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2022 AFC and NFC Division Winner Picks

Justin Herbert

Justin Herbert

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

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Okay you gavones. You now have every team’s win total across the league, so let’s drop it like it’s hot with the AFC/NFC division winners (and conference victors). Argue amongst yourselves.

*Note: You have heard me say shopping around is pivotal, especially in futures betting, so make sure you look to see what book is offering the more favorable odds.

NFC

NFC EAST: Philadelphia Eagles +170

Philly had a lot of positives last year. For the first few weeks, I would scream at the top of my lungs to the TV every Sunday for Nick Sirianni to actually commit to the ground game. It took him about a month to finally start listening to me since he discovered some sort of wizardry in the weapons he had. Jalen Hurts is expected to take a big step forward as a passer this season, mainly because the team scooped A.J. Brown from the Titans. Sirianni has the system in place on offense. The defense improved on paper. The schedule is definitely manageable. Circle the Week 16 game against Dallas on Christmas Eve as it will likely decide who grabs the NFC’s four seed.

NFC NORTH: Minnesota Vikings +250

I wrote Green Bay as a team that very well might win 12 games this year (I know, I know). That would mean Minny has to at least win 12 games on their own accord. With Kevin O’Connell taking over for that dinosaur that is Mike Zimmer, the Vikings have a new outlook focusing on a pass-heavy offense. That’s music to my ears since I predicted Justin Jefferson as the league leader in yards and OPOY, as well as a monster MVP type season from Kirk Cousins. The defense, especially the secondary, should be vastly improved. The schedule is definitely manageable, but they have something of a tough draw in the first four weeks against the Packers, Eagles, Lions and Saints. If Minnesota can manage to go 3-1, or even 2-2, then there is a lot of open road for the Vikings to start building their case as the NFC North champions.

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NFC SOUTH: New Orleans Saints +300

I had to think hard about this for a few weeks, but I came to a decision that I firmly stand by heading into the season. The Saints should not only win 10 + games and the NFC South, but be in the mix for the NFC’s top seed. Tampa Bay is the biggest threat here, but with all of the issues of inconsistency and injuries they have had, it looks ripe for the picking. The Saints draw Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Minnesota and Seattle to start. That might be 4-1 or even 5-0. Their division price would be shot by that point, so that’s my approach for the Saints. Take them early. Jameis Winston is in for a big year post tearing his ACL. It’s a contract year for our boy Jamo, and I think he shows out.

NFC WEST: Los Angeles Rams +125

Yes, you know the Rams were my 2021 Super Bowl pick prior to the season. The roster is arguably better in 2022. Big Daddy Stafford has already said he feels more comfortable and understands this offense better than he did in his first campaign. The team replaced Robert Woods (and maybe Odell Beckham) with a hungry Allen Robinson, fresh off the worst case of senioritis with the Bears since my last year of high school. The defense added star MLB Bobby Wagner. The division overall will likely take a step back. If health is on their side, the Rams seem like the logical choice to run it back for the NFC West Crown. We should yet again see another deep postseason run.

NFC Championship: Rams (+500) vs. Saints (+1700)

NFC Champion: Rams (+500)

AFC

AFC EAST: Buffalo Bills -215

You have already heard me say the Bills are not a team I’m crazy high on. They have more flaws than a lot of people think, but the loss of OC Brian Daboll to me remains the biggest hole right now. Their schedule will (or should be) harder than it was last year, but it is still manageable. Realistically, 10 wins should be enough to get it done in the AFC East. Although it’s chalky, they are the division’s best team at the end of the day, even if New England gives them issues this season.

AFC NORTH: Baltimore Ravens +145

At the end of the day I expect the Ravens to run away with the AFC North. They were ransacked by key injuries and COVID in 2021, so if that sort of thing is in their favor in 2022, there is no reason to think this team won’t be fighting for a top two seed in the AFC this year. Lamar Jackson is playing for gigantic, market changing money (disregarding Patrick Mahomes’ contract), which should be another motivating factor for him to show out this year. Cincy should be a big regression candidate, while Cleveland and Pittsburgh likely don’t compete for the crown. The Ravens are hungry this year.

The App is Back! Don’t forget to download the NBC Sports EDGE app to receive real-time player news, mobile alerts and track your favorite players. Plus, now you can check out articles and player cards. Get it here!

AFC SOUTH: Indianapolis Colts -125

My boy Matty Ice is the shot caller of the big oil drum. I will maintain the position that there is NOBODY in the media (outside of maybe team reporters) that knows and watches Matt Ryan more than I have throughout the years. There are a lot of misconceptions about the guy. He still has a lot of high-level play left in the tank. The team, even without LB Darius Leonard for the time being, has a strong defense, elite offensive line and a great running game. Indianapolis, in my eyes, will be making a deep postseason run this season. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

AFC WEST: Los Angeles Chargers +240

Not to brag, but I have successfully predicted the last two Super Bowl winners before the season started. After I cashed a fat futures ticket on the Rams win in February, I had a dream about a week later. The Bolts were down four with 37 ticks left when Justin Herbert aka Herbie Fully Loaded threw the go-ahead TD, ultimately leading to the Chargers hoisting the Lombardi trophy. There was a lot of bad luck for this team last year that should regress to the mean. Even in a loaded division, they shall find their way to the top of the AFC West at a pretty good value.

AFC Championship: Chargers (+850) vs. Colts (+1200)

AFC Champion: Chargers (+850)

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