AFC North - What You Need To Know
Cleveland Browns Record Last Year 7-8-1
-Season Win total 9.5 +115, -140
-Odds to win AFC North +130
-Odds to win AFC +750
-Odds to win Super Bowl 14-1
-Odds to make Playoffs -125
-I think they're the most fascinating team on the board to talk about.
-They finally got rid of Hue Jackson last year and look what happened. It's fair to say had they canned him prior to last year, this team probably would have made the playoffs. -They got Odell Beckham Jr. to team up with Jarvis Landry and Antonio Callaway, and don't forget they have Kareem Hunt just waiting around to come back after he serves his 8 game suspension. Add him to an already stacked backfield with Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson, and they have arguably the top offensive weapons in the AFC.
-For me with the Browns it's all about the coaching, something nobody is really talking about....By all accounts Freddie Kitchens is a player's coach, but what is he going to do in terms of managing all of these personalities. I liken it to Eric Spoelstra and what he had to deal with his first year in Miami with Lebron. Half of his job description was acting as a team psychologist and managing personalities. I'm not saying Kitchens isn't up to that task, it's just something he hasn't had to do yet in his career and one thing to watch out for.
Pittsburgh Steelers Record Last Year 9-6-1
-Season Win total 9 -120, +100
-Odds to win AFC North +175
-Odds to win AFC 12-1
-Odds to win Super Bowl 22-1
-Odds to make Playoffs +100
-Huge transition year of course for Pittsburgh as they lose Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. The much bigger loss in my view is Brown because they are became somewhat accustomed to not playing with Bell after last year. James Connor did a great job, finishing just short of 1,000 yards rushing last year and would have gotten there easily had he not gotten hurt.
-It's odd to look up at the divisional preseason odds and not see the Steelers as the favorite, but with so much hype around the Browns and the losses for the Steelers, it's almost like that perfect storm this season.
-I think you're going to see a huge year from JuJu Smith-Schuster and I actually think Big Ben will have a really solid year as well. He might go out and play with that chip on his shoulder, after getting rid of a lot of the distractions. Some people I know played him to win MVP at 50-1, he's been bet down to as low as 20-1 now.
-They also signed Donte Moncrief formerly of the Colts and Jags to be that solid #2 behind JuJu, who will be a solid veteran presence in the locker room at a minimum.
Baltimore Ravens Record Last Year 10-6 Division Champs
-Season Win total 8.5 +115, -140
-Odds to win AFC North 3-1
-Odds to win AFC 16-1
-Odds to win Super Bowl 33-1
-Odds to make Playoffs +185
-The Ravens have gone all-in and are putting their hopes & dreams on the arm and legs of one Lamar Jackson.
-If you watched that playoff game last year vs the Chargers, I think those who are skeptical about him have a strong case to be made. He looked like a deer in headlights, and we talked about it leading into the game---that was the Chargers 2nd time seeing him last year and they had both tape and experience against him, and it showed. They knew how to react to his runningability and completely shut him down. One has to wonder if that will happen as Jackson makes his way through the season.
-I think Joe Flacco's time in Baltimore was over and it was time to move on. Regardless of how Jackson plays, it was time to move on. RG3 is their backup, and he's already out 3 weeks. Their 3rd string is Trace McSorley, who I'd have to imagine they don't want to see get any time.
-They signed Earl Thomas from the Seahawks and also picked up Mark Ingram from New Orleans after he became expendable with Alvin Kamara taking over there. Two very solid signings.
-Huge question mark at the Receivers positions, as it looks like they are going with Willy Sneed and Hollywood Brown, the rookie from Oklahoma.
Cincinnati Bengals Record Last Year 6-10
-Season Win total 6 +110, -130
-Odds to win AFC North 18-1
-Odds to win AFC 80-1
-Odds to win Super Bowl 125-1
-Odds to make Playoffs +750
-2 biggest things here are the health of AJ Green and their new head coach Zac Taylor. It looks like AJ Green is going to be out about 6-8 weeks.
-Zac Taylor----former starting QB at Nebraska back in 2005, moved around, spent some time as the QB Coach for the Dolphins, and then he hit the jackpot last year as the QB coach for the Rams, as these teams all are looking for the next Sean McVay. I'd say normally this is a huge gamble and a risk, but the fact is for them they had to do it. Marvin Lewis was never going to get over the hump, and at this point they really had no choice but to move on. That said....Taylor has never even been a coordinator who has called a play or even a Head Coach at the college level. Huge question marks coming into the season about him.
-They are solid at the RB position with Joe Mixon and Gio Bernard. John Ross, Tyler Boyd, Tyler Eifert make up a sound receiving core, but the problem is Dalton. He's one of these guys that I like to say..."he is what he is at this point". You know what you're getting with Andy Dalton. He's an average QB, probably on the downside of his career, and for him to all of a sudden make a huge leap at this stage is asking a lot.