The preseason is over, and teams are making cuts to get down to the 53-man roster that will start the regular season. There will be a final flurry of moves, as players cut by their teams end up landing on another roster to cover for injury or perceived holes. The most interesting of those at the moment is Cam Newton, who was cut by the New England Patriots on Tuesday morning. It would be a surprise not to see him land with another team, albeit in a backup role. Still, for the most part, the rosters are set, and we have a general idea of how things might play out this season. As always, though, there will be a surprise team or two that rises up and makes the playoffs. Those are the teams we are going to look at now, with 3 in particular on our radar. Let’s jump right into action so you can bet against the NFL Playoffs odds throughout the 2021 season.
Sleeper teams poised to break into the 2021 NFL playoffs
LA Chargers -120
The Chargers missed the playoffs last season after going 7-9, which ended up costing head coach Anthony Lynn his job. Missing the playoffs is always a disappointment, but it is not all doom and gloom for the Chargers. They had the Rookie of the Year in QB Justin Herbert, who, assuming he avoids a sophomore slump, could take another big step forward this season. They also have some very nice pieces on the defensive side of the football and could prove to be a very tough nut to crack. Let’s not forget that 7 of the Chargers‘ losses last season were by a single score. If they were to even have managed to win 3 or 4 of those, things would have been very different indeed. This is a team that has a definite shot at making the playoffs.
New York Giants -110
The NFC East was an absolute nightmare last season, with the Washington Football Team winning it and going to the playoffs with a losing record. We would certainly expect it to be stronger this coming season, but not so much so that 9 or 10 wins might be good enough to win it. If you look at the teams in that division with the potential to reach that number, it is perhaps the Giants who might well be the most likely. The benefit that the Giants have here is that their schedule is relatively manageable, as they will face just 5 teams who ended last season with a winning record. That said, QB Daniel Jones needs to step up in his 3rd year. If he does, the Giants could win the division.
Arizona Cardinals +120
This feels a little bit like déjà vu in that I also spoke about the Arizona Cardinals as a dark horse last season. They certainly looked to be the part, jumping out to a 5-2 record before falling apart in the second half of the season. The addition of veterans on both sides of the football might well help their cause this season. J.J. Watt could be a great addition, assuming he can stay healthy, while A.J. Green will give Kyler Murray another great target on the offensive side of the football. The Cardinals might well bite me for the 2nd straight season, but I am still taking a shot here.