New Look NFL: Contenders, Sleepers in AFC, NFC after Free Agency, Other Moves | bets

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A month into the 2022 league year, the NFL’s pecking order has received a facelift.

Big spends converged in the free hand and big moves by trade shifted the axis of power in the AFC, where the West could be a collection of the conference’s best, with All-Pro newcomers Russell Wilson (Denver Broncos), Khalil Mack and JC Jackson ( Los Angeles Chargers) and Davante Adams (Las Vegas Raiders).

DraftKings lists the Buffalo Bills, who landed the pass rusher Von Miller and upgraded the offensive line, at +600 to win the Super Bowl, just ahead of non-retired Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+700).

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DK doesn’t think quite as much of the reigning AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals (+1800), and we think too much of Joe Burrow’s gang to put them in the sleeper category.

FrontPageBets breaks down the new-look NFL heading into next season.

AFC contender

The Bills were only stopped in their January playoffs by a coin flip in Kansas City and are here in part for their success in the draft. If the roster’s requirements, including a playmaker safety or a landmark running back, are met, there’s every reason to believe Josh Allen will get a chance to flex in the big game to end this season.

Chiefs of Kansas City (+1000)

Tyreek Hill interchangeable? Probably not by a player this season. Still, the coach-GM combo of Andy Reid and Brett Veach knows the gears that turn the offensive machine and won’t discount the WR spot in the draft. With JuJu Smith-Schuster in the corner and better depth, Patrick Mahomes may be better equipped to dissect the Cover 2 schemes that have confused the team in 2021. If there’s any reason to doubt it, it’s a weak defense at cornerback and no safety bully Matthias.

Los Angeles Chargers, Denver Broncos (+1600)

Prepare the Justin Herbert MVP campaign. Coupled with his full weapon loadout, the Chargers could be downright deadly if they draft a tight end from the playmaker to divert the attention of Mike Williams (newly signed to a three-year deal) and Keenan Allen. Dynamic pass catcher Austin Ekeler seems primed for big things even behind an underrated and mean offensive line.

The main reason for the bump in Bolts is the addition of difference makers at all levels of defense. Khalil Mack versus Joey Bosa and a seriously stacked secondary means head coach Brandon Staley no longer has to play nice with opposing quarterbacks in a soft shell zone.

One of those QBs is Russell Wilson, and he’s on a new team, on a new offense, behind a brand new – less than spectacular – offensive line as the Broncos hand him the keys to Nathaniel Hackett’s offense. To be honest, Wilson is an MVP candidate under Hackett. Its numbers are headed for chart-topping territory. Jerry Jeudy becomes a household name. The question is, can anyone trust Denver’s defense?

AFC sleeper

Indianapolis Colts (+2200)

Fact: Matt Ryan is the sixth quarterback in six seasons for the Colts. He’s also the best pure passer the team has had since Andrew Luck and shares the backfield with MVP candidate Jonathan Taylor. buy now

Las Vegas Raiders (+3500)

We hear you, naysayers, about the Josh McDaniels theories that may get in his way. With Davante Adams reunited with college QB Derek Carr, guns are everywhere and don’t forget that Josh Jacobs is still there to bring a Dallas Cowboys triplet feel to this club. A playoff team in 2021, only defensive improvement has yet to prove itself.

NFC contender

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+700)

Tom Brady’s 28-day retirement was pure entertainment. When Brady’s about-face happened, most of his former teammates also snagged the Lombardi Trophy magnet. Undercutting the upgrades in safety and Jason Licht’s ability to pot first and second day draft picks has some thinking the Bucs won’t be dancing again, but consider this: who else will be standing up in the milquetoast NFC South? Todd Bowles takes over as head coach from Bruce Arians.

Green Bay Packers (+1000)

Let’s huddle together for a moment of gratitude that the NFL offseason got into high gear so quickly that we almost forgot Aaron Rodgers’ diva days and flirting with his own research in retirement. The odds here more reflect the number of fans blindly supporting the pack before seeing how the roster is formed around the MVP and specifically what happens with an offense with all their guns in the backfield.

Les is more in LA. GM Les Snead uses draft picks for splash moves, perhaps rubbing some of his pocket joker mentality colleagues the wrong way to create the roster. Another trade or two will happen — practically guaranteed — through midseason that will not only be eye-opening, but also keep the veteran Rams on the NFC pile.

NFC sleeper

Arizona Cardinals (+2500)

Kyler Murray’s contract isn’t an issue — yet — but the window could be closing for the Cardinals faster than some are expecting. That’s because Murray’s deal is around the corner and the salary cap will soon require a youthful supporting cast for a team that lacks the ammunition to provide it.

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