Most 2015 NFL Division Champs Favored to Make 2016 Playoffs

The parity of the NFL has made it hard to repeat as division champions and make consecutive playoff appearances over the years outside of a few exceptions like the New England Patriots, who have won the AFC East seven years in a row and 12 of the past 13.
The Patriots have also won 12 games or more in six straight seasons, a number they could very well reach again in 2016 according to oddsmakers despite quarterback Tom Brady missing their first four games and Jimmy Garoppolo replacing him.
Brady’s suspension for his role in the Deflategate scandal may make it more challenging for New England to get into the playoffs, but the team is still a large -500 favorite (bet $500 to win $100) to make the postseason at the online sportsbooks. The first four games for the Patriots are not too difficult outside of a road meeting with former defensive end Chandler Jones and the Arizona Cardinals in the season opener on Sunday Night Football. If you think Brady’s early absence could keep them from the postseason, a wager on not making it is worth +350 (bet $100 to win $350).
Of the eight division winners from a year ago, seven of them are favored to make the playoffs again. In fact, the only team not expected to be back in the postseason is the Washington Redskins, who won the NFC East last year with a 9-7 record. You can get +160 on the Redskins making the playoffs again this season as quarterback Kirk Cousins attempts to prove 2015 was not a fluke in replacing Robert Griffin III.
The defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos seem like a risky bet to be back in the postseason without future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning. The Broncos remain one of the league’s best defensive teams even though they also lost middle linebacker Danny Trevathan and defensive end Malik Jackson via free agency. But Manning’s leadership will be hard to replace under center, with veteran Mark Sanchez, rookie Paxton Lynch or former third-stringer Trevor Siemian taking over. Regardless, Denver is -150 to make the postseason and +120 to miss out.
The defending NFC champion Carolina Panthers went an NFL-best 15-1 last year, and they are strong -450 favorites to return to the postseason behind reigning MVP Cam Newton. The Panthers looked mortal in a 24-10 loss to Denver in Super Bowl 50, but fortunately they play in a fairly weak division in the NFC South. Carolina has won the division each of the previous three years and should be able to take it again because the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons simply have too many issues.
The Saints are led by an aging Drew Brees and listed at +250 to make the playoffs, while Matt Ryan and the Falcons have slightly better odds at +195.
The division races in the NFC North and West are the most intriguing in 2016. Many feel the better teams placed second in those divisions last season, and oddsmakers seem to agree. The Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks are both big favorites at -500 to make the playoffs in the North and West, respectively, ahead of the Arizona Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings, who are -200 as the defending division champs.