Online Sports Betting’s AFC West, NFC North & NFC South Preview
It’s at the point where we can just CRTL + V this standard AFC West storyline: Can Peyton Manning lead the Denver Broncos to victory? The Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers might be capable of overtaking the division’s reigning champ, but that’s one tall order. New coach Gary Kubiak enters with high expections, but Denver’s D appears to be improved after finishing an unimpressive 16th in points allowed in 2014. The team’s partially at the mercy of servicable but not spectacular backfield feauring C.J. Anderson, Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman. Kansas City might be in line to give Denver some trouble if the Chiefs improve their passing game and take some pressure off a very good defense. Meanwhile, San Diego are banking on Wisconsin alum Melvin Gordon to make an immediate impact at running back and improve one of the worst rushing offenses of last year. Oh, also the Oakland Raiders are the Oakland Raiders. We’re giving Denver the edge this season, but San Diego could be incredibly dangerous if Melvin Gordon is the player the Chargers think he is.
Our Division Champ Pick: Denver (-175 divisional odds)
Jordy Nelson’s injury caused absolute misery for the Green Bay Packers in the preseason and we can understand why. Losing your top wideout is no fun in a division where the Detroit Lions are nipping at your heels. The Packers are still considered the favourites to win the NFC North, even without their Pro Bowl wide receiver. Aaron Rodgers is arguably the best QB in the game today and the Pack will remain a threat through the air. The defense is the real concern with the team playing relatively well on that side of the ball last year, but nowhere near a lock to be threatening. Fellow playoff squad Detroit had the best rushing defense in football last year and are now trying to keep that up with Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. That’s a a big challenge. Chicago says hi to new coach John Fox, but the majority of the season will be spent analyzing if the abysmal defense can get good (or acceptable) any time soon. The big dark horse in 2015 are Vikes. Minnesota have MVP candidate Adrian Peterson back in the fold and are looking to build on last year’s surprisingly robust growth. Other reasons to believe in the sleeper hype: Teddy Bridgewater has sorted out Minnesota’s endless quarterback dilemma and the young defense looks ferocious. Consider us on the bandwagon.
Our Division Champ Pick: Minnesota (+500 divisional odds)
Is the NFC South capable of earning back its dignity. Last season, none of the four teams in the division could muster a .500 record and pundits suggested eliminating division winner privilege in the playoff picture. That’s not a good look. Carolina’s passing attack took a major blow this offseason with Kelvin Benjamin suffering a devastating knee injury. The Panthers could score another division win if he carries the questionable offense on his back. Meanwhile, New Orleans (last year’s yards-per-game leader) will try to figure out life without the recently dealt Jimmy Graham at tight end. The Atlanta Falcons could surprise if their combo of Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Roddy White remain healthy and new coach Dan Quinn has the defense in working order. (The arrival of first rounder Vic Beasley should help a bit.) Tampa Bay’s rebuild continues with Jameis Winston as the newly established franchise quarterback. In a wide open and mysterious NFC South, we think the Falcons can find some semblance of their former form and grab the divsion crown.
Our Division Champ Pick: Atlanta (+200 divisional odds)
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