Cover Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images
On average, about half the NFL teams that make the playoffs in any season miss the postseason the next year. That means six new teams should make that leap this season. This is great news for teams that had down years, and helps contribute to the hopeful attitude of fans in the early months of any season.
Coming into 2018, it already looks like the Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans are long shots to return to the playoffs, but there will surely be more.
Here are six teams, with betting odds from Paddy Power, that are most likely to qualify for the playoffs this season.
1. Green Bay Packers (1/2)
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Aaron Rodgers is back and the future Hall-of-Fame QB hasn't missed the playoffs since his first season under center in 2008. You're not getting incredible odds on the Packers at 1/2, but that's how much of a favorite they are to return to the playoffs this year.
2. Los Angeles Chargers (8/13)
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The Chargers get a lot of hype every year, and every year they seem to stumble just enough to miss the playoffs. This year, they were hit by the injury bug in camp, but the team still has enough talent on both sides of the ball to make it work.
3. Houston Texans (4/5)
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The Texans looked downright scary last season with Deshaun Watson under center and probably would have made the playoffs had he stayed healthy. As long as the QB's knee is ready to go, the Texans should have no problem making it through a weak AFC slate.
4. San Francisco 49ers (20/21)
Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images
The 49ers might not be the favorites to be a new team in the playoffs, but they are certainly the hottest team. They looked like a completely different squad after Jimmy Garoppolo took over last season and he still hasn't lost a game as a starter. The NFC will be very tough this year, but believe in the young quarterback at nearly even odds.
5. Baltimore Ravens (13/8)
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Our first team that odds wise is considered more likely to miss than make the playoffs, the Ravens shouldn't even be on this list. They came one play away from making the playoffs in 2017 and now have a healthy Joe Flacco and a better wide receiver corps. If the defense can play well again this year, the Ravens should return to the playoffs for the first time since 2014.
6. Chicago Bears (9/2)
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The Bears were getting buzz before the season and then they went out and got Khalil Mack. Suddenly, this defense is going to be very good and second-year starter Mitch Trubisky has some weapons on offense. This is by far the long shot of these six teams, but every year there's a team nobody saw coming that makes the playoffs. Why not the Bears this season?
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Ian McCafferty is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Ian McCafferty also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username itmccaff. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.