Anyone will tell you which teams are clear dog favorites to win it all in their divisions as well going for it all in the postseason in the upcoming NFL season. NFL odds experts around have already started dishing out lists of who their favorites to go for it all this upcoming season are but what about the sleepers? Teams that are good, not good enough to be put in the same reigns as the Chiefs and Bills in the AFC or the Bucs and Rams in the NFC but still teams that could quietly make a strong run and put the league on notice.
Here are our top four sleeper teams, two from each conference that could easily make a run for the postseason through the wildcard spots and end up killing it.
AFC: Los Angeles Chargers
The Los Angeles Chargers have been slowly and quietly putting in the work to be the team that truly threatens the Chiefs in the AFC West division. While they’re not there yet because it’s the Chiefs we’re talking about on the other side of the division, with Justin Herbert on the offensive side leading the helm and Joey Bosa on the defensive side, the Chargers look all sorts of good.
If Justin Herbert can beat out the odds of a Los Angeles team who will come into the season with a new coaching staff and some major pieces gone, then this team will be good enough for a wild card spot. The key remains in if Herbert can make the leap from having a great rookie year to an MVP caliber season in year 2. If it’s left to talent alone then yes, and if that’s the case the Chargers even with more cons than pros will surely make it to the postseason via wildcard.
NFC: Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals, here’s one team that deserves to be as good as humanly possible. They have all the right stuff. A great offensive driven young coach in Kliff Kingsbury. A QB that has all the fixings to be a league MVP in the future in Kyler Murray and they have not one but two former Texans legends in DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt. But back in the offense, even if Larry Fitzgerald is closer to retirement than to come back for a couple more seasons, if there’s still enough gas left in him for one last run with Hopkins, Rondale Moore and A.J. Green all backing up Murray, then Arizona will put on a show at the receiver core.
Give me a defense with a healthy J.J. Watt, a healthy Chandler Jones and Markus Golden and I will ride anywhere and everywhere with it. Add to that rookie Zaven Collins and Isaiah Simmons and this just reads like a line that will cause havoc. This is the year in which Kingsbury, Murray and company need to step up or shut up and while winning their division is not really a viable option, a wild card spot can happen, all depending on just how badly Kyler Murray wants it.
AFC: Miami Dolphins
If you want to talk about a team that literally has gone from rags to riches in the last few seasons well Miami Dolphins come on down! This upcoming season will be Tua Tagovailoa’s revenge season against all of the haters around him who gave him no credit even when playing in a pandemic ridden season and with very poor protection around him. What did the Dolphins do then to make it up? They went to the draft and got him the best pass protector in the class in Oregon’s Penei Sewell and with that not being enough they also drafted Tua’s former Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle. Tagovailoa will be riding into the season with the likes of Waddle, Will Fuller, DeVante Parker and Jakeem Grant all bidding for his passes.
The Dolphins defense which was already an up and coming respectable unit improved more this off season with the selection of Jaelan Phillips in this year’s draft. And their secondary, it’s a thing of beauty. While they won’t beat the Bills in the AFC East, whoever has to play Miami in the first round of the playoffs after they snag a wildcard pass will have to pray to the stars above for all sorts of help. The Dolphins will be out for blood and glory, remember that.
NFC: San Francisco 49ers
Yeah let’s take another team from the NFC West. Why? Because that division is just that good at times. In order for the 49ers to be able to find a way back into the postseason a very tough decision will have to be made. What will happen with Jimmy G? By drafting Trey Lance, the Niners made it very clear for Garoppolo and everyone else around that the starting QB job in San Francisco is up for grabs. How long into the season will it be before Jimmy G is benched to play Lance? Or will Lance be the starter from week 1.
The Niners got some very much needed RB help through the draft by nabbing Trey Sermon in the third round and their offensive line while aging can still be considered one of the best in the conference. Now their defense with Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead, that’s where the power of this team resides, especially when you add a guy like Fred Warner. If they can bolster up their secondary a bit more, the Niners should be able to take one of the available wild card spots and wreak havoc in the postseason.
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