As the 2020 NFL season draws closer, DraftKings has released its first slate of team wins totals for the 2020 NFL season. Below are my best bets for the season.
Cincinnati Bengals over 5.5 wins (-117)
This one is quite simple, to me. The Bengals finished 2-14 with a first-year head coach last season and were without their first draft pick from 2019, left tackle Jonah Williams. They added the top quarterback in college football, coming off the best single-season ever recorded by a quarterback in college football. The Bengals also added a key receiver in Tee Higgins, who should be able to come in and make an immediate impact.
The Bengals had a second-half lead in ten games last season, so with considerable upgrades to the roster and not horrible luck, I think the Bengals should win six or seven games this season.
Jacksonville Jaguars under 5.5 wins (-175)
As optimistic as fans tend to be coming into a season, I haven’t heard much confidence coming out of Jaguar fans thus far in 2020.
When you look at the team, the defense is a shell of what it was just a few years ago, Yannick Ngakoue is trying to force his way out, similar to Jalen Ramsey from less than a year ago. The offense was inconsistent in 2019, but the surprisingly strong play from quarterback, Gardner Minshew, led to some exciting moments. Alas, Jacksonville did what they could to shore up the defense early in the draft, going with a defensive lineman and a linebacker in the first round.
Overall, the Jaguars are coming into 2020 with an offense prone to stagnate and a defense, though packed with talent, that collapsed near the end of 2019. With teams having more film on Gardner Minshew, expect some growing pains and setbacks from the Jaguars in 2020.
New England Patriots under 9 wins (-115)
In the famous words of Jim Morrison, “the end of our elaborate plans, the end of everything that stands, the end.” Is it really the end of the dynasty in New England? It’s definitely the end of an era and a changing of the guard, and for that, I don’t see the Patriots pulling nine wins out of this team. The defense looks great, but there are no weapons offensively.
The quarterback, Jarrett Stidham, tossed a pick-six in his only action last season against a team void of talent (Miami). Call me crazy for thinking it, but if the Patriots go into the season with Stidham at quarterback, I’m confident they aren’t winning at least nine games.
I have a hunch Andy Dalton may end up being the starting quarterback by the start of the season, so you may want to hold on to this one in case the Patriots decide to get frisky.
Las Vegas Raiders under 7.5 wins (-120)
I’m not a believer in Derek Carr. He’s had good offensive line protection for years now and he’s underwhelmed in the past few seasons. Their defense is young and improving, but their division seems to be moving past them from a talent standpoint.
The Raiders made an odd pick, taking the fastest receiver in the draft, but one you certainly worry about when paired with one of the lowest depth-of-target passers in the league. Ruggs may have the occasional deep play and Josh Jacobs is poised for a strong second season, but there are still too many other issues with the Raiders.
Indianapolis Colts over 9 wins (-112)
The Colts went from 45:1 on some sites prior to the offseason to as low as 14:1 now to win the AFC. They made key additions on both sides of the ball in free agency and make a pair of key draft picks in the second round with Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman Jr.
Though I wouldn’t say Philip Rivers is a big upgrade over Jacoby Brissett at this point in his career, being reunited again with Frank Reich is going to mean a big bump in the Colts’ offensive production.
I don’t believe the Colts are substantially better than a season ago, but they suffered six of their nine losses by less than seven points in 2019. With an upgraded roster, the Colts are poised to do some damage, as even Vegas expects they should win the division.
With the Texans looking weaker than a year prior, the Jags still not looking dangerous, and the Titans not improving noticeably, a division title looks favorable. I think the Colts will take the division and win at least ten games.