A look at the early favourites ahead of NFL season

The 2021 NFL season will kick off on Thursday 9 September with the Dallas Cowboys travelling to defending champions Tampa Bay as the schedule has recently been published.

Tom Brady led his Buccaneers to a surprise victory over the Kansas City Chiefs back in January as the 43-year-old won his seventh Super Bowl ring. But can he and his team pull off another miracle next season? Here’s a look at the early favourites:

5/1 Kansas City Chiefs

The pre-season favourites ahead of last season and then defending champions, the Kansas City Chiefs are the sportsbooks’ current expectation to lift the Vince Lombardi trophy in February 2022. They have been given odds of 5/1 at the likes of 22bet.com, with Patrick Mahomes widely regarded as the best quarterback in the game.

Kansas City made a big decision to release starting left tackle Eric Fisher this off-season but have traded for Orlando Brown Jr. as his replacement. Mitchell Schwartz has also been released after missing most of last season through injury, so there’s a few changes on the offensive line that failed to protect their quarterback in the Super Bowl.

Otherwise, it’s very much of the same for Andy Reid’s team, who are blessed with a string of talented receivers. Le’Veon Bell and Damien Williams both departing will mean a change in the backfield but otherwise they are rightfully the favourites

7/1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bruce Arians has been able to keep much of the roster that upset both the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship and then the Chiefs to win their second Super Bowl. Tom Brady is another year older whilst Rob Gronkowski has a year under his belt after coming back from retirement. It will be interesting to see what they can get out of Antonio Brown in a full season too.

Putting a franchise tag on Chris Godwin was a huge deal, whilst keeping Lavonte David, Shaq Barrett and Ndamukong Suh is significant. The Buccaneers are rightfully among the favourites from the get-go this year.

14/1 LA Rams

The acquisition of Matthew Stafford has made the LA Rams the third favourites to win this year’s Super Bowl. The 12-year pro has never won a post-season match, largely down to having previously played his entire career with the Detroit Lions.

Sean McVay’s side lacked any offense in their loss to Green Bay back in January and will be hoping the 33-year-old can make the difference. They certainly gave up a lot for him.

LA already has one of the top defenses in the league and will be hoping Cam Akers stays healthy for the whole campaign to give them a reliable ground game.

14/1 San Francisco 49ers

Super Bowl runners-up two seasons ago and then plagued with injuries from the start last season. It will be interesting to see if the San Francisco 49ers can live up to their pre-season odds particularly in a very talented NFC West where all four teams are legitimate contenders to win the division.

Much is being made of rookie quarterback Trey Lance, with many expecting the former North Dakota State Bison star to start from week 1 and lead the 49ers to the playoffs.

If they stay healthy, they certainly have the talent on defense to help get them there.

15/1 Baltimore Ravens

Lamar Jackson has been a star of the regular season for each of the past two years but has a 1-2 record when it comes to the playoffs.

The Baltimore Ravens have had the best ground game for each of the past two seasons with help of quarterback Jackson, but put up just three points versus the Buffalo Bills in January.

John Harbaugh’s side are certainly capable of winning the AFC North against a Pittsburgh Steelers side somewhat in transition, and an inconsistent Cleveland Browns. But how far can they go in the post-season?


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