The NFL preseason is giving handicappers their first glimpse of the league’s landscape in 2015. And while exhibition results should be taken with a grain of salt, it’s never too early to start thinking ahead to divisional races – especially when considering NFL division futures. Here are three sleepers to keep in mind when sports betting handicapping who could shock their way to the top this season:
Minnesota Vikings (+700 to win NFC North)
Adrian Peterson’s return instantly makes the Vikings offense a threat, something that just wasn’t there in 2014. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater looked good at the end of the year and the franchise rewarded him with a brand new toy in WR Mike Wallace. This is Year 2 under head coach Mike Zimmer, who injected his intensity into a defense that limited opponents to 21.4 points per game – 11th best in the NFL. The road to the NFC North crown goes through Green Bay, but don’t count out the resurgent Vikings.
The Pittsburgh Steelers always seem to put together a team worthy of preseason hype. ‘Experts’ pick them to either win the AFC North or make the playoffs year after year. I guess when you have the same leaders on the field, it’s hard to pick against them.
The Steelers lost some of their leaders on defense this offseason. Troy Polamalu, Brett Keisel and Ike Taylor are no longer wearing black and yellow this season. It’s not a rebuilding year, they are just retooling on defense.
The Bengals and Ravens both look like contenders in the AFC North. Can the Steelers win another division title under Mike Tomlin?
Here is the 2015 NFL team preview for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
I’m a self-confessed vintage toy nerd. I collect vintage wrestling action figures from the 80’s & 90’s. I started purchasing some vintage toys out of nostalgia. Well, WWE and Mattel sucked me into their new stuff. I now buy a few figures a month. You can view photos of my collection on my Instagram account.
Every Elite series released this year has been great. The last dud was Elite series 32, but they made up for it with all the recent releases. Elite 36 and 37 were two of the best series they’ve released period.
The WWE Superstars included in Elite 38 are “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Bradshaw, Farooq, Adam Rose, Daniel Bryan & Roman Reigns.
NFL purists hate Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. They have said the up-tempo offense he ran at Oregon would never work in the National Football League. Kelly is now in his third year and he keeps proving his naysayers wrong.
The Eagles made some bold moves this offseason. They traded their starting quarterback and starting running back and let most of the veterans on the offensive line walk. Kelly uses the ‘next man up’ ideology often used in college. NFL players have a limited shelf-life, so he kicks them to the curb, albeit a little early.
Philly has went 10-6 in both seasons under Kelly. Can they hit or better than mark in 2015?
Here is the 2015 NFL team preview for the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Raiders have been really bad for a decade. They have went through head coaches like Taylor Swift has went through boyfriends. Unfortunately for Oakland, they can’t profit off them by writing a song (although Tom Cable rhymes with some adorable words).
Quarterback Derek Carr had a nice rookie season. His receiving corps got an influx of talent this offseason. They drafted Alabama’s Amari Cooper and signed Michael Crabtree. Carr didn’t have much talent to throw to last year, so I expect a lot from him this season.
The AFC West has been dominated off and on by everyone in the division BUT the Raiders. Can they surprise everyone and keep the division race close?
Here is the 2015 NFL team preview for the Oakland Raiders.
Rex Ryan got the boot this offseason and the Jets hired another defense-first head coach. Todd Bowles improved the Arizona Cardinals defense and turned them into one of the best in the league. Defense isn’t the problem in New York…it’s their piss-poor offense that will cause their downfall in 2015.
Quarterback Geno Smith will start the season on bench with a broken jaw. A linebacker teammate punched him during training camp after Smith refused to reimburse the teammate for travel expenses to an event Smith never showed up for. Here’s some advice, kids…don’t piss off someone whose job is to hit people for a living.
Here is the 2015 NFL team preview for the New York Jets.
The only big news from the New York Giants this offseason came from a freak, stupid accident. Jason Pierre-Paul rented a U-Haul van and filled it full of fireworks. He then somehow nearly blew off his hand during the process of lighting said fireworks. I saw pictures of his hand and it looked a lot like this (don’t worry, it’s not the actual picture).
Even thought JPP will miss some time this season, I still like the Giants a lot. Trust me, I would have loved to put a ‘Manning Face’ picture in this post, but since I expect them to take a big leap forward this season, it sadly didn’t fit the narrative.
Why do we love the Giants this season?
Here is the 2015 NFL team preview for the New York Giants.
The NFC South was a joke last season. The Carolina Panther won the division and made it into the playoffs with a sub-.500 record. The Saints were expected to win the division, but they uncharacteristically failed at home. The Superdome was not kind to them.
The Saints are once again favored to finish near the top of the division, but it won’t be easy. They are without Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham who soured on the franchise after they failed to grant him wide receiver money when they franchise tagged him last season. Which receiver/running back will benefit from increased targets?
Here is the 2015 NFL team preview for the New Orleans Saints.