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In a little over 8 weeks, the greatest sport and the best sport to gamble on returns. People have started to break down who will be on their fantasy team, and fans have convinced themselves that this will be their year, even though their team missed the playoffs last year. This is the time when fans are the most hopeful, no injuries are happening in training camp, and your heart isn’t broken because you haven’t yet realized that your team sucks.
I have gone over who will win each division and the teams’ over and under. Today we look at the odds for the AFC Teams to make the playoffs. If you read my division futures for the AFC, you’ll know that I think the Bills, Browns, Colts, and Titans will win their divisions. Who will sneak in and get the Wild Card spots? Maybe one of those teams that I picked to win the division won’t, but can sneak into the playoffs via the Wild Card.
Last year the Ravens finished the season 11-5 but failed to win the AFC North. They made the playoffs via the Wild Card. They beat the Titans in the Wild Card round but then lost to the Bills in the division round. I don’t have much faith in Jackson as a thrower, but his running skills make him one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the NFL. Last year Jackson finished with a 64.4 completion percentage, 73.7 QBR, 26 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. The Ravens have a flashy offense with Jackson that finished with the 7th overall defense, but it was their defense that leads them to victories ranking with the 3rd overall defense. I’m not doing anything crazy here. There’s a reason why they are at -310 to make the playoffs; they have a great offense and great defense, so that’s why I’m taking their defense.
We have another team that sportsbooks and the public believes will make the playoffs, and for good reasons. Last year the Bills went 13-3 and made it all the way to the AFC Conference Championship before losing to the Cheifs. Josh Allen proved that he wasn’t only a man with a rocket arm but also a great all-around quarterback since he finished 2nd in MVP voting. Allen lead Buffalo to the 3rd overall offense and their defense finished as the 10th overall defense. In their last six games, the defense only allowed 18.3 points per game. I see the Bills cruising to another AFC East title and easily making the playoffs.
We go from the top of the AFC to one of the worst teams. The Bengals are trying to stop the bleeding by drafting Joe Burrow to be the face of their franchise for the future. Burrow last year tore his MCL and ACL. If Burrow didn’t get hurt, he would have gone for 4,528 yards and 26 touchdowns. Cincinnati finished 4-11-1 last year and had the 32nd overall defense and offense. This isn’t going to be the year that Burrow flips the script for the Bengals; it’s going to take a couple of more years. It’s no surprise that I’m not picking the Bengals to make the playoffs.
Speaking of flipping the script Baker Mayfield has taken this Browns franchise from the biggest disappointment to a playoff team. Last year Cleveland went 11-5, and it was their first winning season in 12 years. The Browns finished with the 14th overall offense and the 21st overall defense. With some offseason moves, another year of development for younger players, and Odell Beckham Jr being healthy again, I see this offense and defense getting better. This is why I’m taking them to make the playoffs.
The Drew Lock experiment seems to be over in Denver since signing Teddy Bridgewater in free agency. Denver has been in the rumor mill about potentially trading for Aaron Rodgers. If something that crazy happens, their odds will plummet, but it’s going to be a quarterback completion between Lock and Bridgewater for the starting position for the time being. Their offense was a gigantic problem since finishing with the 25th overall offense; even though they missed Von Miller for the entire season, they still finished with the 15th overall defense. The Broncos don’t have enough firepower to make a big run, which is why I’m not taking them to make the playoffs.
Houston has the highest odds to make the playoffs of any team in the AFC, and for good reasons. There are huge questions regarding Deshaun Watson, and if he’s not starting, Tyrod Taylor, who was signed in free agency, will be starting. With Watson, the Texans finished with the 16th overall offense; their defense was the biggest problem finishing with the 28th overall defense. Houston made huge changes in the offseason since firing GM/ Head Coach Bill O’ Brien and replacing him with GM Nick Caserio and new head coach David Culley. This team is going to be bad regardless of who is under center. To nobody’s surprise, I’m not taking the Texans to make the playoffs.
Last year the Colts made the playoffs going 11-5 but didn’t win the AFC South because of tiebreakers. Phillip Rivers had a great throwback game against the Bills in the Wild Card round, but it wasn’t enough as they were bounced in the first round. Phillip Rivers is no longer in Indy, and Carson Wentz will be under center this year. Wentz is reunited with the great head coach Frank Reich. When Reich was the offensive coordinator in Philly, Wentz was the favorite to win MVP before getting hurt in 2017. The Colts are great on both sides of the ball since having the 12th overall offense and defense. With Wentz being reunited with Reich and the Colts defense is why I’m taking them to make the playoffs.
Tank for Trevor worked last year as the Jaguars were awarded the first overall pick after going 1-15. Will the addition of Trevor Lawrence be enough? Last year the Jaguars were horrendous on both sides of the ball. They had the 29th overall offense and the 30th overall defense. Hopefully, the future will be bright with Lawrence leading the team, but it’s going to take a couple of years. So I will not be taking the Jaguars to make the playoffs.
I don’t need to say much here. The Chiefs have the lowest odds to make the playoffs in the AFC, and for good reasons. Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid are still playing in Kansas City. Not only do they have a dynamic offense ranking 1st overall, but they had the 4th overall defense. I will be taking them to make the playoffs, to nobody’s surprise.
Last year the Raiders went 8-8 but missed the playoffs. They have the highest odds in the AFC West to win their division at +1700, and it looks like nobody believes in Jon Gruden or Derek Carr to make the playoffs. The Raiders are the definition of a meh team. Last year they had the 20th overall offense and defense. With Derek Carr being your starting quarterback, you can expect meh seasons at best, which is why I’m not taking them to make the playoffs.
It looks like the Chargers have found their quarterback of the future with Justin Herbert. Last year Herbert set rookie records in most touchdown passes (31), most competitions (396), games of at least 300 yards (8). Los Angeles changed head coaches to Brandon Staley, which will hopefully help the Chargers not blow so many leads. Last year they blew leads of 11 points or more four times. With Herbert, the Chargers had the 12th overall offense and the 17th overall defense. The Chargers are on their way to be a contender, but I think it’s going to take at least one more year of them being a middling team. I’m not taking them to make the playoffs.
The Dolphins tanking for Tua worked as they drafted Tua two years ago. Last year Tua and Fitzpatrick split the quarterback duties, and with Fitzpatrick in Washington, the team is now all in on Tua. Last year Tua and Fitzpatrick led the Dolphins to the 18th overall offense. In the offseason, they added more firepower in WR Jaylen Waddle and signed WR Will Fuller. Brian Flores coached a hard-nosed defense that was the 6th overall defense. With another year of Tua developing, a great defense, and more firepower on offense, I’m taking the Dolphins to make the playoffs.
The dynasty came crashing down with Tom Brady leaving for Tampa Bay. Last year the Patriots went 7-9, and it was their first losing season since 2000. New England replaced Brady with Cam Newton. The Newton experience looked good in the first couple of games but then came crashing down. Clearly, the Patriots don’t think Cam is the quarterback of the future since drafting Mac Jones in the first round. Bill Belichick once again had a great defense with the 10th overall, but their offense needs a lot of work since they had the 25th overall offense. I know how great Belichick is, but I don’t think their defense will be enough to carry a Cam Newton or Mac Jones-led offense, which is why I’m not taking them to make the playoffs.
The woes look to continue for the Jets, who haven’t made the playoffs in the last 10 years. Last year they went 2-14 and were awarded the 2nd draft pick. With that pick, they picked Zach Wilson, who will be their quarterback of the future. Sam Darnold is no longer in New York, and last year the offense was dismal, with him 31st overall offense. Their defense wasn’t much better since ranking 30th overall. It’s not a hot take that I’m not taking them to make the playoffs.
Last year the Steelers finished 12-4, but it was a very unimpressive 12-4. Pittsburgh started the season 11-0 and then finished the season 1-4. With horrible momentum going into the playoffs, they lost in the Wild Card round versus the Browns. The Steelers’ 1st overall defense carried them throughout the playoffs. Big Ben is getting up there in age and led them to the 10th overall offense last year. I believe that the Steelers 1-4 record is what this team will be, and I will not take them to make the playoffs.
Last year the Titans won the AFC South going 11-5. Their offense was great last year, ranking as the 11th overall offense. Ryan Tannehill has completely transformed his career in Tennessee, and they traded for Julio Jones in the offseason, who will hopefully get back to his All-Pro status. Their biggest problem is their defense which finished with the 21st overall defense. Their offense will lead them to playoffs, but I don’t trust them to make a deep run into the playoffs. I will take them to make the playoffs.