You would have been hard-pressed to find many oddsmakers or analysts who had the Falcons triumphing over the Panthers to win the NFC South this year. I predicted a 4-5 game pullback for the Panthers, who I thought would end up being considerably worse than they were in their stellar 15-1 2015, but they still looked like the class of the division.
The preseason odds reflected that, with the Panthers considered pretty heavy favorites. Luckily for Atlanta, the odds haven’t reflected what’s happening in the division this year, with the Falcons at 6-3 and the Panthers at 2-5 thus far. It’s going to take some pretty incredible rallying from anyone else in the division to overtake Atlanta, and so it’s time to re-visit the divisional odds.
Atlanta Falcons -275
Carolina Panthers +600
New Orleans Saints +750
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +750
I find these odds a little...well, odd. The Falcons winning the division seems likely at this point, but the Panthers being ahead of the Buccaneers (and certainly the Saints) doesn’t seem entirely justified based on their play this year. Carolina has the talent on offense and up front on defense to engineer a turnaround, but the Saints have sneakily been solid this year, with an impressive win over the Seahawks making me think they may have more staying power than the Panthers or Bucs.
Do keep in mind that these odds haven’t been updated since Atlanta beat Tampa Bay on Thursday night, but either way, your Falcons are the big favorites to win the NFC South. That’s a nice feeling.