This will be a fun race to watch all year long. Will it be a Baltimore runaway?
The NFL over/under previews continue with the AFC North, where it figures to be the Ravens in front, with the Steelers and Browns chasing from behind and the Bengals hoping to take a step toward the future with Joe Burrow.
Just in case you didn't read my AFC East breakdown, it's important to be careful when making season-long bets in this uncertain season. Remember, these bets are only paid out if the team plays 16 games, and I think there's a chance we don't see that, so buyer beware.
(Numbers courtesy of the Westgate's Superbook)
Over 11.5 -110... Under 11.5 -110
Offense: This side of the ball was relatively untouched although there will be at least one new face along the offensive line following the retirement of guard Marshal Yanda, a mainstay for the last 13 seasons. It's Lamar Jackson's world with Robert Griffin III as his backup. Mark Ingram II has a little bit of competition in the backfield in the form of second-round pick J.K. Dobbins. I really like the additions of Devin Duvernay and James Proche at WR if they can move up the depth chart. That group has Marquise "Hollywood" Brown and not a lot else, in my opinion. Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle man the tight end position. Kick return specialist/reserve wide receiver De'Anthony Thomas and backup tackle Andre Smith have opted out due to COVID concerns.
Defense: The defense got even better this offseason as Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe improve the line. We'll see what Jaylon Ferguson and third-round pick Justin Madubuike can add there. At linebacker, the team had Patrick Queen fall into their laps late in the first round (No. 28 overall). The secondary should be strong once again at the corners with Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, as well as Earl Thomas III and Chuck Clark at safety. This is a deep defense.
Schedule Note: Week 13 at home against Dallas could be a potential flat spot since it's that is situated between a Thanksgiving road trip to Pittsburgh and a "Monday Night Football" contest in Cleveland.
Prediction: Slight lean to the under. This is a really tough schedule.
Over 5.5 -140... Under 5.5 +120
Offense: This team is going to score some points. Joe Burrow is going to take some rookie lumps, but there's a lot to like about the LSU signal-caller who will have an improved offensive line in front of him. The running back group is it's usual (Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard), although there's talk Mixon could hold out. If A.J. Green is healthy then the foursome he'll form with Tyler Boyd, John Ross III, and second-round pick Tee Higgins will be tough to corral. Throw in Auden Tate, who took some steps last year, and it'll be fun to watch this offense.
Defense: There are new members on every level of this side of the ball, starting up front with D.J. Reader who comes over from Houston. Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins will serve as the bookends, but the defensive line depth took a hit when Josh Tupou decided to opt out. The linebackers are alright with former Raven Josh Bynes joining the fray. Watch out for third-round pick Logan Wilson from Wyoming and fourth-rounder Akeem Davis-Gaither from Appalachian State. The secondary was already strong with the underrated William Jackson III, but they've also added former Minnesota cornerbacks Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander. The Bengals still need another piece or two, but the defensive foundation is being laid.
Schedule Notes: After a home game in Week 1, they've got four of their next six away from Cincinnati.
Prediction: The over is probably the right side here, but I'll take a shot on the under at a plus price. If the Bengals don't beat the Chargers Week 1, then they'll probably start 1-5.
Over 8.5 -130... Under 8.5 +110
Offense: There really shouldn't be any more excuses for Baker Mayfield, who somehow added even more weapons this offseason. The QB picked up free agent Austin Hooper and Harrison Bryant, who will be a sleeper rookie from Florida Atlantic, to add to a tight end group that already featured David Njoku. Still in place is the combustible duo of Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, as well as the potent backfield tandem of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, who won't miss the first eight games of this season. Andy Janovich, one of the few fullbacks still in the league, is an underrated addition. The line also upgraded with the signing of Jack Conklin and drafting Jedrick Wills Jr. in the first round, but reserves Drake Dorbeck and Drew Forbes both opted out.
Defense: I'm not the biggest fan of the linebacker group for the most part here. The thing is that their life will be a whole lot easier with Myles Garrett, Larry Ogunjobi, Sheldon Richardson, and Olivier Vernon up front. Adrian Clayborn comes over to be a part-timer too so quarterbacks figure to be running for their lives quite a bit. The secondary leans on Denzel Ward on one side with Greedy Williams potentially on the other. Second-round pick Grant Delpit could step right in and make an impact at safety.
Schedule Note: They've got a potential flat spot in Week 15 in New York against the Giants just six days after presumably an emotional "Monday Night Football" tilt at home vs. the Ravens.
Prediction: Give me the under here. Mayfield needs to show me he can succeed with a brand-new head coach (Kevin Stefanski) who has had a lot to deal with during this unique offseason.
Over 9.5 EVEN... Under 9.5 -120
Offense: Ben Roethlisberger's health is the key to this offense. We saw what happened when he got hurt with Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges taking turns under center. The skill position guys are the same for the most part. James Conner, Benny Snell Jr., and Jaylen Samuels patrol the backfield with rookie Anthony McFarland Jr. in the mix. Out wide, it's still JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, and Dionte Johnson, who are joined by rookie Chase Claypool. The addition of tight end Eric Ebron could be nice too. The potential is there for a great year once again.
Defense: The defense is pretty much intact. The stars are aligned with Cameron Heyward up front, T.J. Watt at linebacker, and Minkah Fitzpatrick patrolling the secondary. We'll see if they get any production from the many guys they drafted on this side of the ball. I really like what the defense could become if some of the guys hit their potential.
Schedule Note: Week 11 in Jacksonville is a potential flat spot, since it's situated in between a home game against the Bengals and a Thursday night tilt at home against the Ravens in presumably a huge game.
Prediction: Lean to the over, especially at even money.
— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.