The 2019 NFL season is still about three months away. But now that the NFL Draft is over and all of the big-name free agents are off the market, it’s time for some NFL predictions.
More specifically, it’s time to take a closer look at some of the teams that are expected to make a huge splash when the new NFL season kicks off. From perennial favorites to some potential sleepers, here are five teams to watch for during the 2019 season.
1. New England Patriots
Yes, the Patriots lost long-time tight end Rob Gronkowski to retirement this offseason. And yes, soon-to-be Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady is getting ready to celebrate his 42nd birthday in August.
These things might lead you to believe that the Pats are destined to fall off. But last we checked, Bill Belichick is still coaching New England, and Brady is still adding Super Bowl rings to his collection.
So it should come as no surprise that the Pats are, at 6/1 odds, the favorites to win the Super Bowl yet again. It’ll be interesting to see if they can continue to push back against Father Time and rack up titles.
2. Kansas City Chiefs
Was quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ first full year under center for the Chiefs a fluke — or a sign of things to come? He set so many records in 2018 that some NFL prognosticators think he could have a tough time putting up a repeat performance in 2019.
But even if Mahomes regresses, the Chiefs appear to have a better team heading into this season as compared to last year. They improved a lot on the defensive side of the ball by trading for defensive end Frank Clark and signing players like Bashaud Breeland, Alex Okafor, and Tyrann Mathieu.
Currently sitting at 10/1 odds to win the Super Bowl, the Chiefs could, once again, present problems for the Pats in the AFC.
3. Cleveland Browns
For the first time in almost a decade, the Browns didn’t finish in last place in the AFC North during the 2018 season! That alone had Cleveland fans eagerly anticipating the 2019 campaign.
But then, the Browns injected even more life into their fans by orchestrating a trade with the New York Giants in May to obtain star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. OBJ joins a wide receiving corps featuring Jarvis Landry and Antonio Callaway to give second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield plenty of places to throw.
At 15/1 odds, the hype surrounding the Browns might be just a little bit overblown. But it’s hard to blame Cleveland fans and NFL fans as a whole for being excited about the team after so many futile seasons.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars advanced all the way to the AFC title game during the 2017 NFL season and came this close to knocking off Tom Brady and the Patriots to earn a berth in the Super Bowl.
It was a disappointing end to the season, but it also gave the franchise plenty of hope moving forward. Most NFL predictions last summer called for the Jags to make another deep run in the 2018 NFL Playoffs. They were a safe NFL bet for many people.
The 2018 season didn’t pan out like everyone expected it to, though, as the Jaguars struggled almost all season long and limped to a 5-11 finish. There was lots of blame to go around following the season with most of it landing on the shoulders of former first-round pick Blake Bortles.
The Jags replaced Bortles with former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles during the offseason. And the thought is that he could be the answer to their prayers.
They’re a longshot to win the Super Bowl at 45/1 odds. But they could very well sneak back into the Super Bowl discussion before long.
5. Oakland Raiders
Head coach Jon Gruden’s first season back calling the shots in Oakland was … well, not what Raiders fans were hoping for. The team finished 4-12 last season and looked lost at times throughout the year.
But during the offseason, they traded for All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown, signed offensive tackle Trent Brown and defensive back Lamarcus Joyner, and added not one, not two, but three first-round draft picks to their stable of players.
They’re still a 75/1 longshot to win the Super Bowl this season. But you get the sense they’re closer to returning to relevance than they have been in recent years.
Which NFL Predictions Will Come True Next Season?
One of the great parts about the NFL is that it’s so hard to predict what’s going to happen during any given season. Even the safest NFL predictions tend to fall apart by the time Week 3 or 4 rolls around.
The teams mentioned here could all catch fire and make a run to the Super Bowl. But they could also falter and allow other teams to make surprising runs.
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