There was a time not too long ago when the Cleveland Browns were the doormat of the NFL. Time flies fast and times have changed.

According to, the Cleveland Browns are currently the top betting favorites to win the AFC North. On the other hand, the Kansas City Chiefs are favored to win the AFC West.

Let’s take a look at how the two divisions are going to unfold during the 2019-20 NFL season. Odds showed were taken from as of 6/27/19:

Football AFC North Division

Team Odds
Cleveland Browns +125
Pittsburgh Steelers +180
Baltimore Ravens +360
Cincinnati Bengals +1400

Don’t look now but the Cleveland Browns are the NFL betting favorites to win the AFC North Division next season. Once tomato cans, the Browns are considered as serious challengers this season with a very talented but still unproven line-up. The Browns went from 0-16 in 2017 to 7-8-1 in John Dorsey’s first year as manager. Then as if that year to year improvement wasn’t enough, he swung trades that brought them edge rusher Olivier Vernon and Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Cleveland didn’t have a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft but got LSU cornerback Greedy Williams at #46 who looks like a first round pick anyway. Hapless no more, the Cleveland Browns will now have to face expectation as well.

The Pittsburgh Steelers still have James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster. But they suffered a pair of heavy losses. After sitting out last season, Le’Veon Bell is now with New York and Antonio Brown was traded to the Raiders for draft picks. The Steelers though moved up in the draft and selected Michigan linebacker Devin Bush who could fill their holes at that position and in their secondary. Cornerback Justin Layne, plucked in round three of the draft, may turn out to be a big steal. With Ben Roethlisberger still running the offense, it may be too early to count out the Steelers.

The Baltimore Ravens made a postseason run two seasons ago and rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson displayed flashes of brilliance in a good rookie season. Their offense drafted Oklahoma’s Marquise Brown and Notre Dame’s Miles Boykin then added veteran tailback Mark Ingram. However, their defense lost edge rushers, Terrell Suggs and Za-Darius Smith. If their defense can manage with those losses and if Jackson can improve his passing, the Ravens are in contention. If one or both of those don’t happen, it’s not going to be a good year for Baltimore.

First-time head coach Zac Taylor’s job is to get the Cincinnati Bengals out of the basement. It’s not going to be easy with Andy Dalton not really being a superstar quarterback. They do have a young an improving tailback in A.J. Green and have some of the top receivers in the division. Tackle Jonah Williams and guard Michael Jordan should improve their offensive line but their defense is a concern. The Bengals surrendered 413.6 yards per game last season, worst in the NFL, and their thin linebacker corps looks weaker this year.

Prediction: This division’s going to be competitive. But I’ll have to go with the Steelers’ experience over the Browns’ talent.

Football AFC West Division

Team Odds
Kansas City Chiefs -160
Los Angeles Chargers +220
Denver Broncos +800
Oakland Raiders +1500

The Kansas City Chiefs had a magical season last year with Patrick Mahomes going off. Mahomes was named MVP and they went all the way to the AFC title game. Then their defensive issues killed them. Kansas City has added players like Tyrann Mathieu, Frank Clark, and Emmanuel Ogbah but they also lost Eric Berry, Steve Nelson, Dee Ford, and Justin Houston. For all their success, the Chiefs finished 2018 31st in the NFL in total defense. Top wide receiver Tyreek Hill could be facing suspension and the Chiefs may be fortunate to return to the AFC title game next season. Patrick Mahomes is special but so was Tyreek Hill. They tried to fix the defense but I’m not sure if they’ve done enough.

The Los Angeles Chargers lost wide receiver Tyrell Williams but Mike Williams, who came to his own last year, should be able to compensate. Notre Dame’s Jerry Tillery joins Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram in one of the league’s top defensive fronts. Delaware’s Nasir Adderley joins Derwin Jones to form a formidable safety duo. The Chargers are essentially the same team which won 12 games last season. They don’t look flashy but have no glaring weaknesses. I think they are going to have a nice season.

The Denver Broncos added Joey Flacco and he isn’t much of an upgrade from Case Keenum. Outside Emmanuel Sanders, the wide receiver position could become a weakness. They haven’t gotten better at the inside linebacker position. But the Broncos had a good first two days in the 2019 NFL draft where they bagged Noah Fant, Dalton Risner, and Drew Lock. They also added Ja’Wuan James and Kareem Jackson in free agency. But I don’t think these additions are enough. John Elway could be in trouble next season.

The Oakland Raiders were one of three teams to have three picks in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. But it cost them Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper to get picks #24 and 27. Drafting Clelin Ferrell, Josh Jacobs and Jonathan Abraham gave them three likely starters for the coming season but these players don’t play at the “premium” positions and may not be able to replace what the Raiders lost to get them. I’m not sure if the Raiders are a better team now than last season but for sure, they are one of the weaker teams in the NFL.

Prediction: Mahomes was magic last season but I’m not sure if he can do it all over again, given what he has to work with. I’ll go with the steady team here and pick the Los Angeles Chargers.

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