season, the Lions should only be better. Jared Goff can lead this team to the playoffs, especially when he’s working behind one of the best offensive lines. The Lions also have an offense that’s potent.
It’s the defense that will be this team’s X-Factor. Aidan Hutchinson shouldn’t only improve the team’s pass rush, but also be a spark plug for the team. Along with coach Dan Campbell, the two should revitalize the Lions as they look to return to the postseason for the first time since 2016.
Usurping the Division Title
Las Vegas Raiders
- To Win AFC West: +600
It’s a little crazy seeing the Raiders priced at 6-1 to win the AFC West, since in reality, they’re not that far off their peers. Every AFC West rival has a flaw that can knock them down a few pegs, especially with perennial division kingpin Kansas City potentially regressing some.
The Raiders’ new acquisitions-Davante Adams on offense and Chandler Jones defense-immediately make them improved, If Josh McDaniels can coach Tim Tebow to a playoff win in Denver, he can make Derek Carr a legit MVP candidate as the Raiders contend for the AFC West’s title.
- To Win NFC South: +1000
The Panthers are like the Denver Broncos of the NFC, as in a quarterback away from making a run. Carolina acquired Baker Mayfield, who plays his best when he has a lot to prove. A change of scenery will do him well.
Mayfield will have more to work with in Carolina than in Cleveland, including a healthy Christian McCaffrey. The offensive line should be improved, and the defense, at its peak, had a top-five unit last season. So, not only will Carolina make a run at the playoffs, do not be shocked if it gives the Bucs a run for their money atop the division.
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Serious Super Bowl LVII Contenders
- To Win Super Bowl LVII: +2000
Eyes are on Lamar Jackson and his Ravens’ contract situation. Jackson will be back in a Ravens’ jersey, and the last season of this current pact should only push him to be better. A season ago, Jackson was able to carry the injury-plagued Ravens to the top of the division until he was hurt, too.
Baltimore will be healthier now, bringing in improvements to the offensive line as well as bolstering the defense. The Ravens should be able to better protect Jackson while keeping opponents’ passing attacks at bay. As far as bearish teams this season, the Ravens lead the way.
- To Win Super Bowl LVII: +3000
According to NFL expert picks the Eagles are arguably the most improved team heading to this season, as not only did this team acquire A.J. Brown and Haason Reddick, but Jalen Hurts should be better. His o-line figures give him plenty of time and will continue to make the running game one of the best in the NFL.
On the defensive side, Reddick will significantly improve the linebacking corps, while James Bradberry anchors the secondary. Philly isn’t only the best team in the NFC East, but also one of the best NFL predictions to come out of the conference.