2019 NFL Season in Review
On Feb 2, the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers throw down in Super Bowl 54. Although most of us are in the midst of our Super Bowl handicapping, we should take a breath and think about the 2019 NFL Season. We can learn a lot by looking back on what happened in 2019. What we learn will help us prepare for the next NFL Season. Too early? Not at all. The 2020 NFL Season is right around the corner. Let’s get to it!
A Review of the 2019 NFL Season
Saints and Chiefs Covered Like Kings
The New Orleans Saints win the award for top NFC ATS team. The Kansas City Chiefs get the against the spread covering king award for the AFC. We’ll start with the Saints.
New Orleans went 11-5 ATS this season. They finished the regular season covering 3 straight: -8 against Indianapolis, -3 ½ against Tennessee, and -13 ½ versus Carolina. The Saints failed in the playoffs but during the regular season, they were money. What’s interesting is that New Orleans went 0-2 ATS in their fist 2 games.
But once Drew Brees went down, oddsmakers didn’t know what line to set on the Saints. They went 6-0 in their next 6 games, failed versus Atlanta, and then went 5-2 ATS in their final 7 games.
Kansas City hit a rough patch during the season. They started hot, going 3-0 ATS in their first 3 games. The rough patch led to a 2-5 ATS record during the middle of the season. Since the loss to Tennessee on Nov. 10, though, KC has rocked it.
The Chiefs are 7-0-1 ATS in their last 8 games. That includes covering against both the Texans and Titans in the playoffs. They finished the regular season on a 5-0-1 ATS streak. Overall, the Chiefs finished 10-5-1 against the spread in the regular season.
Overs Dominated in Panthers and Buccaneers Games
Neither Carolina nor Tampa Bay stopped anybody during the regular season. Both teams also scored plenty of points, which led to more overs than unders.
The over went 11-5 in Carolina Panther games. Tampa Bay games went 12-4 over to under. Don’t expect oddsmakers to set totals that lead to so many over games for either squad in 2020.
Unders Dominated in Bills and Steelers Games
The Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers played in a lot of under games. The under went 12-4 for both the Bills and Steelers. The reasons?
Buffalo leaned on a strong rushing attack and excellent defense. Pittsburgh lost quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in Week 1. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin decided to change the team’s philosophy. He brought back the Steel Curtain.
It took oddsmakers all season to adjust to either squad.
Ravens Quarterback Lamar Jackson Changed the Game But…
On Feb. 1, the NFL will announce that Lamar Jackson has won the 2019 NFL MVP Award. It will be well deserved. Jackson posted numbers that, in the words of his coach John Harbaugh, proves he “changed the game”.
How great was Lamar this past season? He threw for 3,127 yards. Jackson tossed 36 touchdown passes to only 6 interceptions. He completed 66.1% of his passes. He also rushed for 1,206 yards and 7 touchdowns.
But as great as Jackson was, and he was great, it wasn’t enough for the Baltimore Ravens to win in the playoffs. The Titans trumped Lamar’s NFL changing skills by rushing it the traditional way. Titans’ RB Derrick Henry rumbled for 195 yards. Overall, the Titans racked up 217 rushing yards in the 28-12 playoff win.
Will NFL defenses adjust to Jackson next season? The Titans did. So, we shouldn’t expect Lamar to post such awesome stats in 2020.
Super Bowl 53 Teams Bombed
The New England Patriots and L.A. Rams battled in the 2019 Super Bowl. Early on, it appeared as if the Pats and Rams were destined for a rematch in Super Bowl 54.
The Rams started the season 3-0. They beat the Saints in Week 2. They beat the Cleveland Browns on the road in Week 3. Sean McVay’s squad was rolling. But then the Rams fell apart. Los Angeles went 6-7 the rest of the way. They didn’t make the playoffs.
New England made the playoffs. The Patriots also had a nice 12-4 record. But before the season ended, most every NFL fan on the planet knew there was something wrong with this New England Patriots team.
The offense was a mess. Tom Brady posted 1 QB rating at 100 or higher in the final 10 New England games. The defense fell apart versus the Dolphins in Week 17. Miami beat New England 27-24 as a +17 underdog.
Both the Patriots and Rams bombed. Will either bounce back in 2020? Probably not. Already, rumors swirl that Terrific Tom will play for someone else other than New England next season. The Rams have a terrible offensive line. Unless they fix that, they won’t catch the 49ers or Seahawks in the deep NFC West.
Final 2019 NFL Season Thought – Rushing Made a Comeback
The NFL has changed. No doubt passing is much more important than it used to be. But in 2019, rushing made a big comeback. 21-of-32 teams averaged over 100 yards rushing per. The list includes horrible teams like Carolina, the New York Giants, and Detroit.
Washington averaged 98.9 rushing yards per. That’s close to 100. It means coaches have settled on running the football. Because of what Lamar Jackson did during the regular season, expect the trend to continue.
More teams will run the football in 2020. The Ravens and 49ers were the 2 top scoring teams per game in the NFL this past season. They were also the 2 top rushing teams in the NFL. Baltimore averaged 206 per game on the ground. SF ran for 144 yards per.
After witnessing both team’s overall success, expect everyone in the NFL to copy the 49ers and Ravens. Rushing the football is back.