Mid-season AFC Evaluation
David Troy (@FuturePrez2024) - November 10th, 2020
With a little over half of the season in the books, we have an opportunity to look at the contenders, long shots, pretenders, and complete jokes of the NFL season. We will take a look at some of the odds that we can still potentially jump on. Let’s kick this off with the contenders.
Steelers – The preseason win total for the Steelers was 9.5. They are sitting at eight wins already, obviously Ben could go down, but right now it looks like they could probably hit a total of 14-2. I expect a loss to Buffalo on the road, and maybe a loss to the Ravens. The Steelers are +260 to win the conference. With one of the top defenses in the NFL, and a balanced offense (even with the planted tree that is Big Ben) the Steelers have their best opportunity in years.
Chiefs – I personally think they will win the conference again. Although they look like they have some deficiencies on defense, the only way a team will beat them is to keep the ball out of Mahomes’ hands. This team reminds me of the Manning Colts teams, only they have better weapons and a stronger defense. If they are to lose in the playoffs, I think it will be one where the opponent has multiple 8-minute scoring drives. At +165 you still have value in them to win the conference because I’d expect them to be favorites in every game except maybe a road game against the Steelers.
Ravens – Lamar Jackson just doesn’t seem to look that good this year. In half as many games, he has a third of the touchdown passes as last year. If their defense can keep them in games, which they have so far – the Ravens have the best defense in terms of points allowed per game – the offense can do just enough to win. The biggest problem I have is Baltimore has lost to the Chiefs and Steelers, the other teams they’ve beaten are not impressive.
Bills – Everyone wants to be excited about them. Josh Allen is fun to watch and the offense, after years of dormancy, has come to life. The problem is their defense. Even after this weekend’s statement win against a Seattle team that most high school teams could score on I still can’t picture them winning against a top team in the playoffs when games tighten up. At +850 to win, I don’t think there is enough value here. Their win total is now 10, up from 9. I like the over, and even if they go 3-4 (which seems possible) we push.
Titans – For a while, they looked like they were going to be a contender, or even a long shot. I’ve moved them down to pretender. Tannehill is playing better than he ever has, even better than last year. Stopping Henry will be a challenge for any team, and this really is not meant to be a disrespect for the Titans offense that has talent. But, they have a middle of the pack defense and have had multiple halves of games where they just don’t appear to be a good team.
Fun Story, But No Chance
Raiders, Dolphins, Browns
The Raiders are one of the most confusing teams in the NFL. You can go into Arrowhead and beat the Chiefs, but you lose to Cam Newton? They have been a better team, and fun to watch, but no shot. The Dolphins improved their chances with Tua (+2800 to win conference) at QB. They also are really entertaining to watch, but if they make the playoffs I’d be surprised. It would be a complete shock for them to win a playoff game. Good news for over bettors though, they already are pushing their preseason win total of 6. The Browns are a team that have looked great against bad teams, and bad against good teams. I could see them getting to 10 wins this year, but just as easily could see them getting to only nine so I’d avoid their new total of 9.5.
Better Than Last Year at Least?
Colts, Broncos, Patriots, Bengals, Chargers
The Colts have a chance to make the playoffs, but I don’t know if they even get to 9 wins. They have a pretty tough schedule ahead and Rivers is back to making his terrible decisions. Broncos have showed some life with Drew Lock lately. I admit, I thought he was terrible and a bust – and it may be too early to tell – but the Broncos are definitely fighting each game. The problem is they basically let everyone get a 20-point lead. They have 3 wins now, and are at 6.5 for their total. Looking at their schedule, I don’t see them getting to 6 wins unless the defense plays better quickly.
The Patriots needed nearly a full hour against the Jets to take a lead. And, keep in mind, this was a game where Newton played really well. At 6.5 wins they have better than a 50% chance to hit the over (in my opinion) and no chance to hit the over 9 that was originally placed on them.
The Bengals and Chargers are both teams I have really enjoyed. Burrow and Herbert look like better than average rookies. All it took for Herbert to get a chance was a team doctor stabbing a starting quarterback in the lung. Who knew? If Anthony Lynn would get out of the way, the Chargers might have a winning record and an outside shot at a playoff game. Burrow on the other hand has at least allowed Cincinnati to battle and stay in games. I don’t think the Chargers get over 6.5 wins, but the Bengals have a really good shot at winning three of their last games and getting over 4.5.
Texans, Jaguars, Jets
Aside from unleashing Watson a little bit, there hasn’t been much going right for the Texans this year. I wouldn’t feel confident in it, but I’d lean towards the under for their win total of 5. Jaguars haven’t won since the first week of the season, and part of me wonders if they would have preferred to not win that game and have a shot at Lawrence. I can’t believe I’m saying this, because they’d need to only go 2 – 6 the rest of the season, but I have to avoid the win total of 2.5.
The Jets had their best shot to win a game last night. The only way that this season can get worse for them is to win two games and lose the number one pick to the Jaguars. So, of course that will happen.
There is still plenty of time left to cash tickets with the BTB team and get in on his live parlay plays. Join the team and look for the NFC write up in the next week.
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