Tues Sept 11. 2018.
In each conference, there are just six places reserved for playoffs qualification, with four snapped up by division winners. With so many divisions boasting a dominant force, the battle for the wild card places becomes a fiercely contested affair. Last season, four AFC teams finished with a 9-7 record, but only the Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans made the cut.
This season, each conference boasts many teams who could force themselves into the playoff equation if they live up to their potential: these are the top thre
Source: T-Roy, via Twitter
In 2017, the Baltimore Ravens were one of the teams who missed out on the postseason with a 9-7 record in the AFC. Playing out of the AFC North, they need to contend with the Pittsburgh Steelers superstars for the division’s crown – which is pretty much out of the question right now. But they cut a tidy figure to clinch a playoff spot at +125.
However, the Ravens have managed to maintain their elite-level defense of last season as well as improve their receiving corps. Joe Flacco has much better targets in Willie Snead, Michael Crabtree, and John Brown as well as having breakout star running back Alex Collins to keep the opposing defense honest. They also have exciting young quarterback Lamar Jackson, who they’ve been practicing two-QB plays with over the offseason.
New York Giants
Source: Christopher T, via Twitter
Last season marked one of the most disappointing and fan-angering in New York Giants history. Mired by injury, the Giants schlepped to a 3-13 record in the NFC East. In a desperate attempt to save their already lost jobs, the coaching staff decided to snap Eli Manning’s incredible starts streak to the dismay of Giants and all NFL fans.
This season, the Giants have been given a good bill of health and added something that they have lacked for many years: a running back. Rookie Saquon Barkley completes the puzzle, allowing the strong receiving corps some space and able to eat up time. Now, with new coaching, the team looks well rounded and able to defy the NFL betting odds of +350 to make the playoffs. It’s a big season for the Giants, and Eli Manning has a great set up to take to what might be his last postseason.
Source: SNF on NBC, via Twitter
Having made it to the playoffs in 2017, which they followed with a decent offseason, it may come as a surprise that the Tennessee Titans are rated as a dark horse. Both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans are rated above them in the odds. Somewhat bizarrely, the Indianapolis Colts aren’t far off of the Titans’ +175 odds to make the playoffs, with the Andrew Luck-led team in at +350.
The Tennessee Titans should be expected to improve yet again this season, with their talented young core taking another step towards the team becoming a postseason regular. With a good schedule, a decent defense, and a rather imposing offense, Tennessee should be looking at challenging the Jaguars for the top spot, but likely coming short by a couple of wins to claim a wild card place.
The season has only just begun, and there are many storylines to be played through before we see who has made it to the sacred land of the NFL postseason, but these three teams appear to be underrated in the odds. The Ravens, Giants, and Titans all have a setup that could contend for a playoff berth.
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