Baltimore: With Flacco hurting, who will the QB be? Backup Mallett is shaky, at best. Ravens ran ball for only 91.4 yards/game LY (28th). Ravens lost their last six road games- they allowed 28.5 pts/game during 1-3 stumble at end of year, after they started season 7-5.
Buffalo: Another new head coach, and now they have 4th offensive coordinator in last four years; Bills finished 3-7 LY after a 4-2 start, were 2-6 in games decided by 7 or less points. Haven’t been in playoffs since 1999, longest drought in league, longer than even the Browns.
Cincinnati: Dropped from 7th in scoring in 2015 to 24th LY, then two offensive linemen left in free agency last winter. Missed playoffs LY for first time in six years, but Marvin Lewis is 0-7 in playoff games. Bengal fans have forgotten how bad the Bengals were before Lewis got there.
Cleveland: Who is the QB? Browns are 2-10-1 vs spread as a home underdog last two years- five of their 15 losses were by 6 or less points. Cleveland hasn’t won much; since 2010, Browns are 10-17-2 vs spread in game following a win. Cleveland last made the playoffs in 2002.
Denver: Have new coach, young QB’s, after going 9-7 in first season since Peyton Manning retired, missing playoffs for first time in six years. Broncos won last five season openers, all at home; they open at home against the Chargers on a Monday night this season.
Houston: Finished 9-7 in all three of O’Brien’s seasons; he is 16-5-1 vs spread as a favorite with the Texans, 12-4-1 at home— he is 9-15-1 as an underdog. Houston is 12-7-1 vs spread in game following their last 20 losses. How long before rookie QB Watson plays?
Indianapolis: How is Luck’s shoulder? Without him, Colts are screwed. Indy made playoffs in 12 of last 16 years, but missed the last two years (8-8/8-8). Colts finished 10th in yardage LY. Indy lost four of last five season openers- they visit the Rams in Week 1 this year.
Jacksonville: Tom Coughlin runs franchise now; they’re 22-74 the last six years, are -26 in turnovers in their last 32 games. Jags will try to run ball more to take pressure off QB Bortles, who is struggling in training camp this summer. Since 2012, Jax is 13-26-2 vs spread at home.
Kansas City: Chiefs are 43-21 in regular season under Reid, 1-3 in playoff games- they’re 11-2 vs spread as road favorites under Reid, 13-17 as home favorites. New OC Matt Nagy played in the Arena League for six years; Chiefs are +30 in turnovers in their last 32 regular season games.
LA Chargers: Year of transition; Bolts will play in 30,000-seat soccer stadium the next three years. Philip Rivers will be 36 in December; new coach Anthony Lynn has two very experienced coordinators, smart of him to do. Chargers were 8-16 vs spread at home the last three years.
Miami: Jay Cutler (68-71 career record) gets $10M to try and salvage the Dolphins’ season, with Ryan Tannehill (knee) out for at least half the year. In 11 years, Cutler is 1-1 in playoff games. Miami was 9-1 LY when they scored more than 17 points, 1-6 if they scored 17 or less points.
New England: Have had same OC/DC since 2012; they’re +40 in turnovers the last four years, are 17-8-3 vs spread as home favorites since ’13, covering last seven tries as a double digit fave. Offensive line was healthy LY, after using 39 different line combinations in 2015.
NJ Jets: Their long snapper is having a rough camp; they’re looking at new guys for that job. 38-year old McCown was signed for year to play QB; their two young backup QB’s are suspects. Since ’07, Jets are 5-13-1 vs spread as a home favorite in divisional games, but 8-3 as home dogs.
Oakland: Made playoffs LY for first time since 2002; they were +16 in turnovers LY, after being -23 in turnovers previous three years combined. Oakland is 12-3 vs spread on road under Del Rio, 8-2 as road dogs. Raiders made change at OC this year, promoting QB coach Downing.
Pittsburgh: Steelers were 4-5 at one point LY, then won nine games in row before losing AFC title game in Foxboro. Pitt is 18-12 vs spread as a favorite last two years, 9-3 as non-division home favorite the last three years; they’re 12-5 in last 17 games as a favorite of 3 or less points.
Tennessee: Had first winning season since 2011 LY; still haven’t made playoffs since 2008- their last playoff win was in ’03. Jumped from 30th to 11th in yards gained LY; six of their nine wins were by 6 or less points. Titans were even in turnovers LY; they were -24 from 2013-15.