So 60 days left until the start of the season, it’s already been a long long off season, and still 2 months left! Training starts in a few weeks but before that im thinking ill chuck out a few very early little thoughts.
I am going to start trying to get some follows on @FootbawlTips on twitter if anyone who follows me can follow that account too that would be great!
Seems only Betfred at the moment offer forecast betting, so i wont be putting any of those on yet, and also a lot can change in 2 months.
All to win their divisions is around 250/1 . I am leaning towards a L31 on these 5 teams, or trebles, quads, and the 5 fold. Detailed reasons below!
The Raiders are in a tough division with the Chiefs and the Broncos, obviously the Broncos won the title last season but have lost a few important parts on defence, Trevathon to the bears and Jackson to the Jags, and with Von Miller as of today saying he’ll sit out the season if he’s forced to stay on franchise tag. That’s 3 big players and the defence is the only resaon they won last year, with confusion at QB adding to that I think they’ll fall. The Chiefs on the other hand may pose a bigger challenge for the Raiders, their D was very good last year, and Jamaal Charles should be back from injury, he was on for top 5 figures when blowing his knee last term, ironically they went on a double figures winning streak after that with Ware and West carrying the load.
The Raiders have added well and are a maturing team, Amari Cooper was on for rookie of the year at one point before dropping off towards the end as rookies tend to do, he and Derek Carr formed a good relationship and with the well named Clive Walford showing improvement and being talked up at tight end, its easy to see the Raiders climbing to take the crown. They also drafted a backup RB Washington to help the overworked Latavius Murray, they resigned some important guys in the off season, and got 8 interception safety Reggie Nelson from the Bengals.
This is hard coming from a Bengals fan, but the Steelers are looking very strong this year, even without Martavis Bryant suspended for the year. They have a few potential replacements there to go alongside arguably league best WR Antonio Brown, Heyward-Bay, Coates, Wheaton, as well as signing promising Ladarius Green. Big ben will still have plenty to throw to, and if Lev Bell returns to fitness he’s regarded as the best RB in the league. Yes their defence is still a weak spot for them, but scoring that much should outweigh that weakness. With the Bengals losing Sanu and Jones at WR, they are weakened, even after drafting Pittsburgh fan Tyler Boyd, and with Tyler Eifert possibly out for a game or two it puts a lot of weight on AJ Greens talented shoulders. The Ravens will be better than last year, but shouldn’t challenge the top two, and the Browns are still guff.
The Giants are a bit of a stretch for the NFC East which is looking a tough division to call, but with Manning and Beckham, they’re impossible to ignore. They have spent big money on defensive players, have JPP back in a glove rather than a club, so he may actually be able to grab hold of people now. They added Sterling Shepherd at receiver and talk out of camp is that they’re very impressed with him. They lost nearly every game by one score last season, if they turn a few around they’ll be up there.
Favourites for the division are the Cowboys who drafted top RB Ezekiel Elliott as the no.4 pick, he’s considered a complete back and he’s going behind supposedly the leagues best offensive line, his running, or McFadden should help keel the load off injury prone Tony Romo, who will inevitably miss a game or 5 this season, which leaves them with garbage at QB. Dez Bryant should be back fully healthy and if he’s on his game, he is rather good. The Redskins won the division last year, and have signed well, adding more offensive options for Kirk Cousins, but they can’t be as good as last season. The Eagles took Carson Wentz as the no.2 pick but have said that very rich and average QB Sam Bradford will be starting there. They have a decent roster still, and a new head coach, but I don’t think they’re strong enough to compete here.
Now the Texans are definitely my least confident pick here, I have very little faith in Osweiler, who hasn’t shown much so far in his time at the Broncos, but they have an extremely good Defence, and drafted speedy deep threat Will Fuller and Braxton Miller, to go alongside Nuk Hopkins who was outstanding last year, as well as getting Lamar Miller who was top 10 last year despite the Dolphins seemingly wanting him to fail.
There’s been a lot of chat about the Jaguars who have done a lot in the off season, signed up a few good defensive players to go with last years round pick Dante Fowler, Malik Jackson, Myles Jack, and while it wont help this year, Jalen Ramsey. Put that alongside an improving Blake Bortles with the two Allens, Robinson and Hurns, after adding Chris Ivory to help TJ Yeldon, they look good in paper, but i think itll tske another year. The Colts are interesting, the are trying to help protect record earning QB Andrew Luck, who has said he want change his style of play despite missing half the season with a lacerated kidney, TY Hilton and Moncrief and both above average receivers and its expected that Moncrief will take a step forward. However im doubtful that Frank Gore can carry the load at RB and they don’t have much other than him. The Titans had a ton of draft picks, and did ok, and I’m looking forward to seeing Derrick Henry smash through some guys, but can’t see them winning the division.
The Cardinals have to better the Seahawks to win their division, but i can see that happening, other than falling apart in the championship game vs the Panthers, they were very entertaining last year, and high scoring on offence. They have so much talent, Fitzgerald, Brown, Floyd, Brown and JJ Nelson, as well as David Johnson, Chris Johnson and even Ellington at RB, they have two stars on D, Peterson and Mathieu, although he’s starting the season injured.
The Rams and 49ers shouldn’t prove an issue, which leaves Seattle, who are very good themselves, with Wilson running things, they use a run first offence, but once Rawls went down last year, they started throwing and led Doug Baldwin to a ridiculous breakout season, with 3 and 4 td games in the run in, he had barely scored that many in his whole career before last year so is bound to regress, Tyler Lockett however should improve, and he wasnt half bad. If they keep to that, who knows, but if Rawls is fit, expect him to be a stud, even with them drafting multiple RBs, Prosise the most interesting of them as a former WR, he will get action catching from the backfield.
So 1,200 words on why teams will win their division.