If you woke up this morning and said, “Holy hell, there’s only (x) number of days left until the NFL kicks off the regular season; I better get my sorry ass caught up on everything football,” you’ve arrived at the perfect place. (And even if you said it with a little less profanity/urgency, you’re still in the right place.)
We gathered all the top storylines from the offseason and the early stages of the preseason to create a meticulous list of odds and props on everything from Super Bowl favorites to lowly QB odds. You will see certain teams have their own specific sections in this article; if your team isn’t one of them, it should be clear they need to be more interesting/scandalous/have better fans/be better at football.
And even though we have teamed up to tackle this beast, we do clarify the author of each section. You know, so you can come back and thank us personally later. (Alex Kilpatrick = AK, Ryan Murphy = RM, and Matt McEwan = MM)
2017 NFL ODDS & PROPS: THE MASTER LIST!
NB: all odds are for the 2017-18 season unless otherwise indicated. Dates in parentheses represent applicable cut-off dates.
PART I: TROPHY HUNTERS
ODDS TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS
- New England Patriots: 1/9
- Pittsburgh Steelers: 1/2
- Oakland Raiders: 4/5
- Kansas City Chiefs: 1/1
- Houston Texans: 11/9
- Tennessee Titans: 5/4
- Denver Broncos: 5/3
- Los Angeles Chargers: 13/7
- Miami Dolphins: 2/1
- Baltimore Ravens: 5/2
- Indianapolis Colts: 5/2
- Cincinnati Bengals: 3/1
- Jacksonville Jaguars: 7/2
- Buffalo Bills: 4/1
- Cleveland Browns: 5/1
- New York Jets: 49/1
You’re more likely to hear a Patriots fan praise the work of Roger Goodell than you are to see the Patriots miss the playoffs this season. Since Bill Belichick became the Pats head coach in 2000, they have only missed the post season three times, with the last misstep being in 2008. And after adding Brandin Cooks to one of the league’s top offenses, and Kony Ealy, Stephon Gilmore, and David Harris to the league’s top scoring defense, New England may be more loaded than ever.
The Chiefs and Raiders would have shorter odds if they didn’t have to deal with each other twice this season, as well as one of the best defenses in the league (the Broncos) and a popular darkhorse candidate (the Chargers). There are no easy games within the division and it would only take a couple of injuries to flip it upside down.
The Houston Texans are still the most complete team in the AFC South. But the Titans have made enough upgrades to force Houston into receiving at least adequate production from the QB spot. Even though DeAndre Hopkins seems to believe in Tom Savage, it’s safe to say he’s in the minority. If rookie first-rounder Deshaun Watson is pressed into action before he’s ready, the division isn’t weak enough anymore for Houston’s defense to carry them into the playoffs. – MM
- Green Bay Packers: 2/5
- Seattle Seahawks: 3/5
- New York Giants: 3/4
- Atlanta Falcons: 7/8
- Dallas Cowboys: 1/1
- Arizona Cardinals: 8/7
- Minnesota Vikings: 5/4
- Carolina Panthers: 3/2
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 5/3
- Philadelphia Eagles: 13/7
- Washington Redskins: 2/1
- New Orleans Saints: 7/3
- Detroit Lions: 3/1
- Chicago Bears: 12/1
- Los Angeles Rams: 24/1
- San Francisco 49ers: 40/1
The Packers are tied with the Patriots for the longest active playoff streak in the NFL, each appearing in eight straight postseasons. You should fully expect both to extend their streaks to nine this year. The only time Aaron Rodgers has missed the playoffs was in his first year as a starting QB. The two-time MVP has proven himself dominant enough to carry bad defenses to the playoffs before (see 2011, 2013, and 2016), and will likely get a little more help from the other side of the ball than he did last year.
The Seahawks had very little competition in the NFC West last season, and the Rams and 49ers are unlikely to provide any this season. The Cardinals underachieved with a very talented roster. But even if Arizona can rise to win the division, Seattle will still be able to win enough games for a wild card spot.
With Ezekiel Elliott suspended for the first six games of the 2017 season, the Giants become an even more attractive option to win the NFC East. Dallas’ dominant ground game masked a lot of their defensive flaws from 2016. Without Zeke’s explosion, and two starters up front from last year (Doug Free and Ronald Leary), not only will Dak Prescott need to continue to impress, but the defense has to take some bounds forward, specifically rushing the passer.
Atlanta is hoping to use their epic Super Bowl collapse to motivate them this season, but making it back to the playoffs is far from a certainty. The Bucs and Panthers both got a lot more explosive offensively, while the Saints are hoping to become a little more balanced to help hide their awful secondary. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to see any team win the NFC South this year. – MM
SUPER BOWL LII ODDS
- New England Patriots: 5/1
- Green Bay Packers: 19/2
- Seattle Seahawks: 12/1
- Oakland Raiders: 14/1
- Pittsburgh Steelers: 16/1
- Atlanta Falcons: 16/1
- Dallas Cowboys: 20/1
- New York Giants: 20/1
- Kansas City Chiefs: 25/1
- Denver Broncos: 28/1
- Houston Texans: 28/1
- Arizona Cardinals: 33/1
- Carolina Panthers: 40/1
- Minnesota Vikings: 40/1
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 50/1
- Tennessee Titans: 50/1
- Los Angeles Chargers: 60/1
- New Orleans Saints: 66/1
- Philadelphia Eagles: 66/1
- Washington Redskins: 66/1
- Baltimore Ravens: 75/1
- Cincinnati Bengals: 75/1
- Indianapolis Colts: 75/1
- Miami Dolphins: 85/1
- Detroit Lions: 99/1
- Jacksonville Jaguars: 125/1
- Buffalo Bills: 150/1
- Chicago Bears: 150/1
- Cleveland Browns: 150/1
- Los Angeles Rams: 250/1
- San Francisco 49ers: 300/1
- New York Jets: 500/1
Of the other 15 teams in the AFC, it’s the Raiders who have the best chance of knocking off the reigning champs. But it isn’t a great one. Though Oakland has the offensive firepower to hang around, their defense still doesn’t inspire much confidence. Khalil Mack is a special player, but the Raiders’ soft interior will likely get exposed again this season.
The Steelers are a near lock to get into the playoffs, but it’s awfully hard to put any faith in them beating the Pats. Since 2005, Pittsburgh is a pitiful 2-8 against New England, which includes an 0-3 record in the postseason. Their best hope is to take advantage of their weak division, earning the two-seed in the AFC, and cross their fingers someone else clears the Pats out of their way.
With both the NFC East and South expected to be very competitive, it’s likely the Divisional Round of the NFC playoffs will be played in Green Bay and Seattle. These are two teams who are very strong at home, which is why they enjoy rather shorter odds than the rest. It doesn’t hurt that they are quarterbacked by Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson, either.
If Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension sticks, Dallas’ schedule is quite unforgiving, especially over the first handful of weeks: vs. Giants, at Broncos, at Cardinals, vs. Rams, and vs. Packers. Even with Zeke in the lineup, it’s hard to imagine the Cowboys breezing through any of those games. By the time last year’s rushing champ is back, Dallas could be up against the ropes. – MM
- Tom Brady (Patriots): 6/1
- Aaron Rodgers (Packers): 9/1
- Derek Carr (Raiders): 11/1
- Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers): 14/1
- Russell Wilson (Seahawks): 15/1
- Matt Ryan (Falcons): 20/1
- Dak Prescott (Cowboys): 25/1
- Cam Newton (Panthers): 25/1
- Drew Brees (Saints): 33/1
- Andrew Luck (Colts): 33/1
- Le’Veon Bell (Steelers): 35/1
- Antonio Brown (Steelers): 35/1
- Julio Jones (Falcons): 37/1
- David Johnson (Cardinals) 40/1
- Marcus Mariota (Titans): 45/1
- Odell Beckham Jr. (Giants): 50/1
- Ezekiel Elliott (Cowboys): 60/1
- FIELD: 4/1
There are some things that get better with age: Wine, whiskey, and Tom Brady. The 40-year-old is in the best shape of his life thanks to a no-nonsense diet and a rigorous workout regime focused on increasing his mobility and flexibility. Now, rather than breaking down like most 18-year vets, he’s actually improving. His passes are sharper, he looks better in the pocket, and his endurance is at an all-time high. As if that weren’t bad enough news for rival defenses, Patriots coach and GM Bill Belichick has also given Brady some shiny new toys to play with in the form of wide receiver Brandin Cooks, running back Mike Gillislee, and tight end Dwayne Allen. Throw in the return of a healthy Rob Gronkowski, and it’s easy to see why we’re so bullish on Brady and the Pats.
Brady isn’t the only QB who’s aging gracefully, though. Aaron Rodgers turned back the clock last season by throwing for 4,428 yards and a league-leading 40 touchdowns while leading Green Bay to its fifth NFC North title in the past six years. His throwback performance showed us that he still has plenty left in the tank, and that the 33-year-old signal caller will likely be just as good in 2017. The key, as always, will be health. The Packers were decimated by injuries last year, and as good as Rodgers may be, he still needs healthy receivers to haul in his pinpoint passes.
But don’t discount Derek Carr. Oakland’s $125 million man is fresh off the best season of his three-year career and will be keen to prove he’s worth every dollar of his lucrative new contract. He’ll get plenty of help this season with the arrival of newly acquired tight end Jared Cook and five-time Pro Bowler Marshawn Lynch. Beast Mode is activated! – RM
OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR ODDS
- Leonard Fournette (Jaguars) 9/2
- Christian McCaffrey (Panthers) 8/1
- Deshaun Watson (Texans) 9/1
- Joe Mixon (Bengals) 10/1
- Dalvin Cook (Vikings) 11/1
- Mitchell Trubisky (Bears) 11/1
- Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs) 15/1
- DeShone Kizer (Browns) 20/1
- Evan Engram (Giants) 25/1
- FIELD 4/1
Rookie jitters won’t be a problem for Leonard Fournette. The Jaguars running back made headlines after his first preseason game when he said the NFL was slower and easier than he thought it would be. Granted, the 232-lb. battering ram was playing mostly against fellow freshman and scrubs, but if he can replicate the kinds of numbers he generated at LSU, then he’ll win Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in a landslide.
Christian McCaffrey isn’t as big as Fournette, but his impact might be. The Panthers running back looked outstanding in his preseason debut, rushing for 33 yards on seven carries. He’ll get all the touches he can handle in Carolina’s revamped ground game and should flourish as a do-everything back. The only issue with McCaffrey is his durability. His 5’11”, 202 lb. frame is smaller than you’d like and many pundits were shocked he was a top ten pick.
Don’t sleep on Mitch Trubisky. The North Carolina product outperformed projected starter Mike Glennon throughout training camp and may see some snaps early in the season. Scouts are high on his footwork and feel for the game. He also possesses the kind of competitive streak all coaches love. The only knock on Trubisky is his lack of experience. He only started 13 games in college and may need a little extra seasoning before becoming Chicago’s number one option. – RM
PART 2: FOR BETTER OR WORSE
The last team to go undefeated in the regular season was the 2007 New England Patriots, the team with Randy Moss and the 18-1 record. Before that, there was the 1972 Miami Dolphins, the ’42 Bears, and a handful of other teams that didn’t play a 16 game season. Undefeated seasons are extremely rare because football is unpredictable. The NFL has a lot of parity systems in place,and 16 games is a pretty long season. The odds a team goes 19-0 are simply astronomical.
Going 0-16 is a little easier and with this group there’s a couple of teams that might be able to pull it off. The Jets could be truly dreadful this year, the Browns and Rams are relying on some very young guys, and it’s actually very hard to win a football game. – AK
ODDS AT LEAST ONE TEAM GOES 16-0: 40/1
ODDS PATRIOTS GO 19-0: 200/1
ODDS AT LEAST ONE TEAM GOES 0-16: 25/1
ODDS TO FINISH WITH THE WORST RECORD:
- Jets: 4/1
- Browns: 5/1
- Rams: 6/1
- Bears: 7/1
- 49ers: 8/1
- Bills: 10/1
ODDS NEW YORK TEAMS (JETS/GIANTS) WIN LESS GAMES THAN LA TEAMS (RAMS/CHARGERS): 11/9
Surprisingly, a pretty dead heat here. Vegas has the New York teams combining for 13.5 wins and the LA teams combining for 13.0. That’s how much the Jets suck — they’ve pulled the city to LA’s level in LA’s second season in the NFL. – AK
OVER/UNDER BIGGEST REGULAR-SEASON POINT SPREAD: 16.5
PART 3: WE’RE BRINGING QUARTER BACK
O/U STARTS FOR JAY CUTLER: 12.5
Cutler has not started all 16 games in a season since 2009, and has averaged just over 12 per season since. According to PFF, Miami’s offensive line ranks 26th heading into the 2017 season. For Cutler’s sake, hopefully Laremy Tunsil’s protection improves in moving to his natural LT spot. – MM
ODDS JAY CUTLER THROWS MORE INTERCEPTIONS THAN TOUCHDOWNS: 6/1
Surprisingly, last season was the first time Cutler threw more INTs than TDs in a season — five to four. The 34-year-old enjoyed a career-year when playing for Adam Gase in Chicago, and you should expect similar results in Miami. – MM
ODDS JAY CUTLER FINISHES THE SEASON ON THE DOLPHINS’ ROSTER: 1/4
Even if Ryan Tannehill does return, there’s no guarantee he gets the starting job back. If Cutler struggles enough to be replaced, don’t expect him to just quit on the team. – MM
O/U STARTS FOR JARED GOFF: 12.5
Every rookie QB forced into a starting role should receive some slack. Unfortunately, Jared Goff may have used all of his last year. Sean McVay would obviously love to tap into the former first-overall pick’s potential but he has no ties to him. If Goff continues to be the reason the Rams are losing games, Sean Mannion could receive an audition before the end of the year. – MM
ODDS JARED GOFF THROWS MORE INTERCEPTIONS THAN TOUCHDOWNS: 5/3
Even though Goff accomplished this “feat” last year, it’s pretty difficult to be that bad. Going from Rob Boras to Sean McVay alone will be enough to at least gravitate Goff towards serviceable. – MM
ODDS TOM BRADY RETIRES (FEB. 5, 2018): 50/1
Barring a life-threating injury, it’s hard to envision any scenario in which Brady steps away from the game at the end of this season. The five-time Super Bowl champ is in better shape now then he was as a rookie and has repeatedly said that he wants to play until he’s 45. That may be pushing it, but Brady takes remarkable care of his body and loves the game too much to exit stage right. Expect to see Tom Terrific expertly picking apart defenses for another three-to-four years. – RM
ODDS TOM BRADY ADMITS TO BREAKING HIS VEGAN DIET (FEB. 4, 2018): 75/1
If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Tom Brady (and we’ve learned a few), it’s that he doesn’t admit to anything. He didn’t admit to watching opposing team’s practice in 2007; he didn’t admit to using deflated balls in 2015; and he certainly wouldn’t admit to breaking his frighteningly restrictive diet. That’s not to say that Brady is above sneaking a Snickers or polishing off a can of Pringles, he just won’t tell the world if and when he does. – RM
ODDS COLIN KAEPERNICK SIGNS WITH A NFL TEAM THIS SEASON: 3/2
Kaepernick isn’t being locked out of the league, per se, it’s just that GM’s are pretty cowardly and think they can get a suitable backup elsewhere. Nobody’s talking about how Marshawn Lynch or Michael Bennett are unemployable, for example. – AK
ODDS JOHNNY MANZIEL SIGNS WITH A NFL TEAM THIS SEASON: 14/1
Johnny Manziel has said that he doesn’t think Colin Kaepernick’s career is over. Unfortunately we can’t say the same for Manziel. Johnny Football has squandered one golden opportunity after another since entering the league in 2014, and now has nearly as many suspensions as touchdowns. The 5’11” signal caller is reportedly interested in playing in the Canadian Football League and we wouldn’t be surprised to see him slinging passes in the Great White North this fall. – RM
ODDS TO THROW AT LEAST ONE TD PASS THIS SEASON
- Colin Kaepernick: 7/3
- Johnny Manziel: 33/1
ODDS TO THROW THE MOST TDs (ROOKIE QBs)
- Deshaun Watson (Texans): 5/2
- Mitchell Trubisky (Bears): 5/2
- Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs): 7/2
- DeShone Kizer (Browns): 11/2
- FIELD: 18/1
Spoiler alert! With none of these QBs expected to start Week 1, this prop comes down to which one will see action first. Of the four, the Chiefs are in the least hurry to get Mahomes under center; but the Texas Tech product would have the most favorable situation, should anything happen to Alex Smith.
Though Watson may receive his opportunity earlier, the Bears are more likely to let Trubisky sling it around if/when he gets his shot, considering they have little to lose. – MM
ODDS TO REACH 500 CAREER PASSING TDs FIRST
- Drew Brees (currently at 465): 2/3
- Tom Brady (currently at 456): 3/2
Tom Brady will have the superior team in 2017 but we like Brees’ chances of joining the exclusive 500 TD Club first. The Saints QB presently has nine more touchdowns than his east coast rival and has averaged 4.5 more touchdowns per season since 2010. Brady will make it there eventually, but Brees will beat him to it. – RM
ODDS TO START IN WEEK 1
- Mike Glennon: 2/3
- Mitch Trubisky: 3/2
One week ago, Glennon would have been a much heavier favorite. But before we start praising Trubisky too much, let’s remember the rookie was playing against Denver’s third-string defense. If he gets time with the second-team against Arizona, and enjoys similar success, these odds may continue evening out. – MM
- Trevor Siemian: 3/5
- Paxton Lynch: 5/3
In Denver’s first preseason game, Siemian again proved he is capable of protecting the ball and making throws into tight windows. If he finally gets some protection, he may put to rest this idea that he won’t push the ball downfield. On the other hand, Lynch didn’t look like he had progressed at all from his rookie season. The 2016 first-round pick panicked under pressure and appeared to struggle with his reads. – MM
- Brock Osweiler: 3/2
- Cody Kessler: 13/7
- DeShone Kizer: 3/1
- Kevin Hogan: 200/1
We’re not positive what exactly Hue Jackson and the Browns are doing with Brock Osweiler right now. Is their praise simply to try and boost his value so they can convince another team to give them a late-round pick; or do they actually believe he is their best option under center?
A month ago, there was no way Jackson was starting his rookie QB in Week 1. But Kizer was certainly the most impressive of the bunch in the first week of the preseason, and is gaining some traction to move up the depth chart. It’s still unlikely Jackson throws the second-round pick out there in Week 1, but expect Kizer to receive an opportunity at some point this season. – MM
- Jay Cutler: 1/9
- Matt Moore: 9/1
If the Dolphins believed Matt Moore was a good option under center Week 1, they wouldn’t have signed Jay Cutler. – MM
- Josh McCown: 3/5
- Christian Hackenberg: 13/7
- Bryce Petty: 39/1
The Jets have to figure out what Christian Hackenberg can be, but they certainly don’t need to do it by Week 1. – MM
- Tom Savage: 4/5
- Deshaun Watson: 5/4
Deshaun Watson had a promising showing in his first preseason game but also displayed some of the unpolished areas of his game. Before Watson is thrown in front of live bullets, it would be best for him to improve his release, work his accuracy, and get a better feel for Bill O’Brien’s offense. But the Texans also have a championship on their minds right now, and Tom Savage doesn’t scream Super Bowl-winning QB. – MM
- Brian Hoyer: 3/7
- Matt Barkley: 3/1
- CJ Beathard: 19/1
Not only would Brian Hoyer have to be even worse than his 1-of-4, three-yard passing performance from last week to lose the Week 1 starting job, but Matt Barkley would have to be even better than his 10-for-17, 168-yard performance. Both are extremely unlikely. – MM
PART 4: COACH HIM UP?
ODDS TO BE THE FIRST COACH FIRED
- Todd Bowles (Jets): 5/1
- Jim Caldwell (Lions): 6/1
- Doug Marrone (Jaguars): 7/1
- Ron Rivera (Panthers): 11/1
- Sean Payton (Saints): 12/1
- Jay Gruden (Redskins): 20/1
- Hue Jackson (Browns): 25/1
- Mike McCarthy (Packers): 25/1
- Chuck Pagano (Colts): 30/1
- Marvin Lewis (Bengals): 30/1
- John Fox (Bears): 45/1
- FIELD: 4/1
Todd Bowles might want to start looking for a good realtor. New York is a hot mess and the former Super Bowl champ will need the patience of Job and the coaching ability of Lombardi to scrape together more than a few wins. It’s always easier to fire the coach then to reshape your roster and Bowles could be the first one out the door.
Browns head coach Hue Jackson could be on his way out of town after guiding Cleveland to a disastrous 1-15 season during his first year in the sidelines. This year’s club is considerably better thanks to an improved ground game and the addition of Jabrill Peppers, but Jackson likely won’t have long to prove it. If the Browns stumble out of the gates during the first few games, Jackson will most certainly be the fall guy.
On the flipside, Jim Caldwell could be the victim of his own success. The Lions have been to the playoffs twice during his three seasons at the helm and expectations have never been higher. Can Caldwell get the most out of this year’s squad and secure the franchise’s first postseason victory in 25 years? It’s a tall task for a lame duck coach and it’s one to keep an eye on.
OVER/UNDER NUMBER OF COACHES FIRED (BLACK MONDAY, JAN. 1, 2018): 6.5
January 1st may be a day of new beginnings for most of us, but for many NFL coaches it’s the end of the road. Last year alone, six were either fired or resigned on the day now known as Black Monday. That number could go up next year with a number of coaches seemingly standing on their last leg. All of Marvin Lewis, Chuck Pagano, Sean Payton, and Todd Bowles have long been rumored to be on the coaching hot seat. – RM
… A LITTLE SPECIFICITY, (T)EAMES. SPECIFICITY
OVER/UNDER 2018 DRAFT POSITION: 5.5
OVER/UNDER STARTS FOR MITCH TRUBISKY: 8.5
Everyone knows the bye week is the perfect time for bad teams to make a QB change. Chicago’s bye comes Week 9.
ODDS JOHN FOX IS FIRED (JAN. 1, 2017): 11/1
Chicago may be 9-23 under Fox but he’s done exactly what the Bears brought him in to do: bring respectability back to the defense. Expectations aren’t very high in Chicago and there has been a ton of player turnover during his tenure. Fox will likely survive another season.
OVER/UNDER 2018 PRO BOWLERS: 0.5
Last year marked the second straight season no Bears players were voted into the Pro Bowl on the initial roster. (Jordan Howard and Josh Sitton were injury replacements.) Looking down the roster, Howard has the best chance, but he’s going to have to outperform one of Ezekiel Elliott, David Johnson, or Devonta Freeman. – MM
OVER/UNDER STARTS FOR CARSON PALMER: 14.5
In the last six seasons, Carson Palmer has only started all 16 games twice. If the 37-year-old receives similar protection to last year, it’s very unlikely he’ll be making all 16 starts in 2017. The success of the entire line is largely dependent on DJ Humphries living up to his first-round potential in a move to left tackle.
ODDS LARRY FITZGERALD REACHES 100 RECEPTIONS: 4/3
If what Bruce Arians says is true, Fitzgerald may see even more than his 150 targets from 2016. Though the soon-to-be 35-year-old has cracked the 100 reception plateau in each of the last two seasons, he has only accomplished the feat four times in his career.
OVER/UNDER DAVID JOHNSON’S …
- Total yards from scrimmage: 2,000.5
- Total touchdowns: 17.5
Johnson stayed awfully healthy for a back who touched the ball 373 times last year. With not many other options in the Cardinals offense, his usage has potential to increase. And today’s NFL says RBs seeing that much contact can’t stay healthy.
ODDS DAVID JOHNSON IS NO. 1 PICK IN OVER 50% OF YAHOO FANTASY DRAFTS: 1/9
Before Zeke’s six-game suspension was announced, you wouldn’t have been ridiculed for passing on Johnson with the first-overall pick. But now there’s no rationale to support taking anyone else.
OVER/UNDER SACKS FOR FIRST-ROUND PICK HAASON REDDICK: 4.5
After spending nearly his entire college career with his hand in the dirt rushing passers from the edge, the Cardinals are moving the speedy Reddick to inside linebacker. He will still get his opportunities to get after the QB but they will be much more rare than in college.
ODDS CARDINALS SWEEP SEAHAWKS: 4/1
The Cardinals have not swept the Seahawks since 2009, which was before Pete Carroll took over as head coach in Seattle. The Seahawks are too talented and too good at home to drop both games this year. – MM
OVER/UNDER WINS: 9.5
In four seasons under Andy Reid, the Chiefs have never won fewer than nine games, and average nearly 11 per season. Don’t get too caught up in their gloomy offseason; this is still a very good football team.
ODDS TO WIN THE AFC WEST: 5/2
The AFC West is one of very few divisions where it wouldn’t be a major surprise to see anyone win it.
OVER/UNDER SACKS FOR JUSTIN HOUSTON: 12.5
We’ve seen what Houston is capable of when fully healthy, but the four-time Pro Bowl linebacker has only played in 43 games over the last four seasons.
OVER/UNDER INTERCEPTIONS FOR MARCUS PETERS: 8.5
Here are some of the QBs Peters and the Chiefs defense are preparing for in 2017: Philip Rivers twice (led the league in INTs in 2016), Tom Savage, Eli Manning, Josh McCown/Christian Hackenberg, and Jay Cutler. Enough said?
OVER/UNDER PENALTIES ON ERIC FISHER: 9.5
Fisher was the 11th most penalized offensive tackle in the NFL last year, receiving 11 total flags in 16 games. While you’re first instinct may be to cut the 26-year-old left tackle some slack for having to deal with the elite edge rushers in the AFC West, it’s important to note Von Miller and Khalil Mack line up primarily outside of the right tackle.
If there is a bright side here, Fisher has improved each season, according to PFF. Last season was also a career-high for him in flags; he’s only been penalized 22 times total in his first three seasons in the league.
ODDS TO LEAD CHIEFS IN RUSHING YARDS
- Spencer Ware: 4/3
- Kareem Hunt: 13/7
- Charcandrick West: 5/1
- FIELD: 35/2
Though their official depth chart doesn’t indicate it, it appears rookie Kareem Hunt has already passed Charcandrick West. Hunt entered the Chiefs’ first preseason game before West, receiving reps with the second-team. The third-round pick has received a ton of buzz in the offseason, but will at least start the season in a secondary role to Ware.
The Indianapolis Colts built their team around Andrew Luck, signed him to a $129 million contract, and then he got injured. So it goes.
Nobody knows when he’ll be back, we’re only four weeks out from the Colts’ first game (against the Rams) and team management is very concerned about protecting their investment. He’ll be back, the surgery reportedly went well, but nobody wants to say when. The Colts aren’t the kind of team with depth at every position and a strong defense that can make up for the loss of a star quarterback: they were 28th in rushing last year, 27th in points allowed, and finished the season third in the AFC South.
T.Y. Hilton had a fantastic season in 2016, posting 1,448 receiving yards and six touchdowns. Behind him on the depth chart are Donte Moncrief, who scored a lot of TDs in the red zone but was sidelined with injuries, and Phillip Dorsett. Dorsett posted 16 yards per reception, the best on the roster, but wasn’t quite as consistent as Hilton. Barring injury, Hilton will repeat as the Colts’ top receiver. – AK
ODDS ANDREW LUCK STARTS WEEK 1: 2/3
OVER/UNDER STARTS FOR ANDREW LUCK: 13.5
ODDS TY HILTON REPEATS AS RECEIVING CHAMPION: 3/7
ODDS COLTS GO 6-0 IN AFC SOUTH: 50/1
ODDS CHUCK PAGANO IS FIRED (JAN 1, 2017): 8/1
O/U LENGTH OF EZEKIEL ELLIOTT’S SUSPENSION: 4.5
The NFL has a history of reducing suspensions. Back in 2015, the league reduced Greg Hardy’s ten game suspension for domestic abuse to just four. However, this feels different. For starters, Elliott’s suspension is considerably shorter than Hardy’s, and Roger Goodell could be looking to send a message that the league is coming down harder on players accused of domestic assault.
ODDS TO LEAD COWBOYS IN RECEIVING YARDS
- Cole Beasley: 2/1
- Dez Bryant: 3/1
- Jason Witten: 7/1
- FIELD: 7/3
ODDS TONY ROMO WILL BE INDUCTED INTO COWBOYS RING OF HONOR (DEC 31, 2017): 9/2
Don’t count on it. Romo may be the Cowboys’ career leader in passing touchdowns and passing yards but he lacks the one thing that Don Meredith, Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman all have in common: A Super Bowl ring. Romo’s inability to bring a championship to Dallas is a black mark upon his career and will ultimately deprive him of the franchise’s top honor.
ODDS COWBOYS DEFENSE FINISHES WITH HIGHER OVERALL DVOA RANKING THAN OFFENSE: 20/1
The Cowboys defense ranked a distant 17th in DVOA last season and will struggle again to keep points off the board after losing most of their secondary to free agency.
OVER/UNDER SACKS FOR FIRST-ROUND PICK TACO CHARLTON: 5.5
The Cowboys are counting on big things from Charltan this season and the rookie didn’t disappoint in his second game against the Rams, recording one sack, three tackles, and a tackle for a loss. Yes, we know, it’s just the preseason (and it was only the Rams), but we’re big believers Taco will keep on crunching QBs all year long.
ODDS COWBOYS SWEEP …
- Giants: 5/1
- Redskins: 2/1
- Eagles: 4/1
ODDS TONY ROMO IS DEMOTED FROM CBS’ NO.1 BROADCAST TEAM BY WEEK 17: 7/1
If Romo were partnered with anyone other than Jim Nantz we would have our doubts, but the veteran broadcaster is such a pro that he could work alongside a punch drunk baboon without skipping a beat. Romo is far too likeable and way too handsome to get cut after his first season in the booth.
OVER/UNDER NUMBER OF PLAYERS’ NAMES TONY ROMO MISPRONOUNCES DURING FIRST REGULAR-SEASON BROADCAST: 2.5
Romo may be a rookie when it comes to broadcasting but CBS will be teaming him up with plenty of vets to make sure his transition is smooth. The former QB can look forward to working alongside Nantz as well as the network’s top NFL producer and director. That’s a lot more protection than Romo is used to having and he should shine in his new role as a result.
ODDS TONY ROMO CORRECTLY GUESSES RESULT OF FIRST COACH’S CHALLENGE IN FIRST REGULAR-SEASON GAME HE CALLS: 1/1
This one could go either way. We’re going to leave it in the hands of the Cosmos. – RM
ODDS TO LEAD EAGLES IN RECEIVING
- Alshon Jeffery: 2/1
- Mack Hollins: 7/2
- Nelson Agholar: 11/2
- Zach Ertz: 6/1
- Torrey Smith: 13/2
- FIELD: 66/1
The Eagles haven’t had a 1,000-yard receiver since Jeremy Maclin in 2014 and their leading receiver last season was Zach Ertz. Barring multiple injuries, Ertz will not be the Eagles leading receiver again. Also, the hype surrounding Mack Hollins was legitimized after the Eagles traded Jordan Matthews last week.
ODDS TO LEAD EAGLES IN RUSHING
- LeGarrette Blount: 13/7
- Darren Sproles: 5/2
- Wendell Smallwood: 4/1
- Donnel Pumphrey: 9/1
- FIELD: 14/1
Philadelphia brought Blount in to be their early-down bruiser but Darren Sproles will still have a major role in the ground game, too.
ODDS EAGLES SWEEP …
- Giants: 5/1
- Washington: 29/11
- Cowboys: 9/2
Though the Eagles project to be better than their 7-9 record from 2016, the rest of the NFC East is too competitive to expect Philadelphia to take both from anyone. – MM
We’ve all seen the video of how the New York Giants’ training camp is going, and so far it’s looking good. Odell Beckham is leading the best receiving corps in football, and the addition of Brandon Marshall and tight end Evan Engram will hopefully give Eli Manning a bigger body to look for in the red zone.
The real question mark here is the offensive line. Eli Manning pays his bills with a quick release, and he earned every dime of his money last year. The only help there will come from D.J. Fluker, who (while certainly talented) hasn’t done much to write home about in his five year career. Look for Manning to throw a bunch of TD’s, a lot of interceptions, and to generally just throw as quickly as possible. – AK
OVER/UNDER ELI MANNING’S …
- passing touchdowns: 28.5
- interceptions: 15.5
OVER/UNDER YARDS FOR GIANTS LEADING RUSHER: 700
OVER/UNDER TOTAL VALUE OF ODELL BECKHAM’S NEXT CONTRACT: $80m
ODDS GIANTS SWEEP …
- Cowboys: 5/1
- Redskins: 3/1
- Eagles: 13/7
The Jets are looking like they could be a profoundly, historically bad team in 2017. Their QB competition is between a guy who has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns in six of his 14 seasons in the NFL, a former high school star who has never thrown an NFL touchdown, and Bryce Petty. They have never met a wide receiver and their free agency campaign was terrible. The Jets are tanking and everything’s looking good for that plan. – AK
OVER/UNDER 2018 DRAFT POSITION: 2.5
ODDS ALL JETS QBs COMBINE FOR MORE INTs THAN TDs: 7/3
OVER/UNDER NUMBER OF TIMES JETS ARE FAVORED: 0.5
OVER/UNDER POINT SPREAD IN JETS VS. PATRIOTS (OCT. 15): (*JETS @ PATRIOTS IS IN WEEK 17, SO WHO KNOWS IF PATS WILL BE RESTING GUYS OR WHAT): 12.5?
ODDS MATT STAFFORD THROWS FOR 4,000-PLUS YARDS: 2/3
For the last six years Detroit fans have been able to count on three things: death, taxes, and Matthew Stafford throwing for 4,000 yards. That trend should continue in 2017 as the 29-year-old enters his prime alongside favorite targets Golden Tate and Marvin Jones.
ODDS LIONS WIN A PLAYOFF GAME: 9/1
We’ve listed the Lions as 3/1 favorites to make the playoffs in 2017, but don’t expect them to shock the world. Detroit will be lucky to snag a wildcard birth and will be facing a formidable opponent on the road. That’s usually not a recipe for success, especially for a team that hasn’t won a playoff game since 1991.
ODDS JIM CALDWELL IS FIRED (JAN 1, 2017): 6/1
This is a make or break year for Caldwell, whose contract expires at the end of the season. If Detroit improves upon last year’s 9-7 record and advances past the first round of the playoffs, he’ll be back on the sidelines. If not, he could be coming soon to a commentator’s booth near you.
ODDS LIONS SWEEP …
- Vikings: 11/1
- Packers: 50/1
- Bears: 2/1
ODDS CALVIN JOHNSON PLAYS AT LEAST ONE NFL GAME (JAN. 1, 2017): 15/1
The door is wide open if Calvin Johnson would like to return to the NFL. Half a dozen teams have reportedly reached out to the six-time Pro Bowler to try to lure him out of retirement, although Johnson has yet to be swayed. The 31-year-old is said to be enjoying the next phase of his life and has already launched a new business that’s occupying much of his time. – RM
The Raiders might be 2017’s designated fun team that probably won’t win the Super Bowl. Derek Carr is a baller, everyone loves Marshawn Lynch on and off the field, and Khalil Mack will take your birthday away.
Carr has just signed the biggest contract in NFL history, so tradition would dictate that he gets injured soon. Marshawn Lynch is also getting up there in years, and after a season off, might not be back to his reliable self.
The big shadow hanging over this franchise is the imminent but not immediate move to Las Vegas. Oakland Raiders fans understandably don’t want to get too invested in a team that’s in the process of pulling up its stakes and heading for greener pastures. While local interest in the Raiders has definitely waned since the announcement, it’s also surged since the team put together its first winning season since 2002.
Don’t look for them to move early, the logistics of moving an NFL team to Las Vegas are a nightmare and there isn’t a professional stadium ready for use anywhere in the state. – AK
ODDS TO PLAY IN ALL 16 REGULAR-SEASON GAMES
- Derek Carr: 7/13
- Marshawn Lynch: 7/3
ODDS RAIDERS ANNOUNCE MOVE TO LAS VEGAS FOR 2018 (A YEAR EARLIER THAN PLANNED): 9/1
OVER/UNDER NUMBER OF RAIDERS HOME GAMES BLACKED OUT LOCALLY DURING 2017 REGULAR SEASON: 0.5
PART 5: CONTROVERSIES, CALAMITIES AND CALUMNY??
OVER/UNDER NUMBER OF PLAYERS TO KNEEL DURING NATIONAL ANTHEM IN WEEK 1 (PER GAME AVERAGE): 2.5
Though Marshawn Lynch and Michael Bennett may be the only heavily publicized players set to kneel during the National Anthem in Week 1, there are many more joining the movement. With rosters of 53 players, there are bound to be a good handful who join fellow teammates, as well. – MM
ODDS ROGER GOODELL IS SHOWN IN ROBERT KRAFT’S BOX DURING CHIEFS/PATRIOTS WEEK 1 GAME: 1/100
For the past few years the relationship between NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Patriots Owner Robert Kraft has been chiller than a nor’easter. Their friendship, once thought to be ironclad, unravelled publicly during Deflategate and the commissioner’s subsequent four game suspension of Tom Brady. However, things could be thawing out. Goodell was on hand this June at the opening of the Kraft Family Sports Complex, and he went out of his way to compliment his sometimes nemesis. “My respect and admiration for him has never waned,” Goodell told the Jerusalem Post. “We believe our best days are ahead.” That may be true, but there’s likely some awkwardness still ahead as well, and NBC will be there to capture every delicious moment during the Pats’ Week 1 game. Expect plenty of forced bon homie and thunderous jeers every time Goodell is shown on the jumbotron at Gillette Stadium. – RM