The AFC North is seen by the bookmakers as the tightest division, betting wise, in the NFL.
Here are the futures odds and previews for the AFC North.
The Bengals are a solid team but head into the season with a big question and that is the health of Joe Burrow. He injured his calf in late July and while he hopes to start the season, he may not be ready to go. Still, the team has one of the best WR trios in the league in Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd and Irv Smith came over from the Vikings and will be the starting TE. Joe Mixon is back as the starting RB with some young guys behind him but Burrow and the passing attack is where the team shines.
On D the team ranked fifth last season in points allowed but the concern is with the secondary with the team losing their two starting safeties. While their schedule is not killer, they do have to hit the road for out-of-division games facing the 49rs, Jaguars, and Chiefs.
The Ravens have star QB Lamar Jackson in the fold after finally giving him a long-term contract. It is good news that he has clicked right away with new offensive coordinator Todd Monken. RB J.K. Dobbins looks for a big season to get a new contract and the team brought in Melvin Gordan III in the off-season. Jackson has some new weapons with the additions of WRs Odell Beckham and Nelson Agholor and the team has raved about first round pick WR Zay Flowers.
The defense could use some cornerback help and the pass rush is an issue while the run D should be legit after ranking third in that category last season. It remains to be seen if there is still bad blood between Jackson and the front-office after the contract issue but so far so good. While not the toughest schedule Baltimore plays their first three division games on the road and in the second half face the Chargers, 49ers, and Jaguars all on the road.
The Browns got a less than stellar shortened season from DeShaun Watson last year and he needs to rebound in the wake of signing a huge, guaranteed contract in his first full season under center. Nick Chubb led the league in rushing last season but the team lost two key RBs and the backup will be Jerome Ford a second-year player that only had 13 carries last season. Cleveland gave some weapons to Watson in the off-season bringing in WRs Elijah Moore and Marquise Goodwin, TE Jordan Akins, and drafted WR Cedric Tillman in the third round.
The defense has issues last season and the team addressed those by spending most of their cash in the off-season to improve that unit. The Browns do not have a very tough schedule but three of their first four games are facing AFC North opponents with two of them at home.
Kenny Pickett heads into the season as the starter but while not bad did not dazzle in his rookie campaign. If he does not get off to a good start the team still has Mitch Trubisky. Najee Harris topped 1,000 rushing yards last season and is the lead back and rookie Jaylen Warren rushed for 379 yards with 212 receiving yards. the WR corps is decent at best and last season did not help Pickett out much. However, the team did pick up WR Allen Robinson and drafted TE Darnell Washington in the third round.
The defense ranked 10th last season in points allowed and they have some stars in S Minkah Fitzpatrick, LB Myles Jack, LB Alex Highsmith, and DT Cameron Heyward there are concerns in the secondary. While Pittsburgh hosts the 49ers in the season opener their next five games are against teams that did not make the playoffs last season.