The NFL released the full 17-week 2020 schedule last week and the league is looking forward to the start of the regular season … on time! Amidst the coronavirus epidemic sweeping the U.S., the NFL is the one professional sports league giving fans hope.
The annual 2020 NFL draft was held on time, in virtual fashion and it was an absolute success. The plan, as of now, is to kick the season off on September 10 with defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City hosting Houston.
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With the new schedule out, it’s a great time to take another look at the NFL futures market.
Houston Texans Over 7.5 (-110)
Speaking of the Texans … yes, Bill O’Brien might be a complete idiot for his trade of DeAndre Hopkins, but it’s a good thing he’s a far better coach than general manager. In six years as the Texans head coach, O’Brien has won at least nine games in all but one of those seasons.
In 2017, O’Brien lost QB Deshaun Watson to a knee injury and three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt to a tibia fracture. The Texans limped to a 4-12 season. In the two seasons since, Houston has won 21 games.
Houston starts off 2020 with two tough ones – Kansas City and Baltimore – but the Texans cross over with the AFC North and NFC North. That means games against Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit and Chicago.
Plus, the AFC South schedule means two games against Jacksonville. That’s six wins right there and O’Brien can surely come up with another two.
Steelers Over 9.5 (+110)
It’s hard to believe the Steelers were within one game of the postseason last year. They did it without their quarterback – Ben Roethlisberger. What kept the Steelers in games in 2019 was a defense that got a serious boost when the team traded for FS Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Pittsburgh went on to finish tied for the fifth in scoring defense (18.9 ppg), fifth in total defense (304.1 ypg), and third in passing defense 194 ypg). The Steelers have an outstanding pass rush led by T.J. Watt, the younger brother of Houston’s J.J., who had 14.5 sacks last season.
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With Roethlisberger back on offense, the Steelers can hit the ten-win mark. Four easy victories will come from division foes Cincinnati and Cleveland. Pittsburgh always plays Baltimore tough and might be able to steal one from the Ravens.
Did you even look at the NFL Schedule? The Steelers crossover with the NFC East – Giants and Redskins anyone? – and the AFC South where a win over Jacksonville is almost a given. Pittsburgh also gets Denver in Week 2 making 10 wins and a bet on Pittsburgh a strong value.
Tampa Bay +1100 to Win Super Bowl LV
Sure, there is a lot of hype for Buccaneers with the signings of QB Tom Brady and TE Rob Gronkowski.
Remember though, head coach Bruce Arians led Tampa Bay to four wins in their last six games last season, and he did it with pick-happy Jameis Winston at quarterback.
The Bucs had an outstanding draft adding OT Tristan Wirfs and S Antoine Winfield Jr., both of whom should become instant starters. Tampa Bay also franchised NFL sack leader Shaq Barrett to keep him for the 2020 season.
The schedule begins with a classic – New Orleans in Week 1.
The Saints will, of course, be the biggest obstacle to the NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl LV for the Bucs.
The rest of Tampa Bay’s schedule includes a crossover with the NFC North and the AFC West. With games against Green Bay, Minnesota and Kansas City plus New Orleans twice; betting the Bucs to win Over 9.5 games at -140 might be a stretch.
With Brady leading the charge, the Bucs should compete for a wild card making a small wager on Tampa Bay at +1100 to win it all a solid bet.
A native of Western Pennsylvania, Rick, a Generation X-er, who now lives just north of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. A former high school, college, and professional football player, Rick now spends his time as a high school coach and as a personal quarterback trainer. An all-state high school quarterback, he went on to become an Academic All-American at Division II Indiana University of PA. He later coached at his alma mater helping lead the program to the 1990 NCAA Division II national championship game. Rick has also served as a high school head coach and as an assistant in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.
His passion for sports writing started when he was the sports editor for his high school newspaper and continued when he worked as a sportswriter for the Jamestown (New York) Post-Journal in the early 1990s. A true sports fanatic, Rick enjoys all things Pittsburgh: Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. The Immaculate Reception, the 1979 We Are Family Pirates, and the ’91-’92 Penguins are among his favorites. After working as an educator and athletic director for several years, he again took up sports writing and has contributed to several websites and publications, including Coach & Player magazine, X & O Labs, American Football Monthly, and many others.
When not consumed with coaching, watching, thinking about, or writing about football and other seasonal sports, he finds himself working out like he was still in college and reading everything from military history to Brad Thor novels. Rick has also been chasing rock god stardom as a drummer who has played with bands that have opened for the likes of Fuel, Days of the New, and Alien Ant Farm. He continues to play with his church worship group. Most importantly, Rick is married to the love of his life, Lisa, and has two beautiful daughters.