From March 12: NFL Teams to Follow NOW

It’s never too early to plan our first $score for 2024.

The first nine weeks of 2023, the Rams were 3 – 6, and had their bye in Week 10. From Week 11 to 18 they went 7 – 1, losing only to Baltimore on the road in Week 14 in OT 37 – 31. On paper it shows they were 4 – 1 down the stretch, however they became hot in Week 11 after their bye and we look for them to be very active in free agency. The Rams have 23.8 million to spend and 11 picks in the upcoming draft. They are one of the top six teams we are watching this off season.

The Cleveland Browns were 11 – 6 in 2023. The last 5 games of the season they went 4 – 1. That one loss was in Week 18 against the Bengals on the road. The Browns had clinched a playoff spot and rested 18 players that week including the kicker. With many key injuries last year, they made the list of teams who will be ready to play in Week 1.

The Pack is back. That winning feeling has returned to Green Bay. The team finished the regular season 3 – 2. In the playoffs, they won in Dallas and nearly upset the 49ers in the divisional round on the road, losing by 3. They finished the season 9 – 8, however in four of their losses, the margins were, 1, 4, 2 and 2 points. They could have been 13 – 4. Watching this team play at the end of the season and into the playoffs, you could see and feel this team rounding into form weekly. The team is young, and only going to get better. They will be ready to play Week 1.

The Lions were ready last year. They played nose to nose with the big boys. They beat KC by 1 point to open their season and closed out the year by losing a heart breaker to the 49ers by 3. The team needs another rusher on front and will use their 7 draft picks, 4 in the top 100 go defense. Detroit is also sitting on 61 million in cap space. They were one play away from getting to the Super Bowl. They can’t wait until Week 1 to play.

The Bills are still the Bills. They finished the season with a 5 – 0 record and will be ready to play Week 1. They have 11 draft picks, plus 41 million in cap space available to spend. The team is getting older, however they are still better than the Jets, Dolphins, and Patriots. Head coach, Sean McDermott will be on the hot seat this year to get the team to the big dance. The pedal will be on the metal in August and look for the Bills to start strong.

The Ravens won 4 of their last 5 games last season, but their strength as a team starts with their HC and QB. John Harbaugh and Lamar Jackson own Week 1. Lamar was drafted in 2018 but wasn’t the official starter in Week 1. He was in 2019, and the final score was a 59 – 10 win. In 2020 Week 1 the Ravens started with a 38 – 6 win. The NFL played through covid in 2021. Lamar caught it in training camp and it showed in week 1 with 2 fumbles that turned into a 33 – 27 Loss. In 2022 Lamar opened up with a 24 – 9 win and last year began in style with a 25 – 9 win. Harbaugh has his teams ready for Week 1.

These six teams have established themselves as teams on the rise, who ended the season on a high note. It’s things like this that motivate a team that will carry over to the next season. With only three preseason games and a scrimmage planned in August, most of the teams are more concerned about not getting hurt, or holding out their starters until Week 1.

Last year these six teams started Week 1 like this:
The Rams won 30- 23 in Seattle and covered the spread.
The Lions won in KC 21 – 20 and covered the spread.
The ravens won at home against the Texans, 25 -9 and covered the spread.
The Browns won at home against Cincinnati, 24 – 3 and covered the spread.
The Packers won in Chicago 38 – 20 and covered the spread.
The Bills Lost in New York against the Jets in OT 22 – 16. Josh had 3 ints and 2 fumbles.

There is nothing we can do about human error, However, at the end of the day, the best teams win in the NFL.

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