The 2020 NFL season should kick off Thursday, September 10, with the AFC showdown between the Houston Texans and the reigning Super Bowl champions Kansas City Chiefs. And I say it should start, as nothing’s certain in 2020.
The training camps have already started. The teams are preparing for the new season, and the football fans hope everything will be O.K.
As well as the players, the sports bettors are slowly getting ready for the 2020 NFL season, so let’s take a closer look at player specials and future odds that are already available on the vast majority of NFL sportsbooks.
Most Regular Season Passing Yards
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Jameis Winston led the NFL in passing yards this past regular season. He tossed for 5109 yards, surpassing his nearest rival, Dak Prescott, for 207 yards, while Jared Goff came in third with 4638 yards. However, Winston probably won’t get a chance to defend his title, as he will serve as a backup QB for the New Orleans Saints.
First of all, I will tell you which players won’t lead the NFL in passing yards at the end of Week 17. Philip Rivers is coming first simply because he’s having a new team for the first time since joining the NFL in 2004. The 38-year-old veteran still has a strong arm, but he’ll need some time to build a connection with Indianapolis’ receiving corps.
Last year, Rivers tossed for 4615 yards, enough for the fourth-most in the league. He led the NFL in passing yards once, but it was way back in 2010 when Rivers tallied 4710 yards.
Also, forget about Drew Brees. The Saints’ icon doesn’t seem to throw the pigskin deep often, as he’s already a 41-year-old. Brees still possesses a precise arm, completing more than 70.0% of his passes in each of the last four seasons.
Before that streak, Drew led the league in passing yards for three straight seasons, including 5208 yards in 2016. However, the Saints are a different team in the last few years, so Drew can focus on completing shorter passes and earning first downs.
Furthermore, Lamar Jackson, Jimmy Garoppolo, Russell Wilson, and Kirk Cousins are all quarterbacks on heavy-running teams. Aaron Rodgers undoubtedly lacks talent around him, and a similar case is with Ben Roethlisberger. Interestingly, Rodgers has never led the NFL in passing yards, while Big Ben did it twice in 2014 and 2018.
The Houston Texans traded DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona, so Deshaun Watson lost his primary target. Carson Wentz is injury prone, so I would avoid taking future bets on him.
Finally, here’s the list of my runaway favorites to lead the NFL in passing yards this season: Patrick Mahomes, Dak Prescott, Matt Ryan, Tom Brady, Jared Goff, and Matthew Stafford.
Mahomes missed a couple of games last year and finished the season with 4031 yards. Back in 2018, Mahomes tossed for 5097 yards and still ended behind Big Ben’s 5129 yards. Anyway, Mahomes is one of the best passers among signal-callers, while the Chiefs’ receiving corps is stacked.
Dak Prescott had a solid 2019 season, throwing for career-high 4902 yards and 30 touchdowns. For the first time, he surpassed the 4,000-yard line. Dak can count on some top-notch receivers, but I’m afraid that the Cowboys will lean more on their ground game in 2020.
Matthew Stafford is another interesting pick, as the Lions often rely on him too much. Detroit’s receiving corps is loaded with talented guys, while Stafford tossed for 2499 yards in just eight appearances this past season. Back in 2011, Matthew threw for career-high 5038 yards.
Jared Goff is my favorite because of the Rams’ style of play. They were one of the worst rushing teams in the league last year, leaning on Jared’s arm a lot. I expect to see more of the same in 2020, while Goff has to make amends after throwing for just 22 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in 2019.
Matt Ryan is always a good choice, considering his precise and strong arm. Also, Matty Ice can rely on Julio Jones, while he’s managed to surpass a 4,500-yard line in six of his last eight seasons.
Last but not least, Tom Brady will play alongside some tremendous wideouts in Tampa. With Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Rob Gronkowski in their offense, Brady and the Buccaneers could be unstoppable offensively. Keep in mind that Brady led the NFL in passing yards on three occasions.
- My Pick: Patrick Mahomes at +450 or Tom Brady at +800
Most Regular Season Receiving Yards
Back in 2019, the Saints WR Michael Thomas led the league in receiving yards. The 26-year-old wideout set the NFL record with 149 receptions while tallying 1725 yards. Julio Jones came in second with 1394 yards, while the third-placed Chris Godwin had 1333 which tell you how impressive Michael Thomas was.
Michael Thomas is a top fave to retain the crown in 2020 for a reason. He has a great connection with Drew Brees, while Thomas has been improving constantly since joining the NFL in 2016. Just take a look at his numbers. Michael averaged 107.8 yards per game in 2019 which is absolutely ridiculous.
Julio Jones comes second on the bookies’ list with the odds at +800. The seven-time Pro-Bowl is still one of the best wideouts in the NFL. As well as Thomas, Julio can lean on a top-notch quarterback, so don’t write him off. Jones led the league in receiving yards twice (2015 and 2018), posting 136 catches for 1871 yards in 2015. Julio averaged 100-plus yards per game in five of his last seven seasons.
If you want to invest some money on Tampa Bay’s duo Chris Godwin-Mike Evans, I can only give you a little push. Godwin is coming off a breakthrough season, showing remarkable improvement. Evans had 1,000-plus yards in each of his six NFL seasons, but he’s never led the league in receiving yards.
These two guys should blossom alongside Tom Brady. I would go with Godwin because Brady loves to pass to the slot receiver. On the other hand, keep in mind that these guys will need some time to get along.
Davante Adams is the key wideout in Green Bay. He works with Aaron Rodgers which as a bonus, but Adams has never produced big numbers through his career. DeAndre Hopkins has a new team, and playing alongside Kyler Murray makes him a complete mystery. Hopkins has had a couple of 1,500-plus receiving yards seasons thus far but finished 11th in 2019 with 1165 yards.
Tyreek Hill and Kenny Golladay are true dark horses, so don’t sleep on these two guys. Hill is the No. 1 receiver in Kansas City. He’s a massive vertical threat, and despite all dangerous weapons among the Chiefs, Hill can easily post some serious numbers.
Last year, Hill tallied 860 yards in 12 games, but he had 1479 yards in 16 games back in 2018.
Kenny Golladay is coming off his third NFL season and second straight with 1,000-plus yards. He finished seventh in 2019 with 1190 yards even though Matthew Stafford missed eight games. I’ve mentioned above that the Lions love to lean on Stafford, so Golladay should have another good season.
All other guys must be considered as huge underdogs, although you never know what might happen and who could enjoy a breakthrough season.
T.Y. Hilton led the NFL in 2016 with 1448 yards, but he’s been struggling with injuries lately and will need to get along with Philip Rivers. Juju Smith-Schuster is certainly happy to see Big Ben back on the field, but he also struggled mightily with injuries in 2019.
Keenan Allen is a go-to-guy for the LA Chargers, but playing alongside Tyrod Taylor won’t help his numbers. I would avoid betting on Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry, too, as the Browns’ QB Baker Mayfield still has to work hard and prove himself in the NFL.
- My Pick: Michael Thomas at +500
Most Regular Season Rushing Yards
The race for the best running back in the league should be the most exciting of all. There are so many guys capable of producing big numbers, while a bunch of teams will lean heavily on their ground game. Also, keep in mind that injuries are always a huge factor when it comes to running backs.
The Tennessee Titans’ Derrick Henry led the NFL in rushing yards last season, carrying the ball 303 times for 1540 yards. He barely outlasted the Cleveland Browns’ Nick Chubb (1494), while Christian McCaffrey came in third with 1387 rushing yards.
The Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott was fourth in rushing yards this past season (1357), and he led the league twice in 2016 and 2018. Zeke is a mean machine, and I expect him to run for 1,400-plus yards in 2020.
And what can I say about Christian McCaffrey who led the NFL in yards from scrimmage last season (2392)? McCaffrey will carry the Carolina Panthers on his back all season long, so he’s certainly a strong fave to lead the NFL in rushing yards.
Saquon Barkley is an interesting betting pick, and here’s why. After finishing second with 1307 rushing yards in 2018 as a rookie, Barkley suffered an ankle injury in 2019, and still posted 1003 rushing yards. Furthermore, Barkley is the Giants’ best player by far, so they will give the ball to Saquon whenever they can.
Nick Chubb was a monster last year, but someone had to make it up for all Baker Mayfield’s interceptions. I expect to see a certain amount of regression in 2020, especially because he’ll split snaps with Kareem Hunt.
Josh Jacobs had an impressive rookie season, rushing for 1150 yards and seven touchdowns. The Raiders will continue to lean on him, but Jacobs will have to deal with more pressure in his second season. Dalvin Cook is the first option for the Vikings, but there are some serious concerns about Cook’s injuries.
If you are looking for huge upsets, try to stay away from Alvin Kamara and Austin Ekeler, as these two guys catch a lot from the backfield. Aaron Jones could be a nice choice after rushing for 1084 yards and 16 touchdowns in his third season with the Packers.
- My Pick: Saquon Barkley at +900