As the NFL season opener looms here’s a general consensus among sportsbooks on the top-five Super Bowl 53 favorites and, to the surprise of many, it doesn’t include Aaron Rodgers’ Packers or Drew Brees’ Saints. Joining mainstays New England (+700; 7/1) and Pittsburgh (+1200; 12/1) are the defending champion Eagles (+1000; 10/1), the re-tooled Rams (+1200; 12/1) and the Kirk Cousins-led Vikings (+1000; 10/1).
That teams led by Cousins and Jared Goff are ahead of teams led by Rodgers and Brees is a testament to what the Eagles were able to do last year with Nick Foles at the helm. Knowing which sportsbooks offer the best incentives such as sign-up bonus as the NFL season opens is an advantage as you can see here https://www.sportsbettingdime.com/sportsbooks/
It’s clear that the LA and Minnesota rosters as significantly superior to Green Bay and New Orleans outside of the quarterback spot.
32) Arizona Cardinals (8-8 in 2017)
The loss of running back David Johnson last year certainly crippled the Cardinals offense last year and we all saw that. Luckily for the Cardinals, they’ll get Johnson back this season. However, it’ll be unlucky for Johnson as the Cardinals offensive line is still beyond awful. They have Sam Badford…sorry Bradford (Damn Autocorrect) at the quarterback position and their most dependable/best receiver is in his 15th season and is 34 years old (Larry Fitzgerald). They rank as my worst team in the NFL.
31) Indianapolis Colts (4-12 in 2017)
Without Andrew Luck the Colts are a completely different team. And since he had to go to Germany to get his shoulder fixed because his team doctors couldn’t get the job done, concerns me. If he has any sort of setback at all then this team is going to suffer. Their offensive line has definitely improved, and they have a promising player in defensive end, Jabaal Sheard.
30) Miami Dolphins (6-10 in 2017)
I still don’t trust quarterback Ryan Tannehill and I definitely am not sold on their offensive line as it has some holes as well. The Dolphins improved in the secondary by drafting Minkah Fitzpatrick, but I don’t know if they’ll be good enough on offense to stay in games.
29) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11 in 2017)
They’ll be without their starting quarterback, Jameis Winston for the first three games which will result in an 0-3 start. The Bucs will play at New Orleans and home against the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers to start their season. That screams, L, L and L. With some tough out of division games against the Dallas Cowboys, the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens those are another three losses that you can hand to them.
28) Buffalo Bills (9-7 in 2017)
Boy oh boy is this team going to miss Tyrod Taylor. Not only do the Buffalo Bills have one of the worst wide receiver corps, but their offensive line is questionable as well. Add that in with two liabilities at the corner position in Vontae Davis and Phillip Gaines, equals a spot right here at my 28th best team in the NFL.
27) Oakland Raiders (6-10 in 2017)
Their team is assembled with players I would’ve had on my fantasy team like three years ago and are led by a coach who’s been in the booth for the past 10 years. I’m sorry, but I need their receivers to show me that they can still play, and I need Marshawn Lynch to show me that he can do more than just eat skittles on Sunday’s.
26) New York Jets (5-11 in 2017)
J-E-T-S, mess, mess…(Usually I’d say mess again). However, the New York Jets are starting to turn things around which is why I’ve rewarded them at the 26th overall spot. While this will be another year of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots running the AFC East, I believe that the Jets poise the best threat to the Patriots. It won’t be a big threat, but compared to the Bills and Dolphins, I’m taking the Jets. With a promising young wide receiver corps and a potential franchise quarterback, the Jets fans have some hope.
25) Cincinnati Bengals (7-9 in 2017)
The Bengals still haven’t found another wideout to help free up more one-on-one opportunities for AJ Green and their right side of their offensive line is questionable to say the least. They have an up and coming cornerback in William Jackson and a solid defense to say the least. But the Bengals are still another playmaker or two away.
24) Chicago Bears (5-11 in 2017)
The Chicago Bears have a promising defense. But second year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky needs improve in a lot of areas this year, one of them being against the rush. His 48.7 passer rating when under pressure ranked 34th out of 40 quarterbacks last season. Some of that blame is certainly on the offensive line.
23) Denver Broncos (5-11 in 2017)
I love the selection of Bradley Chubb as the Broncos get it; defenses can win you championships. As always, the Broncos have weapons in the passing game, they now have a quarterback who can control the game and they have a decent running game. What they don’t have is a right guard as rookie fifth-round pick Connor McGovern struggled towards the end of the season. According to Pro Football Focus, McGovern allowed 16 total pressures in just 231 pass-block snaps, leading to a 94.7 pass-blocking efficiency rating — 68th among the 75 guards with at least 200 pass-block snaps in 2017.
22) Detroit Lions (9-7 in 2017)
The Detroit Lions are trying to work on their weaknesses. They drafted guard/center Frank Ragnow in the first round and that’s a great start. However, their interior linebackers are awful, their defensive line is so-so, and their only good corner is Darius Slay, whom don’t get me wrong can produce just as much as two corners.
21) Washington Redskins (7-9 in 2017)
This might even be a little high for the Washington Redskins, but I’m going to leave them here at 21. I’m not a fan of any of their wide receivers, Jordan Reed is injury prone and Vernon Davis is old. As for their running game, that remains to be determined and their defense has some holes. I like quarterback Alex Smith, but he went from having two of the hardest players to defend in football with Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill to no one.
20) Baltimore Ravens (9-7 in 2017)
I still forget that Joe Flacco is a Super Bowl Champion because he doesn’t resemble a Super Bowl quarterback at all. With a viable weapon with Michael Crabtree now, it’s make it or break it for Flacco. I LOVE Alex Collins, but they need some luck on the offensive line side as they have the potential to have a good line.
19) Seattle Seahawks (9-7 in 2017)
This is where some may start to hate me. But the Seahawks just aren’t who they used to be, and several players have went on record saying that. Earl Thomas doesn’t want to be there, they lost some key players and leaders like Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett. They still have Russell Wilson and solid wide receivers to pair with the great Doug Baldwin but then it stops there. As for their offensive line, outside of Duane Brown it’s a revolving door.
18) New York Giants (3-13 in 2017)
They get Odell Beckham Jr. back and drafted Saquon Barkley. Those two bullet points right there should be enough to help take some pressure off the liability that they call Ereck Flowers and a defense that struggled last season. The Giants averaged 15.4 points per game last season; that’s why they only won 3 games.
17) Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6 in 2017)
What?! Hot take, hot take, hot take, is probably what everyone’s thinking that’s reading this. But it’s not a hot take at all. On paper they lost their best wide receiver and they still have Blake Bortles as their quarterback. Yes, he played well last year, but I’m not sold on him yet. Their defense is amazing, but their division lost two starting quarterbacks; Andrew Luck and DeShaun Watson who will both be back this season. So, 10-6 when you factor that in, doesn’t sound too appealing.
16) Carolina Panthers (11-5 in 2017)
Their defense is getting older, but yes, it’s still without question dominate. However, their secondary has some holes. Also, not to mention, they lost star guard Andrew Norwell and replaced him with Jeremiah Sirles. There will be a ripple effect with that move, mark my words. They still don’t have a true number one wide receiver, but Devin Funchess still has that potential.
15) Cleveland Browns (0-16 in 2017)
Here come the hot take comments again. I’m seriously okay with it because Tyrod Taylor is so underrated it’s not even funny. They have two elite receivers in Josh Gordon and Jarvis Landry, a good offensive line, a good defensive line and a good overall defense. The Mychal Kendricks addition was huge (ask Philadelphia this year) and I love the Denzel Ward selection.
14) San Francisco 49ers (6-10 in 2017)
It’s crazy how much of a difference quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo made last year for this 49ers team. Still undefeated as a starter, Garoppolo, will lose that stat this year but watch out for this 49ers team. I don’t want to say great, but I’m going to use dependable/reliable when discussing their offense and offensive line. The addition of Richard Sherman on the defensive side of the ball is huge and we’ll all see this Fall.
13) Tennessee Titans (9-7 in 2017)
The addition of Matt LaFleur, is going to do wonders for this team. They have the defense and they have the offense now that DeMarco Murray is gone. They have question marks at the wide receiver positions but that will be answered this season as Corey Davis is going to break out in his second year. Watch out for the Titans.
12) Kansas City Chiefs (10-6 in 2017)
I have to see Pat Mahomes actually play when it counts. Listen they have an unbelievable offense that I think even Brock Osweiler could thrive in. But, if you get poor quarterback play then you might as well as just pack up your season right there. Their defense could use some tweaks for sure, but the addition of Anthony Hitchens was a sneaky one for sure.
11) Los Angeles Chargers (9-7 in 2017)
The Charges always have injuries. Injuries barring, they’re a top 10 team no doubt. But they’ve already lost tight end Hunter Henry and haven’t even played a pre-season game yet, so I’m putting them at 11. Hayes Pullard is still the liability on defense and their line still needs some work.
10) Atlanta Falcons (10-6 in 2017)
The Julio Jones news could linger. With rumors of a holdout brewing and Interior defensive lineman Terrell McClain struggles continuing, this could make it an interesting season for the Atlanta Falcons to say the least. They’ll need to get solid quarterback play out of Matt Ryan again this season and I’ll expect that as long as Julio is on the field.
9) Houston Texans (4-12 in 2017)
If they can develop a decent offensive line then the sky could be the limit for this team. Oh yeah J.J. Watt, needs to stay healthy. But I’m excited to see DeShaun Watson in his second year with DeAndre Hopkins. This is a scary tandem in the works.
8) Green Bay Packers (7-9 in 2017)
Listen if Tony Romo is high on them, then I’m high on them. They made improvements to their secondary which was their weakest link last year and they get quarterback Aaron Rodgers back. Though they’ll need good offensive line play as they want to keep the hits to a minimum for Rodgers.
7) Minnesota Vikings (13-3 in 2017)
What a season it was for the Vikings. Their defense is unbelievable, they added Kirk Cousins, they get Dalvin Cook back from injury and they still have Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. They have A LOT of talent, now it’s just time to put everything together and see what comes out of it.
6) Los Angeles Rams (11-5 in 2017)
The loss of Matt LaFleur is going to be a huge one for the Rams this season and they better hope and pray that it doesn’t hurt the development of quarterback Jared Goff. Because if Goff doesn’t play well then, it’s a domino effect that takes us back to two years ago and Rams fans don’t want to hear that.
5) Philadelphia Eagles (13-3 in 2017)
Just like teams in the NFC North and AFC South experienced last year that injuries to key players really can be an added benefit to leap frog in your division. No, I’m not discrediting what the Eagles did last year at all. But let’s see how things play out this season. With Wentz coming back from a serious knee injury any struggle from him might start the whispers of putting in backup, Super Bowl MVP, Nick Foles in.
4) New Orleans Saints (11-5 in 2017)
They have an on the rise defense in New Orleans which is another linebacker and safety away from being close to elite. They also have a guy by the name of Drew Brees as the quarterback positioned paired up with one of the league’s most dominant running backs in Alvin Kamara. This Saints team is poised for another run, so watch out.
3) Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3 in 2017)
I don’t like what I’m hearing about the Le’Veon Bell scenario at all. But they still have the best offense in the NFL on paper but I’m worried about how they’re ran and if Mike Tomlin can lead this team through what’s starting to look like is going to be a lot of problems (With Bell, Big Ben from the NFL draft and others).
2) Dallas Cowboys (9-7 in 2017)
The Ezekiel Elliott suspension is over with, the drama in the locker room with Dez Bryant is over with, the off-the-field problems are almost over with as Randy Gregory is fully reinstated and ready to go for the season. It sounds like the Dallas Cowboys are back. If the Cowboys can get good play out of their secondary and Dalton Schultz and Michael Gallup can develop into what experts are saying, then this Cowboys team is going to be a matchup nightmare.
1) New England Patriots (13-3 in 2017)
Despite the ESPN article, the Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Bill Belichick drama and everything else going on in New England, trust me they’ll be okay. Until the tandem of Bill and Brady don’t deliver is when I’ll stop placing them as the favorite year after year.