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NFL’s Most Fade-Worthy Teams

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Aaron Rodgers of the New York Jets tore his ACL on Monday Night Football against the Buffalo Bills

Preseason preparation is crucial for success in NFL betting. Which teams will over-perform, and which much-hyped teams will disappoint before we start wagering on point spreads?

The handicapping starts now. 

So which are the NFL’s most fade-worthy teams? Read on to find out.

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New York Jets

I’m sure having the Jets on this list pleases New England Patriots fans.

Aaron Rodgers, the rumored RFK Jr. VP pick is back in New York after suffering a season-ending Achilles tear in Week 1 of 2023. The Jets hope he can transform an offense that ranked 29th in points per game with an average of 15.3.

New York signed veteran WR Mike Williams to a one-year deal to take the heat off of Garrett Wilson. The Jets also have a fearsome defense that allowed a stingy 292.3 yards per game in 2023. 

But can a 41-year-old Rodgers, off a major injury and four years removed from his MVP season, be the catalyst to help the Jets against the spread? 

I’m willing to say no. 

No quarterback not named Tom Brady has had much success playing north of 40. Warren Moon’s 1997 season, arguably the second-best by a QB over the 40 mark, saw him pass for 3,678 yards and 25 TDs. 

Neither Brady nor Moon suffered a major injury like the Achilles tear that felled Rodgers in 2023. 

Look for the public to buy on the Jets early due to Rodgers’ star power, providing plenty of fade opportunities. 

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Chicago Bears

DraftKings Sportsbook’s early lines have the Chicago Bears as -4.5 home favorites in Week 1 versus the Tennessee Titans. 

The Windy City faithful hang their hopes on first-overall pick QB Caleb Williams. And he’s set for success.

Anticipating Williams, the Bears signed RB D’Andre Swift and traded for veteran WR Keenan Allen. They also drafted Washington Huskies WR Rome Odunze ninth overall. 

The Bears also enter 2024 with a defense that allowed the fewest rushing yards in 2023. Not willing to stand pat, Chicago added a veteran safety in Kevin Byard III to bolster a unit featuring the always dangerous DE Montez Sweat. 

With Williams under center and the talent surrounding him, the Bears can be a great team in 2024. 

Yet, Caleb Williams is still a rookie. He will experience early-season growing pains.

I’m not a hater. I love where the Bears are, and believe they have a fantastic opportunity to make the playoffs in a weak NFC. That said, I’m skeptical of the hype and will look to bet the other side through the first few weeks of the season. 

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers open the 2024 season as +2.5 road underdogs against the Atlanta Falcons. 

Yeah, you’re reading that right. 

Last year’s Steelers team posted a 10-7 record and made the playoffs. Their record was fool’s gold.

The Pittsburgh offense struggled to score points all season, averaging 17.8 per game. Former first-round pick QB Kenny Pickett’s play regressed in his sophomore season. The offense couldn’t move the chains, converting third downs at a 37.7% rate.

The Steelers’ supposed elite defense spent too much time on the field, exposing a weak run defense. The 2023 unit allowed 118.8 rushing yards per game, good for 21st in the league.

What the Steelers did do well was win the turnover battle. Pittsburgh ended the season tied for second in turnover differential at +11. I don’t expect the luck to continue.

Nor do I expect the Steelers to win five of six division games again. Pittsburgh didn’t have to face Joe Burrow. The Baltimore Ravens sat QB Lamar Jackson in the regular season’s final game. 

Pittsburgh addressed their offensive woes by signing a has-been Russell Wilson and trading for a never-was Justin Fields. They also hired OC Arthur Smith, known for his bludgeoning rushing attack. I see a team with a gaping hole at wide receiver, a slow offense, and an aging defense.

The Steelers are a public team. Expect a lot of Steelers backers to buy the hype and inflate the early season spreads. Make sure you’re on the other side.

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