If took some action on Super Bowl 50 – and you’ve already got your eyes focused on the 2016 season and the teams that could possibly win Super Bowl 51 – then you’re going to enjoy my handful of early betting predictions for the 2016 season. The season still months away, but that give us enough time to check the NFL opening odds and get into some early predictions for the coming pro football season. With that thought in mind, let’s get started.
The Buffalo Bills also have boatloads of talent on their roster but what they don’t have is any sense of composure – thanks to their loud-mouthed – and not very cerebral – head coach, Rex Ryan.
New Dolphins head coach Adam Gase will have his work cut out in trying to make quarterback Ryan Tannehill play competent football, but I don’t see the Fins taking a huge leap forward in 2016 no matter how hard I try. In the end, I believe Tom Brady and company will win the AFC East while challenging for the conference crown – again.
AFC West NFL Odds
Denver Broncos 20/1
Kansas City Chiefs 25/1
San Diego Chargers 60/1
Oakland Raiders 60/1
Analysis: The Denver Broncos will go only as far as their offense takes them in 2016, but who knows how far that will be. Will Peyton Manning return or will the keys to the car be handed over to Brock Osweiler? Questions abound when it comes to the Super Bowl champion Broncos.
I really like what the Kansas City Chiefs accomplished this season and I believe even better things are in store for K.C. in 2016, thanks to the return of veteran running back Jamaal Charles and another year under head coach Andy Reid. While the Oakland Raiders continue their rebuilding process and approach eight wins, the San Diego Chargers will again flounder in mediocrity – leaving the Chiefs as the division winner in 2016.
AFC North NFL Odds
Pittsburgh Steelers 10/1
Cincinnati Bengals 18/1
Baltimore Ravens 30/1
Cleveland Browns 200/1
Analysis: I expect the Steelers and Bengals to both contend for the AFC conference crown next season after reaching the playoffs and coming up short. If the Steelers can keep Le’Veon Bell healthy – and improve their defense, they could reach Super Bowl 51. The same could be said for the Bengals – if they ever mature. Not much needs to be said about the completely dysfunctional Cleveland Browns, at least for 2016, although I do love their hiring of head coach Hue Jackson.
AFC South NFL Odds
Indianapolis Colts 20/1
Houston Texans 50/1
Jacksonville Jaguars 60/1
Tennessee Titans 60/1
Analysis: The Indianapolis Colts will have elite quarterback Andrew Luck back on the field next season, meaning I expect them to get back to the top of the mediocre AFC South next season. The Colts were expected to be Super Bowl contenders this past season – and although they suffered an injury-riddled campaign, I expect them to contend for the AFC title in 2016.
The Houston Texans are elite defensively, but they still need a competent starting quarterback to get them where they want to go. The Jacksonville Jaguars could approach eight wins next season, though six or seven sounds a bit more likely. As far as the Tennessee Titans are concerned, here’s hoping they don’t ruin gifted young quarterback Marcus Mariota before he can bolt in free agency in a few years to play for a competent franchise.
NFC East NFL Odds
Dallas Cowboys 20/1
Washington Redskins 40/1
N.Y. Giants 50/1
Philadelphia Eagles 55/1
Analysis: It’s absolutely hilarious that the Dallas Cowboys have been installed as favorites to win the NFC East next season. The ‘Boys have a quickly-aging quarterback in Tony Romo, a lack of quality defensive players, an overbearing owner that wants to play coach and GM whenever he feels like it – and a puppet of a head coach.
With Philadelphia and New York both undergoing head coaching changes, the Washington Redskins, and Mr. ‘You Like That’ look like the best pick right now to win the division in 2016.
NFC West NFL Odds
Seattle Seahawks 10/1
Arizona Cardinals 15/1
San Francisco 49ers 50/1
Los Angeles Rams 50/1
Analysis: While the Seahawks and Cardinals both fell short in their respective quests to reach Super Bowl 50, both franchises will be right back in the mix next season as two of the best favorites to bring home the Super Bowl 51 bacon. Right now, I like Seattle to come out of the gate next season with a chip on their shoulders, while Arizona nips at their heels all season long. The San Francisco 49ers could surprise with offensive-minded head coach Chip Kelly now leading them, but I don’t see much changing for the Rams, even if they will be playing in a new city next season.
NFC North NFL Odds
Green Bay Packers 12/1
Minnesota Vikings 25/1
Detroit Lions 40/1
Chicago Bears 50/1
Analysis: The Packers are my pick to win the NFC North next season,, but just barely over the quickly-improving Minnesota Vikings. The Packers will need to stay healthy and improve their offensive line, but they do have the best quarterback in the business on their roster in Aaron Rodgers. The Vikings need to throw the ball a bit better with Teddy Bridgewater next season, but they’re as good as it gets defensively. I also wouldn’t put anything past the talented Detroit Lions who played very competitive football over the second half of the 2015 season, but the Chicago Bears won’t go anywhere until they move on from career underachieving quarterback Jay Cutler.
NFC South NFL Odds
Carolina Panthers 10/1
Atlanta Falcons 40/1
New Orleans Saints 40/1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 60/1
Analysis: I know Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers stunk up the joint in Super Bowl 50, but the fact of the matter is that Ron Rivera has built a perennial winner in Carolina and one that should both win the NFC South – and challenge for a berth in Super Bowl 51. The New Orleans saints need to remember how to play competent defense and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers might have made the wrong move in firing no-nonsense head coach Lovie Smith in favor of an offensive coordinator with no head coaching experience whatsoever.
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