2021 NFL Season Preview

Facebooktwittermail

The longest season in NFL history is less than a week away and all 32 teams will be dreaming of lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles in mid February.

It has been coming for a while and the 2021 NFL season will be the first time where teams will play 17 games over 18 weeks, up from the 16 in 17 we have seen for over two decades.

Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will go into the new NFL season looking to become the first team to successfully defend its Super Bowl title since Brady did it with the New England Patriots in the 2004 NFL season.

It will be the Kansas City Chiefs starting the season as favourites in our Super Bowl LVI betting market however with last year’s AFC Champions all set for a huge year with Patrick Mahomes at the helm.

A lot has changed since the Buccaneers were crowned champions and we have scoured the waiver wires, draft boards, trade blocks and most importantly the markets to put together this comprehensive NFL season preview.

AFC East

Buffalo Bills

DIVISION ODDS: $1.60 | WINS TOTAL: 10.5

Buffalo took full control of the AFC East last season with Josh Allen maturing into one of the upper echelon quarterbacks in the league.

He heads into the season on the third line of MVP betting and there is a real case to be made for him if he can take another step forward.

There are two big questions surrounding the Bills, firstly, how will they handle the expectations that come with last season’s 13-3 record and perhaps more importantly, can they stay healthy?

Not only does Allen’s fearless style of running open up the possibility of more big hits on their young signal caller but several Bills players have been outspoken about their hesitancy over the Covid vaccine.

It is something that has to be taken into account considering how swiftly unvaccinated players can be removed from the action and the disruptive effect it can have on the team.

Even if they do lose some key players for spells, they are still good enough to control the division as long as they avoid major injuries.

Finishing with 13 wins again seems a touch optimistic however I would comfortably back them to take out the division again finishing with somewhere between 9-12 wins.

The markets on Buffalo look pretty close to where I have them so there is not a lot of value in this team’s preseason options.

NO BETS

Miami Dolphins

DIVISION ODDS: $4.00 | WINS TOTAL: 9.5

Year three of the Brian Flores project in Miami commences with playoffs being the bare minimum for this squad.

Last season saw them finish with a 10-6 record, missing out on the postseason by one game, so there is not a whole lot of ground for them to cover, 11 wins should get the job done here.

Whether or not they get there is all down to the growth of second year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa who was inconsistent as a rookie last year, pulled for Ryan Fitzpatrick on several occasions.

That safety net is now in Washington and the Dolphins will sink or swim (no pun intended) with the former Alabama signal caller.

They have sought out receiving help, drafting Jaylen Waddle and signing Will Fuller, but Tua can’t do much if he is running for his life.

Not to mention Fuller’s struggles staying healthy in Houston, so backing the under on his season receiving total seems like a good starting point on Miami.

Whether it is through a combination of playing a tougher schedule or just not quite being ready for primetime, 10 wins seems like the absolute max for the Dolphins in 2021 but they have the talent to avoid bottoming out.

A floor of eight wins seems about likely and they should be close to the playoffs around Christmas even if they eventually fall short again.

Back Will Fuller Under 850.5 Receiving Yards @ $1.87

New England Patriots

DIVISION ODDS: $5.00 | WINS TOTAL: 9.5

You can tell the Patriots did not enjoy their 7-9 season last year with Bill Belichick going on a free agent spending spree to address his drafting deficiencies of the last few years.

In a stunning move, Cam Newton was jettisoned as a part of roster and first round draft pick Mac Jones will steer the ship from day one as they try and return to the playoffs.

While the focus might be on Jones, it will be the defence that will dictate how successful this team will be week in, week out.

A depleted linebacking corps has been replenished and Matthew Judon could be a dark horse Defensive Player of the Year candidate and second year man Josh Uche could be the breakout player.

They will have to do it the hard way early on with all star cornerback Stephon Gilmore set to miss the first six weeks with injury and the expected growing pains that will come with starting Jones.

Coaching will still have them bottoming out at eight wins, but if all goes well and the players live up to their potential, they could finish as high as 12-5 and push Buffalo for the division.

Their win total of 9.5 seems like a spot on number but I’ll happily back Bill Belichick’s coaching to get them into the playoffs, even if it’s as the seventh seed.

Back New England to Make the Playoffs @ $2.20

New York Jets

DIVISION ODDS: $21.00 | WINS TOTAL: 6.5

We’ll give the Jets 150 words for every season of something approaching relevance they have had in the last decade.

The new great hope Zac Wilson is carrying the franchise from day one, but there’s still a lot of questions surrounding him after rising up the boards late in the process.

New coach Robert Salah will spend the year “establishing a culture” and coaching up his defence, but it’s going to be a long year.

They just have to hope that the bumps and blows don’t leave major scars on Wilson heading into year two.

Expect somewhere between 4-7 wins and any signs of hope will be seen as a win on the season.

NO BETS

AFC North

Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Baltimore Ravens

DIVISION ODDS: $2.25 | WINS TOTAL: 10.5

Baltimore is a good team, even if it does struggle with discipline and control from time to time.

There will be plenty of eyes on 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson who is still trying to ascend to the truly elite level with Brady, Mahomes & Aaron Rodgers.

He will be asked to lead a rushing attack that has lost its lead back JK Dobbins to an ACL injury while also progressing as a passer, but if Baltimore goes on a run this year, you have to like Jackson as an MVP candidate at $19.

Defensively this is one of the best secondaries in the league and plenty of quarterbacks will have a tough time finding an open receiver which plays into this team’s hands perfectly.

Even with the premium on the price, I am genuinely considering taking the Ravens to win over 10.5 games ($1.65) since they will be pushed all the way by Cleveland this year.

They will make the playoffs again, you just have to work out if it’s as the AFC North champion or a Wild Card run.

Back Baltimore to Win the AFC North @ $2.25

Back Lamar Jackson Over 900.5 Rushing Yards @ $1.70

Cincinnati Bengals

DIVISION ODDS: $15 | WINS TOTAL: 6.5

While every team might be dreaming of a Super Bowl run this season, some admit that those hopes are more optimistic than realistic.

Joe Burrow is coming back from a serious knee injury and doesn’t have a whole lot of help on the offensive line so he will be in for another rough year.

On the plus side they did add a gamebreaking receiver in the draft in Ja’Marr Chase but the unit as a whole still seems a few years off living up to its potential.

Best case scenario for the Bengals is they play well, are in more games than not and can play spoiler in the run home.

I’m not expecting much from them but I’ll back best case scenario where they get to seven wins.

Back Over 6.5 Wins @ $2.05

Cleveland Browns

DIVISION ODDS: $2.30 | WINS TOTAL: 10.5

It’s time for the next step in Cleveland, after breaking their long playoff drought in 2020, it’s time for them to show they belong among the NFL’s elite.

We are not watching the “same old Browns” and this is one of the most talented rosters in the league.

Baker Mayfield can lean on the likes of Nick Chubb to churn out the yardage on the ground throughout the season while throwing the ball to Odell Beckham Jr and Jarvis Landry (among others).

On defence, Myles Garrett is a true menace up front and if it all goes well, he will be getting plenty of Defensive Player of the Year votes as he could push 20 sacks.

It will be a fascinating race with Baltimore all year for the division and I’ll back them to pip the Ravens at the post, while backing both sides as an insurance policy.

Back Cleveland to Win Over 10.5 Games @ $1.90

Back Cleveland to Win the AFC North @ $2.30

Back Myles Garrett to Win Defensive Player of the Year @ $7.00

Back Nick Chubb to Have the Most Regular Season Rushing Yards @ $8.00

Pittsburgh Steelers

DIVISION ODDS: $5 | WINS TOTAL: 8.5

It’s a season too far for Ben Roethlisberger, he has physically fallen apart in the last few seasons and looked like a shell of himself in November and December of last year.

You would be the most optimistic person in the world to buy the “best shape of his life” stories about a quarterback in his late 30’s that has taken some brutal hits over the course of his career.

There’s a chance he may get benched by midseason if he can’t get help from his receivers, both of whom have huge question marks over their true skill level.

On the plus side their defence can be phenomenal on their day, but I can’t see that unit carrying the Steelers to 10 wins and a playoff push.

Mike Tomlin knows a rebuild is coming and this team just is not good enough to compete with the Ravens and Browns.

Back Under 8.5 Wins @ $1.87

AFC West

AP Photo/David Becker

Denver Broncos

DIVISION ODDS: $8.00 | WINS TOTAL: 8.5

2020 was marked by offensive struggles and defensive injuries in Denver, due to a Covid outbreak they had to start undrafted receiver Kendall Hinton at quarterback, which went as well as you would expect it to.

The Broncos defence in 2021 is looking very strong with Von Miller and Bradley Chubb set to terrorise opposing quarterbacks while rookie defensive back Pat Surtain Jr upgrades the secondary.

Even with a talented group of receivers to throw to, quarterback remains a big question mark with Teddy Bridgewater the least offensive option after failed attempts to acquire Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson.

It is shaping up as another good but not great year in the Mile High City, that defence will give them plenty of chances to win games, but their offence just doesn’t quite seem there yet.

Back Denver Under 8.5 Wins @ $2.00

Kansas City Chiefs

DIVISION ODDS: $1.30 | WINS TOTAL: 12.5

The back to back reigning AFC Champions came so close to repeating before injuries got the better of them in the Super Bowl.

As long as they can show up at or near full strength for their 17 games this season they will finish as the AFC’s top seed for the third time in four seasons.

They key to maintaining that level will be keeping MVP favourite Patrick Mahomes ($5.50) in one piece and they have added offensive line depth to survive an injury crisis.

Defensively they are good enough to stifle bad teams and if Mahomes is locked in, they just need to keep teams below 30 points per game, something even an average NFL team should be able to do.

12 wins seems like the absolute floor for this side so I’ll jump on taking the over on their win total at that price.

In terms of player markets there is a lot of value to be found on the Chiefs as well, starting with Mahomes to have another big season, even if the value isn’t there on the MVP market.

Anything less than a trip back to the AFC Championship will mean something major has gone wrong here.

Back Over 12.5 Wins @ $2.20

Back Kansas City to Win the AFC’s #1 Playoff Seed @ $2.75

Player Multi: Mahomes Over 5000.5 Pass Yards, Clyde Edwards-Helaire Over 900.5 Rushing Yards, Travis Kelce Over 1325.5 Receiving Yards @ $5.49

LA Chargers

DIVISION ODDS: $6.00 | WINS TOTAL: 9.5

If it’s not going to be the Chiefs then the Chargers are in position to take over the AFC throne.

Realistically this team would be in contention to win at least two of the other seven divisions if the alignment was done a bit differently.

Justin Herbert was a revelation after taking over as the starting quarterback, leading the team to a four game win streak to close out 2020.

A healthier defence should provide a better compliment to the offence with a pair of possible Defensive Player of the Year candidates in Joey Bosa ($15) and Derwin James ($34).

There is a pretty clear Chiefs shaped ceiling for the Chargers this year but they are well placed to get right up to that level and make the playoffs.

Back Over 9.5 Wins @ $1.95

Back the Chargers to Make the Playoffs @ $2.20

Back Joey Bosa to Win Defensive Player of the Year @ $15

Las Vegas Raiders

DIVISION ODDS: $15 | WINS TOTAL: 6.5

One way or another the Raiders are going to be a VERY entertaining team to watch this season.

They collapsed in a heap down the stretch last year, going 2-5 as turnovers killed any playoff hopes.

Season two in Las Vegas will bring a whole new element to this team with possibly the best home field advantage in store as fans will be allowed into Allegiant Stadium for the first time.

That should spur them on to a decent home record but they just have not done enough to make the leap this season.

It doesn’t help that Jon Gruden is not completely sold on Derek Carr and I get the feeling he will be looking for an excuse to turn it over to Marcus Mariota.

Chances are they will play well enough to let Gruden and company keep their jobs while avoiding bottoming out.

Finishing in the range of 7-10 to 9-8 seems about right for the Raiders, just enjoy the Vegas crowd while they are into it, especially their home game against the Chiefs on November 15.

The best play on offer for Vegas is for running back Josh Jacobs to have over 1050 rushing yards on the year.

Back Josh Jacobs Over 1050.5 Rushing Yards @ $1.95

AFC South

Houston Texans

DIVISION ODDS: $26 | WINS TOTAL: 4.5

It’s going to be a rough season for the NFL’s youngest team, even if quarterback Deshaun Watson was not asking for a trade out of town or facing over 20 accusations of sexual assault, the rest of the roster just isn’t that good.

There are few rougher first time gigs a rookie head coach can land but David Culley has been given the unenviable task of tearing down this roster with minimal resources and starting from scratch.

Houston should be a good team to back against in your multis week after week, and punters have pounded the under on the win total.

Frankly, anything better than a 3-14 record should have Culley in contention for coach of the year.

Back Houston to Have the Worst Regular Season Record @ $3.00

Indianapolis Colts

With a mess of a quarterback situation, the Colts will be relying on second year running back Jonathon Taylor to carry the load.

Considering the major questions around whether or not Carson Wentz can play 10 games, let alone 17, it will be three yards and a cloud of dust, especially when rookie Jacob Eason is filling in.

Defensively they are actually looking quite strong and are lead by one of the premiere linebackers in the NFL in Darius Leonard so that will at least give them hope week in, week out.

Overall the Colts are not a bad side but they will be let down by a poor quarterback situation that will keen them on the wrong side of the playoffs.

I’ll happily have a punt on a successful season for Taylor running the ball though.

Back Jonathon Taylor Over 1200.5 Rushing Yards @ $1.87

Jacksonville Jaguars

It’s all about Trevor in Jacksonville.

Season 2021 is set to be a learning experience for the first overall pick in this year’s draft, as he looks set to run the show from day one.

New coach Urban Meyer comes from several very successful spells at the college level but he may struggle coaching a team that is not far and away the most talented one on the field.

There is a good base for the Jaguars but they appear to be at least a year away from competing for top dog status.

Best case scenario they overachieve and catch a few teams by surprise and finish second in the division, but something in the area of six wins seems about right for them.

If Lawrence can get through his growing pains early and take over a few games he should wind up getting crowned as the offensive rookie of the year.

I wouldn’t put my house on it by any means but he is being set up to make a run for it.

Back Trevor Lawrence to Win Offensive Rookie of the Year @ $4.25

Tennessee Titans

DIVISION ODDS: $1.85 | WINS TOTAL: 8.5

Tennessee is another side that has to take a step forward this year and go from “good” to “great” with the offseason moves suggesting Mike Vrabel and company are starting to worry about the window closing.

It doesn’t help when you have to overcome teams like the Chiefs just to get to the Super Bowl, but they are potentially wasting an all time running back in Derrick Henry.

Careers at that position can grind to a halt almost as suddenly as a Barry Sanders juke and Henry has been borderline unstoppable over the last two seasons.

I’ll back him in just about every available rushing market but at some point he is going to slow down.

The good news is the passing game should be able to shoulder some more of the load with the addition of Julio Jones to the dynamic AJ Brown and add a bit of balance to the offence.

Drafting Caleb Farley will help out the secondary but the biggest question remains whether or not a previously non-existent pass rush can get within 5 yards of an opposing quarterback.

If they can make at least a minor progression they will start the season as the second best team in the AFC and will be racing the Browns and Ravens for that “best placed challenger to the Chiefs” spot.

We know they will make the playoffs, but a successful season will come down to how they go in January and possibly February.

Back Derrick Henry Over 1550.5 Rushing Yards @ $1.91

Back Derrick Henry Most Rushing Yards @ $3.75

Back Derrick Henry Most Rushing Touchdowns @ $5.50

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys

DIVISION ODDS: $2.20 | WINS TOTAL: 9.5

Dak is back… kind of.

His ankle appears to have been repaired but anyone who has watched Hard Knocks knows there is a real level of concern over his throwing shoulder.

If he can start, there are plenty of targets for him to throw to and the Cowboys will need to put up points to get through a lot of their games.

Rookie linebacker Micah Parsons will be a lot of fun to watch as he buzzes all over the field but there’s only so much he can do with what’s around him.

The secondary can be taken advantage of but the big area of concern is the 31st ranked run defence from 2021 (per Pro Football Reference).

On the plus side, if Dak can stay in something resembling one piece I will happily back them to win the division since they are the best team.

Back Dallas to Win the NFC East @ $2.20

NY Giants

DIVISION ODDS: $4.75 | WINS TOTAL: 7.5

The fact the Giants almost stumbled into a division title at 6-10 last season was more of an indictment on their competition than an endorsement of Joe Judge’s program.

It’s hard to be too optimistic about their main offensive weapon Saquon Barkley in the early part of the season with some not too encouraging signs regarding his rehab from an ACL injury last season.

He could work himself into form late in the year but this is a team that is going to have to get by on scrappiness and willpower instead of pure skill.

They might be the best placed team to challenge Dallas but I can’t see them making too much noise and anything more than eight wins feels very optimistic.

NO BETS

Philadelphia Eagles

It’s actually scary just how far the Eagles have fallen since winning Super Bowl LII following the 2017 NFL season.

The roster has undergone a massive overhaul, but there’s a chance it might not actually be that good with huge questions all over the place.

New coach Nick Sirianni doesn’t inspire a whole lot of confidence while their “franchise changing” receiver DeVonta Smith is already battling injuries.

Perhaps the one saving grace might be the defensive line but it will require some superhuman efforts to make them competitive this year.

Pound the under as the Eagles might be destined for a proper bottoming out this year.

Back Under 6.5 Wins @ $2.20

Washington Football Team

DIVISION ODDS: $3.50 | WINS TOTAL: 8.5

Ron Rivera doesn’t get the credit he deserves sometimes, having juggled an awful quarterback situation to a playoff appearance last year.

Admittedly he will need to conjure up more than seven wins this season and the addition of Ryan Fitzpatrick brings a bit more stability to the position.

It’s hardly a sure thing though given he is just as likely to melt down and throw four picks as he is throw for 400 yards in a game.

There’s a lot to like about the roster that has plenty of upside to it, including what might be the best defensive line in the NFL.

I can’t see them repeating as NFC East champions but Chase Young is a legitimate Defensive Player of the Year candidate and one of the option I will be backing in.

We might see progress, even if the record is similar to last year, and they could be a fun team to tune in for.

Back Chase Young to Win Defensive Player of the Year @ $9.00

NFC North

Chicago Bears

DIVISION ODDS: $6.00 | WINS TOTAL: 7.5

The only first round quarterback that won’t be playing by his coaches decision on opening day is Chicago’s Justin Fields.

It is only a matter of time before Andy Dalton makes way for the exciting rookie but he will be expected to hold the fort down in the early part of the season.

Keeping Allen Robinson is a huge boost for both quarterbacks and provides a real dynamism to the offence that has so often lacked it in the past.

Defensively that front looks as strong as ever and they should be able to have a winning record this season, that win total of 7.5 seems a bit low for me.

They did make the playoffs at 8-8 last season but never really threatened the Saints, however the combination of Dalton and Fields should get them to nine wins in 2021.

A late season run to double digit wins under Fields is possible, it just depends if they wait too long to go to him and opt to protect him or let him go wild.

Back Over 7.5 Wins @ $1.90

Detroit Lions

DIVISION ODDS: $21 | WINS TOTAL: 4.5

God love Dan Campbell, he’ll have his side playing hard for him but they had a massive backward step during the Patricia error era.

This is a side that lost their last four games, six of their last seven and eight of their last ten in 2020 and it’s fair to wonder if the roster is in fact any better.

There’s a huge hole at receiver with the departure of Kenny Golloday and the defence doesn’t put too much fear into opposing offences either.

Campbell will have them fired up week in, week out but the talent isn’t there.

Clear fourth place in the division and I’ll avoid backing any Lions futures here.

NO BETS

Green Bay Packers

It’s easy to forget that in the midst of the Aaron Rodgers drama, this Packers side has been to the last two NFC Championship Games and appears to be well positioned for a third.

Whether it is wanting to end his career on a high note, or audition for potential suitors in 2022, Rodgers will look to claim back to back NFL MVP awards.

There could be some early issues with the offensive line but those concerns are minor compared to the pass defence.

Kevin King in particular got found out in the playoffs and could be in for another long season getting targeted by good quarterbacks.

That being said, it would take a much braver person to back against an irritated Rodgers so I’ll take the Packers to come out firing and take the value on Rodgers to win MVP.

Back Over 10.5 Wins @ $1.75

Back Aaron Rodgers to Win MVP @ $11

Minnesota Vikings

DIVISION ODDS: $3.75 | WINS TOTAL: 8.5

I’m completely off this team in 2021, they might have a very talented roster but there have already been major issues with the unvaccinated Kirk Cousins missing time in training camp.

There is no chance he starts all 17 games this season and with the restrictions in place, I can see him really struggling to get going with the restrictions in place around him.

If key players are going to miss time, it really does harm the team’s cohesion and I can see a major regression this time.

Individually Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook might still have decent statistical seasons but overall I’m backing against the team.

Availability is the best ability… take note Kirk.

Back Under 8.5 Wins @ $2.10

Back Justin Jefferson Over 1275.5 Receiving Yards @ $1.80

NFC West

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona has a legitimate chance to be the most exciting offence in the NFL with Kyler Murray entering his third season.

With that group of receivers, there is almost no reason to worry about their depth issues at running back since they will probably wind up calling pass plays 70% of the time.

There are some legitimate questions over their game management and whether or not Kliff Kingsbury is actually a good coach but if it all clicks they could produce video game numbers.

Defensively it is going to be very hit or miss with the key players all on the back end of their careers.

JJ Watt, Chandler Jones and company are all on the wrong side of 30 so a lot will be expected of young linebackers Isaiah Simmons and Zaven Collins.

Arizona isn’t a bad team by any means but they have a tough division to contend with and even an eight win season might see them finishing in fourth place.

Of course if Murray makes the leap he could be MVP, but there are other teams here I’m much higher on.

Back Kyler Murray Over 675.5 Rushing Yards @ $1.87

LA Rams

Now we come to the side I am far and away the most bullish on heading into the 2021 season, the LA Rams.

They filled their biggest hole, replacing Jared Goff with Matthew Stafford and he will love the plethora of targets he has to throw to.

Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and DeSean Jackson will run wild over plenty of opponents and the best part of the setup is the fact the offence just has to compliment the true leader of the team, its defence.

Nobody in their right mind would want to face off against Aaron Donald and if you overcommit to him, someone else will cause havoc up front while a ball hawking secondary will shut down plenty of teams as well.

12 wins is the absolute floor for this side (again, barring a horrible injury crisis) and they should not only cruise to the division title but the best record in the NFL.

The only drama is their tough division which might be what gives them all of their defeats.

I’m not totally sold on their ability to get it done in the postseason but there is value aplenty on their regular season markets.

Back the LA Rams to Win the NFC West @ $2.75

Back Over 10.5 Wins @ $2.00

Back the Rams to Have the NFL’s Best Record @ $17.00

San Francisco 49ers

DIVISION ODDS: $2.75 | WINS TOTAL: 10.5

San Francisco was nowhere near as bad as their record last year, with a season from hell forcing them to fall well below their expected levels.

Despite his coach trying to replace him, Jimmy Garoppolo will start at quarterback and keep the seat warm for Trey Lance while auditioning for his next job.

Kyle Shannahan will coach this team up and get them back to the playoffs without a doubt.

They won’t have consecutive rough years with injury, plain and simple.

I have their floor at nine wins and could see them winning as many as 12 games, this roster is quite good, but they won’t be able to match the Rams.

Back Over 10.5 Wins @ $2.00

Seattle Seahawks

DIVISION ODDS: $4.00 | WINS TOTAL: 9.5

2021 is a season too far for Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll, Seattle is asking far too much of their 31 year old quarterback to carry them to the playoffs.

He’s that good that he will get them to at least 8-9, probably higher but at what cost?

The supporting cast outside of DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett just isn’t good enough and there’s only so many times you can ask Wilson to make chicken salad out of chicken… anyway.

It’s the same story on defence with a couple of impact players but not a lot beyond that.

We are looking at the final season in Seattle for at least one of Wilson and Carroll, if not both and I’m happy to back a down year.

Back Under 9.5 Wins @ $2.20

Back Seattle to Miss the Playoffs @ $1.95

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons

While the Falcons didn’t push the plunger and completely detonate the team, they have made several key changes as the side looks like it is finally ready to overcome their loss in Super Bowl LI.

New coach Arthur Smith checks all of the boxes and if he can get Atlanta back into playoff contention will be a contender for the Coach of the Year award.

It’s time for Calvin Ridley to be the man in Atlanta as he takes over from Julio Jones as the team’s top receiver.

He won’t be carrying the load on his own though with arguably the best prospect outside of Trevor Lawrence, tight end Kyle Pitts ready to make an impact from his first snap.

Matt Ryan will enjoy this rejuvenated offence in what could be his final season with the team, if not in the NFL and I’ll back a very productive season in Atlanta.

If all goes well they should find a way to at least 10 wins and a playoff game as a Wild Card.

Back Atlanta to Make the Playoffs @ $3.00

Back Arthur Smith to Win Coach of the Year @ $15.00

Carolina Panthers

DIVISION ODDS: $13.00 | WINS TOTAL: 7.5

Carolina is shaping up to be a better side in 2021, but probably not significantly better enough to make a whole lot of noise.

Sam Darnold is well worth watching early on to see if his problems were related to him as a player or the fact he was with the black hole that is otherwise known as the New York Jets.

The return of Christian McCaffery should help the offence out just having that truly elite safety net, but everyone knows who they will be targeting.

Defensively they are full of athletes and should have some properly strong performances but they don’t have the consistency to really sustain success.

I’ll steer clear of this side from a betting perspective as the rebuild continues.

NO BETS

New Orleans Saints

DIVISION ODDS: $5.00 | WINS TOTAL: 8.5

The shell of Drew Brees has retired so Sean Payton will be able to call plenty of deep passes for Jameis Winston this season.

It might see a few more bombs completed for touchdowns, but also a whole lot more interceptions as his gunslinger attitude is still fresh in the minds of many Saints fans when he played in Tampa Bay.

Losing Michael Thomas for the first part of the year will hurt them as well and this offence is going to go through some major growing pains as they find their new identity.

While they do that they can count on Alvin Kamara to score a touchdown just about every week at least.

Defensively they should still be quite strong but I can’t see them enjoying an overly successful start to the season and then they will have to dig themselves out of a hole.

Back Under 8.5 Wins @ $2.20

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

DIVISION ODDS: $1.35 | WINS TOTAL: 11.5

It might be a new team for Tom Brady, but the theory still holds true from his days in New England.

You might dislike the guy for whatever reason, but he’s still one of the best quarterbacks and you may as well profit off his success, even if it is through gritted teeth.

You can pencil them in for at least 12 wins and a division title with all 22 Super Bowl LV starters plus several key contributors returning for another go around.

Some of the top teams might be better prepared for them this season so they will have to show a bit more consistency with a bullseye on their backs.

Back Tom Brady 40+ Passing TDs and Mike Evans 1000+ Receiving Yards @ $9.00

Multi: Over 11.5 Wins & Win the NFC South @ $2.25

SUPER BOWL LVI

Now for the big one, who to back to win the Super Bowl?

It’s a wide open field and there’s about 10 teams you can realistically build a strong case around.

Kansas City went close and are worth taking again, even as the favourites.

Over in the NFC it feels like a race in two with the Rams and Packers the two main contenders and I have to back the Packers to get it done in Rodgers’ final season.

As for a roughie, it might just be the season for the Tennessee Titans if they can make that leap so they’ll be the third and final play for this market.

Back Kansas City @ $5.50

Back Green Bay @ $13.00

Back Tennessee @ $26.00