- The Rams are runaway favorites to make the playoffs
- The surprising Bears are listed in the top six in the conference
- We’ve identified the value picks in the NFC
Get a load of these Los Angeles Rams.
Just two seasons ago, first overall pick Jared Goff looked like the next Ryan Leaf, Todd Gurley was trending downward after an impact rookie season, and the team averaged a paltry 14 points a game.
Now? The Rams are destroying teams, crumpling them up like paper and tossing them in the basket.
It’s no surprise then, that Los Angeles is a favorite to make the playoffs in the NFC. But this? This is the Webster’s Dictionary definition of head and shoulders above the field.
Odds to Make the NFL Playoffs in the NFC
|Team||Odds at Bovada to Make the Playoffs||Odds at Bovada to Miss the Playoffs|
|Los Angeles Rams||-3500||+900|
|New Orleans Saints||-200||+150|
|Green Bay Packers||-105||-135|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+250||-400|
|New York Giants||+600||-1200|
|San Francisco 49ers||+600||-1200|
Are the Rams a Playoff Lock?
You can permanent marker this one in right now: barring a major injury to Goff or Gurley, this team is making the playoffs, and the road to the Super Bowl in the NFC is through the City of Angels.
The Rams are averaging 35 points a game and they’re doing it without really breaking a sweat. Whether they’re whipping the lowly Cardinals or laying waste to an NFC conference favorite like Minnesota, they march down the field like clockwork.
2nd and 5
Goff to Cooper Kupp for 70yd TD
Appears to be broken coverage unless Defense actually wanted a LB manned up on Kupp pic.twitter.com/mI2TXquGqG
— Pete Lawrence (@_PeteLaw) October 3, 2018
Perhaps we should add another can’t-lose to that list. Head coach Sean McVay’s brilliance as the offensive mind behind this juggernaut can’t be overstated. He loves to find the matchups that favor his stars and then let the fireworks go.
Welcome to the Sean McVay Institute of Play Design. pic.twitter.com/rxhNzHILlX
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) September 28, 2018
If you’re into sure things, don’t overthink this.
The Bears have been great defensively this season, and yesterday QB Mitch Trubisky delivered a 6 TD performance… which leaves us (and Mike) asking… is it time to start believing in Chicago? pic.twitter.com/IBbdudd8rC
— PTI (@PTI) October 1, 2018
Are the Bears for Real?
Let’s not get crazy. Mitch Trubisky ripped apart the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, not the ’85 Bears. But man, it appears that Chicago might only need a heady version of that guy, because this defense is truly the real deal.
And they’re led by the most ferocious defender in the NFL right now, bar none.
Khalil Mack has now recorded a sack and a forced fumble in all 4 games this season.
He's the first player with a sack and forced fumble in 4 straight games since Robert Mathis in 2005. pic.twitter.com/DvU0apDyvH
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 30, 2018
Khalil Mack has helped the Bears lead the league in sacks with 18 through the first four games of the year, and better yet, the Bears are the lowest rated team in blitzing the quarterback, sending more than four just 12.7% of the time. To put that into context, the Browns currently lead the NFL at 42.9%.
To start the year, you’d be crazy to think the Bears would be in position to snag a playoff spot in a division with both the Vikings and the Packers. Minus an Aaron Rodgers comeback for the ages in Week 1, this team could be 4-0.
How Can the Cowboys Be this High?
I admittedly had to do a double-take when the Cowboys were given the seventh best odds to make the playoffs, ahead of both the Vikings (+170) and Washington (+175).
A win over the Lions could be the cause for recency bias, especially because Zeke Elliott was able to have himself a day, reminding people that he is arguably the premier back in the NFL.
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) September 30, 2018
As well, Dak Prescott’s performance reminded people that at one point he was considered on the path to the A-list of premier pivots. At least he’s shaken himself from a horrendous comparison with Brock Ossweiler for a week. The only category you want to be listed with Ossweiler is when you’re talking guaranteed money on a second contract.
Dak Prescott over his last 13 games:
2,396 Pass Yds
10 Pass TD
Brock Osweiler over his last 13 games:
2,326 Pass Yards
11 Pass TD
12 INT pic.twitter.com/UMTsK4r37a
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) September 25, 2018
This is a good time to remind you that, despite a total whitewash at home to the Bills (!!) and getting folded by the Rams, the Vikings are still really talented. They are good value right now to make the postseason with the Bears in the North, especially considering Rodgers is working on one leg.
And hey, if good QB play is enough to get you into the playoffs, maybe we should be looking at what’s been happening in the Nation’s capital.
Alex Smith: 152.2 rating off playaction. Top ten in YPA. Ball is moving. The guy is a good QB man. Not going to argue he’s great, but the dude is good. Just continues to evolve and tweak his game.
— Marshall (@MWharam7) October 2, 2018
Thanks, Cowboys, for helping us unearth some value.
Don’t Count Out the Falcons Just Yet
I don’t actually know the proper words to describe just how bad the Falcons’ defense is. Calling them a dumpster fire would be an insult to dumpster fires. Can we go with abomination?
Falcons defense NFL ranks…
Forced fumbles 32nd (only team with 0)
(This is as of the start of the PIT-BAL game)
— Mike Conti (@MikeConti929) October 1, 2018
The crazy thing is, this offense is probably the most explosive one in the NFL behind the Rams and Chiefs. Alas, it’s hard when your defense makes your opponent look like the Rams and Chiefs.
Matt Ryan is the first player in NFL history to lose back-to-back games with 350 Pass yards, 3 Pass TD and 0 Int. pic.twitter.com/VjUnou4D1a
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 30, 2018
Teams that average 29 points a game and over 400 yards of offense (6th and 7th respectively in the NFL) aren’t usually 1-3 and teetering on the edge of the playoff bridge already, so there could be a turnaround coming. At +275, they are the best value pick of the bunch.