The 2020 NFL Draft is complete, most of the big names in free agency have found new homes (looking at you Jadeveon Clowney), and each team has received their official schedule for the upcoming season.
Taking a look at the win totals for the upcoming season, a few teams appear to be criminally underestimated or vastly overrated. It probably isn’t wise to place any of these long-term bets until it’s known exactly how the 2020 NFL season will be affected by the ongoing pandemic. With that being said, if the season goes as planned, consider placing long-term wagers on the following AFC teams.
Baltimore Ravens (O/U 11.5 wins)
Lamar Jackson and the Ravens took the league by surprise last season, winning 14 games and securing the best record in the NFL. With the league’s easiest schedule and an excellent offseason, there’s no reason to believe that the Ravens cannot continue their regular season excellence.
The competition that makes up the Ravens’ 2020 schedule had a combined win percentage of just .438 in 2019. Obviously that statistic doesn’t tell everything about their opponents since Ben Roethlisberger will return for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals will have a young Joe Burrow at the throne, likely improving both teams’ win total in 2020. Yet, the New England Patriots and the Houston Texans suffered big losses from their 2019 rosters, two teams that the Ravens will face away from Baltimore.
The Ravens drafted playmakers in Ohio State running back Jk Dobbins, Texas wide receiver Devin Duvernay, and SMU wide receiver James Proche to join an already lethal offense. Defensively, they addressed the loss of linebacker Patrick Onwunasor by taking LSU’s Patrick Queen in the first round and also acquiring Ohio State’s Malik Harrison in the third round.
The Ravens traded for defensive end Calais Campbell, arguably the biggest defensive acquisition of any team in the offseason. Re-signed Pernell McPhee, newly signed Derek Wolfe, and third round pick Justin Madubuike from Texas A&M will join Campbell and Brandon Williams to form one of the most dangerous defensive fronts in the NFL. This scary front paired with their scary secondary gives the Ravens continued success at the defensive side of the ball.
A 14-win team in 2019 which did nothing but improve in the offseason should crush their 11.5 projected win total with their light schedule.
Buffalo Bills (O/U 9 wins)
The Bills statistically had the second-best defense in the NFL last season, allowing less than 17 points per game. Their stingy defense led the team to ten wins and a playoff berth.
That defense will be even tougher in 2020 with numerous additions in the draft and free agency. Mario Addison and A.J. Klein will bolster their linebacker corps. Iowa rookie A.J. Epenesa is an upgrade from Shaq Lawson at defensive end. Quinton Jefferson and Vernon Butler will improve their interior d-line even with the loss of Jordan Phillips. Josh Norman and Pittsburgh rookie Dane Jackson will add depth to an already talented secondary.
Josh Allen had a successful sophomore campaign and will continue to improve his accuracy. The Bills continue to surround the young stud with weapons, trading their first round pick for star wide receiver Stefon Diggs. They also drafted Utah running back Zack Moss to pair with their young talent Devin Singletary. Draftees Gabriel Davis from UCF and Isaiah Hodgins from Oregon State will add depth to that receiving corps as well.
The Bills had ten wins in 2019. Their defense got even stronger and Josh Allen has had another season to develop. Picking the under is asking the Bills to go .500 at 8-8, which is unlikely.
Jacksonville Jaguars (O/U 5.5 wins)
The Jaguars had 12 picks in the 2020 NFL Draft and rocked it. Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson, LSU EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson, and Ohio State defensive tackle Davon Hamilton are three defensive players with Pro Bowl potential at the next level. They added offensive weapons in Colorado wide receiver Laviska Shenault and Texas wide receiver Collin Johnson. Michigan State cornerback Josiah Scott and Miami linebacker Shaquille Quarterman are a couple of day-three picks likely to have a big impact as well.
The Jaguars had a great draft, and these pieces will come into play in the 2021 NFL season. For now, the Jaguars should have their eyes on the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State’s Justin Fields make up the greatest quarterback class at least since Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III in 2012. Gardner Minshew showed flashes last season, but he isn’t the answer. Why fight for six wins in 2020 and badly miss the playoffs when you can secure your franchise quarterback with two wins?
Even if the Jaguars choose not to tank, six wins is still asking for a lot. The star players they haven’t already traded want to play elsewhere. Their offensive line is mediocre. An inexperienced Gardner Minshew with many weaknesses cannot lead this team to six wins. Their defense is young and strong, and if paired with a talented quarterback, the Jaguars can be the leader in the AFC South. They have to get that quarterback first, and the 2021 NFL Draft has it all.
Click here to hear the win total predictions for the rest of the AFC.