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The Dallas Cowboys had low expectations going into the 2016-17 season. After Tony Romo’s preseason back injury, the team had little choice but to give their fourth-round pick, Dak Prescott, the reigns. He ran with the opportunity and earned the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award while setting several records, including most consecutive pass attempts to start a career without an interception (176). Combined with RB Ezekiel Elliott’s breakout season, the two rookies were able to help the Cowboys win the NFC East. Their run ended at the hands of the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

Now the Cowboys find themselves tied with the Packers as +500 favourites to win the NFC in the 2017-18 season. They won’t have to repeat the same 13-3 record from last season, as they’re being given a bit of leeway with a 9.5 win total on the NFL props market. But with Prescott and Elliott having one year of NFL experience under their belts, and Romo’s retirement freeing up $14 million in cap space and the opportunity to trade, they should be able to make another playoff run.

The Packers, meanwhile, had a glorious run of their own in 2016-17. After finding themselves with a 4-6 record SU (4-5-1 ATS) midseason, QB Aaron Rodgers vowed to “run the table,” spurring the start of their eight-game win streak, including the Divisional Round victory over the Cowboys. Now they’ll try to beat the 10-game win total that oddsmakers have assigned them. While they haven’t made any earth-shattering moves during the offseason, they made a cornerback swap. CB David Rivers has officially been put on waivers, and CB Daquan Homes has been acquired.


Seahawks, Atlanta Close Contenders

The Seahawks are close behind Dallas and Green Bay at +550 on the futures market. Perhaps the biggest move of the offseason for Seattle was their decision to not trade CB Richard Sherman. Despite rumors of Sherman requesting a trade and managing an on-field outburst by the CB, the team decided to stick with him. Coach Pete Carroll further comforted fans by saying there’s a “zero percent” chance of trading the elite cornerback.

After being on the wrong side of the historic 25-point comeback in Super Bowl LI, the Atlanta Falcons are starting off third in line in the NFC, offering great betting value with +600 odds. They’re pinned with 9.5 wins for the season after finishing 11-5 SU in 2016-17; maybe they’re being given some time to adjust to their new home, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Regardless, after boasting the top offense in the league last season, the Falcons have bolstered their defense for 2017-18. They added DT Dontari Poe and first-round pick LB Takkarist McKinley. They’ll also benefit from the return of CB Desmond Trufont. Hopefully the Falcons can turn their Super Bowl woes into motivation for another killer season.


*Odds as of June 8, 2017