NFL Handicapping: The AFC North
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NFL Handicapping Insight
The Cincinnati Bengals surprised a lot of people by falling flat on their face last season. That opened the door for the Pittsburgh Steelers to win the division in a walk, even if the Baltimore Ravens did hang around for a little while.
Looks like it’ll be more of the same in 2017 unless the Bengals can figure out what went wrong.
2017 AFC North Predictions: Baltimore Ravens
Ravens Odds to Win 2017 Super Bowl: +4000
Ravens Odds to Win 2017 AFC Conference: +2000
Ravens Odds to Win 2017 AFC North Division: +175
The Ravens are stuck in a tough spot where they’re trying to be loyal to their veterans who were around for the Super Bowl win, they have a good coach in John Harbaugh, but they just don’t have enough talent to be a legitimate threat to the top teams in the AFC.
The offseason didn’t go well.
They let one of the best fullbacks in the game go when Kyle Juszczyk signed with the San Francisco 49ers, their top pass-catcher, Steve Smith, retired, and they did little to offset those losses.
Terrance West looks like he’ll be the lead running back, with Danny Woodhead coming in to spell him, and wide receiver Mike Wallace will look to build off a 1,000-yard 2016.
They loaded up on defense in the draft, so they’ll need that group to shine if they hope to get to 10 wins, which seems unlikely.
2017 AFC North Predictions: Cincinnati Bengals
Chiefs Odds to Win 2017 Super Bowl: +5000
Chiefs Odds to Win 2017 AFC Conference: +2500
Chiefs Odds to Win 2017 AFC North Division: +250
The Bengals were one of the biggest disappointments of the 2016 season, falling off a cliff seemingly out of nowhere.
They didn’t do much to help the situation in the offseason, allowing some offensive linemen to walk and then not addressing the issue through free agency or the draft.
Instead, their draft focused on positions that didn’t seem to need addressing.
Adding wide receiver John Ross would make a lot more sense if they hadn’t just brought in Tyler Boyd, and Joe Mixon was a good value in the second round, but Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard had the position locked down.
2017 AFC North Predictions: Cleveland Browns
Browns Odds to Win 2017 Super Bowl: +20000
Browns Odds to Win 2017 AFC Conference: +10000
Browns Odds to Win 2017 AFC North Division: +3300
The Browns made a lot of savvy moves in the offseason – but none that will help the team win this year.
After nearly putting together a winless season in 2016, their offseason moves were all designed to give the team a brighter future, while doing little to help them in the present.
The quarterback situation is a mess. Brock Osweiler was acquired from the Houston Texans but they have no intention of starting him, and second round pick DeShone Kizer needs some work to become a pro quarterback.
Wideouts Kenny Britt and Corey Coleman have some upside, but there’s just not a lot to like about a second consecutive year of an Isaiah Crowell-Duke Johnson backfield.
2017 AFC North Predictions: Pittsburgh Steelers
Steelers Odds to Win 2017 Super Bowl: +1600
Steelers Odds to Win 2017 AFC Conference: +700
Steelers Odds to Win 2017 AFC North Division: +110
The Steelers’ big offseason signings involved players already in the organization.
Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown each received new contracts to remain with the organization through their prime years, and as each is the best player at their respective position, those contracts didn’t come cheap, leaving the Steelers hamstrung when it comes to improving elsewhere.
That leaves the team in the hands of that trio of Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, and Ben Roethlisberger for the near future. They get back Martavis Bryant to help make that offensive unit even more explosive, and JuJu Smith-Schuster joins the fold through the draft.
The team had been drafting defensive players heavily for years, and that group’s been gelling together nicely.
Cappers Picks 2017 AFC North Predictions
This division all depends on what the Cincinnati Bengals can do as far as bouncing back from a dismal 2016 season.
For bettors, though, the safest play will likely be the lucrative one, as the Steelers appear destined to win this division again, and quite easily so if the Bengals don’t figure things out in a hurry.
The Steelers are also worth considering as AFC champs and possibly Super Bowl champs as well.
More 2017 NFL Division By Division Gambling Previews
- 2017 AFC East Predictions
- 2017 AFC West Predictions
- 2017 AFC South Predictions
- 2017 NFC East Predictions
- 2017 NFC North Predictions
- 2017 NFC South Predictions
- 2017 NFC West Predictions
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