It’s no surprise that the San Francisco 49ers are favored to win the NFC once again in 2020. The Niners roster remains mostly unchanged. Head coach Kyle Shanahan will rely on a powerful running game, QB Jimmy Garoppolo, and the NFL’s best defense.
The 49ers and the New Orleans Saints are given +500 odds to capture the NFC title in 2020. The Saints have won three straight NFC South Division crowns and are poised for a fourth. That is no surprise either.
It is expected the Green Bay, Seattle, Philadelphia, Dallas, and Minnesota will contend for playoff spots in the NFC in 2020. Which team may sneak in and surprise the rest of the field? Which team might give bettors the opportunity to cash in big?
BETTING ODDS: TAMPA BAY
It’s not so much of a surprise anymore as oddsmakers have adjusted the Buccaneers betting odds to win the NFC to +500 and to win the Super Bowl to +1100, but does anyone really expect the Bucs to win anything in 2020?
The Bucs are given the same odds to win the NFC and Super Bowl as the Saints and 49ers, but it would still be a huge surprise if head coach Bruce Arian’s team actually did. Tampa Bay hasn’t won anything of relevance since a 2007 NFC South title that resulted in a Wild Card playoff loss.
There have been just two division titles (2005, 2007) since the 2002 Super Bowl XXXVII victory. The Bucs are hoping that Year 2 of the Arians era will pay off. Tampa Bay won five of their last eight games and then entered an offseason that gives the Bucs a roster worthy of at least a playoff spot.
Tampa Bay acquired future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady and his teammate TE Rob Gronkowski in free agency. Brady will have an offense full of weapons to work with. Receivers Chris Godwin and Mike Evans each went over 1,000 yards last season. Running back Ronald Jones is improving and the Bucs drafted pass-catching RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn as well as WR Tyler Johnson out of Minnesota.
The Bucs had the NFL’s best run defense and they return NFL sack leader Shaq Barrett (19.5). If Tampa Bay can improve their pass defense, they have a legitimate shot of winning something. Brady does have six Super Bowl rings in his possession.
BETTING ODDS: ARIZONA
While Tampa Bay might not be as big a surprise division, conference, or Super Bowl winner; the Arizona Cardinals surely would be. The Cardinals are a longshot at +2300 betting odds to win the NFC. It’s easy to see why. They play in the loaded NFC West and will have a tough time just obtaining a playoff spot.
With the expansion of an additional wild card team in 2020, it just might happen for Arizona. The Cards went 5-10-1 in head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s first season. Quarterback Kyler Murray was the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year.
In the offseason, GM Steve Keim went out and got WR DeAndre Hopkins in free agency. Hopkins is one of the top receivers in the game. Now, Murray will have Hopkins, Larry Fitzgerald (804 yards), and Christian Kirk (709) as weapons. In addition, Kenyan Drake, who had 643 rushing yards and eight touchdowns in eight games, returns.
The offense should be very good. Kingsbury is a master of the Air Raid offense and will utilize his weapons extremely well. Where Arizona needs to improve is on defense. The additions of LB De’Vondre Campbell, BL Devon Kennard, and DT Jordan Philips should help.
BETTING ODDS: ATLANTA
The real surprise of the NFC could come from the Atlanta Falcons. A longshot to win the NFC title at +2300 betting odds and a Super Bowl longshot at +4500, the Falcons have slowly built a roster that could pay off in 2020.
Atlanta added RB Todd Gurley, a former NFL Offensive Player of the Year, in the offseason. Gurley will more than replace Devonta Freeman. Along with wide receivers Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, QB Matt Ryan will have ample opportunities to make big plays.
There is no doubt the Falcons should be one of the best offenses in the NFL in 2020, as it should since it will start 10 former first-round draft picks.
Raheem Morris will continue to run the defense and if that unit continues to improve, the Falcons have a real shot. The problem, of course, is playing the NFC South with New Orleans and now Tampa Bay.
One thing to consider – the Falcons’ performance in election years. As wild as it sounds, Atlanta has made the playoffs in each of the last four presidential election years. They have averaged 11 wins in each of those four seasons (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016).