2013 Odds to Win the AFC North
NFC Betting Trends- Odds to Win the AFC North
We are less than 100 days to the start of another NFL regular season making it a great time to take a look at all 32 teams in terms of their futures odds to win their respective division. This week, NFL Betting Trends move on to the AFC North to take focus in on the odds as provided by BetDSI.
The Bengals won the AFC North in 2009 when Carson Palmer was still their starting quarterback only to fall to 4-12 the following year. Ever since the team drafted Andy Dalton in 2011 to take his place while adding a Pro Bowl caliber target right away in wide receiver AJ Green, Cincinnati has become a legitimate contender in the division with two-straight trips to the playoffs as a wildcard team. Another huge contributor to this new found success is a defense that finished the 2012 season ranked sixth in the NFL in total yards allowed and eighth in points allowed.
To build on that success, head coach Marvin Lewis drafted Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert in the first round and North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard in the second round to add a few more weapons to the offensive attack. The Bengals also made a point of resigning some key potential free agents on defense such as defensive end Michael Johnson and linebacker Rey Maualuga. They also picked-up linebacker James Harrison from rival Pittsburgh to add some veteran leadership to the team. All these moves combined clearly marks a possible changing of the guard in the AFC North this season.
Pittsburgh is a team in transition after missing the playoffs last season at 8-8. While head coach Mike Tomlin would never admit that his team is in somewhat of a rebuilding process, that is exactly what is going on in Western PA. The Steelers parted ways with wide receiver Mike Wallace, who signed a large contract with Miami as a free agent. They also released guard Willie Colon and tight end Matt Spaeth while letting running back Rashard Mendenhall sign with Arizona.
Tomlin looked to the draft to bolster his linebacking corps with first round pick Jarvis Jones from Georgia and his running game with the addition of Le’Veon Bell from Michigan State. One of the more interesting picks was Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones in the fourth round. There is no doubt that Ben Roethlisberger’s job is safe for now, but he has been prone to injury over the past few years so sooner than later could be the case with Jones as the 2013 regular season wears on.
The 2012 Super Bowl Champs barely had a chance to celebrate their victory before the team started coming apart at the seams. Linebacker Ray Lewis retired and safety Ed Reed decided to sign with Houston. In their place Baltimore drafted safety Matt Elam from Florida in the first round and Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown in the second. Wide receiver Anquon Boldin was traded to San Francisco and Baltimore decided to release safety Bernard Pollard and guard Bobbie Williams. Also gone from the team are offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie and linebackers’ Dannell Ellerbe and Paul Kruger.
If the Ravens are going to climb back on top in the division, they are going to have to hope that quarterback Joe Flacco does not let his fat new contract he just sign go to his head. With more questions than answers at this point of the offseason, head coach John Harbaugh could be facing his toughest test since assuming that position in Baltimore five years ago.
Bringing up the rear in the AFC North has become common place for Cleveland and the 2013 season should be no exception. The Browns are hoping that Brandon Weeden is the long-term answer at quarterback after a shaky rookie campaign and that running back Trent Richardson can stay healthy after an injury-prone first year in the league. They used their favorable position in this year’s draft to select LSU defensive end Barkevious with the sixth overall pick, but his work ethic has already come under question. With just four additional picks over the next six rounds it will be hard for this draft class to have any immediate effect on the Browns’ fortunes this year.
The new regime in Cleveland that includes Rob Chudzinski as the new head coach remained rather quiet during free agency, opting to try and work with the young talent they believe they already have in place. This is a signal to me that this organization in content with using a slow and steady process to try and turn things around.
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