Dominance has been the name of the game in the AFC over the course of the last several seasons. Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger have combined to win almost every single AFC Championship Game over the course of the last decade and a half. In the NFC, though, eight different teams have won the conference championship over the course of the last nine years. Just when you think you know what's going to happen in this conference, something completely different happens, and that's why there are some teams with big prices on their heads who might surprise in 2017.
New York Giants
Super Bowl Odds: +2500
The G-Men are expected to be a fringy playoff team again this year just like they turned out to be last season. This year's team, though, has a lot better shot at going all the way. Dallas is due for regression, and the weapons around Eli Manning are a heck of a lot better now with Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram in town. The team has loaded up for one last run in the Eli era, and we already know that the younger Manning brother has a flair for the dramatics.
Manning has won the Super Bowl twice, knocking off the mighty Patriots both times. We know they're going to be the team nobody wants to see in their draw in the NFC playoffs no matter if they have to play at home or on the road. New York can play this year, and if it can find enough defense to complement one of the best passing games in the NFL, this will be a dangerous squad.
Super Bowl Odds: +3000
The biggest question with the Panthers? Was the 15-1 2015 season a total fluke, or was last year's team just a bunch of underachievers who went through a slew of injuries and some regression?
For a price of 30 to 1 to win the Super Bowl, it's worth taking a shot that the Panthers are every bit as good as they were two seasons ago. The mass majority of the faces are exactly the same from that squad, and hopefully having a healthy Luke Kuechly will change the way this defense plays.
More important is the fact that Cam Newton has some more weapons on the offensive front. Christian McCaffrey finally gives him a dynamic back for the first time since DeAngelo Williams was cast out of town, and Curtis Samuel is sure to bring that speed to the offense that Ted Ginn Jr. brought during the NFC title year of 2015 – hopefully without all the dropped passes.
Super Bowl Odds: +6500
It takes a little more squinting to see how the Redskins could be competitive this year. Their defense still doesn't have the look or feel of a unit that can hold a good team under 20 points in a big spot, and there's a really good chance that this is the worst team of the four in the NFC East.
But let's not forget that quarterback play often wins championships. Kirk Cousins might not legitimately be worth the second franchise tag he's playing on this year in Washington, but he's still one of the 10 best pivots in the NFL. The Redskins made a great quiet signing this year in Terrelle Pryor, and his introduction plus Josh Doctson's improvement from a largely lost rookie season could make this offense incredibly fun to watch. Could the Redskins average 30 points per game? That's not hard to envision. And if they do, would you want to have them on your Super Bowl futures at 65 to 1? We know we would.
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