The wait for the NFL season is on. With the draft and free agency behind us, now is a good time to start evaluating teams. Today we examine the eight AFC teams with minus odds to make the playoffs on PointsBet.
Buffalo Bills - To Make Playoffs (-450)
This one is a no-brainer: the Buffalo Bills are primed for a title run. They are currently co-favorites with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to win the Championship at +700. Bills quarterback Josh Allen along with Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes are MVP co-favorites. Everything is lined up for the Bills to have a big season. Winning the AFC East is the first step; the Bills are -200 to win their division. Josh Allen carries the load on offense for the Bills. If he stays healthy, Buffalo has a great shot at being the top seed in the conference.
Kansas City Chiefs - To Make Playoffs (-225)
The Chiefs will enter the 2022 season as the favorites in what should be a very tough, if not interesting AFC West. The Chiefs along with the Chargers and Broncos are all expected to make the playoffs this season according to the latest odds. Not only will Andy Reid's bunch have to deal with a tough division, but they also have games vs. the Colts, Bills, Titans, Bengals, Buccaneers and Rams. Even with a schedule this tough, I would expect Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid to get the Chiefs into the playoffs. Although, winning the division will be tougher than it has been in recent years. PointsBet has the Chiefs as a +165 favorite to win the AFC West.
Los Angeles Chargers - To Make the Playoffs (-170)
Ok, this is where things start to get interesting. I'm not sure I understand, what I would call, the insane amount of optimism around the Los Angeles Chargers heading into the season. It kind of reminds me of the Cleveland Browns prior to last season. I have nothing negative to say about Justin Herbert outside of the fact he has yet to lead a team to the playoffs. I don't wanna hear he has only been in the league two years. Now, Hebert is not the Chargers problem. They have plenty of skill on offense. The defense stunk last season. They gave up close to 140 rushing yards per game. The additions on defense, including Khalil Mack should make the Chargers defense better but will it be enough to win 10 games? I mentioned how tough the Chiefs schedule was, well the Chargers schedule isn’t much easier. The last four games of the Chargers season are vs. the Titans, Colts, Rams and Broncos. I don’t think the Chargers will make the playoffs this year.
Indianapolis Colts - To Make the Playoffs (-165)
Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan will be the next quarterback to try to lead what I consider a very good Colts team to title contention. Last season Carson Wentz was a disaster, but the rest of the team looked like they were ready to compete. This season, with Ryan under center, I can see the Colts winning the AFC South. Indianapolis will use a power running game with Jonathan Taylor; Ryan should be able to come in and help make Michael Pittman a threat in the passing game. Darius Leonard leads a defense that is good but not great. The Colts have the advantage of playing in the AFC South with Houston and Jacksonville. They also play the NFC East. Last season the NFC East was 6-14 on the Money Line vs. AFC teams. It would not surprise me if the Colts finished the season as the top-seed in the AFC.
Baltimore Ravens - To Make the Playoffs (-165)
A healthy Baltimore Ravens team will look to return to the playoffs this season after not making it last season. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has taken the Ravens to the playoffs in nine of his 14 years in Baltimore. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is a perennial MVP candidate. Baltimore will be back in the playoffs this season and will likely be playing in at least the divisional round. To make it even further, Baltimore will have to get creative on offense. Last season, the Ravens were 1-5 on the Money Line vs. AFC North teams. The only thing that can keep the Ravens out of the AFC playoffs is injuries and poor play in division.
Cincinnati Bengals - To Make the Playoffs (-155)
Despite a historic Super Bowl run last season, oddsmakers are not all that optimistic when it comes to the Bengals this season. Most people, including myself, think they can make the playoffs, but the AFC is a tough conference and the AFC North is a tough division. With a lengthy suspension likely coming for Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, the Bengals will compete with the Ravens for the division title. If the offensive line is improved, the Bengals have enough talent on both sides of the ball to handle a schedule that has games vs. the Cowboys, Bills, Patriots, Chiefs, Titans and Buccaneers.
Denver Broncos - To Make the Playoffs (-145)
Russell Wilson’s welcome to the AFC features playing in a division as tough as the AFC West is predicted to be this season. Currently PointsBet has the Broncos with a regular season win total of 10.5, albeit juiced to the Under at (-165). Denver is (+265) to win the AFC West, but they are +900 to win the AFC, which is shorter than the Ravens, Bengals, Colts and Titans. Oddsmakers think Wilson can go on a run in the playoffs. I'm not so sure they can make it to the playoffs. We already know how tough the West will be. Will a first-year head coach in Nathaniel Hackett be able to lead the Broncos to the playoffs right away? The team has plenty of talent but chemistry will be very important as well. Non-division conference games vs. the Ravens, Colts and Titans will be critical for the Broncos playoff chances.
Tennessee Titans - To Make the Playoffs (-115)
Only seven teams can make the playoffs in the AFC, yet eight have favorable odds according to PointsBet. The final team is the Tennessee Titans. Interesting because the Titans were the #1 seed in the AFC playoffs just a season ago. A.J. Brown is gone, but the real reason the Titans have fallen is public perception. The last time we saw the Titans was in that terrible loss to the Bengals at home in the divisional round of the playoffs. We all remember how poorly quarterback Ryan Tannehill played. That loss seems to be sticking with the Titans. I would argue that head coach Mike Vrabel will make sure that loss does not follow his team into the new season. I would also argue that the Titans, who do not have to deal with playing the AFC West twice, will finish with a better record than the Chargers and Broncos. The Titans play both teams this season. Last season, Tennessee was 8-4 on the Money Line vs. AFC teams. That record included wins over the Bills and Chiefs.