Super Bowl LVII concluded with Patrick Mahomes hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. Since that day, all 32 NFL front offices have been focused on this past weekend's draft. Most of the drama unfolded Thursday night. Bryce Young found a home in Carolina. CJ Stroud and Anthony Richardson were off the board by the fourth overall pick, and Will Levis sat in a fishbowl for the world to see his reaction to every team passing on him in the first round. By night's end, we got the answers we were looking for, and the rest of the pieces fell into place over the weekend.
Now that it's over, we can take a breath while ever so gradually dipping our toes in the offseason cycle. Futures, win totals and award markets will be on the summer menu, and even though it's the limited happy-hour variety, there is still enough to have a great time. So let the fun begin! Here's a way-too-early look at all four divisions in the NFC and the teams that hold value at the current odds.
NFC East Division winner: Philadelphia Eagles +100
Betting futures at even money four months before the season starts isn't the exciting wager you came for, but do you know what is exciting? Adding Jalen Carter, Nolan Smith and D'Andre Swift to a roster that came within a few plays of beating Mahomes in the Super Bowl. Philadelphia stole the show this weekend in Kansas City, and it's hard to make a case for anyone else in the NFC East. The Giants' offseason hasn't reduced the significant gap between Philadelphia and New York's rosters, which was more than evident in the Eagles' 38-7 playoff win last January. There is always Dallas, but not addressing the offensive line until the fifth round could end up being a detrimental decision for Big D. Repeats don't come easy in the NFC East, but I think the current favorite is the best bet.
NFC South Division winner: Atlanta Falcons +275
No more of this even money nonsense. Let's sink our teeth into something that will multiply our wager. The NFC South was the division nobody wanted to win last year. The 8-9 Buccaneers eventually ended up the last team standing, but even their future was dim enough to force Tom Brady into the broadcasting booth. Why Atlanta? It might be the team least likely to mess up, and that's going to be all it takes. Arthur Smith has his King Henry, and his Tennessee blueprint is a very simple formula to follow.
They are going to pound teams with the running game, and they will do it very effectively. The Falcons had the second-best rushing offense B.B. (Before Bijan), and Bijan Robinson will be a game-changer for what was already the highest-scoring team in the division last season. Every fiber in my body believes that investing a top-10 pick in a running back will undoubtedly haunt them, but it won't happen next year. Like driving a new car off the lot, Robinson's value will depreciate rapidly, but it will feel like the best decision ever made for the first few months. That's all we are betting on here. In a division with Baker leading the Bucs, a rookie QB in Carolina and Derek Carr's second act in New Orleans, it feels like the Falcons are a team with a solid path and an even more solid price at +275.
NFC North Division winner: Minnesota Vikings +325
Did you really bet on the NFL last year if you weren't fading the Vikings in the second half of the season? Minnesota (13-4) was the golden goose that allowed every Twitter handicapper to leap on their soapbox and explain why they were underdogs in so many games despite their record. The end was disappointing, but there were some promising signs in Kevin O'Connell's debut season as a head coach. The Vikings' offense is clearly on the right path and will be even more explosive after swapping Adam Thielen for Jordan Addison. In addition, they drafted a few pieces in the secondary for new defensive coordinator Brian Flores and signed DE Marcus Davenport to boost the pass rush. Now that O'Connell has a year under his belt, the Vikings should be a much better team, even if they don't have a better record.
The Lions are the current betting favorite, which is a pretty big reversal of roles for a team that only won nine games while ranking 28th or worse in both EPA per play allowed and defensive success rate. Detroit being overrated creates value on the field, and my money is on Minnesota being in the best position to capitalize. The Bears should be improved now that they found somebody to block for Justin Fields, but winning the North is too big of a stretch. Green Bay in the first year of the post-Aaron Rodgers era is tempting at +400, but I'd rather have Minnesota at a slightly shorter number (+325).
NFC West Division winner: Seattle Seahawks +275
I am not handing Kyle Shanahan the NFC West and assuming Brock Purdy will be able to hold up for an entire NFL season. Purdy battled an oblique injury and suffered a complete tear of the UCL in his elbow during his eight-start tenure as the 49ers' quarterback. The signing of Sam Darnold doesn't give me any faith the 49ers can survive without a 100% healthy Purdy, making them a vulnerable favorite in the division. The Rams are going through a roster overhaul, while Arizona hit the reset button with Jonathan Gannon. That leaves old reliable. Pete Carroll's Seahawks coming off a pretty solid weekend.
The Seahawks bolstered their secondary by adding the best defensive back, CB Devin Witherspoon, with the sixth overall pick. They followed that up by snagging the No. 1-rated WR, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, to pair with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. I'm not fully sold that the second leg of Geno Smith's revenge tour will be as successful, but Carroll sure is doing his best to surround him with weapons. Former UCLA RB Zach Charbonnet joins Kenneth Walker III in the Seahawks' backfield to ensure Smith has an adequate running game to balance the play-calling.
I see this as a two-team race, and while I agree the 49ers are the rightful favorite, the value is with Seattle. San Francisco has the shortest odds (-175) of any team in the NFL to win its division, with major questions lingering at the most crucial position. I will take a shot with the Seahawks at +275.