Most Overrated NFL Teams Heading into the 2020 SeasonMay 6, 2020
Most Overrated NFL Teams Heading into the 2020 Season
Some NFL teams just don't match the hype.
Fans saw this last season when supposed contenders such as the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams flopped.
The same fate could befall a few teams that—considering Super Bowl odds by Caesars Palace—are flying higher than they should be for 2020.
Factors like offseason losses and moves, personnel changes and divisional outlook suggest the following squads are overrated.
New England Patriots
There's a (not totally unfair) assumption that head coach Bill Belichick will turn the New England Patriots into contenders in 2020 without Tom Brady under center.
But it might not be so simple.
The Patriots are tied with the Buffalo Bills for the best odds to win the Super Bowl (25-1) in the AFC East and to claim the division (6-5), which is a little strange after they lost one of the greatest to ever play the game.
Brady's replacement is 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham. While his familiarity with the offense is worth noting—offseason programs could be shortened this summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic—he has attempted just four career passes with an interception.
And the issues extend beyond quarterback, where Brady helped mask other weaknesses. The Patriots had notable losses to their top-ranked defense, including linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins, and they didn't have a pick until the second round this year.
Meanwhile, the Bills—who won 10 games in 2019—made key additions, including wide receiver Stefon Diggs (acquired in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings) and defensive end Mario Addison. The New York Jets remain on the upswing, and the Miami Dolphins just had an influx of talent, including three first-round picks from last month.
The Patriots' biggest transition since the early 2000s is set to unfold in Foxborough, which makes it feel like they are overrated.
The Tennessee Titans are clearly headed in the right direction.
But they will now need to prove their Ryan Tannehill-led run to the AFC title game in 2019 wasn't a fluke while combating offseason losses, including key contributors such as offensive tackle Jack Conklin, tight end Delanie Walker cornerback Logan Ryan and linebacker Cameron Wake.
Despite this, Tennessee has 30-1 odds to win the Super Bowl and 13-1 odds to claim the AFC. But they finished just 9-7 last year and second in the AFC South after starting 5-5.
While Derrick Henry had his first Pro Bowl campaign in 2019, he carried the ball a league-high 303 times. All that grinding behind a line without Conklin could wear him down in 2020. And while Tannehill had a completion percentage north of 70 last year, the line coughed up the second-most sacks in the NFL (56 between Tannehill and Marcus Mariota).
Tennessee also went just .500 in the division, and one could argue the other three teams in the AFC South improved this offseason, including the Indianapolis Colts, who went 7-9 last year and added veteran quarterback Philip Rivers in free agency.
The Titans could remain steady. They've finished 9-7 for four consecutive seasons, making the playoffs in alternating years. But they are overrated as contenders for 2020.
The Chicago Bears' trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars for Nick Foles, who went 0-4 as a starter in 2019, says quite a bit about the team going into 2020.
With 2017 second overall pick Mitchell Trubisky under center, the Bears had an anomaly of a 12-win campaign two years ago and regressed to .500 last season. Prior to 2018, the franchise hadn't been above .500 since 2012.
Yet oddsmakers have the Bears with 50-1 odds to win the Super Bowl and 20-1 odds to claim the NFC. Those might seem like middle-of-the-pack numbers, but bettors looking for excellent bargain buys should look elsewhere because even these friendly numbers have the Bears overrated.
On Saturday, Chicago declined the fifth-year option on Trubisky for 2021. The 25-year-old quarterback completed just 63.2 percent of his passes for 3,138 yards with 17 touchdowns and 10 picks in 2019. Foles is a career 61.9 percent passer whose only noteworthy regular-season production came back in 2013.
The Bears also didn't have a first-round pick this year and lost notable defenders like safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski.
In the rest of the NFC North, the Green Bay Packers (15-2 odds to claim the conference) and Minnesota Vikings (13-1) should at least remain steady. Meanwhile, the Detroit Lions, who have the worst odds to win the NFC, are getting back a healthy Matthew Stafford.
If Foles were arriving in Chicago during a normal offseason, the team's Super Bowl odds might be a little easier to agree with.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers could a notable example of the axiom "they play games for a reason."
The team added six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady in free agency and traded with the Patriots for trusted tight end Rob Gronkowski, who came out of retirement. The Bucs also have weapons for Brady like Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.
They have been one of the most hyped teams this offseason, and oddsmakers have given them the fourth best odds to win the Super Bowl (12-1) behind the Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens. They have the second-best odds to claim the NFC at 6-1.
But as legendary as Brady is, he is going to a new team for the first time in his career and will turn 43 years old in August. It's also worth pointing out that Brady only completed 60.8 percent of his passes in 2019, and while he did have a 24-8 touchdown-to-interception ratio, his average of 6.6 yards per attempt was his lowest since 2002.
Tampa Bay has crept above .500 once since 2010, and Brady will have to operate an offensive line that allowed 47 sacks last year. The hope is additions like center Ryan Jensen and 2020 first-round selection Tristan Wirfs can immediately make things better, but the line won't have as much time as usual to jell this offseason. Gronkowski also has a lengthy injury history.
This hasn't even taken into account the rest of the NFC South.
Brady isn't the only future Hall of Famer gunning for another Lombardi Trophy, with Drew Brees leading a stacked New Orleans Saints team. The Carolina Panthers have All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey and a new quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater. And the Atlanta Falcons haven't gone anywhere, recording a 4-2 record in the division during a 7-9 campaign in 2019.
That just goes to show how wild things could get.
While a trendy pick right now, the Buccaneers are overrated at these odds until they show results on the field.