Everyone expects the defending champion New England Patriots to yet again dominate their division. However, nothing is ever a certainty in the NFL. There will always be a surprise team that emerges to become a contender. Here are four long shots that could surprise everyone by capturing a division title.
After barely missing the playoffs last year, Tennessee is now poised to become a serious contender. The team has all of the necessary ingredients to be successful. If quarterback Marcus Mariota can remain healthy for the entire year, the offensive unit should thrive. A ferocious pass defense also helps make Tennessee a dangerous team. Most importantly, no other team in the division is noticeably better than Tennessee. Another hot streak at the end of the season could enable Tennessee to leapfrog Denver and Houston.
Tampa Bay always remains an afterthought when discussing the top teams in the league. According to the latest NFL odds, Tampa is expected to finish fourth in its division. Nevertheless, fans could be in for a big surprise in 2017. Not only does Tampa Bay boast an outstanding receiving core, but it also has a rather stout defense. You can surely count of this squad to play hard every game. QB Jameis Winston excels at keeping his team motivated during difficult times.
Philadelphia fans are hoping that the team can finally find its footing in 2017. With Dallas dealing with the suspension of its star running back, the Eagles must take full advantage of the situation. In an effort to bolster its offense, Philadelphia acquired some talented receivers during the off-season. Carson Wentz can now blossom into one of today’s best young quarterbacks. As always, Philadelphia’s raucous home crowd will make it hard for opposing teams to focus.
After getting off to a great start in 2016, the Detroit Lions limped into the postseason. They were easily thrashed by the Seattle Seahawks in the first round of the playoffs. If Detroit can learn how to win close games, it will definitely be competing for a division title. Fans certainly have reason to feel optimistic. Detroit has one of the best offensive lines in the league, which should help the team to move the ball down the field. To truly be successful, Detroit must perform more consistently on defense.
Which One of These Long Shots Will Win Its Division?
Although all four of these teams should improve, only one will overcome the NFL odds to become a division winner. At the end of the season, the Tennessee Titans should be celebrating a division title. The other teams in Tennessee’s division have some obvious flaws that can be easily exploited. While the Indianapolis Colts are dealing with an injured Andrew Luck, the Houston Texans must overcome the loss of corner A.J. Bouye on defense.