It’s never too early to look at next season, and if you ask, Las Vegas definitely never too early to bet on next season. In today’s Gold Diggers podcast, Michelle Magdziuk and I looked at the top eight favorites to win the NFC and predicted what has to go wrong for them this offseason for the Niners to take advantage.
The Favorite: Los Angeles Rams (+450)
Clearly the Rams have a good team, but they do have some question marks for next year. First, Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. are both set to hit free agency (not to mention Beckham’s torn ACL in the Super Bowl). Aaron Donald seems like he’s coming back, but he told TMZ that he wants both Von and OBJ to return. What happens if they don’t get both?
Also, Sean McVay’s fiance may say he’s returning, but Amazon is reportedly going to make a serious run at him to be in the booth for Thursday Night Football. Regardless of how much you may love your job, we all have a number in our heads that would get us to make a change. That number for McVay may be incredibly high given the state of the team, but Amazon is one of the few companies that easily afford to meet it.
The Old Enemy: Green Bay Packers (+600)
Green Bay is tied with San Francisco for the second-best odds to win the NFC, but this number depends entirely on Rodgers returning to the Pack for another season. At this point, that’s far from a given. If Aaron simply wants to walk away from football, you can forget about Green Bay winning the NFC North, let alone the entire NFC.
If Rodgers wants to be traded, there are a few avenues the Packers could go that would keep them in contention, as doubtful as they may be. A Rodgers for Russell Wilson swap would definitely be a threat to the 49ers, though it’s unclear if Packers GM Brian Gutekunst would feel comfortable moving Rodgers within the conference. Deshaun Watson would also put the fear of God into the Faithful, but his legal issues are a huge complication, not to mention the fact that there’s no way in hell Rodgers wants to play for the Texans next year.
The Older Enemy: Dallas Cowboys (+650)
It’s unclear why the Cowboys' odds are so high. They had almost everything go right for them this season, and not only could they not win the NFC, but they also couldn’t win a single playoff game. With serious roster decisions and a terrible game manager at head coach, Dallas simply shouldn’t scare anyone.
The Long Shots: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals (+1200)
The best Buccaneers news for the 49ers that could have happened this offseason has actually already happened. Tom Brady retired. There are rumors that the Bucs are willing to go all in to get a high-level replacement, but until that happens you can’t take Tampa Bay seriously.
Arizona has its own quarterback problems to deal with, despite whatever BS things their owner might be saying. There appear to be serious issues, not just between Kyler Murray and the front office but also between Kyler and some of the players. Until that gets straightened out, and until Kliff Kingsbury can figure out how to not completely crumble in the second half of the year, the Cardinals should be an afterthought.
The Longer Shots: Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints (+1600)
One of these teams makes sense in this spot, and one clearly does not. The Eagles have a playoff roster right now and seemingly are just a quarterback away from being the favorites in the NFC East. With three first-round draft picks this year alone, almost no one can match the capital the Eagles can offer in a trade for an elite quarterback. If you have any confidence in GM Howie Roseman at all to pull off a blockbuster trade, this is where you should be placing your money.
On the other hand, New Orleans has no business even with these long odds. The Saints’ brain trust appears to be going with the following plan: Lose Sean Payton, keep everyone else. If you take John Lennon away from the Beatles, you no longer have the Beatles. You just have Paul McCartney and two other guys. That plan might have had a chance if Drew Brees was still playing at his peak, but now it makes no sense. New Orleans has no quarterback to speak of and Dennis Allen as head coach. That isn’t exactly encouraging, considering how Allen did the last time he held the reins.
Check out today's Gold Diggers podcast to hear more on this and why Michelle thinks the 49ers should happily say goodbye to K’Waun Williams. You can find it on this page and anywhere else podcasts are found.