Heading into the final week of the 2019 regular season, here’s the remainder of our all-too-short, short take on all 32 NFL teams from a gambler’s perspective. In today’s Part 2, we take a look at the 16 teams in the AFC.
With one week remaining in the NFL regular season, six of eight division winners have been decided — including New Orleans, Green Bay, New England, Baltimore, Houston, and Kansas City. Ten of 12 playoff-bound teams are already known — including Green Bay, Minnesota, New Orleans, San Francisco, Seattle, New England, Buffalo, Baltimore, Houston, and Kansas City.
Yesterday, in part 1, we covered the major headlines for each team in the NFC. Today, we’re looking at the AFC. The caveat is each synopsis is 32 words or less. As one might expect here at OG, these summations are from a gambler’s perspective.
New England Patriots — There are dynasties, and then there are the mighty Patriots. Belichick, Brady & Co. clinched their 11th-straight division title in Week 16. The primary reason: Great defense (the Pats allowed an NFL-low 13 PPG this season).
Buffalo Bills — Credit Buffalo for overachieving, big time. No one predicted a playoff appearance for the Bills. From a gambler’s perspective, the Bills remains an under-bettors’ best friend, going below the total in 11 of 15 games, thus far.
New York Jets — Left for dead after their midseason loss to Miami, the Jets have quietly won five of their last seven games. Seems like we’ve heard this before, but there’s reason for optimism heading into 2020.
Miami Dolphins — The Dolphins were the NFL’s laughingstock after the first month of the season. Then, Miami won four games, and went 8-3 ATS down the stretch. The Dolphins were the ultimate payoff for contrarians.
Baltimore Ravens — When the season began, the Ravens were forecast as an eight-win team with a weak quarterback. Now, they’re on an 11-game winning streak and Super Bowl favorites. The Ravens field the NFL’s #1 offense, and have covered in eight of their last nine games.
Pittsburgh Steelers — Pittsburgh was left for dead after starting 1-4, but remarkably, still remains alive for the final playoff spot. The Steelers have been the best under team in the NFL, going 3-12 below the posted total.
Cleveland Browns — No team has been a bigger disappointment than the Browns, who were forecast by many to be an AFC dark horse, but instead, have stumbled through a 6-9 season. After just one season, coach Freddie Kitchens is likely to be toast.
Cincinnati Bengals — This dreadful one-win team gets the top pick in the 2020 draft, but they probably need 20 new players to be competitive. The Bengals are expansion-level bad at this point.
Houston Texans — Credit the Texans for reaching 10-wins without their best defensive player (JJ Watt), and consistent inconsistency this season (just 7-7-1 ATS). The biggest surprise: Houston is a solid under team, going 9-6 below the total in 2019.
Tennessee Titans — The biggest takeaway: QB Ryan Tannehill’s impressive record as a starter, going 6-3, and re-igniting the offense which has scored nearly 30 points per game. Tannehill’s games have gone over in eight of nine starts.
Indianapolis Colts — The Colts are the very definition of mediocrity, going 7-8 both straight up and ATS, which isn’t a disgrace given their franchise QB, Andrew Luck, retired from football two weeks before the season started.
Jacksonville Jaguars — What happened to the team that nearly beat the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game less than two years ago? And, what happened to QB Nick Foles, who won a Super Bowl that year? Some things, like how this team ended up at 5-11, are impossible to understand.
Kansas City Chiefs — Watch out! Kansas City, at 11-4, has covered in five straight. The biggest shocker — the Chiefs held each of their last five opponents to just 10 points per game. If this defense plays at this level, they can win their first Super Bowl on the 50-year anniversary of the 1969 championship team.
Oakland Raiders — Just when we bury the Raiders, they somehow crawl back into the playoff hunt. It will take a near miracle for Oakland to make the post-season, but they’ve shown flashes of excitement in their final season before the move to Las Vegas.
Denver Broncos — This is the youngest team in the NFL. It’s not often a 9- or 10-loss team — totally out of contention — can be optimistic, but the pieces are coming together in Denver, which has covered in eight of their last 11 games.
Los Angeles Chargers — The Chargers are embarrassingly dysfunctional from the ownership to the front office, and from the coaches to the players. What a disaster for the nomads, and for bettors who backed this awful team that went just 4-10-1 ATS in 2019.
Note: Once again, I exceeded 32 words more than a few times. Send your complaints to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org