BetOnline odds Updated: September 2018
Odds to win the NFC west division: +450
The team that has usually battled the Steelers for supremacy in the division has been Baltimore. The Ravens have fallen on hard times the past two seasons. Head coach John Harbaugh will need to correct that if Baltimore is to be back in the thick of the division race. The Ravens need QB Joe Flacco to perform and to do so they are going to have to run the football. Defensively, a couple of newcomers – Marlon Humphrey and Tyus Bowser – need to help the Ravens improve. Baltimore gave up 28 touchdown passes last year. The Ravens will be improved but not enough to stop the Steelers from becoming the first AFC North team to repeat as Division champs since 2012.
Odds to win the NFC west division: +1000
Cincinnati had a disastrous 2016. Injuries to a few key players derailed the Bengals season. Head coach Marvin Lewis enters his 15th season in Cincinnati. The Bengals’ failures in previous years in the postseason has been a hot topic of discussion and with last year’s failed season fresh in the mind of Bengals’ fans, Lewis needs to produce or he is likely out. Draft picks John Ross and Joe Mixon should figure prominently into the Cincinnati offense.
Odds to win the NFC west division: +900
There is reason to be excited in Cleveland though any chances of winning a division title are still a few years away. The Browns did really well in this year’s draft which should help the team address its needs on defense. Cleveland ranked near the bottom of the NFL in almost every defensive statistical category last year. Like the New York Jets of the AFC East, the Browns are in need of a franchise quarterback. They picked up Brock Osweiler in a trade with Houston in the offseason, but the plan was to get rid of the former Houston quarterback. Osweiler has looked okay in preseason camp and he and Cody Kessler are running 1-2 right now. The team also drafted former Notre Dame quarterback Deshone Kizer and he is picking up the offense very well.
Odds to win the NFC west division: -275
The division has not had a repeat winner since 2012, but it is going to be difficult to dethrone last year’s champion, Pittsburgh. The Steelers are loaded on offense; that is if they can get Le’Veon Bell into camp so he may begin preseason workouts. Bell provided some of the biggest offseason news in Pittsburgh. Bell was given the franchise tag and will play this season for $12.1 million.
He has yet to sign his franchise tender and did not come to an agreement on a contract with the Steelers organization prior to the July 17 deadline. Still, Pittsburgh has the weapons to be very good offensively once again.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger toyed with the idea of retirement, but he is back for his 14th NFL season. Wide receiver Antonio Brown signed a new five-year, $68 million contract this offseason. Brown has been one of the league’s top receivers for the past four seasons. With Bell in the mix, the Steelers are tough to stop. Head coach Mike Tomlin has put together a very respectable defense as well. If the defense continues to improve, Pittsburgh will be tough to knock out of the top spot in the division.
AFC North Prediction: Pittsburgh
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2018 NFL Football Season