The 2022 NFL season is less than three months away. Training camps are open as teams officially prepare their strategies and schemes for the upcoming year while finalizing their rosters. Every team has a different level of expectations, but most of them hope to make the playoffs this year.
The NFC playoff race figures to be rather competitive, as it was during the 2021 season. Some teams will enter the year as heavy favorites to at least make the playoffs, while others will be underdogs.
Here are three NFC teams who could make the 2022 NFL Playoffs as underdogs
#1 - Minnesota Vikings (+110)
The Minnesota Vikings are slight underdogs to miss the playoffs next year with +110 odds. They barely missed out last year, finishing the season with an 8-9 record and missing out on a Wild Card spot by one game.
The Vikings fired head coach Mike Zimmer and replaced him with Kevin O'Connell, a young and offensive-minded coach from Sean McVay's staff at the Los Angeles Rams. He will look to bring new energy and creativity to a talented offense featuring Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook, who each finished in the top five in yardage at their position last season.
#2 - New Orleans Saints (+135)
The New Orleans Saints opened the 2021 NFL season with an impressive 5-2 record. They struggled after losing quarterback Jameis Winston for the remainder of the year due to a knee injury, but still managed to finish with a solid 9-8 record.
Winston is back for the 2022 NFL season and the Saints have added more weapons to his arsenal. These include wide receivers Jarvis Landry and Chris Olave, while Michael Thomas is expected to return from injury as well. They also added Tyrann Mathieu to their already strong defense, making the Saints a potential contender in the NFC this upcoming season.
#3 - Carolina Panthers (+550)
The Carolina Panthers are huge underdogs to make the 2022 NFL playoffs, currently sitting at +550 odds. They finished the 2021 season with an ugly 5-12 record after terrible performances from their quarterbacks, so the pessimism about their outlook is justified.
The Panthers played most of the 2021 season without superstar Christian McCaffrey, who was injured. Prior to his injury, the Panthers started the year with a 4-3 record, then finished 1-11 in their final 12 games after he was hurt. If McCaffrey can stay healthy during the 2022 NFL season, the Panthers could be a dark horse candidate to make the playoffs.