Part 7 of our 11 Part Series and today we focus on the AFC NORTH.
ODDS TO WIN DIVISION:
Tough division to call here and with the 11-game suspension to Watson, that makes the Browns a tough choice but that is the team we are taking. As of this writing, Baltimore has not signed Lamar Jackson to his extension yet and Joe Burrow is dealing with missing significant time in camp. Pittsburgh is always well coached, but they just have no consistency at the QB position and too many unknowns.
We obviously know Cleveland has questions at the QB position as well but in terms of overall team talent, even without Watson, Cleveland might be the most talented team in this division, and we like the 3 to 1 price we are getting with them. If you look at their first 4 games, all are easily winnable as they start at Carolina, then they have the Jets and Steelers at home before going to Atlanta. So, they could get off to a good start before going through a tough gauntlet.
Their next 4 games are vs the Chargers, vs the Patriots, at Baltimore and vs the Bengals. There is no question about it that those 4 games are tough and then they go to Miami before playing at Buffalo and home against Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay marks the 11th game of the season so if this team is sitting at say 7-4 before they get Watson back, they will have the opportunity to win 4 of their last 6 games and that would put them at 11 wins which just might get it done in this division. In terms of this division, Cincinnati has the 3rd toughest strength of schedule so they could struggle a little and they close with 6 treacherous games.
Baltimore isn’t going to be easy to beat, and their schedule isn’t daunting but they are an injury prone team and if Jackson doesn’t get his extension by the start of the season, that will be lingering over him and them as a distraction.
We do feel 3 teams in this division could be between 10 to 12 wins and it will be competitive however, as we said earlier, we do feel Cleveland has the most talented roster and with this team being +300, we feel the value is right for them.
Tough call here, but we’ll go with the Browns at +300 to win the AFC North