NFL Football Betting Lines – AFC North Preview
The Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers will be fighting for top spot in the AFC North this season while the T.O. and Ochocinco show has officially begun in Cincinnati. Can Jake Delhomme revive his career in Cleveland or at least offer them a stop-gap solution at the position? Those are a few of the topics of conversation as we preview the AFC North:
Last season, sophomore quarterback Joe Flacco led his Ravens to the second round of the playoffs where they lost to Peyton Manning and the Colts. This season, the Ravens will look to rely on Ray Lewis and a defense that was 5th in opponent rushing yards and 9th in opponent passing yards to help them win games. We know the defensive line will be outstanding, but the question for the Ravens will be the secondary. With injuries plaguing Ed Reed, and virtually all of their starting cornerbacks, the healthy bodies will have to find a way to prevent teams from picking them apart through the air. On offense, look for the explosive running back combination of Ray Rice and Willis McGahee to be a factor, especially with the addition of standout wide receivers Anquan Boldin, who adds a receiving weapon that the Ravens simply did not have. Dante Stallworth could also be a nice addition, too. Look for the Ravens to lean on their offense a little bit more this year as the defense works out the kinks in the secondary.
NFL Betting Prediction: 1st in AFC North
We all saw it coming. The day where the two most famous wide receivers in the NFL today (for their on and off the field antics rather than their play) would team up. Terrell Owens has joined Chad Ochocinco on the Cincinnati Bengals. Look for Carson Palmer to light it up on the offensive end with Owens and Ochocinco, along with prized free agent Antonio Bryant. If they are to have another successful season Palmer will have to be consistent, the Bengals offense will have to play better and the defense will have to play as well as it did last season (top 10 in both opponent passing and rushing yards per game). Either way, get your popcorn ready because you know the Bengals will be an entertaining team to watch this season.
NFL Betting Prediction: 3rd in AFC North
Nothing went right for the Browns last season and by acquiring former Carolina Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme; the Browns are hoping to take a step in the right direction. With the departure of Jamal Lewis, look for Jerome Harrison to be a 1000-yard rusher this season after coming on late last season. The one bright spot for the Browns is do-everything wide receiver Joshua Cribbs. Delhomme could be the best option Cleveland has seen at the position if he regains his form, but he was awful at the end of his career in Carolina. For the Browns to have a chance at getting out of the basement in the AFC North, they need to be better on the defensive side of the ball and give Delhomme and the Brown offense as many opportunities as possible.
NFL Betting Prediction: 4th in AFC North
After winning the Super Bowl in 2008 and missing the playoffs in 2009 the Steelers are looking to come back with a vengeance this season. The Steelers defense was shredded last year with safety Troy Polamalu sidelined but they should be one of the better units now that he’s healthy. On offense, the question coming into this season is quarterback Ben Rothlisberger and how the Steelers will fare while he’s suspended early on. Will his offseason troubles have a negative effect on his performance this upcoming season as it did last time (see: motorcycle/appendix problems)? Does an aging Hines Ward have what it takes to carry the load one more year now that Santonio Holmes has been dealt to the New York Jets? If the Steelers are to earn a playoff spot they will need sophomore Mike Wallace to be a stand out receiver this season to take the pressure off of Ward. As well, the Steelers will need to bring a superior running game that was just 19th in the league last season yards per game. Look for Rashard Mendenhall and Mewelde Moore to run the Steelers into the playoffs this season.