NFL Schedule Release Day: Which Teams Had Best, Worst Offseasons?

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Written By Mo Nuwwarah | Last Updated
NFL schedule release

It’s an exciting time in football betting, with the much-hyped NFL schedule release set for this week. With one of the final key puzzle pieces dropping into place, it’s as good a time as any to reflect back on the offseason. Which teams had the best and worst offseason, according to the betting market?

Given that the draft and most of free agency are now in the rearview, we can now answer this question by examining some of the odds movement. Let’s take a look at odds (via Super Bowl futures) on NFL schedule release day and see what the market liked and disliked.

Click on any of the odds below to make a wager at NFL betting sites.

NFL Teams With Notably Shorter Super Bowl Betting Odds

Houston Texans (+2500 to )

We identified the Texans as an obvious team of note in February’s Super Bowl longshots article. Sure enough, the market has come in hot and heavy with love for CJ Stroud and the boys.

Obviously, the Stefon Diggs trade was the headliner here. Building a WR corps of Diggs, Tank Dell, and Nico Collins, not to mention Dalton Schultz, means this passing game will be a handful for any defense.

Defensively, the Texans needed more pass rushing juice. They grabbed Denico Autry and Danielle Hunter, so problem potentially solved there. Hunter has been among the most prolific pass rushers in recent years, although losing Jonathan Greenard roughly cancels that out.

The offensive line remains potentially shaky. Baltimore exploited this group in the playoff matchup. The pass blocking was just OK, and they couldn’t open up holes most of the season for the running backs. Second-round pick Blake Fisher is projected to start at RT, which could cause a notable weak point at least early in the season.

The Texans will also have to deal with a first-place schedule this year. Note that by win totals, they have the fifth-hardest schedule. The AFC South is no longer a parade of walkovers with the Colts ascending and the Jaguars remaining at least solid.

Green Bay Packers (+2500 to )

It’s unclear exactly why the Packers are getting helium, as they didn’t make any major moves in the offseason aside from signing a safety, which doesn’t generally move the needle.

Perhaps it’s just general excitement over a loaded offense with an exciting, ascending young QB. Certainly, the Packers have accrued an enviable collection of receiving talent, so long as Christian Watson can remain on the field.

All of the offseason needs came on the other side of the ball. The Packers ranked just 23rd in EPA/play allowed, rolling out one of the weaker defenses in the NFL. The unit certainly needed better coaching. Green Bay will hope replacing maligned DC Joe Barry with college hire Jeff Hafley does the trick.

On the personnel front, the Packers had major needs both up front and in the secondary. Safety was a notable weak spot. The aforementioned signing of premium free agent Xavier McKinney shores up that position. The Packers also spent considerable draft capital there, spending multiple picks in the first few rounds.

They’ll hope CB Eric Stokes returns from injury after something of a lost season in his sophomore campaign.

Run defense, a multi-year issue, looks like it will remain a soft spot here.

Atlanta Falcons (+5000 to )

Obviously, Atlanta got a major boost at QB, upgrading from Desmond Ridder to Kirk Cousins, assuming Cousins returns to his competent self after a major injury.

They’re basically starting on second base as well, with the easiest schedule in the NFL by opposing win totals. Of course, they also had a cakewalk last year and still blew it.

Does Cousins have anyone to throw to? The Falcons tried to upgrade the receivers, but it seems unlikely Darnell Mooney and Rondale Moore will make a real difference. They’re clearly banking on Kyle Pitts finally realizing his potential. This group is very thin after Drake London and Pitts.

Atlanta had decent numbers on defense, but that probably owes more to playing a pathetic schedule than anything. Perhaps new Head Coach Raheem Morris can work his magic with this secondary, but the pass rush still looks anemic. The most talented players are old, and non-premium rookies are backing them up.

Overall, it’s easy to see why the Falcons made a jump in the market, but real contention looks like a stretch with this roster.

Pittsburgh Steelers (+10000 to )

Another team that upgraded its QB situation. Nobody was going to be excited to bet on Kenny Pickett. Maybe nobody is excited to bet on Russell Wilson or Justin Fields either, but it seems likely someone will step up and provide a higher level of play than Pickett.

New OC Arthur Smith’s offense seems like an odd marriage with these QBs. At least whoever winds up taking snaps should have decent protection, as the Steelers spent significant draft capital on the line.

Much like Smith’s old team, though, the receiving options look lacking. They lost Diontae Johnson in a much-panned trade and replaced him with third-round rookie Roman Wilson. There isn’t much depth, either.

The defense is relying on a healthy campaign from TJ Watt, as the Steelers only made a few additions. The biggest as LB Patrick Queen. We’ll see if he can maintain the high level of play he showed last season after previously looking like a major bust.

Most of the optimism here revolves around the QBs, but it’s important to remember the NFL schedule release shows will reveal the Steelers have the hardest schedule (by opposing win totals). Playing in the AFC North is tough these days.

NFL Teams With Notably Longer Super Bowl Betting Odds

L.A. Chargers (+3000 to )

The market doesn’t appear to have been very impressed with the new regime in L.A. That’s interesting because the NFL schedule release gods look to have favored the Chargers. Only Atlanta has a softer schedule.

Losing premium weapon Keenan Allen dealt a major blow to this offense. Without longtime pillars Allen and Mike Williams, Justin Herbert is left throwing to Ladd McConkey and not a whole lot else unless Quentin Johnson suddenly delivers on his draft stock.

Presumably, the team will be more run-focused. But with Baltimore castoffs JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards, they’re lacking a top-end back to make that work.

The defense frequently got trucked last year. Outside of better coaching (and better health), it’s hard to see that situation improving much. L.A. didn’t make any major signings, mostly just using lower-level draft capital. Unless Joey Bosa and Derwin James find the elixir of health, this unit still looks subpar.

Jacksonville Jaguars (+3000 to )

Like the Chargers, the Jaguars have been a popular sleeper in recent years. Also like the Chargers, they appear to have fallen farther behind a division rival this offseason.

Losing Calvin Ridley headlined the offseason moves. Jacksonville opted to replace Ridley and Zay Jones with top draft pick Brian Thomas Jr. and Gabe Davis. That looks like a roughly lateral move. Better play from Trevor Lawrence will be paramount, so we’ll see how well he jives with his new weapons.

On defense, Jacksonville still looks fairly solid up front but the secondary has issues. Adding S Darnell Savage and 30-year-old CB Ronald Darby doesn’t seem all that likely to change that.

Overall, the Jags look to have mostly treaded water. They’re simply going to hope for a better season after a down year from Lawrence. Most of the market’s bearishness here probably stems from the perceived improvement of Houston.

Minnesota Vikings (+4000 to )

The NFL schedule release will not be kind to the Vikings, ranking fourth by opponent win totals.

They’re also obviously on the other side of the Falcons coin. If the market likes adding Cousins to the Falcons, it clearly dislikes subtracting him from Minnesota’s roster. That goes double when the replacement is a rookie who didn’t have a lot of college production. They’ll hope Kevin O’Connell can quickly get JJ McCarthy up to speed.

At least McCarthy will enjoy good protection and an excellent spread of weapons, provided better health for Justin Jefferson.

DC Brian Flores should have an easier job this time around. It seemed like the league was starting to figure out his scheme later in the season. He’ll be armed with much better players for 2024. The Vikings focused on LB and EDGE, adding top pick Dallas Turner while signing Andrew Van Ginkel and Blake Cashman. They also replaced departing pass rush ace Danielle Hunter with Jonathan Greenard.

The secondary still looks problematic, but Flores worked miracles with that group last year. Presumably, he can do so again to at least some extent.

This line move looking correct or foolish depends on how quickly and how well McCarthy acclimates to the NFL game. He won’t have an easy time in the NFC North, but the Vikings can’t help their divisional assignment.

Indianapolis Colts (+5000 to )

Perhaps the Colts get lumped into the same bucket as the Jaguars. The market is drinking the Texans kool-aid, so every AFC South team is taking a hit.

Indianapolis still looks like a team on the rise. The team focused on the trenches in the draft, using four picks in the first five rounds on linemen. Pass rusher Laiatu Latu adds to a really solid front on D, and the Colts shored up the offensive line depth to ensure Anthony Richardson has proper protection.

The addition of Adonai Mitchell, whom many expected to go in the first round, rounds out a receiving corps that should provide an acceptable level of threat even if the TE group still looks poor.

Unfortunately for the Colts, the secondary still looks poor. The team didn’t invest any resources unless one counts bringing extending Kenny Moore II. They’ll hope the pass rush can cover for this group, but the market doesn’t appear excited.