DraftKings Sportsbook has gone ahead and released the odds for each team to earn a playoff berth at the end of the 2020 season. The most significant part of NFL free agency is wrapped up, and while there are still some big names left to sign, much of the NFL is focusing on the upcoming NFL Draft. With that in mind, we’ll take a look at each team’s odds to make the 2021 NFL playoffs — breaking it down by division. Today, we look at the AFC North.
Baltimore Ravens: Yes (-715), No (+490)
The Ravens cruised to the playoffs and the No. 1 AFC seed last season behind Lamar Jackson’s MVP season. We can’t expect quite the numbers that Jackson and the Ravens offense put up in 2019, but we can expect another strong showing from a great team.
Baltimore’s offseason landed them DE Calais Campbell and DE Derek Wolfe and lost them DT Michael Pierce. Overall, they did nothing to hurt their chances and likely helped their defense over the offseason so far. They do need an upgrade at receiver and quickly, but they will probably need to do so in the draft at this point. Jackson’s nine percent TD rate won’t happen again, but with a strong defense and an offense that has all the pieces to make another run, they will be hard to keep out of the playoffs.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Yes (-115), No (-106)
The Steelers had a lost season in 2019 and still managed to come close to making the playoffs with an 8-8 record. The loss of Ben Roethlisberger in Week 2 completely killed the Steelers offense but their defense remained stout and kept them in games. This offseason, they lost DT Javon Hargrave, which hurts the defense, but getting Roethlisberger back is huge and instantly makes them contenders again. Otherwise, the Steelers do what they usually do in the offseason, and didn’t make many moves.
Despite a poor offensive showing due to bad quarterback play and a constantly injured James Conner, the receiving depth of James Washington and Diontae Johnson proved useful and should be an asset along with JuJu Smith-Schuster and newly acquired Eric Ebron. Pittsburgh will likely draft a running back in the second round who should see plenty of work early on, giving the Steelers a well-rounded offense and a good shot for the playoffs.
Cleveland Browns: Yes (+149), No (-182)
The Browns went all in last offseason in acquiring offensive playmakers but their 2019 season didn’t live up to the hype, as their offensive line proved to be the weak link as they went on to win just six games. But, the Browns haven’t folded up shop and again have been active in free agency, with their biggest signing being RT Jack Conklin from the Titans, followed by TE Austin Hooper from the Falcons. Conklin is a capable pass blocker but even better run blocker, which should keep Nick Chubb happy while helping Baker Mayfield see more time. Hooper provides an upgrade among the pass catchers. The Browns have the talent to make the playoffs, but they also have a tough division to navigate. They’ll need to take a big step forward this season, but it is one for which they have the personnel.
Cincinnati Bengals: Yes (+675), No (-1115)
The Bengals tanked for a top QB last season and will get their man in the 2020 draft with the team all but certain to select Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick. Burrow has the ability to make the Bengals competitive quickly, but it won’t be a one-season turnaround, especially in the AFC North. Cincinnati upgraded their defense with CB Trae Waynes and DT D.J. Reader and kept A.J. Green to help Burrow, along with Tyler Boyd and Joe Mixon, but on the whole, they are weak at some core positions and will need to continue to build their defense and offensive line before making the playoff leap.
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