With the greatest quarterback of all time still in the conference, the reigning Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams are not NFC Championship favorites in the 2022 NFL season. It’s the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who have the best odds to win the NFC and reach Super Bowl 57.

The Buccaneers are favored for the NFC Championship at BetMGM with +350 odds to claim the conference title for a second time in three years. Tampa Bay’s odds to win the NFC improved about as quickly as Tom Brady’s retirement lasted when the quarterback announced that he would return to the Bucs for the 2022 campaign.

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The Los Angeles Rams and Green Bay Packers are viewed as the biggest challengers to Tampa Bay with +500 odds apiece to win the NFC Championship. The Rams defeated the Bucs on a last-second field goal in the divisional playoffs during last season’s Super Bowl run. The Packers were the NFC’s No. 1 seed before suffering an upset in their first postseason game.

Aaron Rodgers is back with the Packers after months of speculation that his days in Green Bay were numbered. Jimmy Garoppolo was expected to be promptly traded when the San Francisco 49ers lost in the NFC Championship Game, but the quarterback is still in the Bay Area. Whether Garoppolo or Trey Lance is under center for the 49ers in Week 1, San Francisco is considered to be a contender with +650 odds to make the Super Bowl.

The Dallas Cowboys have +750 odds to become 2022 NFC Champions. There’s a noticeable dropoff to the next tier of NFC teams, which begins with the Arizona Cardinals and +1200 conference championship odds. 

Here's a look at why the Buccaneers should be favorites to win the NFC Championship and if there’s a dark-horse candidate that could potentially find its way to the Super Bowl. 

Who will win the NFC Championship?

Below are the latest odds for every team to win the NFC championship, per BetMGM.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers+350
Green Bay Packers+500
Los Angeles Rams+500
San Francisco 49ers+650
Dallas Cowboys+750
Arizona Cardinals+1200
Philadelphia Eagles+1400
New Orleans Saints+1400
Minnesota Vikings+2000
Washington Commanders+2500
Chicago Bears+4000
Seattle Seahawks+4000
Atlanta Falcons+5000
Carolina Panthers+5000
New York Giants+5000
Detroit Lions+6600

Why are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers favored for NFC Championship odds?

Tom Brady’s decision to unretire completely changed the NFC Championship picture. When it appeared that Brady wouldn’t play in 2022, the Buccaneers had +1100 odds to win the conference. Tampa Bay’s roster is loaded with a star quarterback and most of the core that tied for an NFL-best 13-4 record last year.

Brady will be 45 years old in Week 1, but he might still be the best quarterback in football. Brady led the NFL with 5.316 passing yards and 43 touchdown passes in 2021. He finished second in the MVP voting, one season removed from winning his fifth Super Bowl MVP award. The Buccaneers have scored more than 30 points per game in both seasons with Brady at the helm.

Despite losing their starting guards, the Bucs still have a top-10 offensive line. Russell Gage is a solid No. 2 receiver option next to Mike Evans until Chris Godwin returns from a torn ACL. Rob Gronkowski has yet to re-sign with the team, but there’s a chance that he’ll be back after skipping training camp. 

The Bucs were one of six teams that gave up fewer than 21 points per game. In three seasons with Todd Bowles as the team’s defensive coordinator, Tampa Bay has always ranked better than 10th in yards allowed per play. With Bowles becoming the head coach and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich returning, Bruce Arians’ departure might not have a significant impact. 

The Rams aren’t favored to repeat as NFC Champions in part because they have the NFL’s most difficult strength of schedule in what’s expected to be a competitive division. In the NFC South, Tampa Bay has an easy path to a division title. The Panthers and Falcons have the lowest preseason win totals in the NFC. The Saints might not contend for the playoffs now that both Drew Brees and Sean Payton are gone from New Orleans. Winning the division is the first step toward getting a first-round bye, and the Bucs shouldn’t have any trouble finishing in first place if Brady stays healthy.

Long shot pick for odds to win NFC Championship 

Minnesota Vikings odds to win NFC 

(+2000, BetMGM)

The bottom of the NFC is so weak that betting on a team that has worse odds than the Vikings is probably a waste of money. Minnesota, on the other hand, has a real chance to make a playoff run if a few things break its way. The Vikings have worse odds to win the NFC than eight other teams.

Minnesota has a better starting quarterback than most NFC teams, including a couple that are given better odds to make the Super Bowl. For all of the criticism that he receives, Kirk Cousins has been an above-average regular-season performer, posting a passer rating north of 103.0 in each of the last three seasons. Cousins even has a road playoff win in New Orleans on his resume. 

Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen and Dalvin Cook give Cousins a dynamic trio of playmakers. If Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith can bounce back from injury-plagued seasons, Minnesota’s defense should be much better. Since 2019, Hunter and Smith have a combined 61 sacks in 72 games.

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The Packers will likely win another NFC North title, but it wouldn’t be shocking if Green Bay’s offense struggles without Davante Adams. Who exactly is Rodgers throwing to? Maybe the Packers’ bottom-tier receiving corps opens the door for Minnesota to challenge for the division crown. The Bears and Lions certainly don’t seem like much of a threat to win 10-plus games.

The Vikings weren’t far from going 10-7 and making last year's playoffs. Minnesota’s 8-9 record included overtime losses in Cincinnati and Baltimore. A missed 37-yard field goal as time expired kept the Vikings from stealing a win in Arizona. With a new coaching staff and some better luck, those close games could go Minnesota’s way in 2022.