Las Vegas insiders believe they already know which NFL teams will be Super Bowl contenders in 2018. Look for these five teams to exceed expectations.
Predicting which NFL teams will experience success in the 2018 is big business for prognosticators all around the country. Fortunately, the NFL is always full of surprises. Here are five teams that will defy expectations and win more games this most people think this season.
5. Carolina Panthers
It may seem odd to classify the Panthers as a surprise team given the fact that they finished the 2017 campaign with a record of 11-5. Even so, Vegas isn’t giving Carolina much respect. Sportsline only gives the Panthers 40/1 odds to win the Super Bowl.
That’s underselling what the Panthers were able to accomplish this offseason. Adding D.J. Moore in the first round gives a major boost to Cam Newton’s receiving corps. Greg Olsen also figures to experience a healthier season. Those two facts should give Carolina a chance to produce significantly more explosive plays this season.
If that happens, the NFC South could be in real trouble. The Panthers defense is already an intimidating group. In particular, Ron Rivera’s group can really rush the passer. The front four of Julius Peppers, Dontari Poe, Kawaan Short and Mario Addison is going to be a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks. The starting linebacker trio of Luke Keuchly, Thomas Davis and Shaq Thompson will clean up anything the line doesn’t handle.
The one question on defense will be the Panthers’ secondary. if second-round pick Donte Jackson can grab hold of the starting spot opposite James Bradberry this group should be much-improved. He isn’t the biggest corner in the league, but his 4.32 time at the NFL Combine certainly shows he has elite speed.
The NFL is all about making big plays on offense and harassing the opposing quarterback. The Panthers have the personnel to do both of things at a high level. That gives them the chance to be legitimate Super Bowl contenders this year.