NFL Season Tips
- The reigning Super Bowl champions couldn’t have got a much tougher schedule. They open their season with meetings against the Panthers, Colts & Bengals. The Halloween – Mid December period isn’t much easier, 4 of their 5 games will be played on the road, and their return will see them hosting the Patriots on December 15th.
- Broncos appear to be leaning towards Mark Sanchez as their starting quarter-back, and while they lifted Vince Lombardi Trophy last season through stellar defence, they won 11 of their 13 matches decided by a single score, including 3 wins coming via a defensive score. Don’t expect them to be able to maintain such intensity in back-to-back seasons
Kansas City Chiefs
- Consistency, that’s been the key word of Andy Reid’s three seasons as Chiefs Head Coach.
- He’s racked up 31 wins and they finally broke a 21 year wait for a playoff victory when defeating Houston. They lost with 1.13 left in the 4th quarter to the Patriots, and can cause the best teams problems.
- They held their own in free agency, re-signing Derrick Johnson & Tamba Hali to keep their defence intact. They failed to land any major talent though, and it seems as if their hopes are again pinned on QB Alex Smith, whose QB rating has been above 89 for the past 5 seasons. He never really gets the credit he deserves, he averaged 7.4 yards per attempt last season and his contributions will be pivotal
- 2015/16 was a strange season in Oakland, they won 7 games, but 5 of these wins were against the worst teams in the league and 6 of their wins came by a single score, incapable of creating any blowouts. At the other end of the scale, they suffered 5 defeats by less than 7 points.
- Two solid drafts & the signings of Irvin, Osemele & Sean Smith in free agency have the Silver & Black dreaming of a first playoff appearance in 13 seasons, and they won’t have many complaints about their schedule with 3 of their first 5 road trips coming against the Titans, Jaguars & Buccaneers.
San Diego Chargers
- No positives to be found from the past season, an injury bug leading to a dismal 4-12 record, but this was only the 2nd losing campaign under the charge of QB Phillip Rivers. Their Divisional play will have to improve massively, they’ve only two wins in the past two seasons.
- 3 pick in the draft was a help, signing Joey Bosa who should help the pass rush. The addition of WR & kick returner Travis Benjamin, #4 pick in 2012, is also exciting for Chargers fans. Keenan Allen staying injury free will be crucial also, he had 67 catches through 8 games last season, before a kidney laceration cut his season short.
- The Texans reached the playoffs last season, but we really can’t read anything into this. They were part of the league’s worst division and thanks to Andrew Luck’s injury went on to dominate their rivals with a 5-1 record. They only defeated 2 teams with a winning record.
- Signing Brock Osweiler to a 4 year, $72 million contract in free agency was major, and if he performs consistently, the Texans will be a force, their defence a formidable weapon if it stays healthy, but JJ Watt will almost certainly miss the season opener.
- A pretty awful season stats wise for the Colts, finishing with the 26th & 28th ranked offense & defence in the NFL. Andrew Luck had his injury trouble & the offensive line was suspect to say the least.
- Luck has signed a 5 year, $122 million contract and will look to hit the ground running. Their schedule will allow this, four of their first five games coming against the Lions/Bears/Chargers & Jaguars. A fast start will be huge, the Colts look weak outside the QB position and will need big improvements from the roster to be a legit contender.
- Gus Bradley enters his 4th season as Jags Head Coach, and he may finally have a defence to be proud of. Malik Jackson & Tashaun Gipson were both signed in free agency and will be important additions to a team ranked #24 in the league on defence last season.
- The Jaguars were 5-11 last season, worrying considering they faced mostly weak opposition. How their young talent develops will be pivotal, losing their 2015 #3 draft pick Dante Fowler before the season begun was a huge blow. They’ll hope to keep this year’s #5 pick Jalen Ramsey healthy, a big addition to the cornerback position.
- Finishing with the joint worst record in the NFL & trading the #1 pick has allowed the Titans to seal numerous draft positions in the forthcoming seasons, but they have major gaps throughout their roster. Rebuild mode looks to be fully underway, and it has all the signs of another season of blowout defeats.
- Mariota enters his 2nd season in the league and should be feeling more comfortable, but he’ll need help from draft pick Jack Conklin & Taylor Lewan to really grow into the QB position. Mike Mularkey can’t be looked upon as a positive influence either, he’s 18-39 as Head Coach in the NFL.
- Cincinnati visited the playoffs for the 5th straight year last season, but the story remained the same, 5 visits and 0 wins. The 16 points scored in their 2 point defeat to the Steelers in the wildcard game was their highest total in this span, which raises many questions.
- Andy Dalton was #2 in QB rating last season, posting a rating of 106, the first time in 5 seasons he broke the 90 barrier. Free agency was a real let-down, losing WR’s Sanu & Jones, alongside Offensive Coordinator Hue Jackson’s departure. This will be a very competitive division, and Dalton will need to at the very least repeat last season’s numbers if the Bengals are to be serious contenders.
- Mike Tomlin enters a 10th season in Pittsburgh, and as always they will be taken seriously. Belts were tightened with the salary cap, and they’ll be missing Le’Veon Bell (4 games) & Martavis Bryant (1 season) due to suspensions. Defensively the seeds are planted, their top 3 draft picks expected to fill CB/S/DT positions in the future.
- Ben Roethlisberger is 34 years of age, and his durability is beginning to be questioned. He was the best deep passer in the NFL last season, landing 50.7% of +20 yard throws. The Steelers have a very manageable schedule but will need to avoid losing their key man, Landry Jones is a vulnerable backup.
- The Ravens set a franchise record last season, but it wasn’t a good one. They finished the season with 20 players injured, and were still contending, 9 of their 11 losses came by a single score.
- Losing offensive lineman Osemele was a tough blow in free agency, but they claimed some veteran experience with the signings of Trent Richardson, Mike Wallace & Ben Watson. They have a much kinder schedule this season, opening with the Bills/Browns/Jaguars & Raiders. This is a well-oiled organisation, with the potential to push for a division title.
- Any improvement on last year’s 3-13 record looks unlikely. Plenty of draft trading & allowing top free agents to walk away will allow the Browns to build for the future. The short term outlook is bleak, but RG3 is their new QB & a refreshed coaching setup are a couple of positives.
- Their division does them no favours, all three teams are legitimate playoff contenders and with 4 rookie wide receivers charged with leading a team ranked #25 on total offense last season, expect the forthcoming season to be a tough learning process.
New England Patriots
- The Patriots will be missing Tom Brady for the first four games, but their depth is underrated. The signing of Chris Long, Martellus Bennett, Terrance Kingston & Nate Washington for a combined $10 million showing that veterans will take pay cuts to join Championship contenders.
- There are some questions about the pass rush & Tom Brady has hit 39 years of age, often a brick wall for QB’s. His four game suspension will probably aid his cause, leaving him fresher come the end of the regular season. The Patriots will feature heavily again, there’s no doubt about that.
New York Jets
- The Jets summer has been preoccupied disputing a new contract with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. They’ll look for an improvement should he sign a new deal, he was rated #24 in the ratings last season.
- Most of their 2015 success came against much weaker teams, and they look like a side who’ll fail to progress on last year’s 10-6 record. Six of their first nine games are on the road, and they play the Bengals/Bills/Chiefs/Seahawks/Steelers & Cardinals in their first six games. This season could be over before it’s even begun.
- 16 seasons since their last post-season appearance, and again the emphasis will be on “D”. Their top two draft picks Lawson & Ragland will be expected to rise the sack numbers. QB Tyrod Taylor had a breakout year, finishing with the #7 rating.
- Injuries are already creeping in though, with Lawson and Watkins both battling ailments & Karlos Williams suspended for four games. The Bills underperforming defense of 2015 must show their true colours this season if they’re to reach the playoffs.
- Ryan Tannehill will search for his first winning season as a QB, and the Dolphins opening schedule is not going to help. Road trips to Seattle, New England & Cincinnati in the first four weeks will test an already shaky defence to its limit.
- They’ve the youngest Head Coach in the league with 37 year old Adam Gase, and with some room to manoeuvre with their salary cap, a couple of signings could transform their season and give them a wildcard shot.
NFL season Tips
- Seattle Seahawks to win NFC West – 1.83 Paddy Power
- Green Bay Packers to win NFC North – 1.66 Bet365
- Cleveland Browns under 4.5 season wins – 2.00 Bet365
- Jacksonville Jaguars under 7.5 season wins – 1.90 Bet365
- Seattle Seahawks to win Super Bowl – 9.50 Paddy Power
If you liked this article, you might want to read our NFC betting preview