This has been a year where the sportsbooks have gotten killed booking NFL wagers. The reason is clear – there simply is very little parity in the NFL this season.
Actually, this is a year of haves and have nots. We all know which teams fit in each bracket. The Steelers and Patriots are the premier AFC teams, just as many of us thought before the season began. In the NFC, it’s a little more complicated since that conference is much deeper in talented teams than the AFC. The Falcons, Saints, Panthers, Eagles, Vikings, Lions, Seahawks, Rams, all have shown they are dangerous contenders.
It’s possible some other team or teams could rise to become surprise Super Bowl contenders especially considering how much of an effect injuries can have. Just look at what happened to the Packers’ playoff chances after losing quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Similarly, the Houston Texans looked poised to make a run until they lost quarterback Deshaun Watson.
The New York Giants have lost key offensive players all season long. Look at how devastating a key offensive lineman going down can mess up a game plan. Just ask Dallas or Green Bay Packers. In fact, besides quarterback, there is no bigger impact on a team’s fortunes than the health of their offensive linemen. I could go on and on about how much a Watson and JJ Watt mean to the Texans or Andrew Luck not playing a down for the Colts. I think you get the point.
I predicted even before the season started there would be a resurgence of the running back in the NFL. That sure has come true. The LA Rams’ Todd Gurley stuck a dagger in many a fantasy football owner’s heart last year. This season, he’s looking like the star everyone saw in 2015. Most of the really successful teams this year have better balance than was the trend in prior campaigns. Still, there exists this huge division between the Haves and Have Nots. The root of this division can be directly attributed to the lack of quality offensive lineman and quarterbacks.
Overall, even though I believe this is a down year for the NFL in terms of depth of talented squads, given time many of these teams will develop the people they have and be competitive for years to come. The league will always have to overcome the pending loss of some star QB’s that are reaching the end of their careers.