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2016 NFC Championship Futures Update – January 6, 2016

2016 NFC Championship Futures Update – January 6, 2016

The NFL Playoffs are right around the corner with Wild Card weekend coming in just a few short days. Before the playoffs start, it’s time to take a look at the interesting road to the Super Bowl in the NFC. The Carolina Panthers have home-field advantage, but are second to the Arizona Cardinals as the odds show; the Cardinals are +160 favorites to win the NFC.

Can the Panthers carry over their season-long dominance to prove the odds wrong? There is also a pair of interesting teams in the hunt. NFC East champions, the Washington Redskins, attempt to prove their doubters wrong, while Wild Card Seattle remain as one of the teams to fear throughout the playoffs.

Read on for everything you’ll need to heading into the NFC Playoffs. Check out the entire playoff landscape with our AFC Championship and Super Bowl odds updates.

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NFC Championship Odds Update

The Road to the Super Bowl Goes Through Carolina

The Carolina Panthers (+190) are the team to beat in the NFC. The path to the Super Bowl goes through Carolina after the Panthers secured the No. 1 seed with a stellar 15-1 record in the regular season. The Panthers are banking on MVP candidate Cam Newton to lead the team to victory.

Newton has been stellar all-season long using both his strong arm and nimble legs. The Panthers quarterback passed for 3,837 yards with 35 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in the regular season. He scrambled for 637 yards more with 10 rushing scores.

[sc:NFL250 ]Newton has managed to beat defenses despite the loss of No. 1 receiver Kelvin Benjamin due to a torn ACL before the regular season. Tight end Greg Olsen stepped up big-time leading the team with 1,104 yards receiving and seven touchdowns. Ted Ginn Jr. has also been reliable with a team-high 10 receiving scores. The trio of Jerricho Cotchery, Devin Funchess and Corey Brown have also lent their hands, combining for 1,405 yards and 12 scores.

The Panthers also have a solid backfield led by Jonathan Stewart with his 989 yards and six touchdowns. Stewart is set to return in the playoffs after missing the past three games due to an injured foot.

A handful of strong playmakers on the other side of the ball make the Panthers one well-rounded team. Linebacker Luke Kuechly is as versatile as he could get, able to join the pass rush on one snap then go into coverage in another. Josh Norman and Kurt Coleman have been strong in the secondary. Norman has a team-high 18 passes defended and four interceptions (two pick-sixes). Coleman has a team-high seven interceptions, including a pick-six.

Don’t Sleep On the Seattle Seahawks

NFL NFC Championship Odds Update - January 6, 2016

The Seattle Seahawks may own the sixth seed in the NFC Playoffs. But they’re by far one of the best teams in the conference, which their +250 line surely reflects. The Seahawks have enjoyed plenty of success toward the tail end of the regular season, winning six of their last seven games.

Quarterback Russell Wilson was the catalyst to the Seahawks’ winning run, totalling 24 touchdowns and just one interception in the last seven games. Wide receiver Doug Baldwin has been one of Wilson’s favorite targets, hauling in 11 touchdowns during the run. Baldwin also leads the team with 1,069 yards and 14 touchdowns. Jermaine Kearse and Tyler Lockett have also been reliable receivers, combining for 1,349 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Wilson has enjoyed plenty of success with a solid running game. Losing rookie Thomas Rawls due to a fractured foot in Week 14 was a huge blow, considering he led the team with 830 yards rushing. But Marshawn Lynch is set to return as his usual beastly self in the playoffs. An extended time off should have helped Lynch sort out his injury woes as he returns fresh and ready to unleash his Beast Mode in the playoffs.

Of course we can’t ignore Seattle’s defense; it’s the lifeblood of their team. The Seahawks have the league’s best scoring defense for the fourth straight year, allowing just 17.3 points per game. That figure gets even better in the past five weeks as the Seahawks allowed just 11 points per game.

The Legion of Boom is pretty much intact with Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor all solidifying the secondary. Meanwhile, the front seven is pretty much a brick wall with Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett and Bruce Irvin. It’s going to be tough to score on Seattle, even if they’re going to be playing on the road for the entire playoffs. The Seahawks have won their last five road games, allowing just 6.8 points per game.

The Washington Redskins Have a Shot; a Long One

NFL NFC Championship Odds Update - January 6, 2016

Not many are giving the Washington Redskins a shot in the playoffs with quite a patchy defense. But their offense has been firing on all cylinders thanks to the surprisingly excellent play of quarterback Kirk Cousins. If Cousins can keep up his high level of play, then the Redskins may surprise one or two teams in the NFC Playoffs.

Cousins has been playing out of his mind through the second half of the season, throwing for 19 touchdowns and just two interceptions. He’s thrown for three or more touchdowns in four of his last eight games.

A strong supporting cast in the receiving corps powers Cousins. Tight end Jordan Reed leads the team with 952 yards and 11 touchdowns, while Pierre Garcon is second on the team with 777 yards and six scores. Rookie Jamison Crowder is also pretty solid with 604 yards and two scores. DeSean Jackson has also been very good with 316 yards and two touchdowns in December. Having a healthy cast of receivers should help the Redskins in the playoffs.

The Redskins have a good shot at advancing past the Wild Card round, facing the reeling Green Bay Packers at home. Washington has won six of their last seven games at home. The Packers have lost their last two games as they were outscored 58-21.

The road gets harder should the Redskins beat Green Bay, though. They potentially face Carolina in the Divisional round, if Minnesota beats Seattle. The Panthers beat Washington 44-16 in Week 11. Should Seattle and Washington both win out in the Wild Card round, then the Redskins face Arizona. The Cardinals are 4-1 in their last five games against Washington.

Nevertheless, a red-hot quarterback and a solid receiving corps should warrant at least a flyer on Washington’s +1,200 to win the NFC Championship. You like that line? Create a betting account now and take advantage of NFL Futures odds as early as today.

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Written by Kevin

Sports Betting Tips, News, and Analysis