You're probably reading a lot of Super Bowl predictions. The 2019 NFL season is upon us and with it comes a barrage of Super Bowl picks. About 95% of these proposals go back to one in five teams, while the other 5% are due to trendy selections and occasional trolling attempts. If you have only one choice, choose one of the favorites.
Even if you think a team like the Patriots is most likely to win, the best predictions are likely to include a number of results. The Patriots may be your most likely candidate, but it is also unrealistic to think that they have a 100% shot on winning the Super Bowl. Do you think that they are at 15%? Maybe 25% or 50%? Is there a sleeper that most people think he has no chance of winning the Super Bowl, just for you to tie them at 5%? The 201
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Every year when we look As I approach the beginning of the NFL season, I try to look at the Super Bowl in a different way. Instead of finding the most likely team to win an NFL title, I try to find the most plausible way for each of the league's 32 teams to win the biggest prize in the sport. Some are hard to fathom. For many of the basement residents of the league, this was almost always associated with serious injury to one or more neighboring quarterbacks. I do not want anyone hurt, but let's be honest: The Dolphins will not win the Super Bowl unless Tom Brady is his usual self.
So let's go team by team and see what that would mean Any organization can make it to and through the Super Bowl LIV. The most important part of a championship run is simply to make it into the playoffs, as the actual playoffs can be so crazy. That's why I've focused on how each team can make a division title and / or a playoff farewell for themselves. Every situation takes place in its own universe, so that what I mentioned in the Bengals section, for example, nowhere else applies. If these seem crazy, then just refer to some of the ridiculous real-life experiences I mention in the blurbs below to remind you that the real NFL has completely unexpected events in every season.
I admit that my starting point – the league's longest Super Bowl chance, according to ESPN's Football Power Index (FPI) – is a long way off.
ARI | ATL | BAL | BUF | AUTO | CHI | CIN
CLE | DAL | DEN | DET | GB | HOU | IND
JAX | KC | LAC | LAR | MIA | MIN | NE
NO | NYG | NYJ | OAK | PHI | PIT | SF
SEA | TB | TEN | WSH
Chance to Win Super Bowl LIV : Less Than 0.1%
Chance on Playoffs : 3.9%
Caesar's Super Bowl odds : + 30000
OK, I understand why you are screaming. The dolphins will not win the Super Bowl. They are in a division with defending Super Bowl champion Patriots and have just swapped two of their best offensive players. The only person who does not realize that Miami is looking for a college quarterback like Justin Herbert or Tua Tagovailoa is coach Brian Flores. FPI expects the Dolphins to win in their home stadium with 0-16 rather than Super Bowl LIV.
The Dolphins, however, are the best reminder of just how haywire can be something that seems to be obvious in the preseason as soon as the season actually begins. Back in 2007, when the Patriots went 16-0 in the regular season and posted a perfect season within a helm. Under the guidance of first-year head coach Cam Cameron, Miami went 1-1 and ended up with the worst record in football. It would have been an absolute madness if Miami won the AFC East in 2008.
And yet that's exactly what happened. The Patriots lost Brady to a torn ACL in Week 1, and the Dolphins rode the Wildcat and set a 7-2 record in games rated seven points or less for a division title. These dolphins lost to the Ravens in the wild card round, but something that seemed absurd before the season was just what happened during the campaign.
Getting the dolphins to win their division and fall into the Super Bowl, Brady is likely to be injured or catastrophically fall at the age of 42. If the jets can not exhaust their potential under Adam Gases, and the Bills can not do anything with Josh Allen at quarterback, the division, at least theoretically, it would be wide open. After trading with Laremy Tunsil, Miami has recently been one of the least impressive attack lines, but it has talent along the line of defense and in the secondary. Josh Rosen is essentially a lottery ticket at the time, but lottery tickets sometimes apply, right? The dolphins of 2008 make the difference between incredibly unlikely and impossible.
Chance to win the Super Bowl LIV : Less than 0.1%
Chance on the Playoffs : 8%
Caesar's Super Bowl odds : +20000  I think there is a much greater chance of a jump between the Dolphins and Washington than the numbers suggest. The talents of the two teams are very different. Washington has a legitimate offensive with one star, Brandon Scherff, and a second, Trent Williams, who perseveres. (Williams will probably have to return sometime in September to make that scenario happen.) Jay Gruden's defense was 20th in the DVOA last season, but has three picks in the first round on the defensive of Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and Montez Sweat Stars like pass-rusher Ryan Kerrigan, cornerback Josh Norman and free-agent addition Landon Collins ensure safety. A healthy defense in Washington could be above average.
There is also the potential for a quarterback upgrade with Dwayne Haskins, who would need to catch fire in the first round and play at a high level so that Washington can win and enter his division top spot for a playoff run after takeover of Starter Case Keenum for week 1. With the Cowboys likely to decline and the Eagles having a Wentz injury after 40-year-old Josh McCown failed to start quarterback, Washington will likely be injured for a divisional rival and a hot run of his own inexperienced quarterback to the sprint in depth require playoff run.
Chance to win Super Bowl LIV : Less than 0.1%
Chance for the Playoffs : 3.6%
Caesar's Super Bowl odds : +15000
Speaking of inexperienced quarterbacks! Kyler Murray threw only 519 passes in college in three seasons, but his brilliant performance under Lincoln Riley in Oklahoma in 2018 was enough to drive him to a Heisman Trophy. We saw how great Baker Mayfield looked for the Browns last season, even though the needle was only shot for the 2018 overall win after the Browns fired Hue Jackson and Todd Haley and used Freddie Kitchens as the offensive coordinator.
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Mayfield and the Browns lined up with Gregg Williams for 5-3 coaches, and if the Cardinals are equally effective with the duo of Murray and Cliff Kingsbury, they'll be in line to make the playoffs in the NFC. Arizona will miss locked cornerback Patrick Peterson for six weeks, but he was defensively competent last season (17th in the DVOA) and has the potential to become offensive explosive.
The Cardinals must clear up the division But we could have said it was AFC North last year just to see the Steelers fall and miss the playoffs, and the Ravens require Lamar Jackson's exploits in the late season to win the division. If they can gain a home advantage, the Cardinals get plenty of home support. In the playoffs they are since their move to Arizona with 4: 0 at home.
Chance to win Super Bowl LIV : Less than 0.1%
Chance for the Playoffs : 11.2%
Caesar's Super Bowl Odds : +12500
Für the teams on the 32.-30. Place is a quarterback the joker card that may propel the team to unexpected heights. For the Bengals, the X-factor is 36-year-old Zac Taylor, her new coach. Taylor could very well be a substitute-level trainer who happened to fall to a seat next to Sean McVay, but remember that the Rams were listed at +10000 two years ago to win the Super Bowl before going 11-5 went and won the West.
McVay breathed life into a franchise that had been dulled by years of mediocrity under Jeff Fisher. Could Taylor do the same for a Bengals team that became anonymous to Marvin Lewis in the last few days?
I would feel safer if the Bengals were healthier as the NFL fifth-placed team from 2018 already lost to Jonah Williams (shoulder) for the year and has tackled both Cordy Glenn (concussion) and Wide Receiver AJ green (ankle) indefinitely. It may be better to hope for a drastic improvement in the defense, which faced the toughest schedule for opposing crimes in the league last season and has one of the deepest lines in the league. Every team in front of the Bengals at AFC North has red flags. The Bengals are no exception, but their core is underrated and higher than most people remember.
Chance to win Super Bowl LIV : Less than 0.1%
Chance to reach the playoffs : 6.5%
Caesar's Super Bowl odds : + 7500
As in Washington, the Giants hope for a possible Wentz injury and a decline in the Cowboys to an unlikely title and playoff run. Their offensive schedule is not going to be modern, as the professed plan is to bring the ball to Saquon Barkley and hope that the second year brings back some magic, but they should have a significantly improved offensive line after adding Guard, Kevin Zeitler. New York has the potential for a massive quarterback improvement with Daniel Jones, who looked fantastic in the preseason and does not have much to do to improve 38-year-old Eli Manning.
The most significant hole for the Giants is at Pass-Rusher, where the depth map is headed by such people as Lorenzo Carter, Kareem Martin, and former Cardinals star Markus Golden. Carter flashed as a freshman and Golden is only two years from a 12.5-sack campaign with Arizona. The giants must win one or more of these Edge Rushers to complete a career season and build a competent defense. Keep in mind that the 2011 Giants won a Super Bowl while six points ahead in the regular season. This is a franchise that has won its last two championships by hanging around and then getting hot at the right time.
Chance to win Super Bowl LIV : 0.1%
Chance to reach the playoffs : 8.2%
Caesar's Super Bowl odds : +10000  Tampa Bay is one of the teams I expect to see improved in 2019, in part because it's nearly impossible for his defense to be worse than 2018. The Bucs were beaten by injuries and were in the red zone terrible. Over the past four years, they have been three standard deviations below the mean of field trials. I would assume that they are below average in these categories in 2019. If you are lucky this season and can outperform in these categories, you have the potential to recover quickly.
The logic, Of course the Bucs should be well on their asses with their weapons and the arrival of coach Bruce Arians, who has done great overtaking at virtually every last of his last stops. It is difficult to see that they thrive to the point where they win the NFC South, as the saints are likely to fight for a Super Bowl and both the Hawks and the Panthers are likely to improve. In a scenario where Drew Brees drops off with age and Cam Newton struggles to stay healthy, the Bucs could be in the lead in a league where each team wins between eight and ten games. And if the offense meets expectations, no team wants to play a Bucs team that can score more than 40 points every week in January. Could they be the hawks of 2016?
Chance to win Super Bowl LIV : 0.1%
Chance to reach the playoffs : 8%
Caesar's Super Bowl odds : +6000  No less authority than our Louis Riddick has set the Raiders as his surprise team for 2019 . Given Riddick's track record, let's take a closer look at what the Raiders 2019 can do. It is clear that Jon Gruden is building his offensive around the line to protect the quarterback Derek Carr, even if the broad receiver Antonio Brown is added and Tyrell Williams will certainly give the contested quarterback options.
A young, deep secondary school could grow together faster than we now expect Oakland could have more than just an embryonic pass rush. It still has to pass the Moloch in Kansas City, but with the chargers already plagued by missing contributors, it can only take a patchy or injury-related season for Patrick Mahomes to take the Raiders to the top of AFC West.
Tom Brady started his career – and finished Gruden's first run with the Raiders – with a playoff in Foxborough. Could Gruden turn the story around and return the favor 18 years later?
Chance to win Super Bowl LIV : 0.3%
Chance to reach the playoffs : 20.3%
Caesar's Super Bowl odds : +8000 [19659002TheBillshadaplayoffdefensein2018whenTre#DaviousWhite&CoovercameaslowstartandtooksecondplaceinDVOATheoffensedidnotendthedealandendedupwiththeleague'ssecond-worstDVOAThegoodnewsisthatBuffalohasreturnedallofhischiefdefenseofficialsandupgradedinoffensivemodeatalllevelsleavinguptoeightnewstartersaroundZayJonesDionDawkinsandsecond-yearquarterbackJoshAllen
Matthew Berry explains why, after LeSean McCoy's release by Buffalo Devin, he classifies Singletary as the highest of the remaining setbacks.
If the added talent provokes a dramatic improvement from Allen, the bills should be a wildcard team. Winning the division would probably require Brady to step back, but if the Bills can somehow make the home team's advantage home and play one or two playoff games for the first time since 1996, Sean McDermott's team should be in great shape. The bills are 9-1 since the merger home in the postseason, but only 3-13 away from Western New York.
Chance to win Super Bowl LIV : 0.3%
Chance to make the playoffs : 18.1%
Caesar's Super Bowl Odds : +8000  The Broncos have their own fortress in Denver, which is one mile high since the merger. Looking at organizations with 10 postseason games played both at home and on the road since 1970, no team has a greater home advantage than the Broncos, which were 10.6 points ahead of their own fans, ahead of the opposition. A Deep Broncos playoff run is probably about one or two games in Colorado.
League fifth-placed DVOA defense returns key-pass rush duo Bradley Chubb and Von Miller. We all know what he has done in the playoffs over the past few years. This is about passing the bosses and mahomes to win the division. If anyone has an answer for Andy Reid's team, it's the new Broncos coach Vic Fangio.
Chance to win the Super Bowl LIV : 0.4%
Chance for the Playoffs : 17.4%
Caesar's Super Bowl Odds : +7500
The Lions did not impress in the preseason, as they are one of only two teams (Jacksonville) who manage without victory in their four show games. Of course, I would not rely on that meaning. In the previous preseason, four teams started their years 0-4, and these four – the Cowboys, Falcons, Seahawks and Titans – went into the postseason with a combined 36:28 during the regular season, with two out of the four teams contending the postseason. 19659072] • How Houston mortgaged his future »
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The numbers suggest that the Lions should be better this season and they took some important staffing Supplements. Matt Patricia's defense finished 27th in DVOA but she replaced injured pass rusher Ziggy Ansah with Trey Flowers and signed a defensive duel against Mike Daniels and corner-keeper Justin Coleman. The offensive was intended to fit into the personal strengths of the team and new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell after signing Jesse James and signing T.J. Hockenson – another close ending – with a first choice. If Kerryon Johnson manages to stay healthy, the Lions actually have no weaknesses that are unprepared.
How will the Lions manage to overtake the rest of NFC North to win a division title? On paper, it seems hard to believe that the lions will defeat the bears, packers and Vikings. On the other hand, this time last year, who expected the bears to make the same jump and win the North, let alone with 3.5 wins? The Lions start with a brutally difficult schedule after their opening game against Arizona as they compete against the Chargers, Eagles and Chiefs early on. If they say goodbye with 2-2, they are in better shape than it seems.
Chance to win Super Bowl LIV : 0.6%
Chance to reach the playoffs : 29.6%
Caesar's Super Bowl odds : +6000  This is an easy chance to win. The Jets hope – or even expect – that Sam Darnold will enjoy the second year breakout Carson Wentz completed before tearing his ACL in 2017. The Eagles helped Wentz break out by making major improvements on both sides of the ball. Off-season and while having problems with some of their price tags, the Jets have added talented veterans by making Le Veon Bell, linebacker CJ Mosley, the Wide Receiver Jamison Crowder and the offensive linemen Kelechi Osemele and Ryan Kalil returned, as well as an Adam Gases, a quarterback-friendly coach.
The jets are a trendy wild card and although I'm not usually on board with such a crew (see: the 49ers of 2018), the numbers are again a win for the jets. The home advantage is a big question given the presence of the Patriots, but both gases and the jets have been a thorn in the side of Bill Belichick in recent years. It seems too early for the jets, but who would have said that the Eagles would win the Super Bowl with Wentz – let alone with Nick Foles as substitute – before 2017?
Chance to win the Super Bowl LIV ]: 0.6%
Chance on the playoffs : 24%
Caesar's Super Bowl Odds : +4500
The Colts are located obviously in another stadium after Andrew Luck retires. They were the favorites that won AFC South and 15: 1 to win the Super Bowl before Luck retired. The good news, however, is that there is a logical way for them to regain their former stature. Many viewers saw the list of Colts around Luck before the resignation quite high, and while it is likely that quarterback Jacoby Brissett is downgrading, there is always the possibility of Brissett playing at a similar level. The former Patriots Passer played like a top-class backup in 2017, but with a better offensive line and a year of study under Frank Reich, he has a chance to drastically improve his previous scores.
Indy also signed Brian Hoyer earlier this week improving his ground when Brissett fights or gets injured. With 10 first-round and second-round tips drafted by General Manager Chris Ballard in the squad and a wide-open AFC South ready for take, the Colts could easily return to the playoff radar. The Rams of 1999 emerge as a team that lost their quarterback in August and seemed to be thought to be dead. Only a great coaching staff and talent in the squad helped an inexperienced quarterback – a 28-year-old with eleven pass attempts named Kurt Warner – to unlock his full potential.
Chance to win Super Bowl LIV : 1.2%
Chance to reach the playoffs : 34.1%
Caesar's Super Bowl odds : +4000  The 49ers happen to be following this year's Colts, a team whose underlying numbers predict improvements that have lost (in effect) none of their expensive early-season start quarterbacks. Jimmy Garoppolo had an unequal preseason, but I expect he will fare well until the end of September, having received reruns against significant increases in NFL passes. It helps that the 49ers start with the Bucs, Bengals and Steelers before they meet again.
Garoppolo will almost certainly be in more than three games at the start, and the 49ers should be clearly better defended after the acquisition of Dee Ford and Nick Bosa to regain their pass rush build. They will also have more than two interceptions, their total for the total of 2018. They appear to be buried behind the Rams and Seahawks in NFC West, but the Rams are among the league's most likely teams to go back and the Seahawks drove a non-sustainable effective defense against third parties and in the red zone until a playoff berth.
The 49ers are probably the best option for surprise division winners in the league, which could lead them to a 2016 Falcons victory. esque run in January.
Chance to win Super Bowl LIV : 1.4%
Chance to reach the playoffs : 35.2%
Caesar's Super Bowl odds : +5000  Mike Vrabel's team has the right not to feel respected. The Titans finished last in terms of Super Bowl odds at AFC South until leaving the Luck, even though they had a Blaine Gabbert start before the playoffs last season in the 17th week. Tennessee was hard to find week to week, but this is a team that has defeated the Eagles, Patriots, and Post-Amari Cooper Trade Cowboys by a total of 41 points last season. In the last three seasons, only the Patriots have more regular season wins over playoff teams than the Titans & # 39; 11. Tennessee's best is great.
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Of course, the Titans have a playoff spot and a playoff win to play three consecutive 9-7 seasons. The goal must be to capture Tennessee's top form for a longer period of the season, which would likely require a healthy campaign by quarterback Marcus Mariota and a consistent offensive game plan for a team that seems to fall in love with this team's weapons. General Manager Jon Robinson rebuilt this pass rush in the postseason. The Titans now turned to Cameron Wake and 2018 second-round player Harold Landry. If they can survive the premature suspension of left wing star Taylor Lewan, they should be competitive in an open AFC South.
Chance to Win the Super Bowl LIV : 1.6%
Chance on the Playoffs : 35.1%
Caesar's Super Bowl odds : +5000 [19659002ThePanthershaveconsistentlyplayedtheirperformanceintightmatchesandthehealthofquarterbackCamNewtonoverthelastsixseasonsasanabove-averageteamWiththePanthersgoing2-7inone-pointgameslastseasonwhileNewtonstruggledwithasoreshoulderCarolinashouldexpecttobebetterintightmatchesandgetahealthierNewtonreoperationNewton'sfootinjurylastseasonisunlikelytodisturbtheformerleagueMVPinWeekOne
Is Carolina well positioned to rule the NFC South? Perhaps. The Panthers certainly did not have the sexiest offseason in the league, but after showing serious depth on both sides of the ball, they could be the second deepest NFC team after the Eagles. If the Saints slip, Carolina is better positioned to win 11 games than the Hawks, who did nothing to tackle problematic defense even before they were hit by injuries in 2018. Carolinas depth should reach deep into winter. 19659103] Chance to win Super Bowl LIV : 1.7%
Chance on the Playoffs : 35.8%
Caesar's Super Bowl Odds : +3000
Es It seems impossible that the Jaguars were less than two years ago a quarter before defeating the Patriots and moving into the Super Bowl. After a 10-point lead in the final quarter of the 2017 AFC Championship game, Jacksonville collapsed last season. His dominating defense slipped only slightly and dropped from first to sixth place in the DVOA, but the jaguars' attempt to focus their offensive on the ongoing game failed due to injuries and a below-par game from quarterback Blake Bortles, who finished after the season was sent from the place.
Matthew Berry thinks WR Dede Westbrook is a great pickup as he has a strong connection with the new Jags' JB, Nick Foles.
The case here is pretty simple, right? We know what Nick Foles is capable of. Upgrade from Bortles to Foles, let this unbelievable defense do their thing, hope for a resurgence (or maybe just an increase) of Leonard Fournette and again achieve double-digit victories.
Foles wird skeptisch bleiben Lang genug gesund oder produktiv, um das zu erreichen, aber mit dem ehemaligen Eagles-Quarterbacks-Trainer John DeFilippo als offensivem Koordinator sollte Foles mehr Hilfe haben als unter Jeff Fisher während seiner kurzen Amtszeit bei den Rams. Der Rücktritt von Luck macht Jacksonville den Weg zum AFC South frei, und ich muss Sie nicht daran erinnern, was passieren kann, wenn Sie Foles eine Playoff-Chance geben.
Chance, Super Bowl LIV zu gewinnen : 1,8%
Chance auf die Playoffs : 39%
Caesars Super Bowl Odds : +3000
Das größte Loch auf dem Seahawks-Kader in Woche 1 schien nach dem Team am Rande zu liegen handelte Frank Clark und verlor Free-Agent-Zusatz Ezekiel Ansah und Rookie-Erstrunden-Auswahl LJ Collier zu kurzfristigen Verletzungen. Jetzt hat Seattle plötzlich Jadeveon Clowney. Sobald Ansah und Collier wieder in Spielform sind, sollte das defensive Ende hier eigentlich eine Plusposition sein. Die Sekundarstufe spielt praktisch überall noch mit jungen Spielern, aber wenn irgendjemand in der Liga junge Abwehrspieler trainieren kann, ist es Pete Carroll.
Nun scheint die offensichtlichste Schwäche für Seattle beim Empfänger zu liegen, wo jemand aufsteigen muss hinter Tyler Lockett. Sollten die Rams ausrutschen, würden sich die Seahawks als das am besten positionierte Team betrachten, um den Vorteil zu nutzen und den NFC West zu gewinnen. Es ist schwer zu sehen, dass sie in der Nachsaison 12 Siege einfahren und den Heimvorteil erringen, aber der beste Weg für Seattle ist es, zwei Playoff-Spiele zu Hause zu absolvieren, um die rauhe Masse auszunutzen.
Chance, Super Bowl LIV zu gewinnen : 1,9%
Chance auf die Playoffs : 40,3%
Caesars Super Bowl-Gewinnchancen : +4500
Die Raben würden einen bemerkenswert ähnlichen Weg wie die Seahawks einschlagen. Führen Sie den Ball effektiv aus, stützen Sie sich auf eine dominante Abwehr und profitieren Sie von dem historisch hervorragenden Heimvorteil. Es gibt jedoch ein wenig mehr Unsicherheit bei Baltimore, da es den Anschein hat, als würde es das am stärksten umkämpfte Spiel der Liga hinter dem Quarterback Lamar Jackson im zweiten Jahr geben, und er hat mehrere wichtige Defensivstarter verloren, darunter den Mittellinienspieler CJ Mosley und den Pass-Rusher Terrell Suggs .
Kein Team schafft es jedoch, Abwehrspieler wie die Ravens zu entwickeln, und sie könnten einen leichteren Weg zu ihrem Divisions-Titel und ein mögliches Wiedersehen in der ersten Runde vor sich haben als die Seahawks, da der AFC kopflastig ist. Die Ravens gingen mit Jackson als Starter nach dem Abschied in der vergangenen Saison mit 6: 1 in Führung. Der einzige Verlust in der Verlängerung ging an die Chiefs, nachdem Jackson verletzt gefallen war. Um unter die ersten beiden zu kommen, müssen wahrscheinlich 16 Spiele von Jackson und eines von Brady oder Mahomes ausfallen.
Chance, Super Bowl LIV zu gewinnen : 2%
Chance, die Playoffs zu erreichen : 46%
Caesars Super Bowl-Gewinnchancen : +1400
Sie werden die drastische Kluft zwischen den Browns-Chancen pro FPI und den Wettern bei Caesars bemerken. Nachdem Sie die Stärke der Quoten der einzelnen Teams berücksichtigt haben, liegen die implizierten Super Bowl-Quoten der Browns bei Caesars bei 5%. Nur ein Team in der NFL hat eine größere Lücke zwischen seiner FPI-Projektion und seinen impliziten Chancen bei Caesars, und wir werden ein wenig später zu diesem Team kommen.
Ich würde argumentieren, dass FPI den Einfluss des Hinzufügens von Spielern wie unterschätzt Wide Receiver Odell Beckham Jr., Edge Rusher Olivier Vernon und Defensive Tackle Sheldon Richardson. On the flip side, I suspect that the Browns are likely a little overhyped in the public, given that they weren't exactly dominant last season. Cleveland went 7-8-1, and even if you want to throw away the Hue Jackson-led first half, it was 5-3 while outscoring opponents by a total of eight points, which is basically .500 football. The Browns' wins over that time came almost exclusively against teams that were destroyed by injuries (Atlanta, Carolina, Denver and Cincinnati twice), and they lost to three playoff teams — the Chiefs, Texans and Ravens — by a combined 34 points.
Leaving that aside, the Browns should be able to raise their baseline level of play this season, especially given their additions on both sides of the ball. Finishing third in the AFC North also makes their schedule easier; while the Ravens face the Texans and Chiefs and the Steelers get the Colts and Chargers, Cleveland gets to face the Titans and Broncos. In a division that could end up being decided by one game between the three teams at the top, that slightly easier schedule alone might make the difference.
The Browns are a higher-variance team than just about any other team in football. They have highly drafted young players like quarterback Baker Mayfield, running back Nick Chubb, cornerback Denzel Ward and pass-rusher Myles Garrett, each of whom might very well be capable of becoming one of the top players at their respective positions in 2019. (Garrett isn't far off already.) There's a chance they disappoint under the expectations and we look back at 2019 as a consolidation year before they make a push in 2020, but there might not be a team in the NFL with more obvious upside at key positions than this one.
Chance to win Super Bowl LIV: 2.4%
Chance to make the playoffs: 47.5%
Caesars Super Bowl odds: +1500
The Cowboys are another team whose chances look more promising in the sportsbook than the simulation. They're tied with the Rams for the eighth-shortest odds at Caesars, which is no surprise given their massive fan base and the confidence surrounding their core of talent. As I wrote in my teams likely to decline column, though, history suggests the Cowboys won't be as effective in close games and should take a step back in 2019.
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If they're going to be the exceptions to the rule, the Cowboys will need a healthy season from their offensive line, which would include a return to form from star center Travis Frederick after missing all of 2018 while battling Guillain-Barré syndrome. With running back Ezekiel Elliott signed to a new deal and the Cowboys bringing back just about everyone of note from last season, Jason Garrett's team could be one of the league's best if its core stays healthy. Dallas has built around a stars-and-scrubs approach for the last 15 years, with the high points — 2007, 2014 and 2016 — coming when its best players have mostly stayed healthy. This season should be no different.
Chance to win Super Bowl LIV: 2.5%
Chance to make the playoffs: 43.6%
Caesars Super Bowl odds: +1800
The arguments get more and more plausible as we approach the teams with better odds, and imagining the Packers as Super Bowl contenders doesn't require much imagination. Aaron Rodgers is on the roster, and with Matt LaFleur coming in as coach, the hope is that the Packers will employ a more modern offense to rely less on Rodgers improvising. Naturally, he'll need to stay healthy for the Packers to do their thing.
What's more important, realistically, is improvement from a defense which ranked 29th in DVOA during Mike Pettine's first season at the helm. His track record had previously been impeccable, and the Packers were waylaid by a dramatic series of injuries to their secondary. Throw in a pass rush which had stagnated behind outside linebackers Clay Matthews and Nick Perry, and there simply wasn't any infrastructure to work with in Green Bay.
Marcus Spears thinks it was a mistake for the Packers to sit Aaron Rodgers during the preseason, because Matt LaFleur and Rodgers need to work on their communication.
Now that should be different. The Packers signed edge rushers Preston Smith and Za'Darius Smith to reinvigorate that pass rush, then added a high-upside prospect in first-rounder Rashan Gary. The Packers used their other first-round pick on safety Darnell Savage, who should start alongside Bears import Adrian Amos. The key player, though, might be a holdover; if Jaire Alexander can deliver on the promise he showed a year ago, the Packers might have a legitimate No. 1 cornerback. If the pass defense returns, the Packers should be in the thick of a crowded NFC race for the top two seeds.
Chance to win Super Bowl LIV: 2.7%
Chance to make the playoffs: 41.4%
Caesars Super Bowl odds: +2800
We also know what the Falcons can do, at least during the postseason. We need to see their defense maintain that level of play for a long stretch of time during the regular season. They have ranked 26th, 22nd and 31st in defensive DVOA during the regular season over the last three seasons, only to create 10 takeaways and piece together dominant stretches of play over five postseason games. As good as they were in 2016, consider that the 2017 Falcons held the Rams to 13 points in Los Angeles and an Eagles team that rolled over the Vikings and Patriots to 15 points in Philly.
If that version of Dan Quinn's defense shows up for a full season, the Falcons might have a good shot at finishing with the league's best record. Even if they can just stay healthy and get to league average on defense, their offense should be good enough to carry them to the postseason. Atlanta's path would be even clearer if the Saints slip.
Chance to win Super Bowl LIV: 2.8%
Chance to make the playoffs: 51.4%
Caesars Super Bowl odds: +1800
Plenty of Super Bowl winners have lost big names and still managed to improve the following season. The 2007 Giants come to mind, as they lost Tiki Barber to retirement after the three-time Pro Bowler posted 2,131 yards from scrimmage. The Giants did manage to hold on to Michael Strahan after the fellow future broadcaster considered retirement, which came in handy during Super Bowl XLII, but there's going to be life for the Steelers after trading wide receiver Antonio Brown.
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Even if the offense does take a step backward, there's reason to believe Pittsburgh should improve on its 13th-placed finish in DVOA. It had sub-replacement players taking meaningful snaps at inside linebacker and cornerback last season, spots which should be filled by new additions like Steven Nelson, Mark Barron, and first-round pick Devin Bush. An out-of-character 27th-placed finish in special teams DVOA is also unlikely to recur. The league's eighth-easiest schedule should leave the Steelers well-positioned to win 10 or 11 games in 2019, which could be enough to win the North and host at least one playoff game.
Chance to win Super Bowl LIV: 3%
Chance to make the playoffs: 49.4%
Caesars Super Bowl odds: +3500
Did I like Houston's pair of stunning trades on Saturday? Absolutely not. Do they make the 2019 team better? It's entirely possible. The draft pick compensation is what makes those trades a disastrous mess. By essentially trading defensive end Jadeveon Clowney for offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills, though, the Texans filled their team's biggest hole from its greatest point of strength. The missing draft picks will hurt, but that's out of the purview of this analysis, which is strictly considering what will happen this upcoming season.
It's clear that Bill O'Brien thinks the Texans can win a Super Bowl with this core of talent. Andrew Luck's retirement certainly helps their chances. With Nick Foles and Marcus Mariota ever-present injury risks, there's a reasonable possibility that Deshaun Watson and the Texans walk to an AFC South title by virtue of having the only healthy, effective starting quarterback in the division. Like their in-state rivals, the Texans need their core of stars to stay healthy throughout the season. If they can go 6-0 in the South and keep J.J. Watt & Co. on the field all season, Houston has a viable path to a first-round bye.
Chance to win Super Bowl LIV: 3.3%
Chance to make the playoffs: 48.6%
Caesars Super Bowl odds: +900
Here's your team with the largest gap between the Vegas odds and FPI's projection. The post-vig odds for the Bears imply that they have a 7.6% shot of winning the Super Bowl, likely owing to an enthusiastic and excited Bears fan base. It might be telling that bookmakers who are longtime Bears fans themselves have suggested that the public support for Mitchell Trubisky's MVP odds has been "ridiculous" and produced an "insane number."
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The Bears might not be quite as dominant on defense in 2019 after losing coordinator Vic Fangio to the Broncos, but they have more room to improve on offense than it might seem, given that Chicago finished ninth in points scored but just 20th in DVOA. Why the discrepancy? The Bears' defense scored six touchdowns and handed their offense the league's the sixth-best starting field position.
Trubisky mixed moments of brilliance with inexplicably bad decisions last season, which likely owes to his inexperience. If he does take a step forward, the Bears will be in great position to repeat their performance, even if the factors which lead Chicago there are slightly different. Remember that the Bears also won those 12 games with shaky kicking from Cody Parkey even before that fateful miss against the Eagles. If the Bears have solved their kicking issues with Eddy Pineiro (or find an in-season replacement), the NFC playoffs could go through Soldier Field.
Chance to win Super Bowl LIV: 3.7%
Chance to make the playoffs: 49.7%
Caesars Super Bowl odds: +2000
Swapping out Case Keenum for Kirk Cousins last year seemed to raise Minnesota's floor to the point in which the absolute lowest possible outcome should have been competing for a playoff berth. Instead, the Vikings went 8-7-1 and missed the playoffs. Cousins took some of the blame, but a middling offensive line and subpar seasons from some of Mike Zimmer's defensive stars also deserved criticism.
The Vikings hope they fixed the line by drafting center Garrett Bradbury and importing Gary Kubiak as an offensive adviser to returning coordinator Kevin Stefanski. Zimmer wants his team to be run-first; if Minnesota can get that right under a scheme that has built successful run games seemingly for decades, it has the versatility and upside to rank in the top eight in both the pass and the run on offense and defense. You could count on one hand the number of teams that can even dream of being that good across the board in the NFL.
Chance to win Super Bowl LIV: 4.9%
Chance to make the playoffs: 57.7%
Caesars Super Bowl odds: +1400
One of those teams, though, is the Chargers. Los Angeles might have the most talented roster, 1-53, in the AFC. The problem has always been getting those players onto the field at the same time, and 2019 is no exception. L.A. is already down safety Derwin James until November, left tackle Russell Okung is out indefinitely, running back Melvin Gordon's holdout is stretching into the regular season, and wide receiver Keenan Allen is already banged up. We haven't even made it to real football yet.
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The key point for the Chargers comes after their Week 12 bye, when they should hopefully have James back for a late-season push. They get two winnable road games against the Broncos and Jags and then host the Vikings and Raiders before a Week 17 game against the Chiefs. The Chargers aren't healthy now, but if they can stay afloat in the playoff picture until James gets back in December, they could ride a hot stretch for the second consecutive year into a playoff run. If that Week 17 game is for the division, the Chargers shouldn't have that same fear of the Chiefs after topping their rivals in Kansas City last season.
Chance to win Super Bowl LIV: 7.6%
Chance to make the playoffs: 73%
Caesars Super Bowl odds: +1300
The Eagles have staggering depth on both sides of the ball. Their backup offensive line — which would require two practice-squad starters — is better than Miami's starting five. Their second-string defense — a group which could include players like defensive linemen Vinny Curry and Tim Jernigan and defensive backs Andrew Sendejo and Johnathan Cyprien — might very well not be the worst defense in football over a full season. No team is better positioned to deal with the impact of injuries than Doug Pederson & Co.
Should they be higher in these rankings? Könnte sein. The only obvious concern for the Eagles is quarterback Carson Wentz, who still hasn't suited up for a playoff game after missing each of the last two postseasons with injuries. We know they're capable of winning a Super Bowl without their franchise quarterback, but their most likely path to Miami involves keeping Wentz healthy and the top seed in the NFC. If the Cowboys decline, a middling division should put the Eagles in great shape to claim home-field advantage throughout the postseason. Owing to that friendly schedule, they have the best shot of any team in the NFC at winning 13 games.
Chance to win Super Bowl LIV: 10%
Chance to make the playoffs: 71.2%
Caesars Super Bowl odds: +1500
You'll note that the Rams are ahead of the Eagles by FPI, but behind them in terms of Caesars odds. I wonder how much of that is the uncertainty surrounding Todd Gurley. You can make a case that the concerns are overblown; if you want to argue that C.J. Anderson's run in a Rams uniform proves that Gurley isn't essential to their offensive success, they should be just fine with or without a healthy first-round pick at running back this season.
Of course, the Rams are more than Gurley. Los Angeles lost a handful of stars this offseason, including defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and guard Rodger Saffold, but it brings back coach Sean McVay and a menagerie of receiving weapons for the newly extended Jared Goff. The Rams only lost three games last season, and they were to playoff teams that went a combined 34-14. McVay has lost one meaningful game to a team with a losing record in two seasons, and that was against Washington in his second career game as a coach.
If the Rams keep beating every team they're supposed to beat, they're going to keep rolling off 11-plus win seasons. They should have no trouble getting back into the postseason with 11 wins, and once they're there, Los Angeles has the offensive wizardry and the defensive genius — thanks to coordinator Wade Phillips — to put a scare into anybody.
Chance to win Super Bowl LIV: 12.3%
Chance to make the playoffs: 73%
Caesars Super Bowl odds: +800
You and I both know the Saints should have been the NFC team to advance to Super Bowl LIII, given what Nickell Robey-Coleman did on third down. Their roster is arguably better than the one that went 13-3 without any obvious holes last season, given that they've imported tight end Jared Cook, defensive tackle Malcom Brown and linebacker Kiko Alonso while retaining everyone notable short of running back Mark Ingram and retired center Max Unger. New Orleans is the best team in the league if the Drew Brees from the first half of 2018 shows up again this season, and even if Brees craters at 40, the Saints should still be a viable Super Bowl contender with their defense and running game. How many teams could realistically get a middling season from their Hall of Fame quarterback and still win a Super Bowl?
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My biggest concern with the Saints is that their division is probably going to be tougher. Then again, I would have projected the Saints to face a competitive time in the NFC South last season, and both the Panthers and Falcons ended up with sub-.500 records. The Falcons haven't been good on defense for any meaningful stretch of regular-season time under Dan Quinn, and Cam Newton is already struggling with a foot injury. It's not out of the question that the South fails to test New Orleans in 2019, which would leave the Saints in great shape to approach 13 wins again. This time, they'll have a pass interference review waiting.
Chance to win Super Bowl LIV: 15.2%
Chance to make the playoffs: 86.4%
Caesars Super Bowl odds: +650
The Patriots are the defending Super Bowl champions and face the easiest schedule in the league, per FPI and Football Outsiders. They can win the Super Bowl by continuing to be the Patriots.
Chance to win Super Bowl LIV: 15.5%
Chance to make the playoffs: 82.8%
Caesars Super Bowl odds: +600
The Patriots aren't the favorites, though, as the Chiefs return every important piece of their offense and upgraded on defense by acquiring pass-rusher Frank Clark and safety Tyrann Mathieu. We know the Chiefs can beat the Patriots, given that Alex Smith led Kansas City to a victory over the Pats in New England during Week 1 in 2017, but you also figure that Kansas City's best chance of winning a Super Bowl involves some other team dispatching the Patriots.
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Since we're here at the end, let's dream out a little scenario. The Chiefs go 12-4 but lose in the regular season to the Patriots, who also go 12-4 and claim home-field advantage in the AFC. The Chiefs host and beat the Texans in the divisional round, but when it looks like Kansas City's about to head to Foxborough, the Chiefs are saved by an upset win from the same Jaguars team that dominated the Pats in 2018 and came within a quarter of beating them in New England in the 2017 AFC Championship Game.
That leaves the Chiefs at home for the AFC Championship Game and a matchup of Nick Foles against Andy Reid, the head coach who saved Foles' career. Just for fun, let's say that the Chiefs advance and face the Eagles in the Super Bowl, giving us Reid vs. protégé Doug Pederson and an organization which still has Reid's fingerprints all over it after a 14-year stint as head coach. Could be fun, right?