Five Dark Horses Who Might Surprise In the 2021 NFL Season

Five Dark Horses Who Might Surprise In the 2021 NFL Season

Many football fans see the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the leading contenders for glory once again this season. The Buffalo Bills, LA Rams, Baltimore Ravens, Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers are also mentioned as serious challengers for the Super Bowl crown. However, the beauty of the NFL is its unpredictability. Many teams relish in ripping up the script, defying expectations and making a mockery of analysts’ projections. With that in mind, these are the top five dark horses for the season ahead:

Minnesota Vikings

Vikings QB Kirk Cousins could enjoy a strong season after the franchise signed Christian Darrisaw in the offseason. Cousins has rarely received much protection during his time in Minnesota, but Darrisaw could provide him with time to weave his magic, with Adam Theilen and Justin Jefferson operating as a strong wide receiver duo. The Vikings struggled in defense last year, but Anthony Barr and Danielle Hunter should be back in business, while Patrick Peterson looks like a shrewd acquisition. If the relations between Aaron Rodgers and the Packers deteriorate further, the Vikings could capitalize and enjoy a strong season in the NFC North.

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys’ season fell apart after Dak Prescott suffered a long-term injury and it finished 6-10 in a poor NFC East division. However, it could enjoy a much better season this time around if Prescott returns to full fitness. That is by no means guaranteed, as he is recovering from a should injury and a broken ankle, but he is an exceptionally tough athlete and he could lead the team to a strong season, even if he misses the first few weeks. Ezekiel Elliott is healthy, Dallas has a terrific group of receivers, and it has worked hard to improve the defense in the offseason, with Micah Parsons, Keanu Neal, Kelvin Joseph, and Damontae Kazee all joining the franchise. This team could reach the postseason and pull off one or two surprises.

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals boast a wealth of offensive talent. Kyler Murray is one of the best young QBs in the business, and a receiving unit featuring DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green, Rondale Moore, Andy Isabella, and Christian Kirk could be devastating. Arizona failed to reach the playoffs last year after going 8-8, but that was largely a result of defensive ineptitude. The Cardinals have taken steps to correct those issues in the offseason. J.J. Watt, Malcolm Butler, and A.J. Green has been added to an impressive roster, and Arizona could be heading for a deep run in the postseason.

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks went 12-4 last season after Pete Carroll caved into fans’ demands to “let Russ cook”. Russell Wilson threw a career-high 40 TDs and generally impressed, despite fading a little in the second half of the regular season. Seattle eased past the Eagles in the Wild Card Round, but suffered a narrow defeat to the Packers in the Divisional Round. Not much changed in the offseason, with Ahkello Witherspoon and Pierre Desir replacing Shaquill Griffin and Quinton Dunbar, and veteran defensive ends Kerry Hyder and Aldon Smith joining. The defensive depth chart looks a little weak, but the offense was sixth in overall efficiency last season, and Carroll has not had a losing season since 2011, so it would be unsurprising to see the Seahawks go 11-6 and cause teams a few problems in the playoffs.

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers are highly unlikely to usurp the Chiefs at the top of the AFC West, but they should have enough quality to seize a wild card spot this year. Young QB Justin Herbert was a force to be reckoned with last year, throwing for 31 TDs and 4,336 yards against just 10 picks as a rookie. He should maintain his upward curve this season, while the arrival of Brandon Staley should bolster the team’s defense, leaving the Chargers a strong dark horse for glory.

  • William Hill Casino

    $500 Risk Free Bet

    To be eligible for this Promotion, all eligible Patrons must place their first real money sports wager via the William Hill mobile app or desktop site, within 7 days of opening a William Hill NJ Account. If their Qualifying Wager is graded as a Loss the Participant will earn a one-time Free Bet token equal to the lessor of: 1) The full value of the Qualifying Wager or 2) $500 (“Free Bet(s).
  • 888 Sport

    $500 Welcome Bonus

    Player must be at least 21 years old, located in New Jersey, has completed the full registration process with us.888sport.com, makes a first deposit equal to or greater than $10 and may be entitled to a Welcome Bonus of 100% up to $500 on the players first deposit at us.888sport.com.
  • Unibet Sportsbook

    Play Now

    Join Unibet Sportsbook today and once you add funds, we'll insure your first cash bet - get up to $500 back if you don't hit a winner. Make your first cash bet on any event. If your first settled cash bet loses, you will receive a refund to your account equal to the amount of your losing wager (up to $500). Your first cash bet ($10 or over) will qualify. You will receive the refund within 72 hours.
  • Sugar House

    100% Up To $250 Deposit Match Bonus

    Player must create a new account, make a first deposit up to $250 to get a Deposit Match Bonus. Use code 250MATCH.
  • FanDuel Sportsbook Review

    $500 Risk Free Bet

    New Sportsbook Customers Only NJ. Join FanDuel Sportsbook today and make your first bet. If you lose, we'll give you a refund of up to $500 in site credit (within 72h). Your first bet will qualify (If you have multiple selections on one betslip, it will be the first selection you made)
  • Draft Kings Sportsbook

    Get a deposit bonus up to $500!

    Join Draft Kings today and with your first deposit of $5 or more, you will receive a free $3 ticket to play in any $3 paid contest. A user’s first deposit (min. $5) made between 5/13/20 – 8/17/20 qualifies the user to receive up to $500 in bonus funds in the form of site credits that can only be used on DraftKings. Bonus amount is equal to 20% of that deposit amount, not to exceed $500 (the user must deposit $2,500 to be eligible to receive the maximum possible bonus amount of $500).
  • Caesars

    $300 Free Bet

    Make your first deposit using SPORTS300 and we will match your first sports bet up to $300! Cash bet must have minimum odds of -200. On Parlay wagers, each legs must have odds of -200 or greater.
  • Bet America

    Bet $50 Get $50 [code: BET50]

    Join BetAmerica today for an exclusive Bet $50 and Get $50 using code [BET50] on your next sports bet. Register today and enjoy our Freeplay contests where you can use your sports and casino knowledge to win $1000's in prizes every week.

Latest news