AFC Division Winner Odds for 2014

Rob Gronkowski's health may be the difference for New England's success in 2014.

I gave you the odds on NFC Division winners on Sunday and today it’s the AFC’s turn. I’ll tell you right now I’ve got two big surprises for you. Lets get to the AFC.

AFC East

New England -250 – The window on Tom Brady getting his elusive fourth Super Bowl title is closing. Even if Rob Gronkowski is healthy, does he Brady have enough weapons to get another division title?

Miami +450 – The biggest question is whether or not the Dolphins can survive the early season without center Mike Pouncey. Related to that, have they gotten past the Richie Incognito situation?

NY Jets +750 – Don’t laugh, but this team could challenge for a playoff spot. Why? Because of defense and a running game and more experience at quarterback.

Buffalo +850 – The Bills suffered a horrible blow when LB Kiko Alonso went down last week with a knee injury. My question for Buffalo is can E.J. Manuel stay healthy and take advantage of a ton of weapons?


AFC North

Cincinnati +200 – Andy Dalton will have even better regular season success under new coordinator Hue Jackson. Can that translate into postseason success? If it doesn’t, Dalton could be gone.

Pittsburgh +200 – The Steelers haven’t missed the playoffs in three consecutive seasons since the late 1990’s. If they can get more pressure defensively and find a legitimate #2 receiver then anything is possible.

Baltimore +250 – The pending Ray Rice suspension might not be that big of a deal considering Rice didn’t play well in 2013. Still, can the Ravens play well on both sides of the ball consistently enough to win the North?

Cleveland +500 – Josh Gordon won’t see the field in 2014. Johnny Manziel continues to make partying a priority. There is talent in Cleveland but I don’t think this is the year it comes together.

PICK: Cincinnati

In his third year, expectations are higher than ever for Andrew Luck in Indianapolis.

AFC South

Indianapolis -140 – Everyone talks about Andy Dalton’s playoff woes, but Andrew Luck is a miracle comeback away from being 0-2 himself. The Colts need to shore up the run defense and get something out of Trent Richardson before we can hand them the division.

Houston +260 – Bill O’Brien will have this team competitive I guarantee that. The defense may be the funnest in the league to watch but will the quarterback play be enough?

Tennessee +475 – I think Ken Whisenhunt is a really good coach and I believe he will get this team in the thick of the South race. The issue is of course QB, but if Jake Locker can stay healthy, he will play better under Whisenhunt’s tutelage.

Jacksonville +1,400 – I really do like the direction the Jags are headed but I don’t see this year being the one for them to win. Chad Henne makes to many mistakes for the young team to overcome.

PICK: Indianapolis

AFC West 

Denver -275 – The Broncos should survive the post-Super Bowl hangover due to veteran leadership but Denver has a brutal schedule that could cause problems. How much does Manning have left in the tank too?

Kansas City +500 – I fully expect the Chiefs to slip a bit this year and it could be worse if Alex Smith doesn’t get the contract he desires. Andy Reid always has tough teams but this will be a step back in 2014.

San Diego +550 – Philip Rivers continues to carry the mantle of ‘only first round QB from the 2004 draft not to win a Super Bowl.’ Manning and Roethlisberger each have two and Rivers’ isn’t getting any younger. The good news is that if the defense plays well, he could get his shot.

Oakland +1,800 – The Raiders continue to be the team that just can’t put things together and this season won’t be much different.

PICK: San Diego

Quick Hits From Around the NFL

Schaub has struggled this year but that doesn't mean his home fans should cheer his injury.

Somewhere along the way, we as people have forgotten that we are just fans. A small minority amongst the throng of fans of all teams and sports in this country are making themselves and the rest of us look foolish.

Case in point are the fans in Houston who cheered the injury to Texans’ starter Matt Schaub. Despite Schaub playing poorly for much of the season, it isn’t like he is out there doing it on purpose. Nevertheless, while the team was getting throttled by the Rams in Houston, fans cheered when he got injured.

They’ve been clamoring for T.J. Yates for a couple of weeks now and they got their wish. Proving karma is an absolute bitch, Yates threw a 98-yard pick-six. It was the fifth straight game in which a Texans’ QB has accomplished such a dubious feat.

This was a team that many thought would be a significant Super Bowl contender so I get the frustration. That said, cheering a player’s injury is atrocious and there’s no place for it.

Peterson's choice to play so soon after his son's death is his business not yours.

Much of the NFL world grieved this week for the 2-year old son of Adrian Peterson who was killed by the child’s mother’s boyfriend in a domestic abuse situation. As is usual in these situations, people felt the need to chime in on whether he should play in Sunday’s game or not. Let me give you my opinion. It’s none of your freaking business.

We all cope with traumatic events differently but it’s how we as individuals cope with them that matters. Brett Favre played hours after his father’s sudden death. Baltimore’s Torrie Smith played just hours after his brother was killed. Peterson made the decision to play and regardless of the relationship he had or didn’t have with this child it isn’t our business on what he chooses to do.

Is it just me or is there something going on much deeper with Rob Gronkowski and the Patriots? ‘Gronk’ was thought to be ready to play yesterday against the Saints but was a no-go. To be fair, he has dealt with both forearm surgery and back issues so I don’t want to downplay those things in anyway.

The problem is that guys with much more severe injuries are already back on the field and are playing at a high level. A report came out yesterday that Gronk’s absence may be creating tension in the Patriots’ locker room.

I honestly don’t doubt that. Guys see him in the facility on a daily basis and have to wonder what his problem is if he looks so darn healthy. Some guys will interpret his actions one way while some will see it another. Either way, it has to be causing some consternation.

I’ve gone on record as saying I do not think the Redskins should be forced to change their name. I understand the term can be and has been used in a negative connotation but when you have a very small group in favor of change that doesn’t mean you do that.

It was announced this week that a local D.C. school was banning any Redskins’ apparel. Schools have a right to conduct policy as they see fit but in my opinion this will only cause more problems as kids bully each other over what they are or aren’t able to wear.

Eventually Daniel Snyder will be forced to change the name. You know it and I know it. It’s how politically correct our society has become. In fact I’ve heard schools aren’t even allowing kids to play ‘tag’ anymore!

Oh well, if anything, Snyder can use the name change to make a boatload of money as fans buy up the last of the Redskins’ merchandise. He’ll make a ton on people buying up the new logo too.

How the Issues in New England Could Alter Your Wagering

Aaron Hernandez
Aaron Hernandez
Hernandez's pending arrest is already changing the Pats' forutnes for 2013.

There was once a time when there were teams in the National Football League that seemed immune from the off-field problems of their players. Teams like New England, Pittsburgh and San Francisco were becoming poster children of how to keep players in line when they were on the line of scrimmage.

Those days are long over in Pittsburgh and now New England has even been penetrated by negative off-field news and this is far from just a ‘minor issue.’

An arrest warrant is expected today for Patriots’ tight end Aaron Hernandez on a charge of obstruction of justice. Hernandez is at the very least going to be in in trouble for destroying evidence such as home video surveillance equipment and a cell phone. Those charges could be ramped up if further evidence implicates him in the death of a friend and semi-pro football player who Hernandez was with just hours before he was believed to have died.

This is the cherry on a sundae of odd and unfortunate happenings in New England of late and taken as a whole, you have to consider strongly whether you feel the Patriots can remain a solid contender for the AFC East title, the AFC Title and a Super Bowl Title.

Gronkowski is expected to be on the PUP list to start the season leaving the Pats with fewer weapons.

Much was going to be expected of Hernandez going into the season considering that his fellow tight end Rob Gronkowski is coming off both back and yet another forearm surgery. ‘Gronk’ is expected to start the season on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) List. Also this month the Pats’ signed Tim Tebow who was thought to be done with his NFL career at least as a quarterback. New England claims he was signed as a QB and that’s where he reportedly worked during the team’s mini-camp last week.

I’d be re-miss if I didn’t mention that Patriots’ owner Bob Kraft is also missing a Super Bowl ring which he alleges was taken by Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting. Putin claims it was a gift and the ring is now in a library in Russia. While this may not impact what happens on the field in 2013, it is however just another sign that the normally infallible Patriots are taking shots from all sides.

Right now over at, if you look at the over/under for expected win totals by NFL teams this season you’ll notice they are listed in alphabetical order and when you get down to the “N’s” you find no New England Patriots. There is a clear reason for that because until more is known about Hernandez’s playing status, it would not be in your best interest to wager on them. With no Hernandez, no Gronkowski and oh ya, now Wes Welker, this offense looks more and more less potent.

The Patriots are still currently listed at 8/1 to win the Super Bowl which puts them behind San Francisco and Denver. I fully expect those odds to drop over the coming weeks. They are also listed at 3/1 to win the AFC and are listed only behind Denver. I would have to expect those numbers to change as well.

The good news for the Patriots is that the AFC East is not expected to be overly challenging. The New York Jets are in a potentially ugly QB situation while Buffalo is dealing with a new coach and QB questions of their own. Only the Miami Dolphins appear to be a challenge right now with what they’ve done in free agency but they have a second-year QB from whom much is expected.

Any way you slice it, the Patriots are in unfamiliar territory right now and these individual events grouped together signal serious caution for you and your wagering possibilities.