AFC North NFL Odds and Predictions: Ravens Should Dominate Again

Payton Matthews | Updated Sep 03, 2020

Lamar Jackson, Ravens, 2020

No question that Baltimore has the best roster in the division if not the conference, if not the NFL. Lamar Jackson is an incomparable talent with his running ability.

No team has won three straight AFC North Divisions, well, ever. The division name was changed from the Central to the North ahead of the 2002 season and no club has yet to accomplish three in a row, but the Baltimore Ravens are clear-cut -275 favourites on the NFL odds to be the first in 2020.

The Pittsburgh Steelers had won back-to-back North titles before this Ravens run, and the Steelers are +401 second-favourites with future Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returning from injury. The Cleveland Browns have an extremely talented roster and are capable of stealing the division priced at +491. As for the Cincinnati Bengals? They are +2500 long shots and realistically the only team without a chance.

2020 AFC North Division

Pointspread
  • Pittsburgh Steelers -405
  • Cleveland Browns +272

2020 AFC North Division Preview

This writer believes that the Ravens (11.5 wins at Sports Interaction) would have won last season’s Super Bowl if they hadn’t overlooked the Tennessee Titans in the Divisional Round. Quarterback Lamar Jackson, the 2019 NFL MVP, admitted as much. The Ravens led the NFL with 14 regular-season wins and were on a franchise-record 12-game winning streak before being stunned by Derrick Henry and the visiting Titans.

No question that Baltimore has the best roster in the division if not the conference if not the NFL. Jackson is an incomparable talent with his running ability. The former Heisman winner led the league with 36 TD passes last year and set a single-season rushing yardage record for a quarterback. Jackson is a second-favourite to Patrick Mahomes to repeat as NFL MVP.

Baltimore also set a league record overall for rushing yards in 2019 and might only be better this year after stealing Ohio State stellar running back JK Dobbins in Round 2 of the draft. If we are nitpicking, the Ravens could perhaps use another receiver and have been linked to the likes of Antonio Brown and Dez Bryant. Baltimore projects to be favoured in every game.

The coach on the hottest seat in the North is Mike Tomlin of the Steelers (9 wins) as they have missed the playoffs in back-to-back years, and that’s just not acceptable at one of the league’s most successful franchises. Frankly, Tomlin might have done one of his best jobs last year in leading the team to an 8-8 record after losing Roethlisberger in Week 2 to a season-ending injury. Pittsburgh hasn’t had a losing record under Tomlin; it just has barely missed out on the postseason the past two years.

Cleveland (8.5 wins) is one of four active franchises to never reach a Super Bowl and hasn’t won a division title since way back in 1989 – the league’s longest drought. No question the talent is there with the likes of running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, and tight ends Austin Hooper and David Njoku. It all depends on whether quarterback Baker Mayfield plays like he did as a rookie (good) or sophomore (not so good). The Browns also have a new head coach in former Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski.

Cincinnati (5.5 wins) had the fewest wins in the NFL last year with just two, but that earned the Bengals the No. 1 overall pick in the draft and the ability to select Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow. He had the best season by any QB in FBS history in 2019 in leading LSU to the national title and is the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Favourite. The team is rebooting around him and young running back Joe Mixon and should be much more competitive in 2020.

AFC North Odds Tracker

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    AFC North Predictions

    The Ravens finish first at 12-4 (over win total), the Steelers second at 9-7 (push), Browns third at 8-8 (over) and Bengals fourth at 5-11 (under).

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