Each and every season, a handful of teams in both conferences generally overachieve and exceed beyond even the most optimistic expectations while either finishing with an unexpected playoff berth – or a season that comes close to it. With the 2015 NFL betting regular season quickly approaching, this expert betting breakdown will highlight my top five NFC playoff sleeper candidates for the upcoming campaign. The only criteria for making this list are that each team not be considered a leading playoff candidate heading into the upcoming campaign. With NFL training camps starting to heat up everywhere, let’s rock and roll.
They could surprise if…The Adrian Peterson drama notwithstanding, the Minnesota Vikings are clearly a team on the upswing in my eyes. I love young quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and genuinely believe that head coach Mike Zimmer is the right coach to get the NFC North hopefuls transformed from annual doormats back into the perennial playoff participants they once were.
Bridgewater proved he belonged in the league in a big way in 2014 after completing an impressive 64.4 percent of his passes for 2,919 yards with 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in a dozen starts. More importantly, the 22-year-old Bridgewater showed poise beyond his years by making smart, quick – and accurate – decisions with the ball.
The no-nonsense Zimmer also showed me a lot last season, both strategically – and being able to coax the best out of his players. If Adrian Peterson doesn’t ‘dog it’ in an effort to get himself traded (he won’t) the Vikings could leap-frog Detroit in the race for second place, behind Green Bay, in the competitive NFC North.
Minnesota added speedy wide receiver Mike Wallace in the offseason and a bunch of athletic young players via the draft, like cornerback Trae Waynes (No. 11 overall), linebacker Eric Kendricks (No. 45) and defensive end Danielle Hunter (No. 88). If all goes well, not only could Minnesota reach the postseason in 2015, but they could even pull off a playoff upset – or two.
The likely scenario is…
I think the most likely scenario for Minnesota in 2015 is that the Vikings take a slight step forward to…let’s say….nine wins, which, I believe will get them thisclose to a postseason berth, but not in the door. However, let me also say that I fully believe the Vikings are going to be a legitimate Super Bowl title contender in 2016 if they simply stay the course and both, draft well and keep their most important core players.
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