2019 AFC North Predictions and Expert NFL Betting Picks
If ever there was must-see TV in the NFL, the Cleveland Browns would fit the description this year. They are loaded with offensive talent across the board, but it's not the talent you will want to see. It's the egos and personalities of some of the biggest names in the sport like Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham Jr. I'm not saying it's always positive, but it sure is entertaining. If you're a Browns fan, you couldn't ask for anything more. A franchise QB paired with a game-changing wide receiver and a defense that has the talent to be really good.
However, if you've been a Browns fan for more than five minutes, you've probably already envisioned the injuries and internal fighting amongst that will derail the season in a hurry. It's normal considering how tortured this fan base has been for the last decade. Hopefully it doesn't happen, and the Browns play are playing meaningful games in Weeks 11-16 to get into a playoff spot. I'll be rooting for them.
As we kick off Week 2 of the preseason this week, I'll be taking you on a guided tour of each division to prep you on what to expect for the upcoming season. Keep in mind, injuries can occur at any moment to derail a season, so getting to hyped up on a division preview is never a good thing.
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Season Win Total 8.5 (o +120)
AFC North Win Odds (+295)
The Baltimore Ravens put an end to the Joe Flacco era by shipping him out of town and giving the keys to the offense to former Heisman winner Lamar Jackson. Jackson showed flashes of brilliance last season, but there is still a lot or work to be done, specifically in the passing game, for Jackson to become a top-level quarterback. The Ravens did their best to surround Jackson with weapons by adding Mark Ingram in the offseason and drafting two receivers with their first three draft selections this past draft. Defensively, their leader, Terrell Suggs, is gone, and their sacks leader from last year, Za'Darius Smith, also bolted in the offseason. If the Ravens, who are known for being a defensive team, can't find players to step up in a big way, this season is going to be a disappointment. It also doesn't help that they arguably have the worst roster from top to bottom in the division. They were able to grab a wild-card spot last season, but this season, we are liking the "under" on the 8.5-win total .
Season Win Total 6 (o +110)
AFC North Win Odds (+1500)
It seems as though the AFC North may have a new team take the mantle of being the butt of all jokes. The Bengals are a team with no real direction, having finally fired Marvin Lewis last year only to replace him with Zac Taylor - a coach with no head coaching experience. Sure, he was an OC for a few seconds, but that won't translate into immediate success this season. The Bengals still employ Andy Dalton, and the "Red Rocket" doesn't have too many backers on his side outside of the locker room. Dalton has fallen flat on his face time and time again and with an injured and aging A.J Green trying to get back in time for the regular season, it'll be up to Joe Mixon to lead the way offensively for the Bengals. The defense also remains mired in mediocracy as it did nothing in the offseason to get better. With teams like the Steelers and Browns fighting for the top spot in the division, the Bengals are well on their way to a basement finish in the AFC North.
Season Win Total 9 (o +100)
AFC North Win Odds (+120)
Get your popcorn ready, because this season is going to be extremely entertaining from a Browns perspective. You have Baker Mayfield under center throwing the ball to Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. You have Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt (after his suspension) toting the ball out of the backfield. And you have a defense that is littered with high-end talent, including cornerback Greedy Williams, who they drafted in the second round. This could finally be the year the Browns win some respect back for their team. Or it could end in disaster like it usually does in Cleveland, and the Browns may just be better off packing up and moving to another city. Either way, I'm fully invested in them, and I do believe they are going to push Pittsburgh for the top spot in the AFC North. They have too many playmakers on both sides of the ball to let this season get away from them, and the betting public believes in them too.
Season Win Total 9 (o -120)
AFC North Win Odds (+195)
The Pittsburgh Steelers find themselves in a precarious position heading into this season. Many have written them off following the departure of Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, but the fact of the matter remains that the Steelers do still have offensive weapons and will, in fact, be able to take advantage of the rest of the AFC North. What they do outside of the division is the big question mark as they open the season away to New England (a place they never win) and at home against Seattle. They also have to travel to the Chargers (a week after playing the Ravens, and travel across the country to play Arizona after a big divisional game vs the Browns). The schedule is tough, and it's going to take a massive effort to find themselves in a playoff position.
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