The NFC features many strong teams heading into the 2022-2023 NFL season. According to DraftKings Sportsbook three of the 5 favorites to win the Super Bowl are from the NFC: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+700), Green Bay Packers (+1000), and the Los Angeles Rams also at +1000. It is really no surprise that these three teams are the top favorites to win the NFC as the Buccaneers have Tom Brady, the Packers have Aaron Rodgers, and the Rams are led by Matthew Stafford.
It’s also not surprising because the Rams and Buccaneers have won the last two Super Bowls and thus have the pedigree to get it done again. One obvious commonality that these three teams share is strong quarterback play; in today’s NFL teams cannot do anything meaningful without it. In addition to high-powered offenses, all three of these teams have had solid defenses that have found ways to string together strong performances deep into the playoffs.
Anytime you’re going to talk about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, you have to begin by mentioning Tom Brady’s presence for at least one more season. Last season, at the age of 44, Tom Brady was just as good as he always is. He lead the entire NFL in passing yards with 5,316 to go along with 43 passing touchdowns, which also led the NFL.
Even more impressively, he had a 67.5% completion percentage with a mere 12 interceptions on 719 passing attempts, which happened to be 47 more attempts than anyone else in 2021. Though Tampa Bay lost guard Alex Cappa and safety Jordan Whitehead to free agency, they did bring some new players in to fill in the gaps. Most notably the Bucs traded their 2022 fifth-round draft pick to the New England Patriots for guard Shaq Mason, presumably to replace Alex Cappa. They also went out and got safeties Keanu Neal and versatile Logan Ryan to bolster their secondary. They will be without wide receiver Chris Godwin for an undetermined amount of time but do hope to get him back in the starting lineup at some point in the season. Regardless of his status they do still have a high-end wide receiver in Mike Evans and running back Leonard Fournette, who is a threat in both the rushing and receiving game.
The Bucs’ defensive line is anchored by the mammoth defensive lineman Vita Vea that does it all for the team. To quote the Buccaneers’ defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers, “He’s probably the biggest guy that plays third down in the history of the NFL.” The linebacking corps is headed by the talented duo of Lavonte David and Devin White, both of whom were named second-team All-Pros back in 2020. White led the Bucs in tackles with 128 and David finished with 97 while missing five games this past season. Bottom-line is that the Buccaneers are the favorite to win the NFC and they have plenty of reasons for why they should.
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Another team that is always a favorite to get to the Super Bowl, primarily because of their quarterback, is the Green Bay Packers. While they do have a talented team, the key to their success is certainly the play of Aaron Rodgers. This is especially true given the off-season trade that sent All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams to Las Vegas.
The Packers hope to have All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari ready to go for week 1, while they expect to start the season without right tackle Elgton Jenkins as he recovers from a torn ACL. This will surely test the depth of their offensive line group, though it should be something they can get past. The void that Davante Adams leaves will have to be filled collectively. I do suspect it is going to mean additional touches for Aaron Jones, particularly in seeing more targets in the passing game while also sharing carries with AJ Dillon.
The combination of wide receivers Allen Lazard, Sammy Watkins, Randall Cobb, and rookie Christian Watson also have to pick up the many targets that are now available. On defense the Packers boast All-Pro Jaire Alexander at cornerback as well as talented linebackers Rashan Gary, Preston Smith, De’Vondre Campbell, and rookie Quay Walker. This core group helped the Packers’ defense hold opponents last year to 328.2 yards per game, which was good for 9th best in the NFL in 2021. The Packers are primed for making a playoff run this year even with losing Adams. It wouldn’t be at all surprising to see them represent the NFC at the Super Bowl.
Finally, the reigning Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams (+1000) have arguably gotten better in the off-season and are firmly in the mix of favorites to win the NFC. Their offense is built around solid quarterback play and putting the ball in their playmakers’ hands, which is exactly what Matthew Stafford did in his first season after being traded from Detroit.
The Rams also have two solid running backs in Darrell Henderson and Cam Akers to go along with wide receivers Cooper Kupp and recently signed Allen Robinson. Clearly the Rams have no shortage of talent at the skill positions and we know head coach Sean McVay will be scheming ways to get the ball in those playmakers’ hands. On the other side of the ball the Rams have arguably the best defensive player in the entire league in defensive tackle Aaron Donald as well as Jalen Ramsey, who is possibly the best cornerback in the NFL as well.
While they did lose Vonn Miller to free agency they were able to sign All-Pro middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, who is a pretty good consolation prize. It’s hard to count out the defending Super Bowl champs, especially when they’ve made high-level additions like Robinson and Wagner. The Rams will have their hands full this year as defending champs, because they have to open up the season against the Buffalo Bills.
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