NFC Previews – NFC East, NFC North, NFC South, NFC West
AFC Previews – AFC East, AFC North, AFC South, AFC West
New England Patriots
- Last year – 11-5
- Superbowl odds – 7/1 (Most places. note that the “BOOST” on skybet just gives you the odds everywhere else seems to have anyway)
- Divisional odds – 2/9 (Betfred)
- O/U line – 11 (over 4/5, under 11/10)
- O/U line – 11.5 (over 21/20, under 4/5 WillHill)
He’s going to be 42 this season. FORTY-TWO! How the hell is he still winning Superbowls? QBs are meant to fall apart once they reach their fourth decade, yet Brady is still out there winning Lombardi’s. To me I think it’s safe to say he’s the GOAT… now, he did seem to slip a little bit from the incredibly high standards he’s usually at, and to the eye wasn’t quite as good as he had been, but the stats still add up pretty well, It helps that he’s got the best coach ever and that they know each other so well and what works with that team.
So lets get into everything else, they seemed to be in a bit of a state at WR, with only really Julian Edelman left the only proven option, but that changed this week with the reinstatement of Josh Gordon who looked great in his time with the team last year, if he gets up to speed he’s got a bond with Brady already and provides some valuable outside help which they really needed. Edelman will be the same guy he always is in the middle of the park, N’Keal Harry has had an up and down camp, Phillip Dorsett is a big part player, Demaryius Thomas is coming off a serious injury, Maurice Harris has shown a little in camp and with the Redskins last year, and Jakobi Meyers has had a lot of camp hype so far. Until Gordon was re-instated it was looking a bit bleak for them. Gronk retired at tight end so they’re lacking there too, they signed old man Ben Watson who’s suspended for 4 games, Lance Kendricks and Matt LaCosse are both decidedly average too.
They led more heavily on the running game than they used to last year, especially in the playoffs where Sony Michel became a major piece of the offense, matching his regular season TDs in their post-season games, finishing with 12 TDs. He and James White were a great duo, White taking the majority of the third down work, he’s a PPR stud. With Sony Michel having knee issues, which appeared again over the off-season, they drafted Damien Harris to add some further depth at RB, and they’ve still got Rex Burkhead there who’s capable in all facets of the run game.
Their defense is sneakily one of the better units in the league and it looks like the one thing they lacked, a reliable pass rusher, may have been found in the draft this year with Chase Winovich smashing 2nd and 3rd stringers to bits in pre-season games.
Obviously I think they’ll win the division, and 2/9 isn’t shocking given their record over the last decade and a half but it’s acca-fodder only obviously.
- Last year – 6-10
- Superbowl odds – 100/1 (Most places)
- Divisional odds – 10/1 (Most places)
- O/U line – 6.5 (over 5/6, under 16/11)
SO the battle in the AFC East is basically for second place, for most people it’s a two way fight between the Bills and the Jets.
Just to give an alternate view to seemingly most in the media, I’ve got the Bills finishing second. They both drafted QBs last year, and both of them will have come on over the summer, Darnold definitely has more scope to be a great QB in the future, I feel that Allen could made a bigger step this summer from where he was to where he will be this year.
I said it a few times in previews last year, Josh Allen has made the Bills watchable. He was great to watch, mainly because of his rushing ability, but his rocket arm meant that plays could come from nowhere as well. He finished with 8 rushing TDs on the year, and 10 passing TDs. Lets be fair his completion percentage isn’t great, around 50%, but they added players to suit his style which may help those numbers this year.
John “smokey” Brown is the main addition in their offense, he was great for the Ravens at the start of last year with Flacco and the “go-route” that he does so well will compliment Josh Allens skillset well. They brought in Cole Beasley who is very good in accumulating passes for short yardage, which should also help Allen with some easy passes. Robert Foster was the big play threat for them last year and I’d hope that continues, even Zay Jones came back from the dead and played a role in their offense last year. Their tight ends mixed in as well and they brought in a couple more, Tyler Kroft in free agency, as a Bengals fan I can tell you he’s fairly reliable, and Dawson Knox in the draft.
They had one of the best fantasy defenses last year and will hope to continue that, the addition of Ed Oliver was a great pickup in the draft, and people seem to rate Tre’davious White as a good CB (personally I’ve seen him get destroyed by AJ Green every time I’ve watched the two teams play) and Tremaine Edmunds is a great young linebacker.
New York Jets
- Last year – 4-12
- Superbowl odds – 80/1 (Most places)
- Divisional odds – 7/1 (Betway, Sportingbet)
- O/U line – 6.5 on 365 (over 20/37, under 31/20)
- O/U line – 7 (under 5/4, over 19/20)
- O/U line – 7.5 (over 19/20, under 1/1)
Sam Darnold could be brilliant in this league, he’s got the attributes and put together some good runs last year and by all reports he’s come on very nicely over the summer with a full NFL pre-season in place.
They made use of their ample cap room in free agency as well, bringing in Leveon Bell for all the money in the world, obviously as a Bengals fan I’m not the biggest fan of him, but taking off my homer cap for a while, I’m still unsure on him. He was running behind one of the best O-Lines in the league when we last saw him, and his patience in waiting for a gap to appear was one of the keys to his game. He’ll still be good without that, but I don’t expect him to live up to the heights of his time at the Steelers. They also brought in a lesser talent in Ty Montgomery who has got a lot of playing time in a similar Lev Bell role in pre-season and they’ve said they want to get him involved, they’ve still got Bilal Powell he’s a similar mould as well.
Robby Anderson has all the talent in the world, if he gets his head on straight and stops being a bonehead in the off season then he and Darnold could be a great partnership for years to come, they finished the season well, the last 4 games extrapolated over the season would have been near 1,400 yards on the season for him, I expect a good year for him, not 1,400 yards worth, but over 1,000 is a realistic target. I really liked Quincy Enunwa in the little bits we’ve got to see of him over the last couple of years and hope he can get back to full health following a neck injury. They brought in Jamison Crowder who is much like Cole Beasley (mentioned above) in that he’s a PPR king, short regular passes, all help out the QB. Greg Dortch is a name you might not have heard too much, he’s had a good season and his physical/draft attributes should put him in good stead to having a career in the league. At tight end Chris Herndon is expected by most to have a good year, although missing the first 4 games with suspension hurt that.
The defense in NY is a good unit too, Jamal Adams and Marcus Mayes make one of the better safety pairings in the league, Quinnen Williams has an infectious personality is you’ve seen any videos of him on social media, he’s awesome and quite quickly became one of my favourite non-Bengal players to look for, he’s also damn good on the football field as well. They paid CJ Mosley a ton of money at LB. They’ve got a really good Defense on paper!
It’ll be between them and the Bills for #2 spot in my eyes, and I can see why most people are picking the Jets for that spot.
- Last year – 7-9
- Superbowl odds – 250/1 (Betfred)
- Divisional odds – 33/1 (William Hill, 45s on Betfair)
- O/U line – 5.5 on 365 (over 7/5, under 10/17)
- O/U line – 5 on Betway (over 1/1, under 3/4)
- O/U line – 4.5 (over 5/6 on Skybet, under 5/4 on PP)
The story out there is that the Dolphins are tanking this year to get one of the top QBs in the draft next year (there’s 3 or 4 who are in the running for top 5 picks if there’s QB needy teams up there) and it’s easy to see why after they let their QB walk away. They did however bring in someone who’s won a Superbowl in former Patriots DC Brian Flores, and as much as they may want a high pick next year, the HC won’t want to stink the whole season up.
So they go into the season with Ryan Fitzpatrick seemingly the starter, although he usually appears after a few bad games by the guys who’s already there. He did have a headstart of Josh Rosen who they picked up for bargain deal from the Cardinals. Rosen was a first round pick for the Cards, and got utterly shafted by the situation there last year, I personally think he can be an NFL QB but he’s not in much of a better situation here so he’s really not landed in the best of circumstances for either of his 2 years in the league. Fitz is a gun-slinger and will at least have some highlight games, whether they’re because he’s thrown crazy TD passes, or 7 INTs in a game remains to be seen.
They’re relatively weak all over the park, their WR1 for the year is, probably, Devante Parker? Training camp hero very single summer who constantly fails in regular season play. Kenny Stills is fairly decent, Albert Wilson is the one I actually like and want to do well here, he started well last year before injury ruled him out for most of the season, Fitz and Rosen both like slot recievers and that will be his role is he returns to fitness. There has been growing hype over undrafted rookie Preston Williams being a player on the outside, and given their lack of much else there I can see why people are taking late round punts on him. At tight end they’ve got Dwayne Allen who failed in NE, the Irishman Nick O’Leary, and the SPARQ freak Mike Gesicki who was garbage in real play last year but has hopefully come on with a full off season.
Their defense isn’t exactly stellar either, although keeping Xavien Howard was an important move for them over the summer.
They had a low win total last year and went over it mainly due to having a lot of home games early in the schedule when the Miami heat/humidity helps them out a lot and it’s similar this year, 4 of their first 5 games are at home. Admittedly they’re against Baltimore, NE, Chargers and the Redskins, so not the easiest, but I can see them giving an upset to at least one of those first three teams.
So, if there any value at all in this home-run division?!
If you wanted to hope that the Pats fall off a cliff then you could probably back the Jets and the Bills to win the division.
I’d say that the Dolphins to lose all their divisional games at 5/1 isn’t ridiculous, but they usually have one random result in there somewhere.
Ok, Lev Bells highest rushing yards was 1,361 in his only 16 game season, in Pittsburgh with around 300 carries. I would be very surprised if he gets that amount of carries in NY, and even if he does it’s with a worse team.
- Le’Veon Bell under 1125.5 rushing yards – 5/6 (Bet365) – 7 points
- Buffalo Bills o6.5 wins – 5/6 (Skybet) – 5 points