It may have been Selection Sunday, but the NFL once again stole the spotlight in the sports world. After almost two months of retirement, the legend that is Tom Brady has returned to the league, suiting up for at least one more year with the Buccaneers.
Naturally, Brady coming back has dramatically shifted NFL future odds, most notably Super Bowl and NFC title odds. This article will cover the top four NFC championship favorites, including my pick to come out of the conference.
4. San Francisco 49ers (+650)
Coming in with the 4th highest odds, the San Francisco 49ers look to rebound from their NFC title game loss from a year ago. Under coach Kyle Shanahan San Francisco’s had a plethora of playoffs success, including a Super Bowl appearance back in the 2019 season, and look to have similar results despite the inevitable departure of Jimmy Garoppolo.
While no one can dispute the added dimension Trey Lance brings to the running game, it is yet to be known if he can be efficient enough as a thrower for the team to remain the same offense threat it was a year ago. He will have a great amount of support, however, as Deebo Samuel has developed into a legitimate superstar both in the backfield and on the outside, and George Kittle will continue to be one of the best two-dimensional tight ends in the entire NFL.
The 49ers have consistently won playoff games through the running game and their star-studded defense, and if they want to have another Super Bowl appearance, they’ll have to do more of the same. But for my money, I would not be so quick to bet on a team with this large of a question mark at the game’s most important position.
3. Los Angeles Rams (+450)
While the Los Angeles Rams were the Super Bowl champions a year ago, they remain with only the third-highest odds of repeating as NFC champions in 2022. The team expects to bring back the majority of the Super Bowl starters from a year ago, including Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp and future Hall of Famer Aaron Donald. And although new additions such as Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. may prove to be quick rentals, this team still has more than enough firepower to make a run in the NFC.
Offensively, the Rams will benefit from a full, healthy season of Cam Akers and can come out with a more balanced offensive attack next season. Matt Stafford has been able to take the monkey off his back of the Super Bowl victory, and he will be looking to improve upon his legacy, as he shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
As long as Sean McVay is coaching with Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey on the other side of the football, the Rams remain a legitimate Super Bowl threat in the NFL.
2. Green Bay Packers (+350)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not the only team that got back their Hall of Fame quarterback against all odds. Aaron Rodgers’ return to Green Bay catapults the team back into title contention, as the team still has an incredible roster and coaching staff intact.
While there has been drama about Davante Adams playing under the franchise tag, I firmly believe he will be back to catch balls from number 12 for at least one more year. Defensively, Green Bay was able to bring back star and breakout player De’Vondre Campbell to a five-year extension. He will prove to have a major impact on keeping Green Bay‘s defense at a high-level, something the unit has rarely been with Rodgers.
The Packers look like a legitimate threat in the NFC, but we have heard this year after year. After all the off-season drama over the past two years, the pressure is on Aaron Rodgers to finally get it done.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+300)
Just like that, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have shot up to the favorites to win the NFC. The Super Bowl 55 champions look to run it back one more time with the GOAT, as the team still holds one of the league’s best rosters.
Re-signing Chris Godwin lets Brady retain a slew of offensive playmakers at his arsenal, along with one of the top offensive lines to keep him upright at such an old age. Defensively Tampa Bay still boasts a ferocious unit, including the most impenetrable rushing defense in the conference.
No matter how old Tom Brady is, one simply cannot doubt him anymore. Even at the ripe age of 45, there’s still a very strong chance Tampa Bay is representing the NFC in the Super Bowl this upcoming season.
My Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers