The updated playoff odds for the upcoming NFL season have been released, and the New England Patriots at -1500 are the overwhelming favorites:
The Pittsburgh Steelers (-550, bet $550 to win $100), Philadelphia Eagles (-260), Minnesota Vikings (-260), Green Bay Packers (-170) and Los Angeles Rams (-170) round out the top of the list.
Teams like the defending champion Eagles, perennial playoff contenders like the Patriots and Steelers or teams that have built loaded rosters in recent years (Rams, Vikings, New Orleans Saints, Jacksonville Jaguars) are all safe but boring options for playoff predictions.
But what are some of the riskier potential teams to keep in mind?
In the NFC, one team may be worth taking a flier on are the New York Giants (+325). The addition of rookie Saquon Barkley at running back will add a dynamic new element to an offense that will return Odell Beckham Jr. at wide receiver, after he missed much of the 2017 season to injury, and up-and-coming tight end Evan Engram.
Adding Nate Solder (free agency) and Will Hernandez (draft) should help shore up the offensive line as well.
It's worth noting that the Giants were a playoff team in 2016 before last year's disastrous campaign. There is still talent in New York, however, and the team could have a dynamic offense in 2018. The Giants aren't among the NFC's elite, but they're a sneaky pick to slip into a Wild Card spot.
In the AFC, Vegas clearly thinks the Los Angeles Chargers (-145) are ready to take the next step and reach the postseason. Interestingly, the Kansas City Chiefs (+120)—who have reached the postseason three straight times—have worse odds than the Chargers, though they maintain the sixth-best playoff odds in the AFC.
That likely comes down to the uncertainty over switching quarterbacks, from veteran Alex Smith to second-year man Pat Mahomes.
Tennessee is an interesting team to consider. The Titans had a solid offseason, adding players like Malcolm Butler, Dion Lewis and rookies Rashaan Evans and Harold Landry, among others. The bigger offseason addition might be replacing Mike Mularkey with Mike Vrabel as head coach and adding offensive coordinator Matt LaFluer, who should help get the most out of quarterback Marcus Mariota's strengths.
The Titans should be better in 2018, which gives them a solid chance of returning to the postseason, even in a pretty loaded AFC South.