Each year the projections from the so-called experts have them choosing last year's winners more often than not. In some ways, nobody can blame them based on what they had most recently seen, but if they did their homework like us football bettors, they might see the light.
In the past 11 seasons, only 36 of 88 division champions have gone on to repeat. That my gambling friends, that is 40.9 percent. Last year saw five new division winners, including the entire NFC.
We can also take this one step further. New England has thoroughly dominated their division. In the last decade-plus, the only time they did not win the AFC East was when Tom Brady blew out his knee in early September of 2008. If you discount the Patriots, that means the turnover in the other seven divisions rises to 66.3 percent.
With this in mind, where should we be looking for a changing of the guard among the eight divisions?
Action In The AFC
With most sportsbooks having New England around -800 and Pittsburgh at -230, they seem pretty secure. But last year's AFC South and West champs are expected to have to really fight to repeat.
Jacksonville is a still young and upcoming team with a great deal of upside. But just because you tasted success once after years of futility doesn't mean you are on your way. Tennessee has a new head coach in Mike Vrabel and he convinced ownership he can take the Titans to the next level.
Houston has a talent-laden roster and Deshaun Watson and J.J. Watt are back and the Texans should definitely be a factor in the South race. Indianapolis will be better as long as Andrew Luck plays.
Out West, the Los Angeles Chargers are already expected to upend Kansas City, having been made the favorites. The Bolts have the offense and the defense and the Chiefs are moving away from veteran quarterback Alex Smith to untested Patrick Mahomes.
The NFC Should Not To as Wild as Last Year
Philadelphia and the L.A. Rams look like repeaters, but we thought the same of Dallas and Seattle at this time a year ago.
Since the NFC South began in 2002, Carolina is the only team to repeat in that division (2013-15). New Orleans drafted expertly the last several years and realized their reward for doing so last season. The Saints are favored, yet there no reason to think Atlanta and Carolina will be far behind since New Orleans won the division on a tie-breaker and the Panthers were one game behind with a 10-6 record.
Almost all oddsmakers have Minnesota running neck and neck with the Eagles and Rams in the NFC, but they only a slight favorite to take the NFC North over Green Bay (+125 vs. +145). Having Aaron "money bags" Rodgers for a complete season helps level the playing field, even if the Vikings have a more complete team.
No doubt being moved up to a first-place schedule generates turnover naturally among division winners. Consider this information before placing your futures bets.