As Week 2 in the longest NFL season to date comes to a close, there are plenty of hot takes to be made. The expansion to 17 regular season games will provide ample time for a multitude of scenarios – some that seem impossible to imagine – to unfold. Considering the length of this season, there’s no reason to delay reacting another week any longer. We have watched some shocking plays from nearly every NFL team so far this season, putting into question the presumptive favorites to win each division.
In order to choose new division winners a starting point must be defined, so who better to second guess than Las Vegas oddsmakers? As the clock hit zero in the 2021 Superbowl and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were crowned champions, linemakers for sports betting set the odds for division winners. Let’s see if after two weeks of action I’m betting against the odds.
AFC East — Oddsmakers pick: Buffalo Bills
Lennie’s bet: Buffalo Bills
After the Miami Dolphins impressive win over the New England Patriots, I thought they could challenge the Bills who played pedestrian versus the daunting Pittsburugh Steelers defense in week 1. However, week 2 provided all the clarity fans needed with the Bills effortlessly handling the Dolphins in a 35-0 victory. As usual, the passing game excelled but the rushing game also showed flashes when Devin Singlatary scored a 46-yard touchdown. The Bills might run away with this division.
AFC West – Oddsmakers pick: Kansas City Chiefs
Lennie’s bet: Las Vegas Raiders
Las Vegas Raiders’ quarterback, Derek Carr, must be sipping heavy on the redemption tea. In 2016, Carr was considered the leading candidate for the MVP and with impressive wins against the Ravens and Steelers –powerhouses in the AFC North – he seems poised to lead this team to division supremacy over perennial favorites, Kansas City Chiefs.
AFC South – Oddsmakers pick:Tennessee Titans
Lennie’s bet: Houston Texans
I cannot be the sole person noticing that Texans QB Tyrod Taylor is straight balling right now. Unfortunately, he exited Sunday’s contest against the Browns with a hamstring injury. Prior to heading to the locker room he was 10/11 passing for 125 yards, one passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown. When he returns from injury expect Taylor to continue diming throws to wide receiver Brandin Cooks.
AFC North – Oddsmakers pick: Baltimore Ravens
Lennie’s bet: Baltimore Ravens
The oddsmakers and I agree here and a week one loss won’t pivot my choice. In a heartbreaking loss to the Oakland Raiders, the Ravens exhausted their offensive line options, which proved to be the deciding factor in the defeat. Littered with injuries and hosting the former AFC champions, Kansas City, the Ravens played through turnovers to secure an important early-season victory. Set to return from injury soon are offensive lineman, Ronnie Stanley, and stellar first round pick/ wide receiver Rashod Bateman, both of which will bolster an offensive-unit already causing problems for opposing teams.
NFC East – Oddsmakers pick: Dallas Cowboys
Lennie’s bet: Philadelphia Eagles
Jalen Hurts is special, and week after week he produces a highlight reel for Eagles’ fans. Although the Eagles suffered a loss at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers, they had an opportunity to win the game. A long touchdown pass to wide receiver Jalen Reagor was called due to an errant penalty. Accompanying a strong offensive is one of the best defensive lines the NFL has to offer. Dallas certainly possess the playmakers to win the division, but the burgeoning Eagles are demonstrating a level of grit that no other team in the division currently has.
NFC West – Oddsmakers pick: San Francisco 49ers
Lennie’s bet: Arizona Cardinals
How do you stop something you can’t see? As of today we are dubbing Cardinals quarterback, Kyler Murray “Antman.” A hero from Marvel comics known for shrinking in size to bypass opposition,Murray does this same thing every week by hiding behind the monoliths on the offensive line moments before reemerging in front of defenders to produce a big play for his team. Kyler has access to a cupboard of weapons at his arsenal – including Deandre Hopkins, 2021 draft pick Rondale Moore, former Cincinnati Bengals great AJ Green, and Christian Kirk. Injuries diminished this teams playoff hopes in 2020, however, the plethora of free agent acquisitions along with Antman are ready to go on a deep playoff run as division winners.
NFC South – Oddsmakers pick:Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Lennie’s bet: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
As sports talk show host Skip Bayless wisely says: “there’s one person in sports you do not bet against and that’s Thomas Patrick Edward Brady.” 44 years old and in the midst of his 22nd NFL season, the GOAT looks determined to accomplish the unthinkable–an undefeated season. Brady and the Bucs managed to manipulate cap space to ensure all 22 starters from the Super Bowl team returned for a second stint. Reassembling the squad seems to be paying dividends for the former champs who are now 2-0 and lead the league in scoring.
North – Oddsmakers pick: Green Bay Packers
Lennie’s bet: Green Bay Packers
I’m picking the Packers to win the NFC North every year Aaron Rodgers is at the helm simply because he’s a master at the quarterback position. Week 2 served as a stark reminder that the Packers are by far the favorite in this division, due to all-purpose wideout Davante Adams – who is rated a 99 overall in EA sport’s Madden 2021 – and a defense that causes several turnovers. Repeatedly putting the ball into the hands of an explosive offense spells trouble for teams all year long.