Best Against the Spread Picks for Week 1

By: James Tillman 

James Tillman’s NFL Best Bets for Week 1

Are you ready for some football? Those are the six words that mean that the upcoming football season is right around the corner. For obvious reasons, this is big-time news for NFL fans. The big game that took place back in February saw the Kansas City Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers. San Francisco led by a double-digit margin in the final frame.  

But as they had done several times before, the Chiefs managed to overcome that advantage en route to winning the team’s first Super Bowl title in five decades. Was this win the beginning of the next NFL dynasty, or will someone challenge the champions during the 2020 NFL season? But before we start getting too far ahead of ourselves here, let’s take a look at our best pick(s) for Week 1. 

NFL Best Bet ATS for Week 1, No. 1: Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco 49ers (-7) vs. Arizona Cardinals 

For our first sure pick, we have a matchup between two division rivals. Last season, the 49ers finished with one of the best records in the league at 13-3. Additionally, the 49ers had the fourth-best offense in the NFL, totaling 381.1 yards per game and they also had the second-best defense in the league as well, giving up just 281.8 yards per outing.  

Meanwhile, the Cardinals finished last in the NFC West at 5-10. Along with that, the Cardinals had the 21st-best offense in the NFL and finished dead last in total yards allowed per game at 402. Based on the numbers, the 49ers should not only win this game, but they should also cover the spread as well.  

NFL Best Bet ATS for Week 1, No. 2: Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs

Houston Texans vs. Kansas City Chiefs (-9) 

Ironically, these two teams faced off in last year’s AFC divisional playoffs. In that contest, the Houston Texans were rolling early as they jumped out to a 24-0 lead. Unfortunately for the Texans, that three-score lead would not hold up. In fact, the Chiefs erased the huge deficit thanks to scoring 41 consecutive points.  

And when it was all said and done, the Chiefs ended up winning the game by a 51-31 margin. It was the biggest comeback win in franchise history. While the Texans should prove to be a formidable opponent for the defending champs, look for the Chiefs to get the better of their opponent this time around as well and start the season off on a high note and win by double-digits.

Kansas City Chiefs 2020 Odds & Betting Preview

By, Faux John Madden (Special to OddsUSA.com)

It took five decades for the Kansas City Chiefs to return to the summit of the NFL mountaintop as Super Bowl Champions, and thanks to securing the best quarterback in the league for at least the next 10 years, Andy Reid and the Chiefs hope that this is the beginning of the next NFL dynasty.

The road traveled to get to their first Super Bowl title since 1969 was less than ordinary when comparing Kansas City’s path to recent Super Bowl Champions.  Their franchise quarterback Patrick Mahomes would suffer two injuries a season ago, the latter of which appeared to have possibly ended his 2019 season, before Mahomes would only miss two games and quickly return to the form of play that saw him win the 2018 NFL MVP award in a landslide fashion.

The Chiefs defense, long seen as a weakness to the team, gelled together at the perfect time and would stop opposing teams well enough to allow for their explosive high-octane offense to do what they did best — scoring quickly and often.

And now, after somehow finding the cash to keep Patrick Mahomes and Chris Jones around for the foreseeable future, and adding an explosive young rookie running back into the fold in Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City isn’t just thinking of repeating as Super Bowl Champions in 2020, they’re thinking of dominating the sport completely for many years to come.

Chiefs 2019 Season Review

The Kansas City Chiefs entered the 2020 offseason as the happiest team in football, for they were the Super Bowl Champions, and anything that had happened leading up to that was simply just a footnote in history.

Kansas City’s 2019 campaign did not come without its share of adversity, however, as while the team would open the season a perfect 4-0, with three of those wins coming on the road, they would run into injury concerns with their franchise quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Entering a Sunday Night Football matchup against the Colts, Mahomes appeared to roll his ankle and while he would play out the game, he never quite looked like the Patrick Mahomes we had already grown to expect to see.  Mahomes would join a long list of Chiefs injuries at the early juncture in the season, with fellow stars like Tyreek Hill, Chris Jones, Sammy Watkins, and Eric Fisher all battling various injuries that would leave them out of the lineup.

Kansas City would fall in this matchup by the score of 19-13, leaving the Chiefs with their first loss of the young season.  They would follow that up with a home loss to Houston, again with Mahomes playing on a hobbled ankle and many other skill position players dealing with their own injury battles.

That segued into a Thursday Night road matchup against the Denver Broncos, where Patrick Mahomes would cause all of Chiefs Kingdom to collectively crap their pants in a way that only Odell Beckham would approve of.

On a 4th and 1 quarterback sneak early in the second quarter, Mahomes appeared to have suffered a serious knee injury inside of the dogpile to prolong the Kansas City drive.  Mahomes would exit the game, but avoided a season-ending injury, instead spraining his knee leading to the reigning MVP missing the next two starts.

After narrowly losing the following Sunday Night to Green Bay at home, backup quarterback Matt Moore would deliver a 26-23 victory over the Vikings a week later, which would prove down the road to play a pivotal role in the Chiefs eventually reaching the Super Bowl.

Mahomes would return the following week in a road showdown against the surging Tennessee Titans under their new quarterback Ryan Tannehill.  Mahomes showed no signs of rust and threw for 446 yards and three touchdowns, but the Chiefs defense would have no answer for Derrick Henry and watched as Henry would rack up 188 yards and two touchdowns in a 35-32 thriller.

The loss would leave the Chiefs at 6-4 on the season, and their hopes of clinching a top-two seed in the AFC appeared to have been all but over as the Patriots and Ravens had raced out to an 8-1 and 7-2 start respectively.

Instead, the Chiefs would not lose another game the rest of the way, and the Patriots would slowly begin to come back to Earth after being exposed in a blowout loss to those same Baltimore Ravens.  In Week 14, a rematch of the 2018 AFC Championship was about to take place as the Chiefs would travel to Foxboro for a date with the Patriots.

Patrick Mahomes, as he has done so many times already in his young career, would play spectacularly and lead Kansas City to a 23-16 road upset of the Patriots, pulling the Chiefs within one game of them in the race for the ultra-important second first-round bye.

Following blowout wins over the Broncos and Bears where the Chiefs would only surrender three points in each game, Kansas City stood at 12-3 on the year and headed into their Week 17 game against the Chargers with an extra boost of energy.

Why did they have that extra fuel in the tank?  Because shortly before their game was about to kick-off, Ryan Fitzpatrick delivered the best news possible — the 4-11 Dolphins had stunned the Patriots at Gillette Stadium, opening the door for the Chiefs to steal the #2 spot in the AFC, a scenario that looked to be a mere fantasy just one month before.

Had it not been for Matt Moore’s heroics in their home date against the eventual playoff-bound Minnesota Vikings, the Chiefs would have been playing the Titans at home for the first weekend of the playoffs, instead, they got the week off and got to sit back and watch the AFC Playoffs burn as both New England and Baltimore would suffer season-ending defeats at the hands of that same Titans team before Kansas City had ever taken the field in the playoffs.

With the Chiefs now in full control of their playoff destiny and home-field advantage in their control, the Chiefs did what they had done so many times before — fell behind early and looked miserable in the process before flipping a switch and looking like a Category 5 hurricane making landfall.

In their playoff matchups against Houston and Tennessee, the Chiefs would erase a 24-0 deficit and a 17-7 deficit before going on a Golden State Warriors like offensive spurt to leave their opposition in the dust.

Kansas City would embark on their first Super Bowl appearance in 50 seasons, and customarily, fell behind by double-digits once again, this time really pushing their comeback ability to the limits as they would fall behind 20-10 with just seven minutes left in their Super Bowl LIV matchup against the NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers.

The rest, as they say, is history, as Mahomes would connect on a 44-yard pass with Tyreek Hill on 3rd and 15 and run off 21 unanswered points to close out their dream season with a 31-20 Super Bowl victory.

Now as the 2020 NFL Season is set to begin, the Chiefs are ready to do it all over again, albeit this time without needing to put themselves in a precarious position to do so.

The Only Guys Kansas City Could Afford After Paying Patrick Mahomes Amazon Money
DE Taco Charlton (Dolphins)
TE Ricky Seals-Jones (Browns)
C Daniel Kilgore (Dolphins)
RT Mike Remmers (Giants)
S Tedric Thompson (Seahawks)

The “How in the World Did They Pay Him?!” Guy
DT Chris Jones (Four-Year Extension Signed)

Should Probably Send Mahomes Some Fancy Ketchup for Getting Them Super Bowl Rings
RB LeSean McCoy (Buccaneers)
LT Cameron Erving (Cowboys)
DE Emmanuel Ogbah (Dolphins)
LB Reggie Ragland (Lions)
G Stefen Wisniewski (Steelers)
P Dustin Colquitt (Steelers)
CB Kendall Fuller (Washington)
QB Matt Moore (Free Agent)
LB Terrell Suggs (Free Agent)

Chiefs 2020 COVID-19 Opt-Outs
RB Damien Williams
G Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

Chiefs 2020 Offensive Preview

If you’re not a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs, you will be happy to hear that Kansas City will return essentially everyone from the team that won Super Bowl LIV, and they may have made their offense even more explosive with the addition of LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

In other words, Kansas City is back and they are not going away any time soon.

The Chiefs offense, no one’s surprise, revolves around the play of their All-World quarterback Patrick Mahomes.  Mahomes enters the 2020 NFL Season with the largest contract extension in the history of professional sports, and as the most decorated quarterback after three years in the league potentially ever.

In just two seasons as a starter, Mahomes has already won 24 of his 31 starts as a pro, with an eye-popping 9,412 yards passing and 76 touchdowns to just 18 interceptions.  Mahomes has also done some damage with his legs, most notably this run against the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship, but it’s his golden arm that has tormented opposing defenses the most to start his career.

If there’s been a weakness in the Kansas City offense the past two seasons, it’s come in trying to fill the void left by Kareem Hunt when the Chiefs were forced to release the talented running back due to a domestic violence situation appearing on tape.  Hunt has since landed in Cleveland to back up Nick Chubb, but the Chiefs were unable to truly fill his spot as Damien Williams and LeSean McCoy provided so-so play in the role, though Williams did put forth the best game of his career in the Super Bowl.

In 2020, Williams elected to sit out the season due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, so the unimpeded starter this season will be that of 2020 1st round select Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who played a big part in LSU’s historically good offense that would ultimately win the National Championship.

Edwards-Helaire would rush for 1414 yards and 16 touchdowns in his junior season while racking up another 453 yards receiving for the Tigers.  It’s precisely that skillset that Andy Reid is lacking on this offense, and that’s a frightening proposition in itself.

In addition to the rookie running back, the Chiefs return everyone from their arsenal of weapons in the passing game.  Kansas City boasts the most speed in the NFL at the wide receiver position, with track stars Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman creating pure chaos on opposing defenses, while veteran Sammy Watkins pairs with Demarcus Robinson to give Patrick Mahomes two reliable targets in the short-intermediate passing game.

Patrick Mahomes’ favorite target continues to be that of All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce, who enters his eighth season with the team.  Mahomes and Kelce have combined to form one of the best passing combos in the league, and thanks to the sheer amount of weapons on this offense figure to again put defenses in dire straits in 2020.

If there is one question mark for Andy Reid’s offense, it will be at right guard where the team will be without Laurent Duvernay-Tardif who elected to sit out the 2020 NFL Season to help join the frontlines in the battle against COVID-19.   Andy Reid hopes that Andrew Wylie will be able to slide inside from playing tackle in 2019 to help fill the void left by Duvernay-Tardif.

The rest of the Chiefs offensive line remains intact, with former 2013 #1 overall pick Eric Fisher returning to protect Patrick Mahomes blindside at left tackle, and Kelechi Osemele, Austin Reiter, and Mitchell Schwartz providing additional veteran support.

Chiefs 2020 Defensive Preview

The biggest question that circled Steve Spagnuolo’s group heading into the 2020 NFL Season was whether or not Kansas City would be able to keep All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones on the team for the foreseeable future.

The Chiefs were able to commit salary-cap gymnastics that would net them an Olympic Gold Medal if cap management were an Olympic sport, and locked down the explosive interior lineman for the next four seasons.  Now Jones returns with fellow Pro Bowl DE Frank Clark to form one of the better defensive lines in football.

At linebacker, the Chiefs will start a pair of former Dallas Cowboys with the return of Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson to the lineup.  The Kansas City secondary did lose Kendall Fuller to free agency, in large part because they simply could not afford him, and will look to replace him in the lineup with Antonio Hamilton.

The lynchpin of the Chiefs secondary again will be Tyrann Mathieu, who interchanges at strong safety and cornerback for Spagnuolo, with most of his action happening from the safety position.  Daniel Sorensen and Juan Thornhill also play a big part in the Chiefs secondary, with Charvarius Ward and Rashad Fenton rounding out the Kansas City back end of the defense.

The Chiefs’ defensive unit is not to be confused with the likes of Baltimore and San Francisco, but it’s good enough to limit teams from scoring frequently, and when paired with the behemoth that is the Kansas City offense, usually plays a lot better than it looks on paper.  This figures to be the case in 2020 as well.

Chiefs 2020 Outlook & Prediction

Barring injury cutting Patrick Mahomes season short, the Chiefs figure to be every bit as dangerous as they’ve been since Mahomes took over as the starting quarterback for Andy Reid.  With nearly all of the pieces returning from their 2019 Super Bowl-winning team, it’s easy to fall in love with this team again and pick them as the presumptive favorite to become the first repeat Super Bowl champion in nearly 20 years.

Look for Kansas City to once again dominate the AFC West and be one of the best teams in football, and if Clyde Edwards-Helaire is as good as advertised, we could very well see Andy Reid and company enjoying another cheeseburger and Super Bowl parade combination.

We believe the Chiefs will once again be at the top of the AFC standings and will meet the Ravens for a spot in Super Bowl LV.

Chiefs 2020 Projection:  13-3, 1st place NFC West

Chiefs 2020 Betting Preview

Just like Patrick Mahomes with the game on the line, these futures bets related to the Chiefs are sure to make you feel good about your chances.

  • Kansas City Chiefs to Win OVER 11.5 Games — (-121) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    While the juice on this is not the most ideal, we love the over 11.5 win total for Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.  Should Mahomes avoid a serious injury in 2020, we think they’ll go over this number fairly comfortably with a 12-14 win season definitely in the cards. 
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire to Win Offensive Rookie of the Year — (+300) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    While Joe Burrow is the short-favorite for the award, we believe your true favorite to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award is that of Clyde Edwards-Helaire who figures to get ample opportunity to rack up the stats needed to bring home this award.  Couple that with the fact the Chiefs will be on national television more often than they are not, and CEH delivering this +300 winner to you seems more likely than not.
  • Kansas City Chiefs to be the Last Unbeaten Team — (+800) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    Of course, there will be a massive amount of tickets on the Chiefs repeating as Super Bowl Champions and for Patrick Mahomes to be the league MVP.  While we like each of those future bets as well, we’re going a little more off the beaten path here by taking the Chiefs to be the last team to suffer a loss in 2020 at +800.  Should Kansas City get out of Baltimore in Week 3 with a road win, their schedule becomes immediately easier with Kansas City likely favored to win in each game until their November 29 matchup against Tampa Bay.  With value of 8-to-1, we can think of many worse futures dart throws to make.  This is worth the shot on Mahomes’ greatness alone.

San Francisco 49ers 2020 Odds & Betting Preview

By, Faux John Madden (Special to OddsUSA.com)

With 7:13 remaining in the 4th quarter of Super Bowl LIV, the vaunted 49ers defense had Patrick Mahomes flabbergasted, frustrated, and facing 3rd and 15 from his own 35-yard line.

Mahomes did what he did so many times throughout the 2019 season, stood tall in the pocket until the very last moment, and unleashed a bomb to a wide-open Tyreek Hill for a 44-yard gain.

The Chiefs would eventually score on that drive and on their following possession to retake the lead.  All hope for the 49ers elusive sixth Lombardi Trophy began to wane considerably. 

But alas, a Super Bowl throw for the ages was about to take place!

Trailing 24-20 on 3rd and 10 with 1:34 remaining from the Kansas City 49-yard line, Jimmy Garoppolo dropped back to pass where Emmanuel Sanders looked to have the Chiefs defense beat over the top for the go-ahead, Disney movie-like ending to the Super Bowl.

Instead, the pass would um, essentially land in Orlando, and the 49ers would officially give Kyle Shanahan his second blown 4th quarter Super Bowl lead in four seasons. 

(Quite the accomplishment!)

With a roster still loaded with talent, particularly on the defensive side of the football, San Francisco has all the pieces to return to the Super Bowl this season, the biggest question that remains is whether or not they can avoid the same Super Bowl loser hangover that has doomed so many other teams before them.

49ers 2019 Season Review

The 49ers entered the 2019 NFL Season off a disappointing 2018 4-12 season that saw the team lose starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to a season-ending ACL injury in Week 3.

With Garoppolo returning to the lineup and the infusion of talent with Nick Bosa, Deebo Samuel in the draft and Dee Ford in free agency, expectations for a bounceback season were reasonably high, but few projected the 49ers to leap into Super Bowl contender status as quickly as they eventually did.

The 49ers emerged as a powerhouse in the NFC almost immediately, as the team would race out to an 8-0 start to the season, with five of their wins coming in blowout fashion and a 9-0 win over Washington that felt much worse than the score would indicate.

San Francisco would enter Week 10 with a Monday Night Football date with 7-2 Seattle, and had they not lost Robbie Gould for the week with an injury they probably would have walked out of this matchup with a three-game lead in the division and a perfect 9-0 record.

However, replacement Chase McLaughlin would miss a 47-yard field goal in overtime and open the door for Seattle to win at the gun in overtime with a field goal of their own to deliver San Francisco their first loss of the season.

The 49ers would then embark on the most difficult part of their schedule with games against the Packers, Ravens, and Saints.  They would thoroughly dominate the Packers on Sunday Night Football with a 37-8 thrashing and fell in a close road loss to the Ravens by the score of 20-17. 

That set up the game of the year in a road-trip to the Superdome to face New Orleans.  In a thriller for the ages, the 49ers defeated Drew Brees and the Saints 48-46, in large part because George Kittle carried half of Louisiana on his back during their comeback.

Naturally, this would set up one of the biggest rope-a-dopes in recent gambling memory, when in the week after their enormous win over the Saints, they would manage to lose a home game against the 4-9 Falcons.  The set back put the 49ers at 11-3 and suddenly left the team in 2nd place in the NFC West, as they were now in a tie with 11-3 Seattle.

However, after an onslaught of injuries suffered by the Seahawks in a Week 16 loss to Arizona, San Francisco once again had the inside path to the division title and top seed in the NFC.  The 49ers would escape a Los Angeles Rams team playing for their playoff lives with a 34-31 victory, before surviving a last-second gasp by Russell Wilson and the Seahawks in a 26-21 Week 17 win.

The 49ers would cruise in their two NFC playoff victories and essentially stake a claim to the NFC North title with blowout wins over Minnesota and Green Bay, paving the way for them to get back to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2012.  

Looking Forward to Kyle Shanahan Giving Them Anguishing Heartbreak
LT Trent Williams (Washington/Trade)
TE Jordan Reed (Washington)
WR Travis Benjamin (Chargers/COVID-19 Opt-Out)
WR Tavon Austin (Cowboys) / Placed on IR
G Tom Compton (Jets)
DE Kerry Hyder (Cowboys)

Flew Away Like a Deep Throw in Miami
DT DeForest Buckner (Colts/Trade)
WR Emmanuel Sanders (Saints)
DT Sheldon Day (Colts)
RB Matt Breida (Dolphins)
WR Marquise Goodwin (Eagles/COVID-19 Opt-Out)
LT Joe Staley (Retired)

49ers 2020 Offensive Preview

The 49ers enter the 2020 NFL Season with what could potentially be an even better offense than the 4th ranked unit they boasted in 2019.

When Jimmy Garoppolo wasn’t trying to throw a pass from Miami into the Gulf of Mexico in the Super Bowl, he was a pretty effective quarterback in 2019, occasional head-scratching interceptions aside.

In 2020, despite losing veteran tackle Joe Staley to retirement, the 49ers offensive line may have improved substantially with the acquisition of franchise left tackle Trent Williams.  Williams will anchor an offensive line that returns three starters, though it will have a new starter at right guard with Daniel Brunskill filling in for Mike Person.

The Niners boast the best rushing attack in football, thanks in large part to Kyle Shanahan’s zone-blocking scheme that seems to turn anyone into a capable running back.  The latest rags-to-riches story at tailback for the 49ers comes with Raheem Mostert, who figures to get the lion’s share of carries after his 220 yards and four touchdowns in the NFC Championship put him on the map for all to see.

Mostert headlines a stable of 49er running backs that include Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon, who has yet to play a full season for Shanahan since signing with the team in 2018.  The 49ers rushing game also boasts usage of the best fullback in football with Kyle Juszczyk.

In the passing game for San Francisco, while the team did lose Emmanuel Sanders in free agency to New Orleans, Kyle Shanahan hopes that 2020 1st round selection Brandon Aiyuk will step right into the starting role opposite of 2019 2nd round selection Deebo Samuel.  Samuel had an outstanding rookie season for the 49ers and emerged as the team’s best receiver down the stretch.

Beyond Aiyuk and Samuel, Kyle Shanahan is really just looking for something that sticks.  The team signed Tavon Austin in free agency, but he was placed on injured reserve and will miss the 2020 season.  The team also signed Travis Benjamin, but he opted out of the season due to concerns about the COVID-19 virus.  That leaves Shanahan with Trent Taylor, Kendrick Bourne, and Dante Pettis as their main options at wide receiver beyond their two young starters.

Fortunately for San Francisco, George Kittle figures to take a lot of pressure off the 49ers wide receivers and remains the best player on the 49ers offense.  The All-Pro tight end was rewarded for his outstanding play with a mammoth contract extension and has topped 80 receptions and 1000 yards receiving in each of the last two seasons. 

Kyle Shanahan also added Jordan Reed to play as the team’s number two tight end, but he has a long history of concussion and hamstring injuries so it is anyone’s guess how many games San Francisco will be able to get out of him.

49ers 2020 Defensive Preview

Without question, the catalyst for the 49ers run to the Super Bowl was their second-ranked defense in 2019, and if the Niners are to get back to the Super Bowl in 2020 it will be the defense doing the heavy lifting once again.

There will be some minor changes to the 49ers defense in 2020, most notably along the defensive line where the team was pressed into trading DeForest Buckner to the Colts because they couldn’t afford to extend him and their other star players like George Kittle and Arik Armstead.

Replacing Buckner on the defensive line will be Javon Kinlaw, who the 49ers selected with the first of their two first-round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft.  Should Kinlaw fill Buckner’s role, there’s no reason to believe San Francisco’s defense can’t replicate what they did a season ago.

The 49ers defensive line is still loaded even with the departure of Buckner, as 2019 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Nick Bosa returns to play opposite of Arik Armstead, with DJ Jones and Solomon Thomas rotating at tackle next to Kinlaw.

San Francisco boasts a ridiculous amount of speed at linebacker, where Fred Warner, Kwon Alexander, and Dre Greenlaw return.  Warner may miss the opening game against the Cardinals due to being placed on the COVID-19 list, however, he figures to start for the team at inside linebacker the moment he is cleared.

In the secondary, the 49ers again will be headlined by future Hall of Famer Richard Sherman, with Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt playing safety.  The tandem at safety has been one of the better duos in the league, however, they have missed 44 games combined in the past four seasons, so durability is a bit of a concern here.

The 49ers occasionally struggled in finding a cornerback to play opposite of Sherman a season ago, and hope to see Emmanuel Moseley or Ahkello Witherspoon hold down the right cornerback position in 2020.  If Jason Verrett can avoid injury, he may become an option for the Niners opposite of Sherman as well.

49ers 2020 Outlook & Prediction

The 49ers were bestowed the painful honors of having the Super Bowl loser scarlet letter painted across their chest, but this roster remains as one of the most talented rosters in the entire league.  While the team did have some slight roster turnover from a season ago, the key pieces to their 13-3 team return in 2020 where they hope to return to the Super Bowl and finish the job.

The team will face a tougher schedule in 2020, as they no longer have the luxury of playing a last-place schedule as they did in 2019.  The biggest question circling the 49ers this season is how they will be able to shake off the heartbreaking manner in which last season ended.  San Francisco believes they are the best team in football, we believe they’re going to be a very good team that can once again come out of the NFC as conference champions.

With that said, we believe they will have a slight step back because of that Super Bowl loss and finish 11-5, relinquishing the NFC West crown to division rival Seattle in the process.  However, they certainly have the talent to make this prediction look quite foolish in a few months as well.

49ers 2020 Projection:  11-5, 2nd place NFC West

49ers 2020 Betting Preview

Unlike the 4th quarter of a Super Bowl for Kyle Shanahan, these futures bets involving the 49ers should treat you exceptionally well.

  • San Francisco 49ers OVER 10.5 Wins — (+102) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    The 49ers are certainly a prime regression candidate given their tougher schedule in 2020 and potential Super Bowl loser hex hanging over their heads, but the value on this roster makes this win total very enticing. If the 49ers can avoid a key injury, all the pieces are in place for San Francisco to win 11 games or more in 2020. We’ll take our chances with that.
  • Jimmy Garoppolo OVER 3700.5 Passing Yards — (-118) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    We just think this total is a bit too low and an overreaction to the 49ers vaunted rushing attack. Does Kyle Shanahan love to run the football? Yes. Will he use his stable of running backs a lot in 2020? Also yes. But consider this, despite the well-known infatuation with running the football, Jimmy Garoppolo finished the 2019 NFL Season just 22 yards shy of 4000 passing yards on the season. We think the tougher slate of opponents will force Garoppolo to win some games with his arm and that he will sail over this low projected total.
  • 49ers Defense to Have Most Sacks in Regular Season — (+1400) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    We thought about the token 49ers to win Super Bowl bet here, but that’s too simple for this. So how about a slightly more unique prop bet in taking the 49ers to lead the NFL in sacks? Joey Bosa, Arik Armstead, and Javon Kinlaw will harass the quarterback early and often in 2020, and with a 14-to-1 price on this, it’s well worth the dart throw.

Green Bay Packers 2020 Odds & Betting Preview

By, Faux John Madden (Special to OddsUSA.com)

Once upon a time, Houston Oilers coach Jerry Glanville had the famous description of the NFL standing for, “Not For Long,” and that’s precisely that verbiage that one could describe the Green Bay Packers and how much longer they will have the fortune of having Aaron Rodgers suit up at quarterback for them.

Rodgers and the Packers entered unchartered territory in the 2019 NFL Season when they made their first change at head coach since 2006 when Matt LaFleur was hired in place of the fired Mike McCarthy, who was only the second-winningest coach in team history trailing only some guy named Vince Lombardi in that department. 

McCarthy was fired after the Packers limped their way to a 6-9-1 record in 2018, and multiple questions circled the hiring of the inexperienced LaFleur who was only 39-years old at the time of his hiring, in particular about how he and the longtime superstar Packers quarterback would co-exist.  

Any of those concerns would be quickly laid to rest, as Green Bay would have their most successful regular season since 2011 when the Packers finished that season 15-1 before Eli Manning began one of his magic carpet rides to a Super Bowl.  Green Bay would finish the 2019 season with a 13-3 record and advanced to the NFC Championship Game before the 49ers would essentially disembowel them on national television for the second time last season.

It’s because of that success in 2019 that made their 2020 offseason so bewildering to Packer supporters and non-supporters alike.   As the Glanville quote so eloquently lays out, the time in the NFL is often now, and building for the future seems foolish when you have a team on the doorstep of a Super Bowl.

Yet the Packers approached their 2020 offseason like they were a team that is on the brink of needing to rebuild and not one that has one of the best quarterbacks of all-time playing out the last few years of his career needing just a couple pieces to have a chance to deliver another championship to a historic franchise.

In a draft that saw thirteen wide receivers be selected in the first 64 picks, and one that was considered the deepest wide receiver class of all-time, the Packers drafted approximately zero of them, and instead drafted a quarterback that was considered too raw to start in his rookie season, and even traded up to do so.  The only wide receiver the team would add in the offseason is that of the massively underwhelming Devin Funchess, and Funchess eventually elected to opt-out of the 2020 NFL Season entirely due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s almost like the Packers are punishing Aaron Rodgers for all those State Farm ads he’s put out in the last several seasons.

Leaving arguably the best quarterback in franchise history with only one wide receiver (Davante Adams) that anyone will want on their fantasy team was one of several head-scratching moments in the 2020 offseason from a team that was a game away from reaching the Super Bowl, and the biggest reason why many are asking what exactly the Packers are planning to do this year and beyond.

Packers 2019 Season Review

No one in the NFL had done less to capitalize on having a superstar quarterback than the Green Bay Packers.  The team had essentially taken the prime of Aaron Rodgers’ career, coated it in ranch dressing, and then promptly set it on fire.

After multiple seasons of frustration from Rodgers, Mike McCarthy was finally fired by the team and because the 2019 coaching carousel essentially became the equivalent of going onto Sean McVay’s LinkedIn and hiring anyone that was connected to him, Green Bay turned to Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator, and former offensive coordinator under Sean McVay, Matt LaFleur to be the team’s next head coach.

The decision to hire LaFleur seemed to have paid off immediately, as the Packers offense was noticeably less reliable on Rodgers’ arm and finally began to tap into the talent of running back Aaron Jones.  Jones was oft-forgotten in McCarthy’s offense, especially when McCarthy would seemingly ditch the running game either out of frustration from Rodgers or because he just abandoned the run entirely for no real reason at all. 

This was not the case at all under their new coach, and Aaron Jones would reap the benefits with 1084 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns, tied for the league lead with Derrick Henry in 2019.  

The Packers would not suddenly become a run-first offense though, and Rodgers would still air the ball out throughout the season.  The veteran quarterback threw for just over 4,000 yards in 2019 with a phenomenal touchdown-to-interception ratio of 26 to four.  This coming off a 2018 season that saw Rodgers throw for 4,442 yards, 25 touchdowns, and two interceptions. 

In other words, if Rodgers is coming up on the twilight of his career, he’s not showing many signs of regressing, and in five of his last six seasons, he has played all 16 games of a season while failing to top 4,000 yards just once (2015) while not throwing double-digit interceptions in a single season since 2010.

It was that precise type of consistent play that allowed for the Packers to start the season with a 7-1 record, headlined by a road-win over Dallas where Rodgers was his usual efficient self and Aaron Jones rushed for over 100 yards and an Al Bundy approved four touchdowns on the day.

But despite the Packers’ impressive record, they still never quite looked the part of a bonafide contender for the Super Bowl.  The Packers were aided greatly with a surprisingly weak schedule, as entering the season they had the second-easiest schedule in football and eventually got additional support from facing the Chiefs without Patrick Mahomes, the Lions with assistance from officiating, the Lions again without Matthew Stafford, the Bears with Mitchell Trubisky, and so forth. 

While you can’t knock the Packers for winning the games on their schedule, they were widely seen as one of the weaker 13-win teams in recent memory.  The lone time they matched up against a true contender in the league came in Week 12 on a Sunday night in late November against the 49ers. 

In a scene that would foreshadow their eventual playoff fate, the 49ers smothered an overwhelmed Packers offense and made a couple of big plays on offense to rout Green Bay 37-8.  The Packers would bounce back with a five-game winning streak to close out the season, but their lone opponent with a winning record was against a Minnesota Vikings team that also had their share of flaws and were without star running back Dalvin Cook. 

Green Bay finished 13-3 and managed to clinch the second first-round bye in the NFC by virtue of a tie-breaker over the Saints.  As a result, they matched up against a battered Seahawks team that was a shell of its regular-season self by the time they got to the postseason.  After narrowly escaping another Russell Wilson comeback attempt with a 28-23 NFL Divisional Round victory, the stage was set for Green Bay to return to Santa Clara for a date with the 49ers. 

Rodgers and the Packers would not stand a chance.  The 49ers ran all over, through, and around the Packers defense and the vaunted Niners defense once again suffocated LaFleur’s offense.   Green Bay would trail 34-7 heading into the 4th quarter before getting a couple of garbage-time touchdowns to make the scoreboard look more respectable.  The final score was 37-20, but the distance between Green Bay and San Francisco was even wider.

That’s precisely why the Packers approach to their offseason has been so maddeningly confusing, as instead of adding a few more pieces to ensure teams like the 49ers don’t end their chances before they truly begin, they elected to basically run it back in 2020 and take another crack at it with the same personnel from two games they failed to even show up in.

Approximately None of These Guys Will Help Aaron Rodgers Out
WR Devin Funchess (Colts/COVID-19 Opt-Out)
LB Christian Kirksey (Browns)
RT Ricky Wagner (Lions)
DE Treyvon Hester (Washington)

Excited They Can Finally Switch to GEICO
LB Blake Martinez (Giants)
LB Kyler Fackrell (Giants)
TE Jimmy Graham (Bears)
RT Bryan Bulaga (Chargers)
LT Jason Spriggs (Bears)
LB B.J. Goodson (Browns)
WR Geronimo Allison (Lions/COVID-19 Opt-Out)
WR Jake Kumerow (Free Agent)
CB Tramon Williams (Free Agent)

Packers 2020 Offensive Preview

Thanks to Packers GM Brian Gutekunst, we don’t have to do a lot of research for the Packers 2020 offense because it’s going to be exactly the same as a season before, only with even fewer targets for Aaron Rodgers to throw the ball to!

Inexplicably, the Packers made approximately zero additions to their wide receiving corps from 2019, even after Devin Funchess told the team he would sit out the 2020 season.  And even then, Funchess was not going to be the addition to really resurrect the Packers passing offense.

Green Bay managed to somehow lose more targets for Rodgers than they gained, as WR’s Geronimo Allison and Jake Kumerow are no longer with the team, and the team released 2018 free-agent flop Jimmy Graham who moved over to Chicago. 

That leaves Green Bay with star wide receiver Davante Adams and a lot of nothing behind him entering the 2020 NFL season.  Allen Lazard figures to start opposite of Adams at wide-receiver in 2020, with Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown providing the team with more consonants than catches. 

At running back, the Packers are in slightly better shape, as Aaron Jones returns to the starting lineup and will be joined by fellow 2017 Packer draft pick Jamaal Williams and 2020 2nd round pick A.J. Dillon out of Boston College.   

Blocking for Jones and the rest of the Packers offense will be long time Packers David Bakhtiari and Corey Linsley. The team will need to replace right tackle Bryan Bulaga, who left for the Chargers in free agency, and will turn to 2019 free-agent addition Billy Turner to man that role with one of their few 2020 free-agent signees Ricky Wagner providing additional depth.

The cornerstone of the Packers offense again will be that of Aaron Rodgers, as the 36-year old quarterback enters his 16th season with the team.  2020 1st round pick Jordan Love is unlikely to see any playing time unless something happens to Rodgers, once again reiterating we have no idea what the Packers are trying to do here.

Packers 2020 Defensive Preview

The Packers defensive unit was boosted by games against some pretty shoddy competition in 2019 and looked to come unglued in the playoffs where Russell Wilson was only slowed down by a crushing dropped pass in the waning moments of their NFC Divisional Playoff game before the 49ers would rush for 285 yards a week later in the NFC Championship.

Once again, the Packers’ attempts to remedy that in the offseason were puzzling at best.  Blake Martinez and Kyler Fackrell both departed the team in free agency, and the team will start 2018 3rd round pick Oren Burks and free-agent addition Christian Kirksey to replace their spots in the lineup. 

Beyond that, nothing else is changing on the Packers defense.  Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith will once again look to put some heat on opposing quarterbacks, as they combined to post 25.5-sacks in 2019 and provided one of the best pass-rushing duos in football.

Kenny Clark will be the centerpiece of the Green Bay defensive line and will be sandwiched in between Dean Lowry and Tyler Lancaster upfront.  However, this is the same defensive front that was abused early and often by Kyle Shanahan’s rushing attack, and you can bet teams on the Packers’ schedule will attempt to replicate this in 2020.

The strength of the Packers defense outside of their upper-echelon tandem of pass rushers comes with the Packers secondary, as Jaire Alexander is one of the best cover cornerbacks in the sport with 2017 2nd round pick Kevin King showing marked improvement a season ago.  The Packers tandem of Adrian Amos and 2019 1st round pick Darnell Savage Jr. returns at safety in 2020.  

Packers 2020 Outlook & Prediction

It’s a good thing the Packers still have Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Jones, and Davante Adams because we still have no idea what they were thinking as they embarked on the new season.  This is a team with a very narrow championship window, and one that showed they were not remotely close to hanging with the likes of San Francisco as the roster is currently constructed.  If it weren’t for a battered Seahawks team in the divisional round, the Packers likely would have been a one-and-done team in 2019 despite finishing the year 13-3.

Fortunately for Green Bay, outside of Minnesota, the rest of their division doesn’t show many signs of knowing what they’re doing either.  Aaron Rodgers still has some juice left in the tank, it just sucks that the Packers front-office isn’t doing everything they can to maximize the last few seasons of a great career.

With all of that being said, we like the Packers to scrape together enough wins with another soft schedule on the horizon in 2020.  We just don’t think they’re going to last very long in January if they return to the playoffs unless they spring a trade to bring Rodgers some help.  Look for Green Bay to edge out Minnesota for the division, but to be quickly disposed of in the playoffs.

Packers 2020 Projection:  10-6, 1st place NFC North

Packers 2020 Betting Preview

Unlike the Packers offseason strategy, we like these Green Bay Packers futures bets

  • Packers to Win NFC North — (+180) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    The Packers’ current win total is set at 8.5-games, but with juice hovering between the -140 and -160 range. That’s too rich for our blood, as beyond Rodgers/Jones/Adams there is a whole lot of nothing on the Packers offense. We will take a stab at the Packers winning the division at +180, but we definitely are not in love with this bet.
  • Aaron Rodgers OVER 3850.5 Yards Passing — (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    When Rodgers has played a full 16-game season, he has only failed to top this number once as a starting quarterback. We’re very well aware of the lack of weapons in the Packers arsenal this season, but if Rodgers can stay on the field all 16-games, we think he still finds a way to hit 4000 yards on the year.
  • Aaron Rodgers UNDER 7.5 Interceptions — (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    Aaron Rodgers last three seasons starting the entire year? Four interceptions, two interceptions, and seven interceptions. The man simply does not turn it over very often, regardless if he is throwing the ball to the worst wide receiving corps in the league. This feels like a gift.

Tennessee Titans 2020 Odds & Betting Preview

By, Faux John Madden (Special to OddsUSA.com)

Before the entire world came spinning off its axis to kick off the arrival of 2020, there was a feel-good story for the ages developing from the city of Nashville, home of one of the more vanilla franchises in all of professional sports, the Tennessee Titans.

Up until their January postseason jaunt, the Titans were a mostly forgotten team amongst casual and die-hard football fans alike, so much so that the cinematic classic ‘Remember the Titans’ has been applied more to the franchise as a genuine question to remind us all of their existence than their actual performances on Sunday.

Each season it felt like the Titans were a team that didn’t make enough waves in either direction to really draw any type of reaction from those who weren’t fans of the team.  Tennessee was never dreadfully terrible and made into a laughing stock whenever they played, nor were they ever really truly feared or tabbed as a team that you had to make sure you paid attention to. 

With this type of fan classification, it’s no wonder that the Titans embarked on the 2019 season coming off three-consecutive 9-7 seasons, all of which carried the same amount of excitement as a season premiere of The Big Bang Theory.

About six games into the 2019 season, it appeared the Titans would be headed on that same track yet again.  Once again they had a defense that was good enough to steal the occasional win but not great enough to dominate any opponent on their schedule, and they had an offense that was stale and had difficulty putting up a lot of points. 

Tennessee sat at 2-4, failing to produce more than 20 points in four of those six games.  They had all the look and feel of a team that would labor into a .500 type season while boring the fan base before settling into the middle of the first round of the draft.  This was Titans football at its finest.

But then, something happened the moment Titans’ head coach Mike Vrabel elected to bench Marcus Mariota for former Miami Dolphins’ first-round draft choice Ryan Tannehill in a 16-0 road loss to the Broncos.

Tannehill rejuvenated the team and the offense almost immediately.  Even in their shutout loss against the Broncos, the Titans offense looked much better the moment the change was made.  And the wins would soon start coming in bunches, as Tennessee would go 7-3 with Tannehill at starter and sneak into the last playoff berth of the postseason.

Thanks to Tannehill’s turnover-free game management and the running from the freakishly large Derrick Henry, the Titans were able to go into Foxboro and Baltimore and collectively end one dynasty and prevent another one from beginning to happen, before falling to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Chiefs in the AFC Championship.

Tennessee would finish the 2019 regular season with a 9-7 record for the fourth-straight season, but for the first time in well over a decade, the Titans actually have hope that their days of being a forgettable franchise that occasionally popped up on your Red Zone channel will be replaced with a team that can contend for a shot at their first Super Bowl title in team history.

Titans 2019 Season Review

Mike Vrabel’s Titans would begin their season with a road game against the hype train that was known as the Cleveland Browns, and the team could not have hoped for a better start to their season as they would embarrass the Browns by the score of 43-13.

The hot start to the season would quickly fade in the next month, however, as the Titans offense would continually struggle to sustain drives and put up points to help support a stingy Vrabel defense that would five of the Titans’ first six opponents under 20 points. 

Marcus Mariota would eventually be benched in Week 6 when it was discovered that he could no longer pad his offensive numbers through playing the likes of Washington State and Cal every weekend, and as discussed in the opener, Ryan Tannehill would eventually take over as starting quarterback and the Titans offense would soon take off immediately after.

Tennessee would go on to finish the season on a 7-3 tear, including an impressive 35-32 home win over the Kansas City Chiefs to bring their record back to 5-5 on the season as the Titans entered their bye week.  And although Tennessee would lose back-to-back home games against the Texans and Saints, there was a certain feel to the Titans that they could potentially be a very difficult out in the playoffs because of their ability to pound teams into submission with Derrick Henry and their aforementioned stingy defense.

That would prove to be exactly the case when the Titans marched into Gillette Stadium and suffocated the Patriots on a cold Saturday evening in the Boston area.  Derrick Henry would rush for 182 yards and one touchdown, while Ryan Tannehill would only throw the ball 15 times for 72 yards in a 20-13 win that essentially put the last nail in the coffin of the Patriots dynasty.

One week later against a Ravens team that hadn’t lost a game since early October, the Titans would duplicate the script, riding Henry to another 195 yards rushing while Tannehill would again throw it sparingly and the Titans’ defense would prevent the Ravens offense from getting any lasting momentum.  The Titans would win 28-12 and go into the AFC Championship game, looking like a team that was on the verge of an Eli Manning like run to a Super Bowl.

The magic carpet ride would end at Arrowhead Stadium, however, as the Chiefs aerial attack would prove to be too much for Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry to match, and the Chiefs would enact some revenge for their earlier loss and punch their ticket to Super Bowl LIV with a 35-24 victory over Vrabel’s Titans.

Remembered the Titans During Free Agency
DE Jadeveon Clowney (Seahawks)
LB/DE Vic Beasley Jr. (Falcons)
RT Ty Sambrailo (Falcons)
K Stephen Gostkowski (Patriots)
CB Johnathan Joseph (Texans)

Is Quite Literally the Franchise
RB Derrick Henry (Signed 4-year extension)

Probably Should Send Derrick Henry their 2019 Playoff Bonuses
QB Marcus Mariota (Raiders)
RT Jack Conklin (Browns)
DE Jurrell Casey (Broncos/Trade)
RB Dion Lewis (Giants)
CB Logan Ryan (Giants)
K Ryan Succop (Buccaneers)
CB Tramaine Brock (Jaguars)

Titans 2020 Offensive Preview

The Titans entered the 2020 offseason with several notable free-agents, including Tannehill, Henry, and Pro Bowl right tackle Jack Conklin, and were able to retain Tannehill and Henry on new contract extensions, but did see Conklin leave to Cleveland in free agency.

The loss of Conklin is really the only loss the Titans will have to deal with on the offensive side of the ball, and should the Titans be able to replace him in their lineup or at least find someone that is at least moderately capable of doing the job, Tennessee should pick-up where they left off a season ago.

Tennessee looked towards the 2020 NFL Draft for Conklin’s replacement, as they would draft the enormous Isaiah Wilson (6-6, 351 lbs.) out of Georgia in the first round and they also added Ty Sambrailo in free agent for some veteran depth.  If Wilson can step right in and be the same type of imposing run blocker as Conklin, the Titans offense will not miss a beat. 

The rest of the Titans’ offensive line remains intact from a year ago, headlined by left tackle Taylor Lewan and guard Rodger Saffold.  The team hopes that Lewan can stay on the field all season in 2020, after having suspensions cause him to miss multiple games in 2019.

The lynchpin for this Titans offense once again is that of half-Hulk, half-human being Derrick Henry.  To say the Titans rode Henry to the AFC Championship would be a gross understatement, as the workhorse running back rushed for 1,342 yards and 12 touchdowns in the Titans last nine games of the season, including Tennessee’s three playoff games.  It was a nine-game stretch the likes that have never been seen in the NFL, at least not any time in recent memory.

If there’s cause for concern with the Titans’ offense heading into 2020, it is the usage rate of Derrick Henry, as the 26-year old running back touched the ball over 400 times last season and historically that has not fared well for future seasons with running backs who had the same workload.

(Chris Johnson, please pick up the red courtesy phone, Chris Johnson)

Because of this, look for the Titans offense to try to adapt a bit more in 2020 and have Ryan Tannehill take some of the pressure off of their star running back.  One such candidate to be able to give the Titans a major boost in their anemic passing attack is 2019 2nd round pick A.J. Brown, who came on late in his rookie season with four 100-yard receiving games in the Titans last six games to close out the season.  It’s not a coincidence that the Titans offense looked to be at its most dangerous when Brown was making big plays in the passing game.

The young wide receiver was virtually invisible in the playoffs, but a lot of that had to do with their offensive philosophy going into their games against New England and Baltimore, look for A.J. Brown to play a bigger role in their offense this season, especially in the instances when they become overly reliant on Derrick Henry’s production.

The rest of the Titans’ cupboard at wide receiver could be somewhat bare, but if the team can finally get the production out of 2017 1st round pick Corey Davis that they’ve yet to see since they made him the No. 5 overall pick that year, this offense can only get better.  Adam Humphries gives Mike Vrabel a watered-down version of Julian Edelman for his offense, and tight end Jonnu Smith will be the team’s #1 option at that position.

Titans 2020 Defensive Preview

The Titans’ defensive line received a major shot in the arm shortly before the opening week of the 2020 NFL Season when the team was able to sign free agent Jadeveon Clowney to a one-year, incentive-laden contract.

After struggling for much of the 2019 season in Seattle due to a sports hernia, Vrabel hopes that a healthy Clowney returning to play in a 3-4 scheme will allow for Clowney to revert to the form he played when he was a member of division-rival Houston.  Clowney will be joined at rush end with former Atlanta Falcons 1st round pick Vic Beasley and former 2018 2nd round pick Harold Landry.  Titans’ 2018 1st round pick Rashaan Evans will be joined by Jayon Brown to round out the Titans’ linebacking corps.

On the defensive line, the Titans had to say goodbye to Pro Bowler Jurrell Casey, who was traded to Denver so the team could afford to pay Tannehill and Henry, and the team will hope that 2019 1st round pick Jeffery Simmons can slide in and fill the void left behind.  Losing Casey will hurt the Titans defense though unquestionably, as he was one of the best defenders against the run for the last several seasons.

Tennessee’s secondary will return mostly everyone from the same effective unit from a season ago, with Adoree Jackson and safety Kevin Byard being the key performers.  Super Bowl XLIX hero Malcolm Butler will start in place of Logan Ryan, who left for New York in free agency, but 2020 2nd round pick Kristian Fulton may ultimately become the starter before the season ends, particularly if Butler continues to struggle as he has since joining the team in 2018.   Veteran Kenny Vaccaro returns to start at strong safety, while former longtime Houston Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph comes to the Titans to offer veteran depth on passing downs.

Titans 2020 Outlook & Prediction

The biggest question circling the Titans entering the 2020 NFL Season is that of their new official starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill.  Counting on Derrick Henry to repeat his performance from a season ago is simply not realistic given the sheer amount of touches the imposing running back had in 2019.  Tennessee will need Tannehill to provide them with enough of a passing attack to get defenses to stop keying on Henry.  A.J. Brown is a tremendous start for the Titans passing game, but they will need Corey Davis to step up in a big way as well, or this is an offense that could run into a lot of problems once teams figure out how to counter their running-game.

Fortunately for Tennessee, while Indianapolis and Houston are capable of contending for the AFC South crown, each team is also quite flawed in key areas.  If Tannehill can give the team enough in the passing game, this is a team that can not only win the AFC South but potentially is very dangerous once again in January.  But if Tannehill regresses to the form that got him traded to Nashville to begin with, another ho-hum nine-win season could be in the cards.  We’ll predict that Tannehill plays well and the Titans finally break their run of 9-7 seasons with a 10-6 division winning 2020 NFL Season.

Titans 2020 Projection: 10-6, 1st place AFC South

Titans 2020 Betting Preview

Unlike a defender trying to tackle Derrick Henry in the open-field, these futures bets have a chance of happening.

  • Tennessee Titans OVER 8.5 Wins — (-134) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    We love the over 8.5 on the Titans 2020 win total for many reasons. Quite frankly, we believe this is the best team in the division, they are very sound defensively and play a style of football that will have them in nearly all of their games. Not to mention, this is a team that has posted four consecutive 9-7 seasons and does not look like they will deviate too much from that pattern. Eat the juice here and take Tennessee over 8.5-wins.
  • A.J. Brown OVER 1025.5 Yards Receiving — (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    We are going to avoid the props associated with Derrick Henry because his 2019 usage rate is somewhat of a concern, and we also believe that Mike Vrabel will try to have an offense that has a lot more balance in 2020. Tannehill’s best target in the passing game is unquestionably that of A.J. Brown, and the young wideout flashed superstar potential down the stretch. A full 16-games with Ryan Tannehill at quarterback and being seen as the top target will only benefit the former Ole Miss standout. We think Brown tops this number fairly comfortably in 2020.
  • Tennessee Titans to Win AFC South — (+150) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    Oddsmakers favor the Indianapolis Colts to win the division at +125, and we just think they have the wrong team favored here. The Texans and Colts have run the show in the division over the last several years but Mike Vrabel’s Titans will put a change to that. Gladly pouncing on the Titans at +150 to win the AFC South.

Seattle Seahawks 2020 Odds & Betting Preview

By, Faux John Madden (Special to OddsUSA.com)

Through the first thirteen weeks of the season, it appeared as though Pete Carroll had managed to grab lightning in a bottle and had all the luck on his side as his Seattle Seahawks team stood on top of the NFC at 10-2 overall after a Monday Night Football victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

Seattle was winning games in ways that defied logic.  They had the worst point differential in NFL history for a team with their record.  Over and over again in 2019, they narrowly escaped defeat, sometimes at the hands of teams that had no business staying that close from the team with the best record in the conference.

The Seahawks were in the middle of one of their best starts in franchise history, and it appeared this version of Pete Carroll’s Seahawks was the closest Seattle was to being a Super Bowl contender, since, well, you know what happened.

Then all hell broke loose in a game against the Arizona Cardinals in which Chris Carson and C.J. Prosise suffered season-ending injuries, this after losing Rashaad Penny with a torn ACL, and the Seahawks were forced to call up Marshawn Lynch to come play running back for the team to end the season, and in typical Beast Mode fashion, Lynch was handing out shots of tequila to fans at the last Raiders home game of the season before he rejoined the Seahawks to close out the season.

Ever since that fateful throw from the one-yard-line, the Seahawks have made the playoffs in every season but one (2017), and have won at least one playoff game in three of their last four trips to the playoffs, but they have been well short of the supremely loaded Seahawks teams that for all intents and purposes should have won at least two Super Bowls.

But thanks to the play of Russell Wilson, who is the best quarterback in football not named Patrick Mahomes, the Seahawks have been able to navigate their way through an onslaught of challenges that comes with having a lot of success.

The Seahawks have notoriously struggled to find consistency along their offensive line, and oftentimes seemingly restrain their superstar quarterback until they need him to channel his alter ego of Mr. Unlimited to rescue the Seahawks and lead them to another one of Russell Wilson’s jaw-dropping comebacks.

As they enter the 2020 season, the Seahawks are hoping to take a new approach — be the aggressor on offense and jump out to early leads instead of trailing throughout the game and needing Russell Wilson to save him.

With the Seahawks legendary defenses in the rear-view mirror, and Marshawn Lynch likely riding off into the sunset after an unforeseen reunion in 2019, Seahawk fans hope the new decade of Seahawks football is the one in which they finally “Let Russ Cook.”

Seahawks 2019 Season Review

Right before the start of the 2019 season, the Seahawks went into their opening weekend game against the Bengals by making a splash on the trade market when they shook down Bill O’Brien like everyone else does traded for Houston Texans holdout Jadeveon Clowney.

That trade came several weeks after the Seahawks made Russell Wilson the highest-paid player in football with a four-year, $140-million contract extension, and after the team made perennial Pro Bowler Bobby Wagner the highest-paid linebacker in football. 

Retaining Wilson and Wagner for the long haul allowed for the Seahawks to gradually begin to rebuild around their two superstar players.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Seahawks went out and finally got Russell Wilson a wide receiver that’s taller than him in the freakishly athletic D.K. Metcalf, who somehow dropped to the end of the second round because NFL GM’s constantly outsmart themselves.  They returned the running back tandem of Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny, and for the first time in seemingly forever, actually had continuity on the offensive line with the entire unit returning from 2018.

But for the first time in the Pete Carroll era, the Seahawks weaknesses all predominantly fell on the defensive side of the football, even with the trade to steal away Jadeveon Clowney for the season. 

An anemic pass rush and lack of a third cornerback would be the proverbial thorn in the side of the Seahawks all season.  Clowney would play injured much of the season with a sports hernia and saw his sack production plummet to a career-low of three.  Jarran Reed would enter 2019 after a breakout 2018 season with a four-game suspension and would go from 10.5 sacks in 2018 to two in 2019.  The team gambled on former Lions DE Ziggy Ansah to bounce back from injury, but he spent more time on the injury report than in the opponent’s backfield. 

The Seahawks pass rush was so bad a season ago, that the combination of Bobby Wagner and Mychal Kendricks produced more sacks (6) than the combination of Clowney and Ansah (5.5).  The lack of a player that could force a quarterback to even feel slight pressure led to the worst defensive output of the Pete Carroll era, and a defense that would surrender the most yards they have since Carroll took over the team back in 2010.

Yet somehow, despite all their defensive shortcomings, the Seahawks were carried by the offense for a change, in large part the play of their superstar quarterback Russell Wilson, who after securing the largest extension in NFL history went on to have the best season of his career with 4400 yards of total offense, 34 touchdowns, and just five interceptions.

Wilson and the Seahawks rushing game would manage to eke out close victory after close victory and the Seahawks had an 11-3 record heading into their matchup against the Arizona Cardinals where the fortuitous breaks the Seahawks had all season would begin to go the other way.

In that came, the dam finally broke.  The Seahawks, already reeling with season-ending injuries to Rashaad Penny and tight end Will Dissly would lose Chris Carson and C.J. Prosise to season-ending injuries just minutes apart in the first half.  These injuries came with Seattle already having a ravaged defense that included Clowney’s aforementioned sports hernia and injuries to midseason trade acquisition Quandre Diggs amongst multiple other players. 

Seattle would go from having a chance at home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with home wins over Arizona and San Francisco in their last two games, to finishing 11-5 and playing the postseason on the road.  One of the few times Jadeveon Clowney was able to hit a quarterback, it was a borderline shot that would knock Carson Wentz out of the game and would help prolong the Seahawks season before one more Russell Wilson last gasp comeback fell short against Green Bay, with the pass rush issues and lack of a running game rearing its ugly head against a very vulnerable Packers team.    

Hoping to Get Something Autographed by Ciara
S Jamal Adams (Jets/Trade)
TE Greg Olsen (Panthers)
DE/LB Bruce Irvin (Panthers)
CB Quinton Dunbar (Washington/Trade)
DE Benson Mayowa (Raiders)
RB Carlos Hyde (Texans)
OL B.J. Finney (Steelers)
RT Cedric Ogbuehi (Jaguars)
RT Brandon Shell (Jets)
WR Phillip Dorsett (Patriots)
WR Paul Richardson (Washington)
DE Damontre Moore (49ers)

Exiting Seattle Like the Sun Does in November
DE Jadeveon Clowney (Free Agent)
S Bradley McDougald (Jets/Trade)
G D.J. Fluker (Ravens)
LT George Fant (Jets)
DT Al Woods (Jaguars/COVID-19 Opt-Out)
DL Quinton Jefferson (Bills)
RT Germain Ifedi (Bears)
C Joey Hunt (Colts)
C Justin Britt (Free Agent)
DE Ziggy Ansah (Free Agent)
RB Marshawn Lynch (Free Agent)
LB Mychal Kendricks (Free Agent)

Seahawks 2020 Offensive Preview

For all the chatter of the Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys, the Seattle Seahawks offense could be every bit as explosive, just in a much different manner than you see in the National Football League in 2020.

Once again, the Seahawks plan to deploy a run-oriented offense and use that success on the ground to open up their passing game, which now has a lot more weapons at its disposal than it did a season ago.

Russell Wilson again will be the focal point of the entire Seahawks offense, and the team goes pretty much how he goes.  The Seahawks will get Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny back from their season-ending injuries in 2019, however, Penny likely will start the season on the PUP list as he makes his way back from a torn ACL.

To ensure the Seahawks are not in the same situation where they are calling Marshawn Lynch from the Oakland parking lot to suit up for them, the team also signed Texans free agent Carlos Hyde to work into the Seahawks running back rotation, and have a pair of former Miami Hurricanes in Travis Homer and 2020 rookie DeeJay Dallas to round out the Seahawks stable of backs.

The Seahawks were also wiped out by the injury bug a season ago at tight end, where they had to depend on practice squad player Jacob Hollister for a good portion to close out the year, so again John Schneider made a point to ensure they have plenty of depth at that position as they signed former Carolina Panther Greg Olsen, brought back Hard Knocks star Luke Willson, and will also get Will Dissly back into the lineup. 

At wide receiver, the Seahawks went from good to potentially great, as Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf return to start (combined 1,957 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2019), with Josh Gordon set to return to the team, and free agents Phillip Dorsett and Paul Richardson signing on as well.   Seattle is also Josh Gordon levels high on 2019 7th round pick John Ursua, who has drawn comparisons to former Seahawks great Doug Baldwin.

For Wilson to maximize the talent around him, once again the Seahawks offensive line will be heavily counted on and under the microscope from the opening kick.  Mike Solari has done a masterful job at repairing the much-maligned Seahawks offensive line in his first two seasons since re-joining Pete Carroll’s team in 2018, and he will need to pull a rabbit out of his hat again in 2020 as the team will start four new players on the offensive line.

Considering how disjointed practices and training camp are with the COVID-19 pandemic, having four new starters on your offensive line could pose quite the challenge in the beginning part of the season, but if there is anyone that is used to playing with less protection than a Philip Rivers offseason, Russell Wilson is that guy.

Seahawks 2020 Defensive Preview

The Seahawks made one of the biggest trades of the 2020 offseason when they shipped off an armada of draft picks and Bradley McDougald to go rescue superstar Jamal Adams from Adam Gase’s terrifying eyes.  

Adams should fill the massive void the Seahawks have been unable to fix since Kam Chancellor had a career-ending injury three years ago, and in a roundabout way he could also potentially help solve the Seahawks pass-rushing woes as Adams had 6.5-sacks for Gregg Williams’ Jets, and that total would have led the entire Seahawks team in 2019 by 2.5 sacks.  The soon to be 25-year old safety is a transcendent talent, however, and will immediately make this a much better defense than it was a season ago, provided he doesn’t get bored or try to eat some strawberries.  

Joining Adams in the secondary is 2019 trade acquisition Quandre Diggs, and when Diggs was able to stay on the field for the Seahawks a season ago, their pass defense became significantly better.  Diggs and Adams will provide the Seahawks with one of the best safety duos in football.

At linebacker, the Seahawks are again stacked at that position, with the best inside linebacker in football Bobby Wagner playing alongside veteran K.J. Wright and Seahawks 2020 1st round selection Jordyn Brooks.  A season ago, the Seahawks were forced to play 4-3 defense nearly 80% of the time, which left Wagner on an island defending slippery slot guys, that should not be the case in 2020 as the team will be putting more of an emphasis on having a capable nickel corner to help alleviate the pressure on their two veteran linebackers.

The Seahawks corners also figure to be much improved from a season ago, as the team traded for Quinton Dunbar in the offseason and will pair him with returning starters Shaquill Griffin and Tre Flowers, with 2019 2nd round pick Marquise Blair moving to nickel corner in 2020. 

For the Seahawks secondary to maximize its potential however, they will absolutely need better production from the defensive line in 2020.  Jadeveon Clowney is still a free-agent as of this writing and could still return to the team as there does not appear to be a very fluid market for him, but should he not return to the Emerald City, Pete Carroll will rely on former Seahawks Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa to generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks. 

The Seahawks would also love to see Jarran Reed return to his 2018 form, as the defensive tackle had 10.5 sacks in 2018 but only managed two sacks a season ago.  He will be joined along the line with Poona Ford, Rasheem Green and 2019 1st round pick L.J. Collier, who had a practically invisible rookie season with the team.  Considering the struggles of the Seahawks defensive line from a season ago, it’s not the best omen that Collier was a healthy scratch for several games a year ago.  

Seahawks 2020 Outlook & Prediction

The Seattle Seahawks 2020 season is going to come down to line play.  If the offensive line can gel and Mike Solari can put together an offensive line that will allow for the Seahawks to pound the ball and let Russell Wilson loose, and the defensive line can put some pressure on the quarterback, this is a roster that can find itself in the Super Bowl. 

But if the Seahawks line play continues to be an issue, this is a team that will likely find itself in a similar circumstance ever since that boneheaded, stupid decision to throw a slant pattern from the one-yard line with Marshawn Lynch in the backfield Super Bowl loss to the Patriots in 2015. Remember, a year ago, this Seattle team won many games they probably shouldn’t have, and a regression to the mean could be in order if the pass rush is once again dreadful and the offensive line reverts to how it once looked.

We think the Seahawks will get enough of a pass rush and good enough line play to be one of the best teams in the NFC this season, and a relatively soft schedule will be enough to fuel the Seahawks to their first division title since 2016.

Seahawks 2020 Projection: 12-4, 1st place NFC West

Seahawks 2020 Betting Preview

Unlike throwing the ball at the one-yard line when you have prime Marshawn Lynch in the backfield, these futures bets on the Seahawks will be winning decisions.

  • Seahawks OVER 9.5 Wins — (+110) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    Since Russell Wilson became the starting quarterback of the Seahawks, Seattle has only failed to reach 10 wins a single time, and that came with Blair Walsh as their kicker. If the Seahawks can avoid another major injury outbreak, their favorable schedule and talented roster will be enough to get the Seahawks over this number yet again. This is one of our favorite win total bets of the season.
  • Seahawks to Win NFC West — (+220) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    While the 49ers are the favorites to win the NFC West, and justifiably so, we are going to take the Seahawks to win the division this season. The 49ers have the dreaded Super Bowl losers hex placed upon them and are already running into a lot of early injury issues at key positions. Just a slight stumble out of the gate by the Niners could ultimately be the deciding difference in who ultimately wins the NFC West, and we think Seattle returns to the top of a loaded division in 2020. The +220 price makes this bet that much sweeter.
  • Russell Wilson to Win NFL MVP — (+800) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    The only member of the Pete Carroll Seahawks to get a vote for MVP? Bobby Wagner. Yes, that’s right, Russell Wilson has never received a single MVP vote. Wilson has been the favorite to win MVP for good stretches of the 2018 and 2019 seasons, and at +800 with a potentially loaded Seahawks roster, we’re going to take a stab at Wilson finally getting some love in the MVP race.
  • Seahawks to Win Super Bowl 55 — (+2000) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    Our second of three Super Bowl futures bets will be placed on the Seattle Seahawks at 20-1.  Again, this hinges on their ability to have a cohesive offensive line and an improved pass-rush.  If they can get that, they have everything else a would-be Super Bowl contender would need.

Houston Texans 2020 Odds & Betting Preview

By, Faux John Madden (Special to OddsUSA.com)

With 10:58 remaining in the second quarter of the AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Houston Texans found themselves in a shocking position with an early 21-0 lead thanks in large part to two massive special teams miscues by the Chiefs. 

The Texans offense would have the ball for the fourth time on the day and be faced with a 4th and 1 decision on the Kansas City 13 yard line.  Unbelievably enough, O’Brien eschewed keeping the foot on the gas against the best offense in football and elected to take the points and push the Texans lead to 24-0.  Mecole Hardman would return the ensuing kickoff 58 yards to the Houston 42 yard line, and Patrick Mahomes would put the Chiefs in the end zone just three plays later.

You could feel the game begin to turn.

Then after a three and out on the Texans’ next possession, Bill O’Brien decided to have a Freaky Friday situation with a 13-year old kid playing a random online match on Madden 20 and called the worst fake punt in the history of modern-day civilization.

The following three and a half quarters of action would provide enough highlights for Patrick Mahomes to take to Chiefs GM Brett Veach to get a half-billion-dollar contract extension, as Kansas City would eviscerate the Texans defense en route to a 51-31 win.

The game spiraled away from Bill O’Brien so quickly, the Chiefs managed to go from trailing 24-0 with 10:00 remaining in the first-half to leading 28-24 at the break.  The Atlanta Falcons needed an entire half to blow a 28-3 lead, the Texans only needed 75% of the second quarter.

Fortunately for Texans fans, the meltdown at Arrowhead Stadium was enough to not only not force Bill O’Brien’s firing from the team, it somehow managed to get him a promotion! 

Houston would tab O’Brien to be the team’s new general manager, as they were very impressed with O’Brien’s ability to trade away key assets from the team for roughly two cents on the dollar, and BOB kept his promise as the 2020 offseason began by giving away one of the best wide receivers in the game when he would trade DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona for the corpse of David Johnson and some store credit at Gamestop.

Now Houston is set to embark on a new season of football, where they are somehow irrelevant in the football-crazy state of Texas.

Will O’Brien’s gambles pay off and leave many with tweets that will be later be shared by @OldTakesExposed, or will the reckless trading from an over his head general manager be the final straw for the Bill O’Brien regime in Houston?

Texans 2019 Season Review

Houston entered the 2019 campaign the same way they have entered so many other campaigns — as defending AFC South Champions following a disappointing early exit in the playoffs.

There were slightly raised expectations for this version of Texans football, however, as the team finally acquired much-needed protection on the offensive line for their franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson when they went out and traded for Miami Dolphins left tackle Laremy Tunsil before the season kicked off.

Houston also would give away Jadeveon Clowney after a months-long contract standoff, and as an omen for the future, the Texans would get much less than they probably should have for Clowney’s services, only fetching a 2nd round pick and filler players from Seattle in exchange for the former #1 overall pick.

The Texans would begin the season in the Superdome on Monday Night Football against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, and if it weren’t for the Texans secondary that looked like what you displace the morning after a late-night Taco Bell binge and has for the last three seasons, Deshaun Watson would have begun the season with a thrilling come-from-behind road victory.  Instead, Houston was left with a heartbreaking 30-28 loss as Wil Lutz would drill a 58-yard field goal at the gun to give the Saints the victory.

Watson and the Texans would soon bounce back, winning four of their next five games including an impressive 31-24 road victory against the Chiefs, and following a loss to Indianapolis a week later, Houston would post victories over the Raiders and Jaguars to improve their record to 6-3 at the bye week.

Following the bye week, the Texans would suffer a 41-7 blowout loss at the hands of Lamar Jackson and the Ravens before they would once again bounce back and rattle off another four wins in their next five games, including a 28-22 win over a Patriots team that seemingly held co-ownership of the franchise on Sunday Night Football. 

Houston would wrap up the AFC South title in Week 16 and render their Week 17 matchup against the Titans meaningless, and with their division foes only needing a win to get into the playoffs, the Texans backups would open the door for the former home of Houston football to join the postseason party.

In the playoffs, it appeared as though the Texans were on their way to yet another dud to open the playoffs, as Houston would enter their AFC Wild Card game against the Buffalo Bills trailing 16-0 late in the third quarter before Watson would rally the Texans once more thanks to a combination of clutch throws, scrambles, and costly Bills mistakes.  Houston would ultimately defeat Buffalo in overtime and set up their second trip of the year to Arrowhead Stadium, which as we detailed above, did not go too well for the team.

And now, Houston enters 2020 with an opening game in the same location their 2019 season came to a close.

Future Trade Bait for Bill O’Brien
RB David Johnson (Cardinals/Trade)
WR Brandin Cooks (Rams/Trade)
WR Randall Cobb (Cowboys)
S Eric Murray (Browns)

Bill O’Brien Didn’t Like Them, So That’s Probably a Good Sign for Their Futures
WR DeAndre Hopkins (Cardinals/Trade)
DT D.J. Reader (Bengals)
RB Lamar Miller (Patriots)
RB Carlos Hyde (Seahawks)
S Tashaun Gipson (Bears)
LB Barkevious Mingo (Bears)
CB Johnathan Joseph (Titans)
RB Taiwan Jones (Bills)

Texans 2020 Offensive Preview

Bill O’Brien hopes that his gamble on David Johnson will bring some balance back to the Houston offense and relieve a lot of the burden placed on the shoulders of his franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson, but the cost to acquire the 28-year old running back from Arizona was steep, as the team gave up superstar DeAndre Hopkins in the trade.

The trade of course was met with a whole lot of scrutiny, and if Johnson continues to look like the shell of his past self as he has the past two seasons, this could ultimately be the trade that gets Bill O’Brien fired.  David Johnson will pair with Duke Johnson to form a backfield that sounds like a fancy law firm or company that makes consumer products but make no doubt about it all the eyeballs will be on what O’Brien gave Hopkins up for.

In the meantime, the Texans are looking to retool their offensive roster, solely because of Bill O’Brien and for no real other reason.  Houston went out and traded for the rights to former Rams WR Brandin Cooks, but Cooks has had his share of concussions and has missed time from injury.  Cooks is certainly not the same wide receiver as Hopkins, even when he’s healthy, but he’s been quite productive in his own right as he’s topped 1000 yards receiving in four of his six seasons as a pro. 

Houston will be pairing Cooks up with big-play wide receiver Will Fuller, but Fuller’s durability has been an even bigger question mark than Cooks has during his career, and the former Notre Dame alum has missed multiple games due to injury in each of his four seasons as a pro, so him getting injured is becoming as regular an event in Houston as Bill O’Brien trading someone for no apparent reason.

The Texans also went into free agency and signed Randall Cobb to a three-year contract, giving the Texans a potentially potent wide receiver trio if the three players can stay on the field, but again that seems to be unlikely.

Editor’s Note:  We are pausing this preview for a moment to make sure O’Brien has not yet traded Watson to Chicago for a deep-dish pizza, and it appears he’s still on the roster so let’s resume.

In addition to short-lived playoff runs, Bill O’Brien has been especially good at getting Deshaun Watson hit repeatedly by opposing defenses.  Laremy Tunsil anchors the Houston offensive line, but he can only block so many people.  For Houston to have any shot at a postseason run that goes on longer than the first Saturday game of Wild Card Weekend, the Texans will need to see major improvement along the offensive line in 2020. 

2019 1st round pick Tytus Howard will return in his second season as the teams starting right tackle, with four-year veteran Nick Martin returning at center.  Houston will start 2019 2nd round pick Max Scharping at left guard with Zach Fulton playing in between Martin and Howard at right guard.

At tight end, the Texans will look to veteran Darren Fells and 2018 6th round pick Jordan Thomas for production, with not much else behind that.

Texans 2020 Defensive Preview

Surprisingly enough, O’Brien managed to not trade Texans’ cornerstone J.J. Watt to Pittsburgh for an old Kordell Stewart jersey (we double-checked to make sure), and Watt will return in 2020 to headline a Texans defense that was picked apart early and often a season ago.

Houston’s defense ranked a miserable 28th overall a year ago and makes the achievements of Deshaun Watson that much more impressive.  The peak of the Texans defensive misery came when it only took 10 minutes of game time for a 24-0 lead to evaporate in their playoff game against Kansas City, but this was a unit that had a massive shortage of big plays a year ago.

Fortunately enough for Houston fans, Bill O’Brien did practically nothing to add personnel to this depleted unit!  That’s right Texans fans, BOB wants to run it back because what says aspiring Super Bowl contender more than bringing back all the key pieces from a team that surrendered 42 points in less than two-quarters of action just nine months ago.

J.J. Watt returns for his tenth season with the team, but has been wearing down every season and is not the same Watt that took the league by storm at the beginning of his career, though by all accounts his grit meter is still off the charts.  Watt will be paired with Whitney Mercilus in new defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver’s 3-4 based scheme, and Houston hopes that 2020 2nd round pick Ross Blacklock will fill the shoes of D.J. Reader who left in free agency to play for Cincinnati.  Charles Omenihu and Jacob Martin, who came over in the Clowney trade a season ago, also figure to see time on passing downs.

The Texans linebackers are the strength of the Houston defense and will return all four starters from 2019, led by the inside tandem of Zach Cunningham and Benardrick McKinney.  They will join Mercilus and Brennan Scarlett, who will start at outside linebacker.

Houston will also be returning the majority of their secondary that was nothing short of awful a year ago, headlined by veterans Bradley Roby and Gareon Conley, with Vernon Hargreaves III and Lonnie Johnson Jr. also in the mix.  The team will be starting free-agent addition Eric Murray at strong safety, and he will pair with 2018 3rd round pick Justin Reid.   However, given how they fared a season ago, it’s hard to get too excited about this group on paper until they display a reason for some optimism.

Texans 2020 Outlook & Prediction

The Texans are one of the more confusing teams in the entire National Football League, and one can’t help but wonder how much better this team would look if Bill O’Brien just concentrated on his offense and left the general managing decisions to someone that doesn’t come up with trade ideas that even a trade engine designed by EA Sports soundly rejects.

Houston having the advantage of playing in the AFC South is also quickly going away, as Tennessee and Indianapolis have made big waves to improve their rosters in the past few seasons, and they will both be much more competitive this season than they were a year ago, in the Titans case from the start of the season on and not after a change at quarterback.

Deshaun Watson is a Top 10 quarterback when healthy, but there are so many holes on this Texans team and a man in charge of the roster personnel that frankly has no business being there.

We believe ABC/ESPN is going to have to find a new city to kick off the Wild Card Weekend, as the Texans will stay home for the playoffs and potentially bring on some heavy changes to the team entering the 2021 season.

Texans 2020 Projection: 7-9, 3rd place AFC South

Texans 2020 Betting Preview

The cool thing about making Texans futures bets is even if it looks like a loser, you can probably head to PropSwap and trade the ticket to Bill O’Brien for something of much greater value.  Here are our favorite Texans related bets entering the 2020 NFL Season.

  • Texans UNDER 7.5 Wins — (-115) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    We love Deshaun Watson, he’s a special quarterback.  But this Houston team just has too many holes, a gaudy schedule, and a GM in charge that’s over his head.  It wouldn’t shock us if Watson willed this team back to an 8-8 season, but he’s going to need a lot of help to do so.  We think Houston falls short of the .500 mark and will take the under 7.5 wins here.
  • Brandin Cooks OVER 850.5 Yards Receiving — (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    Essentially this is a bet that Cooks plays most of the season.  When he’s been healthy, he’s produced everywhere he’s gone.  We will roll the dice on Cooks playing the majority of games for a Houston offense that is likely going to be in several shootouts with all the issues on the defensive side of the ball. 
  • Texans Defense to Allow Most Points in NFL — (+1400) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    The Texans did virtually nothing to improve upon one of the worst defenses in football from a year ago, and now they enter 2020 with the likes of Kansas City, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Green Bay, Minnesota, and New England on their schedule, in addition to their four games against Tennessee and Indianapolis.  In other words, they may hemorrhage a lot of points yet again, and at 14-to-1 this is worth a crack even if the Jaguars are doing everything they can to not compete in 2020.

Minnesota Vikings 2020 Odds & Betting Preview

By, Faux John Madden (Special to OddsUSA.com)

Just two seasons ago, the Vikings were on the doorstep of playing the Patriots in the Super Bowl which happened to be played on their home field.

Instead, Minnesota would head into Philadelphia and promptly get blown out of the water after a miraculous win over the New Orleans Saints the week before, and the magical run by journeyman backup quarterback Case Keenum came to a close.

The Vikings looked at that situation and felt that they were just an upgrade at quarterback away from being a potential Super Bowl winning team, and as fate would have it, that very offseason Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins was about to finally become a free agent. 

One $84 million fully guaranteed contract later, and Cousins was the new quarterback in the Twin Cities.  The Vikings elected to mortgage the future and go for broke, and while Minnesota would go on to upset the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the playoffs a season ago, the past two seasons for the Vikings have largely been disappointing as their attempt to swing for the fences wound up being the equivalent of an infield single.

As a result of their spending spree to create a Super Bowl contender, GM Rick Spielman and the Vikings entered the 2020 offseason with the budget of a poor college student. 

However, despite the financial challenges the Vikings faced heading into the offseason, they were able to make shrewd trades and elected to turn to the 2020 NFL Draft with an eye-popping 15 picks as the means to quickly replenish the talent on their roster.

Minnesota looks to have the talent in place to contend in 2020 and beyond, but once again it will be on their polarizing starting quarterback to ensure that happens.

Vikings 2019 Season Review

Minnesota entered the 2019 campaign after a supremely disappointing 8-7-1 2018 season that saw the Vikings fail to reach the playoffs the season after losing in the NFC Championship, and the lightning rod for all of the Vikings issues eventually fell on the shoulders of their prized free-agent acquisition from the season before.

To make the 2019 season easier on their $84 million man, Mike Zimmer completely overhauled the offensive staff, firing offensive coordinator John DeFilippo after just one season with the team. 

Zimmer and DeFilippo worked together about as well as pouring a barrel of oil into one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes, and the veteran head coach would look towards the coaching duo of Kevin Stefanski and Greg Kubiak to completely revamp the offensive philosophy, going from a team that would air it out to the team that would play ball-control offense, pound the football, and beat teams in the passing game through bootlegs and play-action.

After two rocky games to start the season, the Vikings offense began to come together, and Kirk Cousins would quietly put together the best season of his career, as the veteran quarterback would throw for 3603 yards, 26 touchdowns, and only six interceptions.  Even more impressive than that, following that fateful Week 2 loss to the hated Packers, Cousins would only throw four interceptions in the next 13 starts and post a quarterback rating of 107.4.

The Vikings would go on to start the season with a 2-2 record, but they would then rattle off six wins in their next seven games to take them to an 8-3 record at their Week 12 Bye Week.  The Vikings would come out of the bye with a crucial Monday Night road game against the Seattle Seahawks, but they would fall 37-30, all but ending any chances they had at catching Green Bay in the NFC North standings.

Minnesota would win their next two games and lock up a Wild Card spot, before falling to Green Bay yet again in Week 16, and then would lose a Week 17 game against Chicago that meant nothing to their season and allowed starters to rest before their playoff game against New Orleans the following week.

The rest seemed to help the Vikings out, as Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook would lead Minnesota to a shocking first-round upset over the Saints, before bowing out the following weekend to the eventual NFC Champion 49ers, marking the second time in three seasons that the Vikings would knock the Saints out of the playoffs and then ultimately lose to the team that would represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

The 49ers exposed the Vikings vanilla offensive scheme behind their smothering defense and would hold Minnesota to just 147 yards of total offense, with 41 of those yards coming on the Vikings lone touchdown on the day.

It was at that moment that Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer knew they would have to have a mini-rebuild in the 2020 offseason and would arm up on draft picks to get the party started.

Somehow the Vikings Added These Players With $5 of Salary Cap Room
DE Yannick Ngakoue (Jaguars/Trade)
DT Michael Pierce (Ravens)
WR Tajae Sharpe (Titans)
S Steven Parker (Dolphins)
LB Hardy Nickerson (Bengals)
DE Anthony Zettel (49ers)

Forced to Live In Minnesota During the Winter Thanks to the Franchise Tag
S Anthony Harris (Tender signed)

Got Tired of Kirk Cousins Asking Them if They Like That
WR Stefon Diggs (Bills/Trade)
DE Everson Griffen (Cowboys)
CB Trae Waynes (Bengals)
CB Mackensie Alexander (Bengals)
S Andrew Sendejo (Browns)
DT Linval Joseph (Chargers)
CB Xavier Rhodes (Colts)
WR Laquon Treadwell (Falcons)
S Jayron Kearse (Lions)
DE Stephen Weatherly (Panthers)

Vikings 2020 Offensive Preview

The Vikings enter the 2020 season with their third offensive coordinator in three seasons, as Kevin Stefanski left Minnesota to become the head coach in Cleveland (where dreams go to die).

After bringing Gary Kubiak into the fold a season ago under the title of assistant head coach and offensive advisor, Kubiak will slide over into Stefanski’s old role as the team’s offensive coordinator and play-caller, marking the first time he will call plays since he stepped away from the game due to health concerns back in 2016 following his win as Broncos head coach in Super Bowl 50.

Despite the change in coordinators, the Vikings offensive philosophy will remain the same as it was a season ago.  Kubiak will once again be running his vaunted zone rushing scheme that has been wildly successful at every stop of Kubiak’s career, and it is the same offense that maximizes the strengths of Kirk Cousins the best.

A season ago, Kubiak and his longtime colleague Rick Dennison did wonders with an offensive line that had struggled mightily in 2018 to protect Kirk Cousins and block for Dalvin Cook.  That offensive line returns mostly intact from a year ago, with question marks still present at guard where Dakota Dozier will be the presumptive starter at left guard and Pat Elflein moves over to right guard after being a virtual turnstile on the left side of Minnesota’s line.

And while offensive line play is paramount to the success of every team in football, it’s especially important in this offense as the running game sets up the Vikings aerial attack that utilizes a lot of bootlegs and passing concepts out of play-action to attack defenses vertically.

Minnesota’s rushing game of course depends greatly on the explosive Dalvin Cook, who is one of the best running backs in football when he’s healthy.  Cook’s durability has been a major issue for the Vikings to deal with however, as the former 2017 2nd round pick has missed 19 games in his three seasons with the team.

When Cook is healthy, the Vikings offense becomes significantly more imposing, and Cousins’ play becomes dramatically better.  Cousins’ accuracy, particularly off of play-action throwing deep, is amongst the best in football, but he’s not exactly Russell Wilson or Patrick Mahomes back there and needs a clean pocket to take a defense apart.

Unfortunately for Cousins, the Vikings best deep-ball threat wanted to get out of the run-oriented Kubiak offense and go somewhere where he would be featured more in the passing game, so Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman traded Diggs to Buffalo to play with Josh Allen, and we’re not exactly sure if this was done to appease the young wideout or to punish him by sending him to Buffalo.

To replace Diggs in the passing game, Minnesota selected LSU WR Justin Jefferson in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.  Jefferson, like the rest of the 2019 LSU Tigers offense, was absolutely sensational in his last collegiate season with 111 receptions, 1540 yards, and 18 touchdowns.

If Jefferson can quickly acclimate to a much different type of offense than the one he played in a year ago, he and Adam Thielen can become quite the dangerous duo in the NFC North.  Minnesota also added former Tennessee Titans WR Tajae Sharpe in free agency to round out the Vikings wide receiver corps.

The Vikings offense will also rely heavily on their two tight ends, Kyle Rudolph and 2019 2nd round pick Irv Smith Jr.  Rudolph of course had the winning touchdown grab in the NFC Wild Card win over New Orleans, and Smith is a young athletic freak at the position who can stretch the field deep over the middle of the field.

Vikings 2020 Defensive Preview

Entering training camp it looked as though the lone pass rusher on the Vikings roster to fear was that of rising star Danielle Hunter, who is coming off of a 14.5 sack season in 2019.

But then Minnesota went out and acquired Yannick Ngakoue from Jacksonville, and Yannick was so excited to get out of Duval County (and honestly, who wouldn’t be excited to leave that part of the world) that he took a $6 million pay cut to make sure the trade would be facilitated.

Considering the Vikings were working with roughly six dollars of salary cap room all offseason, the fact they were able to land Ngakoue is very impressive, and will likely leave the rest of the quarterbacks in the NFC North sleeping a little less comfortably this season.

Joining Hunter and Ngakoue on the Vikings defensive line are defensive tackles Shamar Stephen and Jaleel Johnson, with Ifeadi Odenigbo and Eddie Yarbrough providing depth at defensive end.  Odenigbo was a gem for Mike Zimmer’s defensive unit, as the former 2017 7th round pick would notch seven sacks a season ago, this after being cut previously by the Vikings and two other teams before returning to play for Zimmer in 2019.  

Minnesota features two of the best linebackers in the game with veterans Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks.  Kendricks is one of the best inside linebackers in the entire league, and Barr has been a steady presence for Mike Zimmer since being drafted by the team in 2014. 

In the Vikings secondary, safeties Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris provide one of the best safety tandems in the entire league, while 2018 1st round pick Mike Hughes will become Minnesota’s new top cornerback after the departures of Trae Waynes, Xavier Rhodes, and Mackensie Alexander. 

Hughes will be joined in the Minnesota secondary by the team’s second first-round pick the team had in 2020 with TCU cornerback Jeff Gladney.  Gladney will compete for the other starting cornerback spot with Holton Hill, who found his way in Mike Zimmer’s dog house thanks to two separate four-game suspensions a season ago.  Minnesota also drafted rookies Cameron Dantzler, Harrison Hand, and Josh Metellus to round out the depth of their secondary.  

Vikings 2020 Outlook & Prediction

Since Mike Zimmer was named head coach of the Minnesota Vikings in 2014, the team has alternated between finishing around .500 and making the playoffs every season, and that could very well be the Vikings fate once more as the team is depending on an influx of rookies to keep the team as a possible playoff contender in the NFC.

It remains to be seen how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact how quickly the 2020 Minnesota draft class can acclimate to the NFL, as the preseason was canceled entirely and offseason preparation isn’t what it typically is for rookies.

Should the Vikings rookies fill the voids left by the salary cap casualties from this offseason, the pieces are there for Minnesota to have back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time since 2009, especially on the defensive side of the ball where Mike Zimmer almost always has one of the best defenses in the league.

We just think there are too many inexperienced pieces to carry the Vikings back to the playoffs, but this could very well be a team you don’t want any part of in the second half of the season. It just may be too little, too late in the loaded NFC. We think the Vikings have a winning season but narrowly miss out on the playoffs with a 9-7 record.

But hey, if their playoff hopes die, they die?

Vikings 2020 Projection: 9-7, 2nd place NFC North

Vikings 2020 Betting Preview

The following futures bets on the Minnesota Vikings will have you shouting “SKOL!” all season long:

  • Minnesota Vikings to MISS Playoffs — (+112) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    The Vikings have interchanged making the playoffs and missing the playoffs in every season since Mike Zimmer was named head coach.  That’s not the reason we like this bet however, as we touched upon above, there’s just too much roster churn and reliance on young rookies during a season where rookies may have a steeper learning curve than usual.  The Vikings certainly have talent throughout their roster, we just feel that they will miss the playoffs in a loaded NFC this season.  Take the plus money here.

  • Minnesota Vikings to Finish in 2nd Place NFC North — (+200) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    There is a slight risk here as Chicago is capable of surprising if they find a quarterback that won’t ruin the Bears vaunted defense, but we love the value here at +200 on the Vikings finishing behind the Packers once again in the division standings. 

  • Danielle Hunter to lead NFL in Sacks — (+1300) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    Hunter was spectacular in 2019 as he notched 14.5 sacks on the season, and the ascending superstar got a big boost at the end of August when the Vikings acquired Yannick Ngakoue from Jacksonville.  Yannick’s presence on the line can only help Hunter’s cause, and we love this 13-to-1 value on one of the league’s best young pass rushers.

New Orleans Saints 2020 Odds & Betting Preview

By, Faux John Madden (Special to OddsUSA.com)

Over the last three seasons, the New Orleans Saints have continuously been one of the best teams in football, as they’ve shown by going an impressive 37-11 in their last 48 games.

It’s when they have hit the playoffs is when things start to go south in the hurry, as in each of the last three seasons, Super Bowl expectations were met with instant heartbreak, as the Saints not only would be eliminated from the postseason before they could get back to their first Super Bowl since 2010, they would be eliminated three-straight seasons on the final play of the game.

There was the Minneapolis Miracle in 2018 that sent the Vikings to the NFC Championship, the missed pass interference call heard around the world the following season against the Rams when the Saints were on the brink of a Super Bowl date with the Patriots, and this past January a shocking overtime loss again at the hands of the Vikings, this time in the first round of the playoffs after the Saints finished the season 13-3.

Now New Orleans is staring at year four of this Super Bowl window, and that window is closing quickly as when Drew Brees isn’t making new friends on Twitter, he’s also a 41-year old quarterback and age has to catch up to him eventually, and in many ways already has shown early glimpses as was shown in that playoff loss against Minnesota where Brees could not beat the Vikings defense deep.

All the pieces are in place for Sean Payton to finally get this Saints team over the hump and back into the Super Bowl, the only question that remains is, can they finally do it? 

Saints 2019 Season Review

The Saints entered the 2019 season after months of seething over one of the worst missed calls in NFL Playoffs history, compounded by the fact that two weeks later the same Rams team that would send the Saints home managed to only score 3 points in a 13-3 Super Bowl LIII loss.

And while the Saints certainly had multiple opportunities after that fateful blown call to still beat the Rams and secure a spot in the Super Bowl, the Saints and Sean Payton were convinced they had a Super Bowl ring taken away from them thanks to that missed call.

Questions circled above the Saints all offseason and many wondered if New Orleans would lose sight of what a stacked roster they had and if the hangover from missing out on such a wonderful opportunity to win a Super Bowl would essentially ruin their 2019/20 season before it began.

Turns out the answer to that riddle was a resounding “no”, as the Saints would open the season with a 7-1 record, made even more impressive by the fact they without future Hall of Famer Drew Brees for six of those games.

After an unexpected blowout home loss at the hands of a 1-7 Saints team, New Orleans would go on another three-game winning streak with an NFC South sweep of the Bucs, Panthers, and Falcons in the Thanksgiving Night rematch, setting the stage for one of the biggest matchups of the 2019 NFL Season against the San Francisco 49ers in a battle of 10-2 teams.

The game lived up to all the hype, and provided the highest-scoring game of the 2019 NFL Season, but also wound up with the Saints falling just short in a 48-46 instant classic. 

The loss would eventually come back to haunt the Saints in a big way, as despite winning out to close the season with a 13-3 record, New Orleans would lose the tie-breaker to Green Bay and be relegated to playing on the first weekend of the playoffs against their sudden rivals, the Minnesota Vikings.

What happened after that is the same heartbreak Saints fans and players alike have endured over this stretch of success, as a smothering Vikings defense would take away the deep ball and force the Saints to move the ball down the field in long drives as opposed to the quick-strike attack they would prefer.

Minnesota also bled as much clock as possible and would produce time-consuming drives of their own, as they dominated time of possession and did all they could to ensure the Saints offense could never get in a rhythm.

The result was another heartbreaking loss against a familiar foe and another season that fell well short of the Saints Super Bowl goals.

New Orleans now will hope to re-load the roster with enough talent to try to make the most out of the last few seasons Drew Brees has left, and the 2020 season could be the Saints last shot at sending Brees out as a two-time Super Bowl Champion.  

Looking Forward to Having Their Dreams Shattered in Horrific Fashion in January 2021
WR Emmanuel Sanders (49ers)
S Malcolm Jenkins (Eagles)
QB Jameis Winston (Buccaneers)
DE Margus Hunt (Colts)
RT James Hurst (Ravens)
LB Anthony Chickillo (Steelers)
RB Ty Montgomery (Jets)

Bounced Like the Saints in the Last Three Postseasons
QB Teddy Bridgewater (Panthers)
CB Eli Apple (Panthers)
LB A.J. Klein (Bills)
S Vonn Bell (Bengals)
WR Ted Ginn (Bears)
LB Manti Te’o (Free Agent)
LB Stephone Anthony (Free Agent)
G Larry Warford (Free Agent)

Saints 2020 Offensive Preview

The Saints enter the 2020 NFL Season with primarily the same core group of players from a season ago, but they believe they have potential to be even better this go around.

New Orleans began the offseason by giving Drew Brees some help, as the Saints went out and signed free-agent WR Emmanuel Sanders away from San Francisco.  Sanders had a remarkable 2019 season as he was returning from an Achilles injury he suffered in December 2018, only to recover in time for the start of the 2019 season with the Broncos.  Denver would trade him during the season to San Francisco, and Sanders would accomplish the rare feat of playing in 17 regular-season games as the 49ers already had their bye week when Sanders was traded.

The Saints hope that the addition of Sanders will open up the Saints passing attack even more for their All-Pro wideout Michael Thomas.  After signing a $100 million extension before the 2019 season began, Thomas broke Marvin Harrison’s NFL record for receptions in a season with a ridiculous 149 receptions, 1,725 yards, and nine touchdowns.  Thomas was rewarded with the NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award for his remarkable season, and will once again be one of the focal points in the Saints offense.

Sean Payton also hopes that 2018 3rd round pick Tre’Quan Smith will take that next leap in his career and provide Brees with another reliable weapon in the passing game. If that’s not enough to scare defenses, New Orleans also has Tayson Hill to deploy at any moment, and the position-less athlete is capable of hurting you throwing the ball, catching the ball, and even in the return game.

To help relieve some of the pressure on their 41-year old quarterback, the Saints also feature one of the best 1-2 punches at running back with Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray. Kamara struggled in his 2019 season as he rushed for just 797 yards and 5 touchdowns while posting a respectable 81 receptions and 533 yards in the passing game. However, as Saints training camp resumed, it was revealed that Kamara was playing most of the 2019 season with a torn MCL, and the running back claims to be 100 percent healthy entering the 2020 season. If Kamara is indeed healthy, that only adds to the treasure trove of weapons at Sean Payton’s disposal.

New Orleans will also return the tandem of Jared Cook and Josh Hill at tight end, giving Sean Payton’s offense a speedy vertical threat that can open up the middle of the field (Cook), and a solid blocking TE with more than enough ability to hurt you in the passing game (Hill).

Once again, the Saints offensive line will also be a very formidable group, as they return four starters from a season ago and will now have 2020 1st round pick Cesar Ruiz starting at right guard in place of free agent Larry Warford, who the Saints elected to not re-sign.  The Saints o-line will be anchored by former Pro Bowlers Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk, with big Andrus Peat starting at left guard following a 2019 season that saw the guard miss time with various injuries.

With the addition of Emmanuel Sanders, the Saints offense will have 8 starters that have gone to the Pro Bowl since this run started.

Saints 2020 Defensive Preview

It may be hard to believe, but the Saints defense is a legit unit and no longer the glaring weakness of the team as it had been for many years under Sean Payton.

Dennis Allen’s Saints are particularly good against the run and in putting heat on the quarterback.  The Saints defense has gone 43 straight games without allowing a running back to top 100 yards rushing, and the Saints pass rush accounted for 51 sacks in 2019, the highest such output in the Sean Payton era, and the Saints highest total since 2001.

Headlining the show for the black and gold are defensive ends Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport.  Jordan enters the 2020 season coming off a career-high 15.5 sack season while Davenport notched six sacks in his second year with the team.  They will pair with veteran interior linemen Sheldon Rankins and David Onyemata to form an imposing defensive line for the Saints.

At linebacker, the Saints have talent, but they also have two of their top linebackers returning from injury in 2020.  Alex Anzalone returns to the Saints lineup after having a season-ending shoulder injury two games into the 2019 season, and Kiko Alonso figures to start the 2020 season on the PUP list as he’s recovering from a torn ACL suffered in the Wild Card loss to Minnesota.

In the event Anzalone or Alonso miss additional time, the Saints will count on veterans Demario Davis, Craig Robertson, free-agent addition Anthony Chickillo, and 2020 3rd round pick Zack Baun for depth.

New Orleans secondary will have a familiar face rejoin the group, as the Saints signed free agent Malcolm Jenkins away from Philadelphia to bring him back to the Bayou.  Jenkins will replace playmaking Vonn Bell in the lineup, who left in free agency to play for the Bengals.  The Saints boast one of the best cornerback tandems in the NFC with 2017 Defensive Rookie of the Year Marshon Lattimore and former New York Giants corner Janoris Jenkins.  Veterans P.J. Williams and Patrick Robinson will provide depth for Dennis Allen at corner, while Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and D.J. Swearinger will add depth at safety.

Considering the other quarterbacks in this division, namely Tom Brady and Matt Ryan, the Saints having a good deal of depth in the secondary will certainly be beneficial towards staying atop the NFC South.

Saints 2020 Outlook & Prediction

Is the fourth time the charm?  We are about to find out.  The Saints roster has everything you need to make a run at a Super Bowl, and in each of the last three seasons, it looked as though the Saints were about to do just that. 

If Drew Brees can stay healthy this season (as Jameis Winston is not Teddy Bridgewater), and the Saints defense can live up to the hype, New Orleans may very well finally get over the hump and represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.  However, the NFC South is starting to gain on New Orleans in the talent department, and Tampa Bay may give the Saints all they can handle on their path to a 4th straight division crown, and we already know what Atlanta can do to them regardless of the type of season they may be having.

With all of that being said, there may not be a more complete roster in the NFC than the one in New Orleans, and this is a team determined to right the wrongs over the last three years.  We like the Saints to capture another NFC South crown, have a strong showing in the regular season, and make it back to the NFC Championship for a shot at getting to Tampa for Super Bowl 55.

Saints 2020 Projection:  12-4, 1st NFC South

Saints 2020 Betting Preview

When the Saints go marching into the 2020 NFL Season, we happen to fancy these futures bets.

  • New Orleans Saints OVER 10.5 Wins — (-106) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    If Drew Brees can avoid injury in 2020, we feel like the Saints will go over the 10.5 win number fairly easily.  In addition to their division opponents, the Saints do have a few tough games on their 2020 slate, namely games against Green Bay, San Francisco, Minnesota, and Kansas City, however, all of these games are scheduled to take place in the Superdome.  If the Saints can go at least .500 in that quartet, the rest of their schedule is much more forgiving and makes this over look even better.

  • New Orleans Saints to Win NFC South — (-125) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    Quite frankly, we think this is a steal.   Atlanta and Carolina figure to be far out of the race for the division title, and it remains to be seen how all the new talent gels in Tampa.   Sean Payton has been here before, Drew Brees knows he’s coming up on the end of his storied career, and the Saints are going to be determined to exorcise all their past postseason demons.  We love the Saints to hold off Brady and the Bucs to claim their fourth straight NFC South title.

  • New Orleans Saints to Win NFC — (+550) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    The Saints enter 2020 with the 2nd best odds to win the NFC, only trailing the 49ers (+450) in that department.  It’s well documented that New Orleans has flirted with breaking through and winning the NFC only to lose in heartbreak over the last three seasons, so why not take a crack at this dangerous team finally breaking the playoff hex and winning the NFC? 

  • Chiefs/Saints SB Matchup & Ravens/Saints SB Matchup — (+2400, +2500) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    Just a couple dart throws for kicks, as we are sprinkling a tiny bit on the Saints to face off against the two presumptive favorites in the AFC in Super Bowl 55 at +2400 and +2500 respectively. 

New England Patriots 2020 Odds & Betting Preview

By, Faux John Madden (Special to OddsUSA.com)

At long last, after nearly two decades and six Super Bowls later, the Patriots dynasty is over. 

We will no longer see Tom Brady and Bill Belichick teaming up to essentially be the NFL’s equivalent of Thanos every season, as the greatest quarterback in NFL history decided to pack his bags and head to Tampa Bay, where he immediately made himself at home by walking into someone else’s mansion

(If I had a dollar every time that happened!)

That type of disorientation brought on by sudden change will apply in the same way for anyone who has followed the Patriots since this dynasty began. 

It’s become NFL tradition to turn on the television every Sunday afternoon in the fall and openly root for the Patriots to finally have everything come apart and for the dynasty to end, only to feel as deflated as a football in late January in the chilly Foxboro air. 

It’s tradition to question the Patriots means to get to the successful endpoint they so often found, and it’s tradition to openly wonder how year after year the Patriots would just seem to be better all-around than everyone else, and why no other team could manage to figure out how to do it themselves.

So when the Tennessee Titans stormed into Foxboro and effectively put the final nails in the coffin with, of all things, a Tom Brady pick-six by ex-Patriot Logan Ryan, the disbelief that this dynasty was finally at its closure had begun to set in.

It became official the day Tom Brady announced he would be leaving the only place he had called home during his 20 seasons with the Patriots, and the party across the rest of the NFL would soon follow.

But before everyone dances on the Patriots grave, the greatest coach of All-Time and overall football savant Bill Belichick would have one more Ace in the hole.  Belichick would assemble the best defense the Patriots have seen in many years and would have a former NFL MVP, still only 31-years of age, fall right into the Patriots laps, giving them the chance to begin a new era ­— the era of Cam and Bill.  

Patriots 2019 Season Review

The Patriots entered 2019 fresh off another Super Bowl victory, this time a 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams that abruptly ended a run of Patriot Super Bowls that didn’t involve an NFC team doing everything they can to gift-wrap another ring for Belichick and Brady in the waning stages of the game, instead the Rams did about as little as they could to ensure that Brady would get ring number six.

So once again, New England was the presumptive favorite to win the AFC and bring home yet another Lombardi Trophy, and through the first eight weeks of the 2019 season, the Patriots were well on their way to steamrolling through the NFL yet again, as they started the season a perfect 8-0, set numerous records on the defensive side of the ball, and even had a brief cameo from Antonio Brown!

Despite the 8-0 start to the season, however, the Patriots were not quite the dominant force they appeared to be. 

While the defense was certainly spectacular, New England benefitted largely from an opening eight-week schedule that saw them face only one team with a winning record (a 16-10 win over Buffalo in Week 4).

When New England would head to Baltimore to face the red hot Ravens behind the eventual MVP Lamar Jackson and get absolutely ripped apart on both sides of the ball.  The Patriots offense would look noticeably slow, lacking a serious threat in the passing game and Tom Brady would finally show signs of age.  The heralded Patriots defense would surrender 37 points after just allowing 44 points combined in the previous five games, and suddenly an 8-1 team was surprisingly vulnerable.

New England would rebound in the following weeks with a pair of wins over the Eagles and Cowboys to bring their record to 10-1, but again the same theme held true.  The Patriots defense was doing the heavy lifting and the explosive Tom Brady/Josh McDaniels like offense we had grown accustomed to watching every season, looked more like an offense you’d expect to find with Blake Bortles at the helm.

The Patriots offensive issues finally came to a head as the team entered December, where New England would fall to eventual AFC division champions Houston and Kansas City to move to 10-3 on the season. 

After beating Cincinnati and holding off a scrappy Buffalo team to clinch the AFC East, it looked like a foregone conclusion that New England would secure another first-round bye with a Week 17 home date against the tanking Dolphins the only thing standing in their way.

Instead, the 4-11 Dolphins, led by former Belichick assistant Brian Flores, would march into Foxboro with nothing to play for but pride, and stun the Patriots with a last-second game-winning drive by Conor McGregor stunt double Ryan Fitzpatrick.  The loss would drop New England to 12-4, and allow for the Chiefs to match their record and clinch that crucial first-round bye.

That would punt the Patriots to the Wild Card Round for the first time since 2009 where they would face the Tennessee Titans, also led by a former Patriot Mike Vrabel.  Vrabel and the Titans would pound the Patriots vaunted defense behind Derrick Henry and locked down the Patriots offense to pull one of the biggest shockers in Wild Card Round history.

The dynasty would end that chilly January Foxboro evening, and pave the way for a new era of Patriots football to begin.

Awful at Timing Since They Joined a Dynasty After it Ends and not When It Began
QB Cam Newton (Panthers)
RB Lamar Miller (Texans)
WR Marquise Lee (Jaguars)
QB Brian Hoyer (Colts)
S Adrian Phillips (Chargers)
FB Dan Vitale (Packers)
WR Damiere Byrd (Cardinals)
DT Beau Allen (Buccaneers)

Franchise Tagged
G Joe Thuney / Signed Tender

Left Boston Quicker than the Red Sox’ Championship Hopes
QB Tom Brady (Buccaneers)
TE Rob Gronkowski (Buccaneers/Trade)
LB Kyle Van Noy (Dolphins)
LB Jamie Collins (Lions)
DT Danny Shelton (Lions)
S Duron Harmon (Lions/Trade)
S Nate Ebner (Giants)
C Ted Karras (Dolphins)
WR Phillip Dorsett (Seahawks)
K Stephen Gostkowski (Free Agent)

COVID-19 Opt-Outs
RB Brandon Bolden
OT Marcus Cannon
S Patrick Chung
LB Dont’a Hightower
WR Marqise Lee
OL Najee Toran
FB Dan Vitale
TE Matt LaCosse

Patriots 2020 Offensive Preview

New England will enter the 2020 season and new era of Patriots football behind former Carolina Panther and 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton.  While the Patriots are also expected to give Jarrett Stidham the chance to win the job, all indications are the former #1 overall pick is running away with the competition in training camp.

With no preseason games scheduled this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Patriots will not have the opportunity to see Newton and Stidham battle for the job against other competition, and with everything else being very out of the ordinary this offseason, the Patriots turning to Cam Newton would make a lot of sense given his experience as a starting quarterback in the league.

Newton hopes to return to the form he played in for much of his career, before the past couple of seasons where Newton was playing through injuries, ultimately leading to Cam missing 16 games in his last two seasons, the bulk of which came last year when Cam would miss 14 games with a foot injury.

By all accounts, the year off from football has fully healed both his shoulder and foot, and the Patriots hope that a free agent market that showed no real interest in signing the 31-year old veteran will be the added fuel Cam needs to return to his status as an elite quarterback.

Even if Cam is back to 100 percent health, there are still concerns with the Patriots offense, and just like a season ago, the glaring question marks come with who Newton, or Stidham, would be throwing the ball to.

Entering the 2020 campaign, 34-year old wide receiver Julian Edelman will be the Patriots top wide receiver once again, while 2019 1st round pick N’Keal Harry will be elevated to start full time opposite of him. 

Harry began his rookie year on the injured list before joining the team later in the season, but his impact as a rookie was minimal at best, as the rookie only had 105 yards receiving and two touchdowns in his debut season. 

The Patriots brought in Marqise Lee after the Jaguars released him earlier in the offseason, but he has since elected to opt-out of the 2020 season alongside seven other Patriots due to health concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.  That leaves New England’s depth at wideout in a precarious position, as Mohammed Sanu, Jakobi Meyers, and free-agent addition Damiere Byrd wouldn’t exactly strike fear in the hearts of the Boston College defense, much less NFL defenses.

At running back, New England seems to be in much better shape.  The Patriots once again return the 1-2 punch of Sony Michel and James White, and 2019 3rd round pick Damien Harris figures to get more action in 2020.  Veteran Rex Burkhead and free-agent signee Lamar Miller figure to compete for one of the last spots on the 53-man roster, however, Miller may be stashed on the team’s PUP list to start the year as he continues to return from an ACL injury that ended his 2019 season.

The Patriots made waves in the offseason when they traded the rights to unretired tight end Rob Gronkowski to Tampa Bay, and they hope the 2020 NFL Draft will yield the next great Patriots tight end as the Pats will start two rookies at that position with third-round picks Devin Asiasi from UCLA, and Dalton Keene from Virginia Tech.

Fortunately for the Patriots as they try to figure out their offensive personnel, the offensive line remains the strength of this offense, and it’s really not close.  The team elected to use the franchise tag on guard Joe Thuney, and three starters from the rest of the starting line return from a season ago, including center David Andrews who missed all of the 2019 season with blood clots in his lungs. The Patriots, however, will be without starting tackle Marcus Cannon who is one of the eight aforementioned players to opt-out due to COVID-19.  Former Arizona Cardinal Korey Cunningham figures to get the start in place of Cannon this season.

Patriots 2020 Defensive Preview

The Patriots defense was the lifeblood of the team a season ago and was the overwhelming reason why New England finished 12-4, to begin with.  However, due to free agency and opt-outs from the COVID-19 pandemic, the defensive unit has undergone quite a bit of turnover from a season ago.

New England will be without Dont’a Hightower and Patrick Chung due to their respective decisions to opt-out and lost three other starters when Jamie Collins, Kyle Van Noy, and Danny Shelton all left via free agency, leaving Bill Belichick with the challenge of replacing half of the #1 ranked defense from a season ago.

The Pats’ strength on defense once again looks to be with their secondary, as arguably the best cornerback in football, Stephon Gilmore, returns to play alongside Jason McCourty, with Jason’s twin brother Devin returning to play safety in his 10th season with the team.

New England will replace the void left at safety with the departures of Patrick Chung (COVID-19 Opt-Out), Nate Ebner and Duron Harmon with free-agent addition Adrian Phillips and Terrence Brooks

While the secondary is mostly intact, the Patriots linebacking corps will have an entirely new starting group as the team lost four linebackers from a season ago due to the same COVID-19 and free agency cocktail.  Jamie Collins (Lions), Kyle Van Noy, and Elandon Roberts (Dolphins) each left the team in free agency to go play with former Patriot assistant coaches, and Dont’a Hightower opted out of the season entirely.

That leaves plenty of question marks for Bill Belichick to deal with, and the Patriots will now need to rely on the inexperienced tandem of 2020 2nd round pick Josh Uche and 2018 5th round pick Ja’Whaun Bentley to anchor the middle of their defense.

Belichick also has roster turnover to deal with on his defensive line, as Danny Shelton joined Jamie Collins in departing for the Motor City.  New England added former Bucs nose tackle Beau Allen in free agency as a means to try to fill that role, but replacing Shelton will be a challenge as he had perhaps his best season as a pro in 2019.   

Patriots 2020 Outlook & Prediction

The Brady/Belichick era is over but there is still a good deal of talent on the New England Patriots roster to still consider them as a contender to win the AFC East for the 12th straight season.

As is usually the case in the NFL, the season will most likely come down to the type of season they get from Cam Newton.  There is a lot of cautious optimism at the potential of a Josh McDaniels offense with a quarterback that doesn’t move slower than molasses in the pocket and who has a rocket arm, but after quite a bit of roster churn, the weapons in the cupboard for Newton (or Stidham) to get the job done may not be enough to get past a Bills team on the rise.

We’ve learned many times over to never bet against Bill Belichick no matter the circumstances, but this season may have too many challenges for even ‘Master Belichick’ to overcome.

We like the Patriots to finish tied with the Bills atop the AFC East but to lose the division tiebreaker, ending their reign atop the AFC East but still leaving them as a potentially dangerous Wild Card team.

Patriots 2020 Projection:  10-6, 2nd AFC East (Lose Division Tiebreaker to Bills)

Patriots 2020 Betting Preview

When it comes to the New England Patriots, we like these bets more than Bill Belichick likes chopping the sleeves off a perfectly fine hoodie.

  • Patriots OVER 9 Wins — (+105) at PointsBet Sportsbook
    Despite the roster churn, the Patriots will still be in more games than they are not, and while we believe they’re not the Super Bowl contender in 2020, they’re certainly a contender to have another winning season and we’ll grab the plus-money on the Pats here.
  • Cam Newton to win Comeback Player of the Year — (+400) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    While Alex Smith may win this award just by stepping on the field in 2020 (and deservingly so), Cam has some very enticing odds in his own right to win the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award.  Should Cam start the majority of the season and look like his old self, he has a great chance to deliver a 4-to-1 winner.  We like this a little better than the MVP prop that’s getting quite a bit of love from futures bettors too.
  • Bill Belichick to win NFL Coach of the Year — (+1200) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    If there were ever a season where Belichick could win the NFL Coach of the Year Award it’s this season.  The sheer amount of losses to the Patriots roster puts Belichick at the top of the odds board here.  This award typically goes to bad teams that become good the year after, but considering everything the Patriots are trying to replace in 2020, a playoff berth could lead to Belichick’s 4th COTY honors and first since 2010.

Buffalo Bills 2020 Odds & Betting Preview

By, Faux John Madden (Special to OddsUSA.com)

The last time the Buffalo Bills were able to win the AFC East, the President of the United States was Bill Clinton, O.J. Simpson was about to go on trial, and Frank Gore was only 30 years old.

A lot of things have changed between 1995 and today, but the Buffalo Bills finally have seemed to navigate their way back to relevance in the AFC East behind a young quarterback with the passing accuracy that falls somewhere in between a Scott Norwood field goal to win the Super Bowl or a North Korean ballistic missile, and the best young defense in the AFC.  

After securing their second playoff berth in three seasons and the Patriots dynasty finally over, the Bills are looking to build off a very successful season under head coach Sean McDermott and capture their first division crown in 26 years.

There are a lot of reasons to be excited about the Bills future because after all, no one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills.

Bills 2019 Season Review

The Bills entered the 2019 campaign fresh off a 6-10 season the year before, but it was as described by head coach Sean McDermott, “an exciting time to be a Buffalo Bill and a fan of the Buffalo Bills.”

McDermott was not blowing smoke either.  The Bills would show that they were ready to take that next step towards returning to the perennial playoff team they were in the 90’s by improving massively across the board during the 2019 season.

The biggest improvement came from their second year quarterback and 2018 7th overall pick Josh Allen, who made tremendous leaps in his accuracy and decision making while showing a great deal of heart and determination as he would make as many great plays with his feet as he would his arm, and while Allen’s accuracy is still a little lower than you would like to see, the step forward from his rookie season to his sophomore season is one that has every member of ‘Bills Mafia’ over the moon in excitement.

Thanks to an extremely soft start to their 2019 schedule, the Bills were able to roar out of the gates with a 3-0 record after completing the MetLife Stadium sweep of the Jets and Giants and then following that up with a win over the Bengals in their Week 3 home opener.

After narrowly losing a home game to the Patriots by the score of 16-10, the Bills would rattle off six wins in their next eight games, the biggest victory coming with the entire nation watching on Thanksgiving as Buffalo would embarrass the Cowboys in a 26-15 game that was not anywhere near as close as the margin of victory would indicate.

Thanks to Sean McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, Buffalo would field one of the youngest and best defenses in all of football, as the Bills defense would rank 2nd in the league in total defense and kept the Bills in every game of the season, with only one double digit loss suffered by Buffalo all year (a 31-13 home loss to Philadelphia).

The Bills would stumble down the stretch in December, closing out the season 1-3 albeit with a meaningless Week 17 game to close out Buffalo’s regular season.  The 10-6 mark was good enough for Buffalo to qualify for the traditional “AFC South Champion Saturday Wild Card Special” to kick off the 2020 NFL Playoffs, and it appeared the Bills were about to break their 15 year playoff drought, only to watch the Houston Texans erase a 16-point 2nd half deficit before falling to Houston 22-19 in overtime.

Despite the disappointing end to the season, the future could not be brighter in upstate New York, and Sean McDermott would work in tandem with GM Brandon Beane to aggressively fill voids on the roster to try to take advantage of the Patriots dynasty finally crumbling beneath them, thanks to Bills’ co-owner Tom Brady deciding to leave the conference entirely to play out his last few years in Florida like most future retirees.

Now Has to Resort to Local Applebee’s for Nightlife Entertainment
WR Stefon Diggs (Vikings/Trade)
DE Mario Addison (Panthers)
CB Josh Norman (Washington)
DL Quinton Jefferson (Seahawks)
LB A.J. Klein (Saints)
DL Vernon Butler (Panthers)
G Brian Winters (Jets)
G Daryl Williams (Panthers)
RB Taiwan Jones (Texans)

Excited to Return to Civilization Upon Leaving Buffalo
DE Shaq Lawson (Dolphins)
DT Jordan Phillips (Cardinals)
CB Kevin Johnson (Browns)
RB Frank Gore (Jets)
K Stephen Hauschka (Free Agent)

Bills 2020 Offensive Preview

Buffalo entered the 2020 offseason knowing they had to improve the personnel surrounding Josh Allen, as the Bills have numerous secondary players that are all outstanding at how they fit within the Bills offense, but they were lacking a true star to really cause opposing defenses to fear them.

Enter former Vikings’ wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who essentially forced his way out of Minnesota after a few seasons of complaining about not being utilized more in the Vikings run-happy offense.

Buffalo GM Brandon Beane would send a package of picks to the Vikings, including the Bills 2020 1st round pick, and Josh Allen would finally get his #1 wide receiver.

Diggs joins a Bills wide receiving corps that performed amazingly well a season ago.  Cole Beasley had has many receptions as Mike Evans did in the Jameis 30/30 passing bonanza offense, John Brown had more yards receiving than Odell Beckham on his way to a career season.

In fact, if you combined Diggs’ 2019 output with the Bills wide receivers, the trio would add up to 202 receptions for nearly 3000 yards and 18 touchdowns with a catch rate of 64.1 percent.  So on paper, the Bills wide receiving corps may not look like the best in football, but it is certainly up there, and Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll showed last season that he knows exactly how to maximize the skillsets of his quarterback and smaller veteran wide receivers.

In addition to the Bills WR trio, Buffalo also has promising tight end Dawson Knox who put together a very solid rookie season with 388 yards receiving and two touchdowns. Tyler Kroft will also factor into the Bills plans at tight-end, as the veteran returns to the team after missing five games a year ago.

While the Bills passing offense ranked only 26th statistically a season ago, Allen still was able to make enough plays with his arm when needed.  However, Daboll has put more of an emphasis on the team’s rushing attack, as Buffalo wants to control the football with long, time-consuming drives and then smother you with their relentless defense.

The plan seemed to work well in 2019, as the Bills put together the 8th best rushing attack in football, thanks to 2019 3rd round pick Devin Singletary, longtime veteran Frank Gore and Josh Allen himself also accounted for 510 yards rushing and nine touchdowns.

Gore has since left in free agency in his quest to play in the NFL until 2050, and the Bills will depend more on Singletary and backup T.J. Yeldon this season.  Josh Allen will also still play a major role in the Bills rushing attack this season, especially if teams have to play in more nickel and dime personnel with Buffalo’s new surplus of targets in the passing game.

Overhauling the Bills’ offensive line was GM Brandon Beane’s first task when he took the job in 2017, and last season the rebuild appeared to have paid off.  Left tackle Dion Dawkins and center Mitch Morse are the anchors of the offensive line, but the team will be without starting right guard Jon Feliciano for 8-12 weeks after he tore his pectoral muscle in July.

To replace Feliciano in the lineup, the Bills brought on free agent right guard Brian Winters, and he will play alongside 2019 2nd round pick Cody Ford who will start at right tackle for the Bills.

Bills 2020 Defensive Preview

Without question, the highlight of the Bills 2019 season was the play of their defense, as the Buffalo unit led by Leslie Frazier and Sean McDermott would finish at the top of the league in basically every major statistic.

The Bills figure to be just as sound defensively this season as they’ve been the last two years, with mostly every starter from 2019 returning in 2020, aside from defensive linemen Shaq Lawson and Jordan Phillips who left the team in free agency.

To replace those departures, Buffalo would go to their minor-league team, the Carolina Panthers, and call-up veterans Mario Addison and Vernon Butler to pair with Jerry Hughes and 2019 1st round pick Ed Oliver.  The Bills defensive line is especially deep, as the team also added solid defensive tackle depth piece Quinton Jefferson from Seattle, and still has veterans Trent Murphy and Harrison Phillips on the roster as well.  2020 2nd round pick A.J. Epenesa could wind up being another gem for McDermott’s defense in due time as well.

The Bills linebacking corps is also solid across the board, as 2018 1st round pick Tremaine Edmunds anchors the middle of the Buffalo defense, and will be joined by free-agent acquisition A.J. Klein and Matt Milano.

In the secondary, Buffalo has arguably the top corner in football now with 2017 1st round selection Tre’Davious White, who was nothing short of outstanding a season ago as he led the NFL in interceptions and was honored with his first-ever All-Pro award.

White will be joined in the secondary by former Washington cornerback (and of course Carolina Panther) Josh Norman, with Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde playing at safety.  

Bills 2020 Outlook & Prediction

Considering the Bills have had more people fall from the upper deck at their stadium than wins in the playoffs over the last 15 years, the growth from 2018 to 2019 has to have Bills Mafia as excited as they have ever been.  Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll put on a masterclass for how to use an athletic quarterback with accuracy issues, and the addition of Stefon Diggs could be the missing link to really unlocking Josh Allen’s potential.

With the division completely wide open now after the Patriots offseason losses, the Jets being in particularly bad shape, and a Dolphins team still in the middle of their own rebuild, there may not be a better opportunity than now to win their first division title and playoff game since 1995.

We feel like the Bills get it done, and edge out those pesky Patriots for their first division title in 26 years.

Bills 2020 Projection:  10-6, 1st AFC East

Bills 2020 Betting Preview

No one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills, and these futures bets will hopefully result in some circled winners. 

  • Buffalo Bills OVER 8.5 Wins — (-143) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    The juice on this is admittedly not the most ideal, but we still love the Bills to go over the 8.5 number in 2020.  The Bills offense should continue to improve, the Bills defense is a Top 5 unit in the league, and Tom Brady is now 1,233 miles away from them and can no longer haunt them in their sleep.  If Josh Allen doesn’t regress this year, we envision the Bills hitting double-digit wins for the second straight year.
  • Buffalo Bills to Win AFC East — (+120) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    Barring something unexpected happening, the Bills will likely only have to worry about the Patriots in their quest to secure their first division title since 1995.  And while Cam Newton certainly has had an outstanding pro career, he’s not Tom Brady, and there are still many questions surrounding his long term health as the former #1 overall pick has shown signs of slowing down as he has aged.  We just think this Bills team is all-around better and they will edge out the Patriots to capture that elusive division title.
  • Stefon Diggs OVER 950.5 Yards Receiving — (-105) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    Diggs should immediately become Allen’s favorite target in the passing game, and with his ability to run any route and excel in the deep passing game, of which is one of Allen’s strengths, Diggs could be in line for a big season.  Diggs has topped 1000 yards receiving in each of his last two seasons, and we see no reason why it won’t be a third.

Philadelphia Eagles 2020 Odds & Betting Preview

By, Faux John Madden (Special to OddsUSA.com)

Prior to winning Super Bowl LII, the ‘Philly Special’ was the term given to Eagles fans that were able to lob a battery at Santa Claus while evading spending the day in the prison underneath Veteran’s Stadium.

Now some two and a half years later, the ‘Philly Special’ would describe the onslaught of injuries the team has had ever since they slayed the Evil Empire (aka the New England Patriots) to capture their first-ever Lombardi Trophy.

Last season was once again spoiled by the Eagles’ inability to stay healthy on the field, and following the season-ending injury to OT Andre Dillard just a few weeks before the 2020 NFL Season is set to kick-off, Eagles’ fans natural reaction is, “Here we go again.”

Of all the injuries the Eagles have had to endure over the past two seasons, the injuries to their franchise quarterback Carson Wentz have been the most costly.

Wentz finally got to start in his first playoff game after injuries forced him to miss the entire 2017 and 2018 postseasons. 

He was done after eight minutes of action and a lone completion of 3 yards after Seahawks’ DE Jadeveon Clowney knocked Wentz out of the game with a concussion after he dove into Wentz like a Bills fan leaping into a folding table off the roof of their Winnebago.

That hit probably at the least should have merited a fine or 15 yard penalty during the game.  It did neither.

It was the latest rash of bad luck to hit the young quarterback and the fifth consecutive season in which Wentz would miss time with an injury dating all the way back to his last season at North Dakota State in 2015.

The Eagles enter the new year hoping to finally get a reprieve from an injury bug that had the team one phone call away from signing Mark Wahlberg to play wide receiver for the team, but even if they don’t get that reprieve, the other three lovable losers in the NFC East can still fuel the Eagles to another division title.

Eagles 2019 Season Review

Doug Pederson and the Eagles entered 2019 with a reloaded roster and big expectations to return to the top of the NFC after a disappointing 2018 season where they finished 9-7 on the season and lost to New Orleans in the NFC Divisional Round despite building an early 14-0 lead and having Alshon Jeffrey drop a pass right into the waiting arms of Saints’ CB Marshon Lattimore on a potential game-winning drive.

The Eagles would chalk that loss up to bad luck and just not having the horses to hang with the Saints that day, however, the same thing that would derail their 2018 campaign would haunt them all throughout the 2019 season.

Philly’s 2019 season began in the typical wonky form you expect to find out of many Week 1 contests, as they would fall into a 17-0 hole against the Washington Football Team, only to rally for a 32-27 win. 

Their season opener would be the perfect looking glass mirror for how the rest of their season was about to unfold, as the Eagles would constantly bounce back and forth with an interchanging of wins and losses as injuries would begin to ravage the entire roster — most notably at wide receiver where the Eagles would be obliterated by the injury bug.

After a Week 11 loss to the New England Patriots in a rematch of the only time Eagles’ fans have ever experienced happiness that didn’t come at the expense of others, Philadelphia would sit at 5-5 on the season ahead of a big NFC showdown against the Seahawks.

Wentz would enter that game with just two healthy wide receivers, and a desperate Philly team would sign former Houston Cougars quarterback Greg Ward Jr. off the practice squad to come be the teams #1 wide receiver.

The outmanned Philly team would go on to lose that game and the following week against the Dolphins to drop to 5-7 on the season and put their hopes at another NFC East crown on very thin ice. 

Fortunately for the Eagles, however, the Dallas Cowboys were absolutely determined to do whatever it took to lose the division, and thanks to four straight division games to close out their season, Philadelphia would win out, finish 9-7 and become bowl eligible out of the NFC East!

So the Eagles did at least match their preseason expectations of winning the NFC East, they just fell ‘bass-ackwards’ into said playoff spot.

Their season would eventually end in probably the most fitting fashion possible with the aforementioned concussion suffered by Wentz, and the injury-ravaged Eagles would finally endure too many key guys playing hurt on their way to their second 17-9 loss at the hands of Seattle that season.

Will Love Philadelphia Until They Mess Something Up
CB Darius Slay (Lions/Trade)
CB Nickell Robey-Coleman (Rams)
DT Jason Hargrave (Steelers)
S Will Parks (Broncos)
WR Marquise Goodwin (49ers/COVID-19 Opt-Out)

Dropped Quicker Than a Pass Headed Towards Nelson Algohor’s Hands
RB Jordan Howard (Dolphins)
S Malcolm Jenkins (Saints)
WR Nelson Algohor (Raiders)
OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai (Lions)
DT Timmy Jernigan (Jaguars)
CB Ronald Darby (Washington)
TE Richard Rodgers (Washington)
LB Kamu Grugier-Hill (Dolphins)

Eagles 2020 Offensive Preview

It should be no surprise that after the Eagles wide receiver depth chart was basically obliterated a season ago (and that doesn’t include the 10 games they had to use Nelson Algohor, which was almost worse than the injuries themselves), that getting weapons for Carson Wentz was one of GM Howie Roseman’s biggest goals entering the 2020 offseason.

Philadelphia began that process by drafting the speedy Jalen Reagor out of TCU, and hopes that getting a healthy Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson back into the lineup will allow for the Eagles’ passing game to come back to life, and in the case of Jackson, maybe spend a little less time on Instagram.

For all the grief Wentz has received from Eagles fans and non-fans alike about his durability, Wentz did play all 16 games a season ago and managed to become the first quarterback in NFL history to top 4,000 yards passing without a single wide receiver eclipsing 500 yards. So it’s a pretty safe assumption that most of the Eagles’ issues are not on the shoulders of Wentz.

After the Jordan Howard experiment was an abject failure, the Eagles managed to stumble into the realization than 2019 2nd round pick Miles Sanders is pretty good, and Doug Pederson would also tap into the team’s practice squad for an additional spark with the diminutive Boston Scott, who would give Philly fans shades of a young Darren Sproles.

Sanders and Scott will once again headline the stable of Philly running backs, with Corey Clement rounding out the depth chart and potentially being the Eagles kick returner once again in 2020 as he was a year ago.

Entering the 2020 season, the Eagles offensive line looked to be a unit poised for big growth this year after injuries once again caused Philly to have a lot of issues here in 2019. 

As we mentioned at the intro, the team will now be without 2019 1st round pick Andre Dillard, who was set to take over as the team’s new left tackle, after Dillard suffered a season-ending biceps injury on August 27th.  The Eagles also suffered another offseason injury to Pro Bowl RG Brandon Brooks, when he would suffer a ruptured Achilles tendon in June.

That leaves an Eagles team that dealt with injury after injury a season ago down two starters on their offensive line before the year has even kicked off.  Philadelphia did bring back Jason Peters for one more stint, but they had planned on moving him to guard to take over for the injured Brooks.  It remains to be seen if Doug Pederson will eventually kick Peters back out to left tackle while finding another solution at right guard, or if he will elect to bring on another left tackle and leave Peters where he is now.  Either way, a tumultuous start to the depth of the Eagles offensive line is not exactly how Pederson was hoping to start the new season.

It’s not entirely doom and gloom for the Eagles’ offense just yet though, as the team is also returning the dynamic tight end duo of Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, with the latter likely to be counted on for his blocking as much as his threat in the passing game.  If Wentz and the other key cogs to this Eagles offense can simply stay healthy, the potential is there for Philadelphia to field one of the better offensive units in football.

Eagles 2020 Defensive Preview

The Eagles defense will once again have Jim Schwartz calling the shots, and they too are looking to improve off of a 2019 season where they would finish in the bottom half of the league in passing yards allowed and interceptions.

For Schwartz, he will rely heavily on the aggressive blitzing scheme that he has brought to Philadelphia ever since he was tabbed to coordinate the Eagles defense.  All-world everything Fletcher Cox will once again anchor the Philadelphia defensive line, with free-agent acquisition Javon Hargrove sliding in next to him giving the Eagles a whole lot of beef in the interior of their line.

To alleviate the Eagles issues in the secondary, Schwartz will need to depend on his defensive line to generate pressure, and pass rushers Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, and Josh Sweat will be counted on to do just that.

The Eagles linebackers were not the best group in 2019, but they weren’t the worst either, and that’s likely to hold true in 2020 as well, with Nathan Gerry being the best of the Eagles trio.

To address the glaring need to repair the Eagles secondary, Philadelphia went out and traded for Detroit Lions Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay, and also signed Nickell Robey-Coleman to lock down the nickel cornerback spot.  2019 Eagles starting cornerback Jalen Mills returns to the team in 2020, but Schwartz intends to move Mills to safety where he will be paired with veteran free safety Rodney McLeod, who will replace Malcolm Jenkins in the lineup.

The cornerback position opposite of Slay will be one worth monitoring all throughout camp and into the season as 2018 4th round pick Avonte Maddox is set to start for now, but 2017 2nd round pick Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas could also be in the mix for that spot.

Eagles 2020 Outlook & Prediction

Fortunately for the Eagles, as they undergo a small roster reset from the Super Bowl LII winning team, they will do so in arguably the weakest division in the entire league. As long as the Cowboys, Giants, and Washington Football Team With No Name exist, the Eagles figure to always have a great chance to come out of the division and represent the NFL’s version of Conference USA in the playoffs.

For whatever reason, the Philadelphia training staff have seen more people than a Geno’s Steaks restaurant over the last few years, and the team has still managed to go 9-7 in each season. 

While Philadelphia’s talent isn’t what it once was just three years ago, they still have one of the best coaching staffs in football and a young quarterback who has been spectacular when he’s been able to stay on the field.

Once again the NFC East figures to come down to Philadelphia and Dallas, and once again we will trust the Eagles to come out on top and get back to the playoffs where they will likely be a one-and-done candidate once more.

Eagles 2020 Projection:  10-6, 1st NFC East

Eagles 2020 Betting Preview

We fancy these futures wagers on the Philadelphia Eagles that will have you belting out, “FLY EAGLES FLY!” all throughout the 2020 season.

  • Philadelphia Eagles OVER 9 Wins — (-134) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    Surely the Eagles can’t have another season destroyed by injury right? And as recent history has shown, even when the Eagles are re-enacting scenes from MASH, they still find a way to win 9 games on the season. We’re going to eat the juice here and hope that Carson Wentz can stay healthy behind an already weakened Philly offensive line.
  • Philadelphia Eagles to Win NFC East — (+150) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    If there’s anything we trust less than gas station sushi, it’s the Dallas Cowboys living up to preseason expectations. We understand why the Cowboys are favored to win the NFC East, as they do have the most talented roster in the division, we just don’t think they have the Coach/QB tandem that Philadelphia features. Give us the plus-money on the Eagles to repeat as NFC East champs.
  • Carson Wentz OVER 3900.5 Yards Passing — (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    This is very clearly a bet on whether or not Carson Wentz will stay healthy all season again. We think he does, and we think he sails over this number for an easy winner.
  • Carson Wentz to Win NFL MVP — (+2800) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    We’re kind of a sucker for including at least one long shot futures play for each team. We’re enticed by the 28-to-1 value on Wentz who would already have one MVP under his belt if not for a late-season ACL tear back in 2017. And while Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, and Russell Wilson are clearly the top three horses in this race, why not take a shot at one of the most consistent quarterbacks in football when healthy?

Los Angeles Rams 2020 Odds & Betting Preview

By, Faux John Madden (Special to OddsUSA.com)

If you’ve ever needed a case study for how quickly life can change year over year in the NFL, look no further than the Los Angeles Rams.

After being gifted a spot in the Super Bowl thanks to one of the worst blown calls in the history of the sport going 13-3 in 2018 and defeating the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship, the Rams officially returned to the top of the NFL mountaintop for the first time since Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk were providing the ‘Greatest Show on Turf’.

But that 13-3 record and Super Bowl trip would be soon forgotten and replaced with another “13-3” — the final score of Super Bowl LIII.

While it wasn’t on the same level of how Seattle and Atlanta lost to the Patriots, the Super Bowl was especially brutal for the Rams, as Bill Belichick and eventual Miami Dolphins’ head coach Brian Flores completely outclassed McVay in every form and fashion, and made Jared Goff look nothing like the Pro Bowl quarterback he was that season.    

To compound that, McVay is blessed with a photographic memory, meaning that Sean McVay couldn’t forget every three and out that night even if he wanted to.  It will be stuck inside his beautiful mind forever!

The vaunted “Super Bowl hangover” that had plagued so many other previous Super Bowl runner-ups was not far behind, and the Rams would struggle to find their 2018 footing the entire season en route to finishing the year at 9-7 and missing the playoffs.  

The Rams’ strategy to go all-in on huge contracts to star players had come up a game short, and the Rams championship window may have been slammed shut as quickly as it was cracked open.

As the team enters a state-of-the-art $5 billion stadium with new uniforms and a roster overhaul, the Rams hope the tandem of Sean McVay and Jared Goff will be able to usher the Rams into a new era of winning football.

Rams 2019 Season Review

As is usually the case with teams that finish the season hovering around .500, the Rams were a very streaky group in 2019.

Fresh off their loss in Super Bowl LIII, the Rams responded by opening the season with a 3-0 record that included a dominant performance in an NFC Championship rematch against the Saints in Week 2, that saw the Rams win 27-9 and left New Orleans without Drew Brees for the next month and a half (that would turn out not being a big deal at all because of Teddy Bridgewater).

Then following their road win over the Browns, the Rams would proceed to give up 55 points to Tampa Bay, lose on the road in Seattle thanks to a late field goal miss from Greg Zuerlein, and then would proceed to get completely smothered the following week against San Francisco in a game they couldn’t muster 160 yards of offense.

The Rams went from whispers of being the NFC’s best team yet again, to an average-looking 3-3 team in the span of three weeks.

This would continue to be their form throughout the season, as the Rams would not be able to piece together a winning streak longer than two games following the hot 3-0 start, and after keeping their playoff hopes alive in Week 14 with a rare blowout victory over the Seahawks, the Rams would drop back-to-back road games against the Cowboys and Niners and officially be out of the playoffs heading into Week 17.

It was a fitting conclusion to how their season went, and thanks to an expensive trade to bring Jalen Ramsey over to Los Angeles, the Rams were left with a bare cupboard to patch up a lot of holes that suddenly appeared from aging vets and expensive contracts the team could no longer keep into the future.

The Only Two Players the Rams Could Afford After Paying Jared Goff
LB Leonard Floyd (Bears)
DT A’Shawn Robinson (Lions)

All Heading to Teams That Scored Three Points Less Than the Rams Did in Super Bowl 53
RB Todd Gurley (Falcons)
LB/DE Dante Fowler Jr. (Falcons)
LB Cory Littleton (Raiders)
WR Brandin Cooks (Texans / Trade)
S Eric Weddle (Retired)
CB Nickell Robey-Coleman (Eagles)

Rams 2020 Offensive Preview

Sean McVay enters the 2020 season in Los Angeles looking to get the Rams’ offense back to the top of the NFL, but the Rams’ offense will look much different this season in comparison to the recent Rams teams we have come to expect.

For the first time since 2017, McVay hired an offensive coordinator to help him with the offense, and while McVay will still call the plays, new Rams offensive coordinator and former Washington OC Kevin O’Connell will be tasked with being an extra pair of eyes for their young quarterback Jared Goff.

Goff took a big step back in 2019, and while he was certainly not the worst quarterback in football, he certainly was not among the best either.  In 2018, Jared Goff was spectacular for the Rams as he threw for nearly 4700 yards with 32 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, but in 2019 Goff threw the ball 65 more times, but threw for less yards and touchdowns and turned it over 26 times.

And while Goff wasn’t entirely to blame for LA’s struggles in 2019, the fact he had just signed a four-year contract extension worth $134 million made him a lightning rod for all the criticism as to why the Rams suddenly were not the same team they were the previous two seasons.

The biggest reasons for Goff’s struggles in 2019 fell on a shoddy offensive line that went through nine starters in all last season, and the fact Todd Gurley has the knees of an 80-year old man.  This coupled with the fact that every team used the 2019 offseason to catch up with the Sean McVay offense, and Goff was seemingly set up to fail a year ago.

Fortunately for Goff, that’s probably not changing much in 2020 either.  The Rams simply do not have the cap room or the draft compensation to really reload the roster with talent. 

The team hopes that players who were already on the Rams’ roster will be able to rise to the challenge and fill the holes left behind by Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks.  At running back, Los Angeles will likely turn to Malcolm Brown to be the team’s starter, but 2019 3rd round pick Darrell Henderson and 2020 2nd round pick Cam Akers will both be in the mix in McVay’s offense.

To replace Brandin Cooks, McVay is moving Cooper Kupp to the outside to play opposite of Robert Woods and will depend on 2017 4th round pick Josh Reynolds to round out McVay’s 3WR attack.

Once again though, the Rams offensive line looks like it will be a chore to deal with throughout the season, as there is not much behind 38-year old left tackle Andrew Whitworth.  Naturally, the Rams recognized they have one capable offensive lineman on their roster as they gave the 38-year old a three-year contract extension worth $30 million!  

Good to see the Rams have learned not to dole out heavy contract extensions to guys on their roster that are nearing the end of their careers though. 

Rams 2020 Defensive Preview

Thanks to Rams’ owner Stan Kroenke lighting his money on fire like the Joker in “The Dark Knight,”  the Rams entered 2020 with the inability to retain the likes of Dante Fowler, Cory Littleton or Clay Matthews Jr. 

Fortunately for Los Angeles, the team still has Aaron Donald, who is like a one-man army on his own.  Donald is arguably the best player in all of football and has tormented opposing teams’ offenses ever since he entered the league.

Los Angeles will once again run a 3-4 defense in 2020, but will no longer have longtime defensive coordinator Wade Phillips calling the shots, as McVay elected to move past the 73-year old coordinator and hired former Vic Fangio assistant Brandon Staley for his first-ever coordinator job.

The Rams were able to scrape together enough change under Kroenke’s couch cushions to make two free-agent signings in 2020, that of former Bears’ 1st round pick Leonard Floyd and former Lions defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson. 

Without question, the Rams defensive line will be the highlight of this Rams defense, as the team will also have Michael Brockers back in addition to depth pieces Sebastian Joseph-Day and Greg Gaines.

The biggest questions on the Rams defensive unit will come from the team’s linebacking corps, as the team will look to replace the losses of both Dante Fowler and Clay Matthews in 2020. The aforementioned Leonard Floyd will replace Fowler at one of the edge-rushing positions, with Samson Ebukam likely to start at the other edge rusher spot. The other linebackers of Micah Kiser and Justin Lawler will be tasked to man the other linebacking positions, but each is still very inexperienced so it’s anyone’s guess what to expect from them in 2020.

The Rams secondary will also look different than it has in recent seasons, as the team will be without outstanding nickel corner Nickell Robey-Coleman and longtime veteran safety Eric Weddle.  Fortunately for the Rams, they have Jalen Ramsey on their roster and he has the ability to eliminate half of the field on his own.

2019 2nd round pick Taylor Rapp will start at safety in place of the retired Weddle, and will be joined by John Johnson at safety. Playing opposite of Ramsey at cornerback will be Troy Hill, who has been with the team since 2017. The Rams secondary did have some roster churn, but as they enter the 2020 NFL season they are more athletic in the secondary than they’ve ever been under Sean McVay.

Rams 2020 Outlook & Prediction

While the cupboard certainly isn’t bare, the Rams will look much different in 2020 than they have during the first three seasons under coach Sean McVay, who has only posted records of 11-5, 13-3, and 9-7 since being hired to coach the Rams as a 30-year old in 2017.

The Rams were largely seen as Todd Gurley and Aaron Donald’s team with Jared Goff making the occasional cameo appearance, but that is no longer the case whatsoever, as this Rams offense will live and die on Goff’s arm.

Los Angeles lost quite a bit of veteran talent in the offseason and with a salary cap situation that’s not going to get much relief for at least another season, it will be difficult for the Rams to field the assets to contend in an absolutely loaded division featuring the reigning NFC Champion 49ers, Seahawks and a young and up and coming Arizona Cardinals team.

Like the case is with many teams that have good coaching and middle-of-the-pack talent, the Rams have the potential to overachieve this season if they can find a replacement for Todd Gurley and get continuity at offensive line, but if they do not find either of those things in 2020, the Rams inaugural season in their $5 billion stadium may be a bust.

We love Aaron Donald and several of the Rams players, but we just don’t think this is the season they will rebound and get back to the top of the NFC. 

Rams 2020 Projection: 7-9, 4th NFC West

Rams 2020 Betting Preview

We like the following futures bets related to the Los Angeles Rams for the upcoming 2020 NFL Season.

  • Los Angeles Rams UNDER 8 Wins — (+103) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    The Rams have 7 games in 2020 against teams that made the playoffs a season ago, and this is not counting matchups against Dallas, Tampa Bay, and their two games against a very improved Arizona team. We just don’t see the Rams coming out of their schedule eclipsing the 8-8 mark, and we will take the chance with plus-money at the Rams having the first losing season during Sean McVay’s tenure.
  • Jared Goff OVER 4325.5 Yards Passing — (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    In Goff’s past two seasons, he has topped 4600 yards passing in each, but it’s the 2019 season that has us excited for this prop. Last year was a nice preview of what the Rams offense may evolve into without Todd Gurley’s presence in the lineup, and that offense is Goff airing the ball out to his three wide receivers. Regardless of the question marks at running back and offensive line for the Rams this season, we love Goff to clear this number if he stays on the field for the whole season.
  • Jared Goff to Lead NFL in Passing Yards — (+700) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    On the surface, this bet may seem crazy. But consider that in 2018, Goff finished 4th in the NFL in passing yards, and last season he finished in 3rd. With major question marks at running back and McVay’s love of throwing the football out of his base 3WR personnel, we can see Goff and the Rams getting into some shootouts this season and that could ultimately result in Goff topping 5,000 yards passing for the first time in his career and delivering a nice 7-to-1 hit in the process.

Chicago Bears 2020 Odds & Betting Preview

By, Faux John Madden (Special to OddsUSA.com)

The Chicago Bears enter the 2020 campaign looking to complete the first three-peat in league history behind an unrelenting defense and electric offense led by 2017 2nd overall pick Patrick Mahomes.

Our mistake, that passage is from a version of this 2020 Chicago Bears preview that’s actually taking place in a parallel universe where Bears GM Ryan Pace didn’t pass on the first professional athlete to get a half-billion-dollar contract extension, or where he didn’t pass on another incredibly talented quarterback that happened to take Clemson to two-straight National Championship appearances, winning one of them. Our apologies Bears’ fans.

Let’s try that one again…

The Chicago Bears enter the 2020 campaign hoping to find a quarterback on the roster that won’t ruin the best defense the Bears have fielded since … well, the last time the Bears were essentially in this exact same situation where shoddy quarterback play from a young gunslinger would single-handedly torpedo Chicago’s Super Bowl hopes.

Only instead of Rex Grossman in 2003, the Bears graduated to 2017 2nd overall pick Mitchell Trubisky as the harbinger of all their misery.

It’s that fateful decision back in April 2017 that has haunted Bears fans ever since, with the 2019 NFL season bringing the crescendo of this terrible decision as Mitchell Trubisky would squander the play of one of the best defenses in football for a second-straight season, while Patrick Mahomes would lead the Chiefs to their first Super Bowl win in 50 years, and Deshaun Watson would get the first playoff victory of his young career.

On the bright side, at least it made Bears fans forget about how the 2018/19 season ended.

Bears 2019 Season Review

After a 2018 season when the Bears would shock the NFL world and finish 12-4 behind Khalil Mack and a star-studded Bears’ defense, only to have their season end on a field goal attempt that somehow double doinked its way to send the Eagles forward in the playoffs, the expectations for the Bears 2019 NFL season were at a fever pitch.

Many believed the Bears were a contender that was just a steady kicker away from getting back to the Super Bowl.  Many believed that another season working with offensive guru Matt Nagy would allow for Trubisky to take that next step in his career and become a franchise quarterback.

And while the Bears would mostly figure out their issues at kicker by bringing on UDFA Eddy Piñeiro, Mitchell Trubisky absolutely did not take that next step to be their unquestioned leader at quarterback, and when compared to the two quarterbacks that would be selected after him, that seemed to heighten Trubisky’s issues even further.

The Bears 2019 season would begin in Lambeau Field where the NFL would kick off their 100th season with the oldest rivalry in the league. That night, the real rivalry looked like it was Mitchell Trubisky versus his ability to get the ball to someone wearing Bears colors. Mitch would only lead the Bears to 3 points in the season opener while throwing for just 228 yards with an interception (which could and should have been more than this), and his confidence never seemed to recover after that.

Trubisky would only top 300 yards passing in a game two times last season, but five times in a game he wouldn’t top 200. 

To further compound Trubisky’s issues, the Bears running game was absolutely atrocious last year, averaging only 3.7 yards per carry good for the lowest average the Bears have had since 2007.

The Bears selection of Iowa State RB David Montgomery in the 3rd round of the 2019 NFL Draft was expected to give Trubisky a dynamic tandem at running back with the small and shifty Tarik Cohen, but Montgomery struggled to get going all season behind a Bears offensive line that struggled mightily with their run blocking.

Despite the Bears’ many issues on offense last season, the defense once again came out of the gates playing outstanding, at least in the first half of the season before their offensive struggles seemed to wear the Bears defense out both mentally and physically.

Chicago would start the season 3-1, again in large part because of that strong defensive play, but would go just 5-7 the rest of the season and would constantly play like you would expect a .500 football team to play. 

Now a franchise that appeared to be on the door step of potentially contending for a Super Bowl is suddenly back to square one, hoping to find a quarterback that will not waste the collection of talent the Bears have assembled on the defensive side of the football.

May Be Converted to Tight End in 2020 if They’re Not Already Tight Ends
QB Nick Foles (Trade/Jaguars)
DE Robert Quinn (Cowboys)
TE Jimmy Graham (Packers)
S Tashaun Gipson (Texans)
WR Ted Ginn Jr. (Saints)
RT Germain Ifedi (Seahawks)
LB Barkevious Mingo (Texans)
TE Demetrius Harris (Browns)
CB Artie Burns (Steelers)
DL John Jenkins (Dolphins)

Not Entirely Clear Why They Left Chicago, But We’re Pretty Sure It Has Something to Do With Mitch Trubisky
G Kyle Long (Retired)
LB/DE Leonard Floyd (Rams)
LB Nick Kwiatkoski (Raiders)
CB Prince Amukamara (Raiders)
S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Cowboys)
TE Trey Burton (Colts)
TE Adam Shaheen (Dolphins/Trade)
WR Taylor Gabriel (Free Agent)

Bears 2020 Offensive Preview

The Bears decided the best way to jumpstart their offense in 2020 is to have roughly 65 tight ends on their roster, as the team signed Jimmy Graham and Demetrius Harris in free agency, while drafting Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet with the teams first draft pick in 2020. At one point in the offseason, the Bears were rostering 10 tight ends, that’s since been whittled down to 6!

Beyond Ryan Pace’s odd fascination with the tight end position, the Bears’ biggest move of the 2020 offseason was acquiring former Eagles quarterback and Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles from the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Foles was the Jaguars big splash addition last season, but after breaking his collarbone and then flat getting outplayed by rookie Gardner Minshew, the Jags immediately regretted their $88 million contract that they gave Foles, and thanks to Mitchell Trubisky being Mitchell Trubisky, the Jags were somehow able to talk the Bears into taking Foles and his gaudy contract on.

So now the Bears enter the new season with a potential quarterback controversy in the making, heightened by the fact that with no preseason games we could not see the competition unfold in real-time. It’s anyone’s guess who will start the season opener against the Detroit Lions, but the assumption is that Foles will have a very real opportunity to turn the former 2nd overall pick in 2017 into a backup quarterback.

Whoever is under center for the Bears this season will have to deal with an offensive line that was dreadful a year ago and did little to remedy that situation as the Bears best offensive lineman Kyle Long elected to retire following the 2019 season. The Bears lone addition to the offensive line was signing former Seahawks first-round pick Germain Ifedi in free agency, but Ifedi was one of the worst offensive linemen in football the last several seasons, and that’s not likely to change in Chicago.

The Bears will once again have the running back tandem of Tarik Cohen and David Montgomery and will hope they improve greatly on their combined total of just over 1100 yards and 6 touchdowns in 2019.

Allen Robinson continues to be the Bears’ biggest weapon on the offensive side of the ball, as he managed to have a sensational season with 98 grabs, 1147 yards and seven touchdowns, made even more impressive considering who his quarterback is.

No word yet if Matt Nagy wants to convert his star possession receiver to tight end.

Bears 2020 Defensive Preview

A season ago, the Bears began the year looking just like the defensive group they were in 2018 when the Chicago defense looked to be the class of the NFL.  But as the season would go on the Bears defense would gradually begin to show cracks in the dam, and thanks to an offense that would constantly leave the defense on the field to wilt, injuries and overall general indifference to how the season was playing out, the Bears defense would weaken noticeably from its 2018 version.

Vic Fangio leaving to become the head coach of the Broncos is also something that certainly looked to have an impact on the Bears’ defensive performance in 2019. 

In 2020, Chuck Pagano will enter his second season overseeing the Bears defense and will have the luxury of fielding one of the best front sevens in all of football.

Once again, Khalil Mack is the focal point of the Bears defense, with fellow pass rusher Robert Quinn joining the Bears after a stint in Dallas. The interior linebackers for the new ‘Monsters of the Midway’ are veteran staples Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith, while the explosive Akiem Hicks returns to anchor the Bears’ defensive line after missing most of 2019 with an injury.

The Bears secondary will again rely heavily on the play from their star safety Eddie Jackson and the play of left cornerback Kyle Fuller.  Fuller had a difficult 2019 season after playing at a Pro Bowl level the season before.  For the Bears to return to the top of the pack for defensive play, Fuller has to revert back to his 2018 form when he was named a first-team All-Pro and led the league in interceptions.

Regardless of Fuller’s play, however, the Bears defense once again seems to be light years ahead of the offense and will be the catalyst for any success Chicago has in 2020.

Bears 2020 Outlook & Prediction

Chicago still has one formidable defense to go up against, but their season again will come down to quarterback play.

GM Ryan Pace and HC Matt Nagy would love for nothing more than for Mitchell Trubisky to finally live up to the expectations that come with being the first quarterback taken in an NFL Draft, but if the Bears can manage to find the magic that Nick Foles had on his way to taking the Eagles to their first-ever Super Bowl they’d surely take that scenario as well.

History tells us not to expect either of those situations to take place, however, as Foles has never looked anything like the QB he was during that run to a Super Bowl at any other stop outside of Philadelphia in his career.

Once again, we see the Bears struggling to get anything going offensively, and they will be the same streaky team they were a season ago.  The defense is too talented for this team to really bottom out, but the Windy City will have to endure another season where the Bears have a permanent dwelling in the land of mediocrity.

Bears 2020 Projection:  8-8, 3rd NFC North

Bears 2020 Betting Preview

Besides taking the under on every Mitchell Trubisky related prop in 2020, these are the bets we love the most for da Bears.

  • Chicago Bears to Finish in 3rd Place NFC North — (+220) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    Believe it or not, oddsmakers are projecting the Bears to finish in 4th place in the division in 2020, but we are also pretty sure the Detroit Lions still exist, so we are pouncing on this division finishing position prop that has the Bears finishing in 3rd place behind Minnesota and Green Bay.  We like this a little better than their win total, which sits at 7.5 games as of this writing, and we’re excited to lock this in with +220 odds.

  • Allen Robinson OVER 999.5 Receiving Yards — (-124) at FanDuel Sportsbook
    Despite the major question marks at quarterback for the Bears, Allen Robinson is the one constant on the Bears offense.  The biggest key for Robinson is staying on the field, as two of his previous three seasons have been cut short due to injury.  The lone exception?  2019 when Robinson went over this number with ease.  We think he gets there again in 2020 and continues to emerge as one of the most underrated wideouts in all of football.

  • Khalil Mack to Lead NFL in Sacks — (+1400) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    Since coming to Chicago, Mack has racked up 21 sacks in two seasons, and with Akiem Hicks back from injury and Robert Quinn added to play opposite of him, we like Mack’s chances to at least be in contention for the NFL sack title.  He hasn’t pulled off the feat yet, but at 14-to-1, betting on Mack to get to a quarterback is a fun dart throw you can root for all season.  

Pittsburgh Steelers 2020 Odds & Betting Preview

By, Faux John Madden (Special to OddsUSA.com)

Mike Tomlin has accomplished a lot in his 13-year coaching career with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Tomlin has never had a losing season in his 13 years of coach.  Tomlin has led the Steelers to two Super Bowls, winning one.  Tomlin also stole the show with eight years playing Dr. Eric Foreman on House.

Ok, that last Mike Tomlin fact actually is about Omar Epps, but nonetheless you can see the type of impact Mike Tomlin has had on the Steelers organization since being named Bill Cowher’s heir apparent all the way back in 2007.

But the 2019 season featured Tomlin’s best coaching performance yet, as the 48-year old coach fought through losing his franchise quarterback two games into the season, and managed to somehow get the Steelers to finish with an 8-8 record while being alive for a Wild Card berth up until the last week of the season, this despite also not having Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown last season as well who both wore out their welcomes in the Steel City.

Now as the 2020 NFL Season draws closer, the Steelers franchise QB, Ben Roethlisberger, returns to the lineup fully healthy for the first time since 2018 when he led the NFL in passing yards with 5,129, and the Steelers defense suddenly looks like one of the best units in football following the shrewd 2019 midseason acquisition of Minkah Fitzpatrick.

Can Tomlin rally his Steelers for one last run at a Super Bowl with #7 under center?   

Steelers 2019 Season Review

Rarely do teams manage to finish a season 8-8 when their QB suffers a season-ending injury in Week 2, but that’s what the Steelers accomplished in 2019.

Pittsburgh’s season began with a lot of questions circling the new-look offense that was about to arrive to the Steel City. Only one-third of the vaunted “Killer B’s” trio of Ben Roethlisberger, LeVeon Bell, and Antonio Brown was set to return to the team in 2019, and that, of course, was Roethlisberger.

Kevin Fichtner was entering his second season as Steelers offensive coordinator, taking over for the prickly Todd Haley who already wore out his welcome in Cleveland after just a season there.

Fichtner’s job would become one of the more challenging in the NFL, as after Roethlisberger suffered his season-ending elbow surgery, the team was forced to turn to inexperienced backups Mason Rudolph (who would later nearly be turned into a pinata by Browns DE Myles Garrett) and something called a Duck Hodges. 

After the team opened the season in Foxboro with a 33-3 blowout loss handed to them courtesy of Tom Brady, Roethlisberger would leave the game early against Seattle, a game the team would ultimately lose 28-26.  Despite losing their quarterback for the season, the Steelers did not blink the following day when they would trade their 2020 1st round pick in a package for Dolphins safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.

The trade would immediately pay off, as the Steelers defense transformed into one of the best groups in football. After starting 1-4, the Steelers would rattle off seven wins in their next eight games, bringing their record to an astonishing 8-5 without Ben Roethlisberger, and with James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster missing chunks of time. It was an incredible task just to get the Steelers to this point.

The Steelers could not sustain the magic carpet ride the entire way, however, as the middling offense would be unable to put up the points needed to win any of their last three games, including a Week 17 battle against a Ravens team that was sitting all of their key players.

Despite the struggles and three-game losing streak to end the season, the Steelers held their head high as they managed to finish 8-8 with their backup quarterbacks combining to throw for only 2,800 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions. They had the 30th ranked offense in football, grouped with the likes of the Jets and Washington Football Team.

What kept the Steelers going was a defensive unit that was absolutely spectacular in 2019, finishing in the Top 5 of the league for points allowed and 3rd overall against the pass.  With T.J. Watt, Minkah Fitzpatrick and the rest of a very talented group, the Steelers chances to end a brief playoff drought and to contend in the AFC North are once again looking up.

Excited to Play in the Stadium That Bane Once Blew-Up
TE Eric Ebron (Colts)
G Stefen Wisniewski (Chiefs)
FB Derek Watt (Chargers)
DT Chris Wormley (Ravens/Trade)

Despite Having 3 Cents of Cap Space, They Managed to Use the Franchise Tag On
LB Bud Dupree (Franchise Tender Signed)

One Season of Duck Hodges Was Enough
DT Javon Hargrave (Eagles)
LB Anthony Chickillo (Saints)
C B.J. Finney (Seahawks)
TE Nick Vannett (Broncos)
CB Artie Burns (Bears)
S Sean Davis (Washington)

Steelers 2020 Offensive Preview

Beyond Ben Roethlisberger returning to the lineup in 2020 for the Steelers, the biggest offseason addition to the Steelers offense came via free-agent addition Eric Ebron, formerly of the Colts.

Ebron hopes to bounce back after Andrew Luck’s sudden retirement sent his stats into a freefall, as he caught only 3 touchdown passes in 2019 after catching 13 the year before.

Ebron joins a Steelers passing attack that figures to look light years better with Ben Roethlisberger back under center for the black and yellow.

Of all the Steelers looking forward to their quarterback’s return, superstar JuJu Smith-Schuster is probably happiest of them all. No one missed Roethlisberger more than the 23-year old wide receiver, as his stats also pulled an “Ebron” and tanked under backups Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges. JuJu had 111 receptions for 1426 yards and seven touchdowns in 2018, that dropped all the way to 42 grabs for 552 yards and three touchdowns in 2019. Losing Antonio Brown’s presence opposite him also played a role in JuJu’s difficult season, as this was the first time in the young receiver’s career that he drew a team’s top corner every week.

Despite the offense’s struggles to move the ball and score points, WR James Washington enjoyed a breakout season while playing with his former college QB Mason Rudolph, and would lead the team in receiving with 735 yards and three touchdowns in 2019.

Another Steeler that suffered greatly from the absence of Roethlisberger was running back James Conner. Conner entered the 2019 season as the team’s official #1 running back as Le’Veon Bell officially departed to play for the Jets. Conner’s first full season as a starter did not go well, as he would be in and out of the lineup dealing with various injuries and would struggle to run against the 8, and sometimes, 9-man boxes that would matchup against the Steelers offense.

Conner would only rush for 464 yards in 10 games last season, and a platoon of backs before him (Benny Snell, Jaylen Samuels, and Trey Edmunds) would do little to help beyond that. Once again, this should not be the case in 2020 as the offensive line is one of the best units in football, and Roethlisberger’s mere presence in the lineup alone should open up a lot more lanes in the running game this season.

Steelers 2020 Defensive Preview

For as horrendous as the Steelers offense looked a year ago, the Steelers defense was anything but. 

It had to make Steeler Nation giddy to see the Steelers defense back to the form they’ve been known for the last several decades. Once again, the pride and joy of the Steel City defense come with their linebacking corps, with All-Pro T.J. Watt and franchise-tag player Bud Dupree highlighting the group. The star duo combined for 26 sacks in 2019 and a whopping 12 forced fumbles.

The interior of the Steelers linebacking corps was anchored by first-round selection Devin Bush, who the Steelers moved up 10 spots to get a season ago to fill the gaping hole left by Ryan Shazier’s career-ending neck injury. 

The Steelers continue to go with their traditional 3-4 scheme, and feature a defensive line with longtime Steelers’ Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt as the bookmarking ends, while Chris Wormley will start at nose tackle after a rare trade with the Baltimore Ravens brought him to the Steel City.

The Steelers secondary in 2020 should be just as much of a force this year as it was a season ago when they ranked as the third-best unit in football, with the aforementioned Minkah Fitzpatrick being the star of the group, alongside 2018 1st round pick Terrell Edmunds at strong safety and veterans Joe Haden and Steven Nelson at corner. The group is helped immensely by the Steelers front seven, which is arguably the best in football heading into the new season.

Steelers 2020 Outlook & Prediction

It’s rare to say an entire season hinges on the health of one player, particularly in a team game like football, but that’s exactly the situation the Steelers enter in 2020.  This is a team that has literally every piece needed to make a run at a championship, the only uncertainty is the health of 38-year old Ben Roethlisberger.  By all accounts early in the offseason program and camp, Roethlisberger looks like a healthy quarterback, which is only music to the ears of Steeler Nation.

If Ben can play all 16-games this season, the Steelers are a legit sleeper to win not only the AFC North but the Super Bowl as well. Their defense is perhaps the most underrated in all of football and has all the makings of a unit capable of playing deep into January.

We think Roethlisberger manages to find enough gas in the tank for one last run at a playoff spot, and he manages to get the job done with a 10-6 season.

Steelers 2020 Projection: 10-6, T-2nd AFC North

Steelers 2020 Betting Preview

There are a wide range of futures bets involving the black and yellow, here are the ones that make us want to twirl around a cotton towel as we wager on them.

  • Pittsburgh Steelers OVER 9 Wins — (-121) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    Pretty much any futures wager you’re going to make on the Steelers will be directly correlated to Ben Roethlisberger one way or the other. We’re going off the assumption that Ben will play the entire season, and if that is the case we think the over nine wins on Pittsburgh here is absolute thievery. The Steelers defense alone could get Pittsburgh halfway to this total, Roethlisberger making the Steelers skill position guys relevant again will change the entire dynamic of this football team. Eat the juice and take the over 9 here.

  • Pittsburgh Steelers to Win AFC North — (+350) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    For the record, we believe the Ravens are still the team to beat in the AFC North, but Baltimore suffered a significant blow to their defense when Earl Thomas was unceremoniously released from the team on August 23. The Steelers defense is the real deal, and if Roethlisberger is healthy all season, who knows what can happen in this rivalry? At +350 though, it’s certainly worth the shot.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers to Win Super Bowl 54 — (+2500) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    Our first Super Bowl futures bet of the 2020 NFL Preview! Again, we just love the value here on a team getting a franchise QB back from injury, who has a ton of weapons on offense, while fielding arguably the best defense in the conference. The Steelers are one of our favorite sleepers to get to Tampa and bring home another Lombardi, and at 25-to-1, why not take a little stab at the boys from Pittsburgh?

Dallas Cowboys 2020 Odds & Betting Preview

By, Faux John Madden (Special to OddsUSA.com)

They say that the surest things in life are death and taxes, but for the last quarter-century, you could also throw “the Dallas Cowboys massively underachieving after lofty preseason expectations” into that categorization.

Jerry Jones and “America’s Team” are about to embark on yet another new coaching era with hopes that they can finally end a 24-year drought and get back to the Super Bowl, of which their fans would sure appreciate as it is incredibly cumbersome to need to keep a VCR around the house just so you can re-live the last time this franchise was synonymous with winning.

Once again, Dallas enters a new season with big expectations that this will be the year they finally figure it all out and return to the top of the NFL pantheon.  The Cowboys roster is littered with talent, and on paper arguably only the Kansas City Chiefs have the offensive weapons the Cowboys do.

The division again seems very weak, and all the stars in Big D are aligning to make this dream a reality.  Will Jerryworld finally be able to raise a “World Champions” banner into the rafters that wasn’t manufactured around the same time as the internet itself?

Cowboys 2019 Season Review

It wouldn’t quite be an NFL season without the Dallas Cowboys entering the year being whispered as the possible “sleeping giant” in the NFC, only to see the team constantly trip over their own feet and hilariously stumble their way to a middling 8-8 season.

That’s pretty much how the Cowboys 2019 campaign went.

After a successful 2018 season that saw the Cowboys win a playoff game for only the third time since their last Super Bowl win in Super Bowl XXX, expectations for the 2019 season were at a fever pitch.

Dallas was still riding on the short-lived legacy of having a dominant offensive line that could impose its will on any defense and had just added the explosive Amari Cooper to the offense after Jon Gruden’s mass sell-off when he came back to Oakland. The team gave Ezekiel Elliott a big contract extension and lured Jason Witten back after one-year of impeccable analysis on Monday Night Football.

Defensively, the Cowboys were also poised to break out.  Robert Quinn joined the team and paired with Demarcus Lawrence to create a strong defensive line.  The depth was thought to also be very sound, with the likes of Randy Gregory and Taco Charlton as their disposal.  The linebacking corps and secondary both looked like Top 10 units on paper.

And while some of their assumptions for how the 2019 season would play out did ring true, the Cowboys would become one of the biggest disappointments in the league and vastly play under their potential throughout the season.

It was the same thing that had plagued Jason Garrett throughout his entire Cowboys tenure.  The former career backup to Troy Aikman was thought to be the next great coach in Cowboys’ history when Jerry Jones had finally found his man way back in 2010. 

Instead, Garrett produced more clips of him clapping than playoff wins, and after nine-plus seasons of treading water, the Cowboys finally had enough when all Garrett could muster in 2019 was an 8-8 finish, this despite the Giants and Washington combining to go 7-25 while the Eagles were one injury away from having Mark Wahlberg log extensive playing time at wide receiver.

Now Dallas begins to see their window of opportunity get smaller by the week, with a massive contract extension to their quarterback Dak Prescott waiting in the wings.  The Cowboys turned to former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy to right the ship, but McCarthy has had his share of having his teams play well under expectations as well.

Once again, the pieces are in place for the Dallas Cowboys to become one of the NFC’s elite, will they finally be able to get out of their own way?

Really Excited About Jerry Jones’ “No January Work” Company Policy
DT Gerald McCoy (Panthers)
DE Everson Griffen (Vikings)
S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Bears)
DE/LB Aldon Smith (Free Agent)
QB Andy Dalton (Bengals)
CB Daryl Worley (Raiders)
K Greg Zuerlein (Rams)
T Cameron Erving (Chiefs)
DT Dontari Poe (Panthers)

This Guy Really Wants $40 Million a Season
QB Dak Prescott (Franchise Tender Signed)

The Cowboys Couldn’t Pay Them Because They’re Saving Half of Jerry Jones’ Estate to Pay Dak
C Travis Frederick (Retired)
CB Byron Jones (Dolphins)
DE Robert Quinn (Bears)
WR Randall Cobb (Texans)
TE Jason Witten (Raiders)
DT Maliek Collins (Raiders)
WR Tavon Austin (49ers)
TE Cameron Fleming (Giants)
G Xavier Su’a-Filo (Bengals)
DT Gerald McCoy (Cut by Cowboys 8/18 after injury in camp)

Cowboys 2020 Offensive Preview

If the Cowboys are to finally break through in 2020, the offense will almost certainly be the driving catalyst behind it.

Dallas enters the 2020 season with an absurd amount of talent on the offensive side of the ball, and on paper, they may have the best offense in the entire NFC. 

Dak Prescott will play out the 2020 season on the franchise tag, paying the young QB just over $31 million this season.  Prescott is hoping to land a contract that will make him the top-paid quarterback at the position, a contract that became much less likely when Patrick Mahomes inked a deal that could pay him as much as a half-billion dollars during the lifetime of the contract.

While Dak is likely not going to get a contract topping Mahomes’ deal, if he wishes to top the second-highest-paid deal of Russell Wilson, he will need to take full advantage of a Cowboys’ offense that features the likes of Ezekiel Elliott and 1000-yard wide receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup.  To add to the depth of the offense, Jerry Jones couldn’t resist selecting the explosive CeeDee Lamb out of Oklahoma with the team’s 17th overall pick.

After realizing bringing back the corpse of Jason Witten was a big mistake, the team let Witten walk in free agency and locked up Blake Jarwin with a new contract that will make him the new #1 tight end in Big D.  

While the Cowboys offensive line is nowhere near the formidable unit it once was, it should still be a strength of the time thanks to mainstays Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and La’el Collins.  The team will need to replace the massive gap left by the retirement of center Travis Frederick and will turn to veteran Joe Looney to try to fill the hole.  Looney was quite average in 2019 in relief of Frederick, so don’t be surprised if 2020 4th round pick Tyler Biadasz (ironically enough also from Wisconsin just like Frederick) replaces him in the lineup at some point during the season.

New head coach Mike McCarthy comes to Dallas as his first coaching stop since the Packers fired McCarthy during the 2018 NFL Season.  McCarthy is known for his ability to have an explosive offense, but he’s also grown a reputation for getting conservative with his play-calling at the worst times, and for being a coach that does not get the most out of the talent on the roster.

(In other words, he sounds like the perfect Cowboys coach!)

For McCarthy to escape the label of a coach that wilts under pressure and constantly underachieves, he and the Cowboys alike will need to exercise a lot of demons for the team to really take that next step. 

McCarthy has boasted that he used the year away from football to get up to speed on the new offensive concepts that are sweeping the league, it remains to be seen if this will indeed be the case, but McCarthy hasn’t had this type of offensive personnel to work with since the Packers were annual Super Bowl contenders in their own right.  If he really has turned a new leaf and grown as a head coach, the Cowboys offense can be among the league’s best in 2020.

Cowboys 2020 Defensive Preview

It probably shouldn’t be a surprise that a team that has tried to milk the success of the mid-90s for the past 30 years would have a hard time moving away from history, but the Dallas Cowboys defensive approach seems to also be stuck in a time warp on paper.

After Jason Garrett and company were let go, Mike McCarthy elected to move on from the coaching tandem of Kris Richard and Rod Marinelli and hired Mike Nolan to run the Dallas defense.  Nolan hasn’t been a defensive coordinator since 2014 but will be tasked with trying to keep the Cowboys defense in the upper half of the league (9th overall, 2019) despite a lot of turnover heading into the 2020 season.

The Dallas defense suffered some major losses when Bryon Jones and Robert Quinn both left the team in free agency. To remedy those losses, the Cowboys selected Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs (brother of Bills WR Stefon Diggs) in the second round of the draft and signed a bunch of veteran pieces to both try to bolster depth and make up for some of their offseason losses on the defensive line.

The veteran pieces look like a “who’s who?” of the early 2010 All-Stars, with the likes of Dontari Poe, Everson Griffen, and Aldon Smith all coming to Big D.  The team also anticipates that Randy Gregory will be reinstated at some point during the season, giving Dallas a phenomenal opportunity to ensure that one of their defensive linemen will continue the tradition of getting suspended due to player misconduct.

Former perennial Tampa Bay Buccaneer Pro Bowler (and Carolina Panther in 2019) defensive tackle Gerald McCoy also inked a contract with the team in the offseason but suffered a gruesome-looking injury to his quadriceps that ultimately led to the team releasing him with an injury waiver.

The injury to McCoy could not have come at a worse time for the Cowboys, as the injury happened just three weeks before their season opener against the Rams.  2020 3rd round pick Neville Gallimore will be greatly depended on for depth at that position, as suddenly what appeared to be a position of strength has become a position of need.

While the Cowboys defensive line has had a lot of changes since last season, the Cowboys linebacking corps remains entirely intact from a season ago.  Ten-year veteran Sean Lee returns to start alongside Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith, giving the ‘Boys one of the best LB trios in football.  Former Packers LB Joe Thomas, who once played under new coach Mike McCarthy, is the team’s most important depth piece in the linebacking unit, especially considering Sean Lee’s tendency to miss time with injury.

The most important unit on the Cowboys defense will be that of their secondary, and we already mentioned the need to fill the sizable hole left by Byron Jones’s departure to Miami in free agency.  Anthony Brown will begin the season starting in the hole Jones left vacant, with Trevon Diggs and former Raider CB Daryl Worley also in the mix to replace him.  Chidobe Awuzie has the right cornerback spot locked down and has improved in each season with the team.

Former long-time Packer Ha Ha Clinton-Dix joins the Cowboys defense to start at safety alongside Xavier Woods.  Behind this duo, there is not a lot of depth, as undrafted free agent rookie Luther Kirk figures to be the teams primary backup.

Cowboys 2020 Outlook & Prediction

Few franchises in all of pro sports are the lightning rod for criticism like the Dallas Cowboys are.  Once again, the team embarks on a new season with raised expectations for how good the team can actually be, and once again the Cowboys have one of the best rosters on paper in the entire NFL.

Dallas again has all the pieces in place to finally make a run in the playoffs.  The division outside of Philadelphia is still rebuilding.  The schedule is very favorable, with only six games coming against 2019 teams and two of those games are against the Eagles.  The team no longer has a clapping mascot as its head coach and has entrusted the keys of the offense to a coach that is known for his explosive offenses. 

The biggest questions for Dallas come on the defensive side of the football where the team is counting on a defensive coordinator that hasn’t run a defense in 6 years and is hoping to stay in the Top 10 of the league rankings behind an aging group of players.

Once again, we see Dallas doing what they love to do:  winning games against Super Bowl contenders and losing games against teams contending for the top pick in the draft.

They’re going to get Cowboys fans hopes up as quickly as they crush their spirits, and it wouldn’t be a Dallas Cowboys season any other way.

Cowboys 2020 Projection: 9-7, 2nd NFC East

Cowboys 2020 Betting Preview

When it comes to “America’s Team,” we are keen on the following futures involving the 2020 Dallas Cowboys.

  • Dallas Cowboys UNDER 9.5 Wins — (+123) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    This is admittedly a bet with a great deal of a risk factor, as the Cowboys certainly have the talent to win 10 games or more this season.  We’re still going to fade the Cowboys achieving that feat in 2020 however, as we have a lot of questions about their holes on defense and are not as bullish on the Mike McCarthy hire as others.  Dallas will be in the race for a playoff spot all season, whether that’s through winning the NFC East or the Wild Card route, but we think they settle right at 9 wins in 2020, so we will gladly take the plus-money here.

  • Dak Prescott OVER 4275.5 Passing Yards — (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    This might be our favorite player prop bet to enter the 2020 NFL Season.  Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys offensive line are not what they once were, as highlighted by Zeke only having four carries all season of 20 yards or more.  This offense is now the Dak Prescott show, and if you think Mike McCarthy isn’t going to want to get into those playcalling spells of dialing up pass after pass after pass, you just haven’t watched Mike McCarthy.  In our opinion, Dak will clear this number with relative ease provided he stays healthy all season. 

  • CeeDee Lamb to win Offensive Rookie of the Year — (+2000) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    While Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and Blake Jarwin may all chew into Lamb’s end production, Lamb has incredible value at 20-to-1 playing on a team everyone will be watching, while being featured in an explosive offense where Lamb will likely not see a team’s top corner as long as Cooper and Gallup are on the field.  There’s just a lot of potential here and at 20-to-1, we would love to take a crack at that.

Atlanta Falcons 2020 Odds & Betting Preview

By, Faux John Madden (Special to OddsUSA.com)

There may not be a more maddening franchise in all of professional sports than the Atlanta Falcons.

When the team is expected to be a contender, they falter. 

When the team is expected to win a game at home against a weaker opponent, they lose by double digits. 

When you bet on the Falcons to win at home by 3, they’ll win by 2.

When they are heavy road underdogs to a contender in the NFC, they win the game outright.

When they have awesome throwback uniforms they can simply make permanent, they unveil these.

It goes on and on for the Atlanta Falcons, but continually there is not another team in all of professional sports that has more personalities than Sybil than the Falcons do.

Atlanta once again is at a familiar crossroads with their organization.  Dan Quinn has gone from being a few quarters away from winning a Super Bowl, all the way to a 1-7 start a season ago before the Falcons inexplicably rallied to end the year with a 7-9 record.

What’s in store for 2020? As is always the case with the Falcons, it’s anybody’s guess.  

Falcons 2019 Season Review

It wouldn’t be an Atlanta Falcons season without preseason expectations the team would never live up to, and that’s precisely what awaited Dan Quinn’s group in 2019.

For some reason, a lot of people felt like the Falcons would bounce back and make some noise in the NFC South.  After starting the season 1-7, those expectations were quickly evaporated.

However, for some odd reason, something changed leading up to a Week 9 contest against their division rivals, the New Orleans Saints. 

The Saints would come off their bye week with the mirror opposite record as the Falcons, standing at 7-1, winners of six-straight games in all.

Atlanta would go into the Superdome and dominate the Saints, defeating them by the score of 26-9.  After the Falcons would defeat Carolina on the road the following weekend, Atlanta would drop their next two games against the Bucs and Saints leaving them at 3-9 on the season, and with Dan Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff beginning to feel their respective seats hitting hot temperatures.

Thanks to a strong 4-0 finish to the season, including a road win against the eventual NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta would crawl back to 7-9 in 2019 and end up saving the jobs of Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff.

The 4-0 finish would also place the Falcons in a very familiar position going into the 2020 NFL Season as they were as they headed into the 2019 season.

It left them with hope that they would possibly ascend back to contender status in the NFC South.

And that’s why so many Falcons fans would tell you, they are terrified for the 2020 season.

Jumped at the Opportunity to Suffer Heartbreak as a Member of the Atlanta Falcons
LB/DE Dante Fowler Jr. (Rams)
RB Todd Gurley (Rams)
TE Hayden Hurst (Trade/Ravens)
CB Darqueze Dennard (Bengals)
LB Charles Harris (Falcons)
LB Deone Bucannon (Giants)
WR Laquon Treadwell (Vikings)

Got Away From Atlanta Quicker Than a 28-3 Lead
TE Austin Hooper (Browns)
DE Adrian Clayborn (Browns)
LB De’Vondre Campbell (Cardinals)
CB Desmond Trufant (Lions)
LB Vic Beasley (Titans)
RT Ty Sambrailo (Titans)
RB Devonta Freeman (Free Agent)

Falcons 2020 Offensive Preview

The Falcons enter 2020 with largely the same group of offensive talent as before, only with changes at the running back and tight end positions.

Atlanta said goodbye to Devonta Freeman during the offseason, in large part because Freeman could not stay on the field due to consistent injury issues, so it made sense for Atlanta to go out and sign Todd Gurley to a new contract — especially considering he has *checks notes* … an arthritic knee.

The Falcons are hoping the risk pays off and they are rewarded with the Todd Gurley from 2018, who wound up winning the NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award while being in contention for the NFL MVP award for most of the season, and not the Gurley from 2019 that showed major signs of slowing down despite scoring 14 touchdowns for the Rams.

At tight end, Atlanta lost Austin Hooper to free agency after Cleveland came calling with a Brinks truck that would make him the highest-paid tight end in NFL history for a few minutes.  The team may have found a gem though by trading for former Ravens first-rounder Hayden Hurst.  Hurst comes to Atlanta after a log jam of talent for the Ravens left him without much opportunity.  That won’t be the case when he comes to the A-T-L however, and Ryan should immediately integrate him into the Falcons passing attack.

The grizzled veterans of the Falcons offensive unit of Matt Ryan, Alex Mack, and Julio Jones are all back in 2020, with young rising wideout Calvin Ridley, Justin Gage, and free-agent signee Laquon Treadwell rounding out the Falcons wide receiving corps.

Atlanta’s offensive line continues to have the aforementioned Mack anchoring the middle, with Jake Matthews protecting Matt Ryan’s blindside.  Veteran guard James Carpenter will slot in between Matthews and Mack on the left side of the line, while the right side will feature both of the Falcons first-round picks from a season ago with Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary.

Dirk Koetter will call the plays once again for the Falcons, so it’s anyone’s guess if this unit will come out on fire again in 2020, or once again be as efficient moving around as someone who stubs their toe in the dark.  As is usually the case with this Falcons team, on paper, they appear to have everything you need to have an effective offense.  They just happen to also be the Falcons.

Falcons 2020 Defensive Preview

The Falcons offense wasn’t the only unit that got a little TLC in the offseason from Arthur Blank and Thomas Dimitroff, as Dan Quinn will have a new pass rusher at his deployment with the addition of free-agent rush end Dante Fowler, formerly of the Rams.

Fowler joins a Falcons defensive line that is the lifeblood of their defense, with All Pro Defensive Tackle Grady Jarrett leading the way, along with 2017 1st round pick Takk McKinley. 

2020 2nd round draft choice Marlon Davidson is another name to pay attention to on this line, as he has big-time talent but fell a bit in the draft.  Atlanta may very well have another steal in waiting there.

The linebacking corps for Dan Quinn’s defense is predicated on the play on their star inside linebacker Deion Jones.  Jones headlines a unit that also features 2018 6th round pick Foyesade Oluokun, along with free-agent additions Charles Harris and Deone Bucannon.

For the Falcons to get back into the thick of the NFC South race and contend for a playoff spot, they will need better play from the secondary, which ranked in the bottom third of the league a season ago and surrendered a passer rating just under 97 per game.

The team released their best corner, Desmond Trufant, in the offseason and used their first-round pick in 2020 to replace him when they selected Clemson’s, A.J. Terrell.

Terrell figures to start from day one as the team’s top corner, with 2018 2nd round pick Isaiah Oliver projected to start opposite him at right cornerback.  Strong safety Keanu Neal once again highlights the secondary, but the star safety has only played in four games over the last two seasons and will be getting back into action following a torn Achilles suffered a season ago.  The Falcons secondary is a completely different group when Neal is in the lineup, however, so his health is paramount to any success the Falcons defense may have.  

Falcons 2020 Outlook & Prediction

The Atlanta Falcons and Los Angeles Chargers share residency as the two teams in football that will drive you absolutely mad during the season with how consistently inconsistent they are on a weekly basis.

As we enter yet another season with hopes the Falcons can put it all together and rattle off double-digit wins en route to a run in the playoffs, it’s good to remind ourselves that this is the Atlanta Falcons that we are talking about and they would find a way to go 8-8 with the 2008 New England Patriots roster.

With that being said, for the Falcons to get past the 8-8 marker they will need Todd Gurley to recapture his form from the 2018 season and they will need their defense to stay healthy, as too many key defensive playmakers have missed a lot of time in recent seasons, derailing any hopes Atlanta may have.

Considering the difficulty of the NFC South now, we think the Falcons are likely heading towards the same type of record as a year ago, only this time they won’t start 1-7 on their way to getting there.

Falcons 2020 Projection: 8-8, 3rd place NFC South

Falcons 2020 Betting Preview

We try to avoid betting on the Falcons at all costs.  If you’re the type of bettor that also enjoys bringing yourself three hours of extra agony a week, the Falcons are just for you!

Here are our “favorite” bets involving those Dirty Birds.

  • Atlanta Falcons to finish 3rd in NFC South — (-130) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    As of this writing the Falcons projected win total from oddsmakers is 7.5.  That’s a little too close for comfort when it comes to this team, as no one is more capable of winning a meaningless Week 17 game to go 8-8 than the Falcons.  We will take a little safer approach and assume two NFC South statements to be true:  1) Carolina is going to be really, really bad and will have 4th place sewn up, 2) New Orleans and Tampa Bay will do battle all year for the NFC South crown.  That leaves Atlanta to finish comfortably in third, and for this slightly juiced up price of -130 to look like a very good bet.

  • Julio Jones UNDER 7 Receiving TD’s — (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    It feels odd saying to fade one of the best receivers in football on a touchdown prop, but we are suggesting you consider that very thing this year.  Julio Jones has only topped seven touchdowns two times in his last seven seasons, this despite his yardage continually being amongst the best in football.  For some reason, Julio just doesn’t score a great deal of touchdowns and we can see Todd Gurley pluck away some scores from Jones.  We’re playing the historical odds here and taking Julio Jones to go under the seven touchdown number.

  • A.J. Terrell to win Defensive Rookie of the Year — (+3300) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    While it’s more likely to see this award go to a pass rusher or linebacker, Terrell has pretty good value at 33-to-1 as a player that’s going to start at left cornerback the moment Atlanta opens their season up against the Seahawks on Sept. 13.  If Terrell can play well, he figures to get a little extra attention considering he will get four meetings with Drew Brees and Tom Brady this season, in addition to dates against Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, and Patrick Mahomes.  This is really just a dart throw on a cornerback with good value that’s sure to be tested with great frequency in 2020.

Denver Broncos 2020 Odds & Betting Preview

By, Faux John Madden (Special to OddsUSA.com)

When it comes to the Denver Broncos, I often think of that famous saying…

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try, try, try, try and try again.”

– John Elway trying to find a quarterback

Oh, you haven’t heard that version of the famous Thomas Palmer quote? Well the John Elway version refers to how many times he has whiffed on trying to replace Peyton Manning ever since he went to go build ‘Peytonville’ with Brad Paisley some four years ago.

However, a young quarterback Denver would draft in 2019 and a new cast of weapons on the offensive side of the football have John Elway and the Broncos feeling good about their chances under second-year head coach Vin Fangio.

Broncos 2019 Season Review

The Broncos entered the 2019 campaign looking to erase the Vance Joseph era from their memory banks for the rest of eternity, as the team would fire Joseph after a 6-10 season and 11-21 record over two seasons with the team.  After turning the Bears defense into a force of nature the season before, Vic Fangio was brought on by John Elway to run the show in the Mile-High City.

After a pretty paltry season at quarterback for the Broncos played by Case Keenum, Elway figured he would return to his roots and go out and trade for a tall stiff who was way past his prime and everyone but him could see it the ELITE, Joe Flacco.

Flacco, despite all his eliteness, could not get the Broncos going in the right direction and would lead Denver to a 2-6 record in his only 8 games as starter for the team. 

As fate would have it, after an injury would end Flacco’s season, the team seemingly began to play better.  Brandon Allen would only win one of his three starts in relief of Flacco, but then rookie Drew Lock was ready to return to the team after spending most of the season on injured reserve with a badly sprained thumb on his throwing hand.

When Lock entered the lineup, the Broncos were a noticeably better offensive team, and as such their defense was finally able to close games out instead of gassing out in the second half.

Denver would end the season on a feverish tear with their Jeezy lip-syncing rookie leading the Broncos to a 4-1 record to close out the year with their lone loss coming on the road against the eventual Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs in a wintry wonderland.

That’s right, after several years of trying to find a clone of himself, John Elway finally had a seemingly promising talent fall into his lap at the quarterback position. 

The Broncos would close out the season with a 7-9 record, but a 7-9 record that left the team feeling promise for the future for the first time since they won a Super Bowl just four years ago.

Did the Most Millennial Thing Possible by Moving to Colorado
G Graham Glasgow (Lions)
DE Jurrell Casey (Titans/Trade)
CB A.J. Bouye (Jaguars/Trade)
RB Melvin Gordon (Chargers)
P Sam Martin (Lions)
TE Nick Vannett (Steelers)
QB Jeff Driskel (Lions)

The Broncos Actually Used the Franchise Tag Correctly to Keep
S Justin Simmons (Tender Signed)

Elite and Non-Elite Players to Leave the Mile High City
C Connor McGovern (Jets)
CB Chris Harris (Chargers)
DE Derek Wolfe (Ravens)
QB Joe(LITE) Flacco (Jets)
S Will Parks (Eagles)
RB Devontae Booker (Raiders)

Broncos 2020 Offensive Preview

If Drew Lock picks up where he left off to close out the 2019 NFL Season for the Broncos, this Denver offense has potential to be something special in 2020.

The Broncos have changed coordinators for the new season, firing Rich Scangarello and replacing him with former Giants HC Pat Shurmur.  While Shurmur’s tenure as head coach in each of his stops has ultimately ended badly, he’s still considered a strong coordinator.  This will however loom large to how Lock develops and how far the Denver offense could go.

Should Lock and Shurmur have success, the Denver offense is absolutely stacked with young, athletic talent.  Lock will have a stable of reliable running backs with the electric Phillip Lindsay teaming up with former Charger Melvin Gordon joining the team via free agency.  Former 2018 3rd round pick Royce Freeman is also still on the Broncos roster, but could be fighting for a roster spot in camp.

To pave the way for the Broncos stable of running backs, and to protect their young quarterback, the Broncos went out and spent large on free-agent guard Graham Glasgow.  The offensive line will be tested however by the departure of center Connor McGovern, who departed Denver to join Adam Gase in New York.  To fill McGovern’s hole, Denver will turn to LSU rookie Lloyd Cushenberry III.

Denver’s offensive line play will be instrumental in giving Lock enough time to find any one of his dangerous wide receivers.  The Broncos wide receiving corps is the strength of this offense, and features the up and coming star Courtland Sutton, along with sensational rookies Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler.  Denver also has 2019 1st round pick Noah Fant lining up at tight-end alongside free agent signee Nick Vannett, formerly of the Seahawks and Steelers.

On paper, the Broncos have a wealth of talent on this side of the ball.  It will be interesting to see how Shurmur and Lock work together and if Denver’s offensive line can come together in the manner that Fangio and Elway hope.

Broncos 2020 Defensive Preview

Elway elected to let veterans Derek Wolfe and Chris Harris walk in free agency and traded for veterans Jurrell Casey (Titans) and A.J. Bouye (Jaguars) to replace them.  While Wolfe and Harris were both key players on the Denver defense for the last several seasons and part of the defense that won Super Bowl 50, replacing them with Casey and Bouye may very well end up being an upgrade for the Broncos defensive unit.

Beyond those additions, the rest of the Broncos defense remains very sound across the board, with the highlight of the group remaining that of Von Miller.  Miller returns to Denver for his ninth season despite rumors all offseason of a potential trade to clear salary. 

Instead, Elway will once again rely on Miller and Bradley Chubb to get to the quarterback (particularly the guy wearing number 15 in Kansas City), with Chubb returning in 2020 after suffering an ACL injury that sidelined him for all of 2019.

Bouye will join a Broncos secondary that features one of the best young safeties in football Justin Simmons, and former cornerback turned to safety Kareem Jackson.  Question marks remain for who will play opposite of Bouye, with 2019 free agent signee Bryce Callahan being the likely starter at the start of 2020.

Broncos 2020 Outlook & Prediction

For the first time in four years, there is reason for optimism if you’re a fan of the orange and blue.  After a very impressive five-game debut at quarterback in 2019, all eyes in the Rocky Mountain State will be on their young quarterback to see if he can continue where he left off a season ago.

If Lock can take that next step, the Broncos have a lot of potential in 2020 and could very well find themselves back in the playoffs for the first time since winning Super Bowl 50.

If Lock is not able to take that next step however, the Broncos could be in for a difficult road to .500 playing in what’s arguably become the best division in the AFC.  While we’re not crazy about Pat Shurmur, we think Lock plays well with the occasional hiccup you expect from a second-year quarterback, and the Denver Broncos get into the playoffs with a 10-win season.

Broncos Projected 2020 Finish: 10-6, 2nd AFC West

Broncos 2020 Betting Preview

In regards to the 2020 Denver Broncos, we love these futures bets:

  • Denver Broncos OVER 7.5 Wins — (-118) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    Like we said in the above, this really comes down to how you feel about QB Drew Lock.  If you believe he’s the answer, this number is way too low.  If you think Lock was just a five-game flash in the pan, you will probably want to take the under.  We believe Lock has a good second season and gets the Broncos back into the playoffs. 
  • Broncos to Finish in 2nd Place AFC West — (+235) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    Projecting the AFC West is definitely difficult in 2020, but we believe this Denver team has the inside track on the Raiders and Chargers for second place.  The Chargers are always a looming x-factor in this division, as they have the roster that can contend for this division if they get good play from Tyrod Taylor or Justin Herbert at quarterback, but we just think Denver’s value here at +235 to edge those two teams out is too good to pass up. 
  • Jerry Jeudy to Win Offensive Rookie of the Year — (+1600) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    Jeudy has potential to put up big numbers in this offense, and if the Broncos are in the thick of a playoff race, who knows?  Your 16-to-1 lotto ticket might just come through.  This is really just a fun wager to make so you have something to root for all season. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2020 Odds & Betting Preview

By, Faux John Madden (Special to OddsUSA.com)

After retiring from coaching in 2018, Bruce Arians returned to the NFL a year later after realizing the commentary business wasn’t made for him and his trademark Kangol cap just yet.

So Arians would begin to quietly, or not so quietly, float his desire to return to coaching and he wasn’t shy when he said that the Browns of all teams are the one team he’d really like to come back to coach.

The Browns, as they tend to do oh so often, passed on Arians to retain the services of Freddie Kitchens, a man that could be outcoached by the “Ask Madden” feature on any version of the Madden NFL game from the past decade.

What that says about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchise, we’re not quite sure of, but after realizing going to the Browns wasn’t going to happen, Arians eventually made his way to the Sunshine State like many retirees before him.

However, instead of enjoying retirement, Arians elected to try to salvage Jameis Winston’s career, and while Jameis did provide a number of good memories for the Bucs during his brief tenure there, he provided many more instances of befuddling decision making and laugh out loud gaffes with the football.

Famous Jameis would throw for 30 touchdowns in 2019, and an-NFL high 30 interceptions, becoming the first QB to be enshrined in the 30/30 club and the first quarterback to throw 30 picks in a season since Vinny Testaverde accomplished that feat 32 years ago.

It was the type of performance that sent Arians and the Bucs into the offseason eyeing the biggest free-agent move in team history — the signing of the “GOAT”.

Buccaneers 2019 Season Review

If you asked any fan of the Buccaneers a season ago if they believe Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski would re-unite and link up with the Bucs a year later, they probably would have looked at you with the same confused look of Tucker Carlson.

But in the words of the brilliant Matthew McConaughey as he was aimlessly driving around in a Cadillac talking to himself for a strange duration of time, Sometimes you’ve got to go back, to actually move forward.

And, in a large sense, this is exactly what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did in 2019 to set them up for their potential move into Super Bowl contendership today.

The Bucs 2019 season would begin with the hiring of the aforementioned Bruce Arians, who would take over the reins for Dirk Koetter, who was fired after leading the Bucs to a 5-11 finish in 2018 and who was single-handedly responsible for the one time Mitchell Trubisky looked like a competent NFL quarterback.

Arians would come to Tampa inheriting a wealth of offensive talent, however, and the fiery coach knew that if he could get Jameis Winston’s career back on track that the Bucs could potentially have something special in the making.

Instead, Jameis continued the maddening inconsistent play that had plagued him all throughout his career leading into 2019.  One week he would look flawless in a 55-point offensive explosion against the Rams, a few weeks later he’d toss 5 interceptions at home in a 11-point loss to a bad Carolina team.

After leading Tampa Bay to a 2-6 start, Jameis would get on a hot streak and rattle off five wins over his next six starts to pull the Bucs back to .500 and give them an outside shot at a playoff berth.

Alas, Jameis would once again revert back to “Bad Jameis” and end the season losing back-to-back games against the Texans and Falcons, the latter of which ended on a pick-six on the first play of overtime.

It couldn’t have been a better way to end the 2019 Bucs season if they tried.

However, a perfect storm of sorts was about to come together.  The Patriots were also about to suffer a fateful loss in Week 17, one that would be the domino to ‘Touchdown Tom’ going to ‘Tompa Bay’ with an old friend, with hopes at one last chase at a seventh ring.

One Step Closer to Residency at Del Boca Vista
QB Tom Brady (Patriots)
TE Rob Gronkowski (Trade/Patriots)
RB LeSean McCoy (Chiefs)
OT Joe Haeg (Colts)

Will Forever Have PTSD from a Creamsicle and Anything Related to Pirates
QB Jameis Winston (Saints)
DE Carl Nassib (Raiders)
WR Breshad Perriman (Jets)
RB Peyton Barber (Washington)

Buccaneers 2020 Offensive Preview

After adding Tom Brady, LeSean McCoy, and Rob Gronkowski, there’s no question that the Tampa Bay Bucs are the overwhelming favorites to dominate the 2011 NFL Season.

Unfortunately for Tampa Bay (and apparently the rest of Earth), the calendar now reads 2020, so it remains to be seen if adding the early 2010 All-Stars to their already healthy sampling of talent on the offensive side of the ball will be what gets Tampa over the hump and back into the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

Nonetheless, the changes on paper to the Bucs offense are very exciting to see, and Tampa Bay will absolutely be one of the dominating storylines during the 2020 NFL Season.

Bruce Arians’ offense comes with the warning label, “no risk it, no biscuit” and Tom Brady will be asked to run Arians’ vertical offense, which differs from the quick-passing game that Brady made a name for in Foxboro.

If Brady’s arm is still up for the challenge, Arians’ offense could prove to be quite fruitful for the 43-year old legend.

Tampa comes into the season with the best wide receiver group in football, and outside of the 18-1 Pats, this is the best group of offensive talent Brady has ever got to play with.  

The Bucs WR’s are headlined by 7th-year veteran Mike Evans, who only has gone over 1000 yards receiving in every single season since becoming a pro, all while catching 48 touchdowns in his first six years as a Buccaneer.  These stats are even more impressive considering the big target has only played one full season in his entire career.

Evans is joined at wide-receiver by Chris Godwin, who absolutely blew up in Arians offense, catching 86 balls for 1333 yards and nine touchdowns.  Godwin comes into the 2020 season with a new jersey number (14 from 12) and raised expectations as to what type of production he may see with a quarterback that threw for only 29 interceptions over the last four seasons, compared to the turnover machine he began his career with.

Then of course, there’s Gronk.

Rob Gronkowski made waves back in the offseason when he announced he intended to un-retire from the NFL and requested a trade to join up with his BFF, one Thomas Brady.  The trade request was of course granted, and Gronk is back.

The eccentric tight-end and future Hall of Famer will link up with former Bucs first-round pick O.J. Howard and TE Cameron Brate, giving Tampa Bay three outstanding tight-ends, two of which come with frightening athleticism.

However, in Arians’ scheme, tight-ends have notoriously struggled, and Howard spent most of the offseason on the trading block before Tampa Bay ultimately decided to keep him around for now.  It does merit paying close attention to how Arians will try to implement two tight-ends in his offense, or if he will still consider moving his young TE to fill a hole elsewhere on the roster.

If there’s any worry with the new-look Bucs offense besides age and a glut of talent at tight end, it would come with their running game as 2018 second-round pick Ronald Jones has struggled to find his footing in the NFL, and LeSean McCoy’s best days are well behind him. 

While Jones did show a lot of improvement in 2019, the same issues hovering over O.J. Howard hover over the third-year back as he’s not the best fit in the passing game, which is where Arians really depends on his backs.  Should Jones continue to struggle in his third season, rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn could find himself getting many more reps in the offense.

Tampa Bay’s offensive line also has a few question marks, particularly at right tackle where Iowa rookie Tristan Wirfs will start the season, but Brady’s quick release and ability to dissect defenses should be able to mask some of those weaknesses.  The production Brady gets out of what may be his worst stable of running backs yet will likely be the deciding factor to just how good this Buccaneers offense can actually be.

Buccaneers 2020 Defensive Preview

When Bruce Arians came to Tampa, he brought his good friend and former Jets head coach Todd Bowles with him to oversee the defense.  Bowles did a masterful job in turning around a defense that ranked dead last in nearly every worthwhile statistic in 2018, and the Bucs defense would be highlighted in 2019 by their league-leading rush defense. The run-defense was so good, Bowles nearly showed actual human emotion on the sidelines a season ago.

But while teams couldn’t run the ball on Tampa Bay a year ago, they didn’t have much difficulty throwing it.  The Bucs would field the 30th ranked pass defense in 2019, surrendering over 270 yards a game and a passer rating above 90.  While Jameis Winston was blamed for a lot of Tampa’s woes a year ago, the woeful pass defense did him no favors and constantly put the young quarterback in a position where he had to throw his way out of deficits.

Had it not been for Tampa’s outstanding pass-rush of Shaq Barrett (19.5 sacks in 2019) and Jason Pierre-Paul (8.5 sacks), Tampa’s pass defense could have been really bad.

The Bucs enter 2020 with not much change on the defensive side of the ball, as the Bucs front seven remains completely intact from a season ago.  Shaq Barrett returns to the Bucs after having the franchise tag placed on him prior to the beginning of free agency, and the team brought back Ndamukong Suh for his run-stuffing and ankle-stomping abilities.  

Tampa features two of the best inside linebackers in football, with 2019 1st round pick Devin White teaming up with perennial Pro Bowler Lavonte David in the middle of the Bucs defense.

All their questions on the defensive side of the ball again come from their secondary, and the team will look for 2018 2nd rounder Carlton Davis, as well as 2019 2nd rounder Sean Murphy-Bunting, to patch up the many holes in the Bucs secondary in 2020. 

However, with a potentially explosive offense in the making, Tampa Bay may find themselves in a lot of instances where they are playing with a good-sized lead that would allow for their ferocious pass-rush to freely tee off on the opposing quarterback, which can only help a young secondary still learning their way.

Buccaneers 2020 Outlook & Prediction

Well, one thing is for certain with the 2020 iteration of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers:  this team will be must-see TV all season long.  Tampa’s success will begin and end with how their 43-year old starting QB plays.  Many believe that Brady was starting to show signs of finally wearing down, while others believe him when he says he can play until he’s in his mid-40’s.

If Tom Brady is able to tap into the fountain of youth (which may or may not be one of his TB12 product offerings, I haven’t checked lately), and Rob Gronkowski can also have a few drinks from that same pool, the pieces are in place for Tampa to get back to the postseason for the first time in 13 years.

However, if Brady goes full 2015/16 Peyton Manning, the Bucs are in potential danger as unlike Peyton at the end of his career (and even Tom at the end of his Patriots’ career), Brady does not have a historically good defense to carry him any longer.

We believe Tampa ends the playoff drought, but they will not become the first team to host the Super Bowl, paving for one hell of a 2021 offseason from Florida’s west coast.

Buccaneers Projected 2020 Finish: 10-6, 2nd NFC South

Buccaneers 2020 Betting Preview

The Bucs figure to get a whole lot of attention in the futures market this season.  Here are the bets we like the most for the “Tompa Bay” Buccaneers in 2020.

  • Tampa Bay Bucs OVER 9.5 Wins — (-125) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    As we said above, Tampa Bay absolutely has the potential to not only go over this number but to potentially be a bonafide Super Bowl contender if things break right for them.  While we still don’t like their running backs or their secondary, Brady just has too many weapons at his disposal and a third-place schedule to churn through to where Tampa finishing 10-6 or better seems more likely than not.  We’ll eat the juice here and take the over on Tampa’s 2020 win total.
  • Rob Gronkowski OVER 5 TD Receptions — (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    In Gronk’s nine-year career thus far, he only failed to top five touchdowns in a season three times.  Two of these seasons, he missed more than half the season with an injury, and in 2018 he missed several games to injury again.   Essentially, what you’re betting on here is Gronk’s health.  If Gronk is on the field for double-digit games, he’s going over this number.  We think Gronk manages to play in at least 12 games this season, making this one of our favorite future props of the season.
  • Chris Godwin to Lead NFL in Receiving Yards — (+1400) at DraftKings Sportsbook
    The Bucs have no shortage of weapons, and Mike Evans will also be a favorite of Tom Brady, but Godwin (no pun intended) could be a godsend for the 43-year old QB.  Godwin is an absolute machine in the passing game and will eat up the short-intermediate passing game where Brady feasts.  Michael Thomas is still your short favorite in this category for a reason, but don’t discount Godwin’s chances to post his best season yet with a QB that was tailor-made for him.