Bet the Indianapolis Colts +1400 at BookMaker.eu
The Colts were a much improved team in the first year of the Frank Reich era. A year removed from a four win season to bring up the rear of the AFC South, Indianapolis went on to win 10 games this past regular season to easily surpass their 6.5 game season win total. Though it finished runner-up to the Texans, it went on to destroy Houston in the playoffs to run its win streak to five straight before Andrew Luck put forth one of the worst performances of his professional career in the Division Round at Kansas City where the Colts found themselves on the wrong end of the 31-13 beat down.
This is a young up and coming squad that took major steps in the right direction; especially on the defensive side of the ball where Defensive Rookie of the Year Award winner Darius Leonard made an enormous impact. If the offense can figure out a way to run the ball more consistently and the defense builds upon last year’s outputs, the Colts will be a significant player in the AFC and have a shot at Super Bowl LIV glory!
Bet the Cleveland Browns +2500 at BookMaker.eu
After Hue Jackson and Todd Haley were shown the door, the Browns morphed into a completely different team. It was one that played with confidence up until the bitter end of the 26-24 defeat to the Ravens in the season finale. When the dust cleared, Cleveland wrapped its 2018-19 campaign with a 7-8-1 overall record but tallied wins and pointspread covers in five of its last seven matchups. Baker Mayfield simply just exudes confidence. He and Freddie Kitchens proved to be a fabulous pairing evidenced by the former Oklahoma Sooner going on to throw for 3,725 yards and 27 touchdowns.
With Freddie Kitchens now at the helm, I fully expect both Mayfield and Nick Chubb to hit the ground running in 2019-20 and make life that much easier on a defense that was much improved regardless of its end of season rankings. The needle is no doubt pointed up in Cleveland! This team has the talent on hand to make a run at the AFC North title next season. If not, they’ll definitely be in the running for one of the Wild Card slots.
Bet the Baltimore Ravens +3300 at BookMaker.eu
I was big on the Ravens making a push for a Super Bowl title over the course of the 2018-19 season. So much so that the loss to the Chargers in the Wild Card round saw my bankroll take a dramatic hit. Even so, I’ll once again be riding the purple and black in 2019-20 in hopes John Harbaugh can see it all the way through this time around. Lamar Jackson has some major weaknesses. We all knew that when he was drafted last season. Ball security and actually flinging the pigskin around the ball yard are two main areas the coaching staff will no doubt be working with him on over the course of the offseason.
If he can get a bead on improving in both areas, the Ravens are going to be an incredibly tough team to dispose of in both the regular and post seasons. That defense is no joke! It ranked out No. 1 in total defense and No. 2 in scoring defense last season, and a bulk of that unit returns next season. Should the offense round into form, the Ravens odds to win Super Bowl LIV at offshore sportsbooks will be much shorter than this offering.
Bet the New York Giants +4000 at BookMaker.eu
While the G-Men only managed to win five games in Pat Shurmur’s debut as head coach, it was still a two game improvement from the previous season. With reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year Saquon Barkley in the backfield and a likely healthier Odell Beckham Jr. also on the field, it’s safe to presume New York will boast one of the better offensive attacks in the NFC as well as the NFL. That’s with or without Eli Manning under center calling the shots! The one area that must be shored up for the Giants to have any staying power comes on the defensive side of the ball. The unit was nothing short of a sieve with it ranked in the bottom third of the league in most pertinent statistical categories.
I fully expect upper management to look for defensive help with its first two selections at the top end of the first and second round of the 2019 NFL Draft if their desired field general isn’t available, and then look for the quarterback of the future later on. Should that occur, New York will once again be a player in the ultra-crowded NFC East.
Bet the Carolina Panthers +4000 at BookMaker.eu
Had Cam Newton not succumbed to what proved to be a grizzly shoulder injury, I firmly believe Ron Rivera’s Panthers would’ve had more of a say as to how the NFC ultimately played out. The offense looks to be in its best shape in quite some time with Christian McCaffery off a blowup campaign and the young wide receiver duo of DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel destined to only improve in 2019-20. All the offense needs to live up to its exciting potential is a healthy No. 1 under center.
But for Carolina to really become an NFC powerhouse and have a shot at cashing this ticket at online sportsbooks, the defense must improve. The front seven was solid with Luke Kuechly calling the shots, but the secondary proved to be awfully charitable. With a number of holes to fill on both sides of the ball, hopefully upper management gets the job done both in free agency and the draft. Carolina gets the benefit of playing a third place schedule that will only improve the chances at having a shot of cashing in on this hefty return.