For the most part, the division favorites for the 2021 NFL season are obvious. But which non-favorites have a real chance to pop up and win this season?
Whether due to offseason hype or the expectation of continued dominance, every NFL division has a clear favorite entering a new season. With that said, nothing is ever certain. Just because the oddsmakers believe a team should be the favorite doesn’t mean the rest of the league is just going to hand that group the divisional crown.
At least in most cases, there are other quality teams in a given division that are capable of winning a lot of games and making real noise for any season. That, of course, applies to the 2021 NFL season, which has already kicked off with a Thursday night game between, lo and behold, two division favorites.
But before the rest of Week 1 gets underway, we’re going to look at the non-favorites in each division who have the best chance to pop up and win the division.
Note: All odds courtesy of WynnBET.
AFC East odds for 2021 NFL season
- Buffalo Bills: -140
- Miami Dolphins: +350
- New England Patriots: +350
- New York Jets: +1100
Best non-favorite pick to win: Miami Dolphins +350
With Josh Allen coming off a dominant 2020, the Buffalo Bills should win the AFC East. But outside of that club, the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots are the other two teams with a shot of winning the division. The New York Jets are improved but still have a ways to go before they compete at a high level.
In the case of New England, they struggled in the first year without Tom Brady but have bolstered the roster this offseason by signing Kendrick Bourne, Matt Judon, Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry and Nelson Agholor. But the biggest move might have been through the draft with the selection of Mac Jones. Jones had a dominant preseason and eventually won the starting job.
Despite that, the Dolphins are in better position to take on the Bills in the AFC East. Their lack of roster turnover is in contrast to that of the Patriots. Miami filled out depth, sure, but they weren’t trying to find new faces to start like New England and New York.
Tua Tagovailoa, however, will be the biggest determining factor for if the Dolphins can compete. He’s now the unqeustioned starter in Miami and, with some key offensive additions, the team is hoping he can take over and thrive.
The Dolphins may not have a serious chance of winning the AFC East but they are the best sleeper behind the Bills that have an outside shot of doing so.