The Paddy Power NFL Division-by-Division Preview

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We’re closing in on the return of the NFL. Y’know, that league that Tom Brady takes the absolute p*ss out of almost every year?

Yeah, that one.

Still, outside of Bradyville, there are seven other divisions. We’re here to guide you through who’ll win each one of them, before they eventually disappoint you.

Unless you’re a Patriots fan. In which case, enjoy your five-month-long cakewalk.

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NFC North

I’ll keep this one short. Aaron Rodgers is in this division. He’s won five of the last six. The Green Bay Packers aren’t even that good of a team, but Kevin King provides scope in the secondary that they’ve been lacking. Chicago are improving, but Mitch Trubisky will need a year to adapt. Minnesota are still mourning the loss of Teddy Bridgewater and the Detroit Lions are still trying to find that Rodgers Hail Mary. They’ve added Jarrad Davis but that won’t be enough to bridge the gap.

NFC East

This one looked as straightforward as the North until Ezekiel Elliot was pulled on alleged domestic assault. He’s been suspended for six games, pending appeal. Either way, the Dallas Cowboys the best offensive line in football and should still be the most efficient team in the division. Big Sam could run behind that offensive line. The Giants, led by Landon Collins, might have the NFL’s best defence.

Their quarterback is Eli Manning though, so that’s them roasted.

Although Evan Engram finally gives them a viable tight end option, they’ll come up short. After that, the Redskins were 4.5 games back, and the Eagles another one behind that. No reason to doubt a straight shootout.

NFC South

Here’s one for you – last year’s Super Bowl (bottlers) runners-up, the Atlanta Falcons, won’t be making the playoffs this year. They lost their offensive co-ordinator, they didn’t draft well and they’re now once again reminded that, when it comes to it, they’ll fall short as always.

This could be a battle that goes right to the wire.

While Christian McCaffrey could easily become the best offensive weapon in football this year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have everything – their time is now. The first replica of Rob Gronkowski declared for the draft this year, and O.J. Howard is a Buc. A matchup nightmare for everyone. Drew Brees is a few passes shy of a walking frame, and a few weapons short of a good team.

NFC West

We go from one of the best divisions in football to arguably the worst. Good Jesus, this is tragic. The 49ers’ starting quarterback is Brian Hoyer. The same bloke who threw four interceptions in a playoff game for Houston in 2015. The Niners’ defence could be elite if their secondary stays healthy though – but they’ll still lose games 6-3.

The Cardinals had the pieces, but head coach Bruce Arians has since come out and said his receiving corps is shambolic.

That’s nice of him. Good ‘ol Bruce. The Rams might be the worst sports team in all of Los Angeles, so that leaves the Seattle Seahawks by default. Again, their offensive line is chronic, but Russell Wilson slips in and out of more holes than Punxsutawney Phil.

AFC North

For the sake of this blurb, let’s forget the Cleveland Browns exist. Purely because the Cleveland Browns themselves, should forget the Cleveland Browns exist. Baltimore made some shrewd acquisitions in the off-season; Tony Jefferson in particular. They’ll be hard to beat deep. They face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers whose firepower and run efficiency should see them retain. Meanwhile in Cincinnati, Andy Dalton is still pretending to be a quarterback. That’s nice of him.

AFC East

The Bills have traded away nearly every player they have. The Jets might go sixteen games without winning one and the Miami Dolphins signed Jay Cutler. Tom Brady could literally have power naps between plays, run himself still beat these absolute messes. The New England fu***ng Patriots.

AFC South

It’s funny, yano. Jacksonville have basically become Britain’s team because they’ve embarrassed themselves at Wembley nearly as any times as England at this stage.

Funny how they built an expensive, young, talented squad and fell embarrassingly short, isn’t it?

They shipped some expensive talent but did get Leonard Fournette. Pity they didn’t rebuild as well as the Tennessee Titans though. The stars are aligning and Titans fans may actually be able to celebrate something, given the Texans’ lingering quarterback issue and the Colts’ issues with everything bar their quarterback.

AFC West

The best division in football and definitely the toughest to call. The Chiefs set the bar on form, but they’ve lost their running back and will rely on Alex Smith to throw the ball. That’s like trusting Leeds with a managerial appointment. There’d be more people at an Alan Curbishley burlesque performance than at a Los Angeles Chargers game, and the Denver Broncos are being priced out of keeping their elite defenders. The obvious selection here is the Oakland Raiders who would have run the Patriots close in the AFC Championship game had Derek Carr not been injured before the playoffs.

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