Early Betting Prediction for the 2016 NFL Season by BetonSports.com

Now that Super Bowl 50 is in the books, and the Denver Broncos have won their third world championship, it’s time to take a way-too-early look at what is likely to happen next year. There were some teams that surprised the opposition and more than one online sportsbook, this year but didn’t quite make the playoffs, and there were some other teams expected to be in the postseason who washed out. Let’s take a look at some teams that should be part of the playoff conversation next year after having to watch everything after Week 17 from home this year.

Dallas Cowboys

What we’re hearing is that Tony Romo is undergoing a surgical procedure that will keep his collarbone from breaking. If you’re old enough to remember the television show “The Six Million Dollar Man” or young enough to remember the cloning at work in producing athletes in “The Sixth Day,” you know that Romo might emerge with cyborg-type strength. Seriously, though, the Cowboys’ offense is much more productive when Romo is on the field. The Cowboys’ defense was playoff-caliber this season, but the nonsense that Greg Hardy brought to the team (and the fatigue from all that time on the field) led to a lot of losses on fourth-quarter drives by the opposition. This season, the Cowboys won’t need to hold the opposition under 10 or 13 points to win.

Jacksonville Jaguars

It’s been a long time since Tom Coughlin took the Jacksonville Jaguars to deep playoff runs. In the last few years, they have been one of the worst teams in the league — having eight consecutive seasons without a winning record. However, they are showing some signs of life. Their offense has taken off as quarterback Blake Bortles has upped his game significantly. Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson might be the most underrated receiving duo in the NFL right now. Tailback T.J. Yeldon has shown flashes of promise, which will give the offense some balance — and take the heat off Bortles. The defense still needs some more pieces, but the team that demolished the Colts, 51-16, could appear more often next season and be a major player in the AFC South.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

There were some observers calling the Bucs a possible playoff team this season, as rookie quarterback Jameis Winston showed growth at a rate even faster than the experts had thought. Tailback Doug Martin has emerged as well, but the Bucs showed some poise down the stretch. When they knocked off the Cowboys, they could easily have folded under the relentless pressure of the Dallas defense, but they mounted a late fourth-quarter drive that put them in position for a touchdown after the Cowboys committed a mindless defensive holding penalty — and the Bucs won. Pulling out close results like that this year builds mental toughness that will serve them well next year.

Oakland Raiders

Raider Nation has suffered mightily since they took the field for the Super Bowl in 2002. They haven’t had a record better than 8-8 since then, and they haven’t even sniffed the playoffs. However, the play of Derek Carr has the fan base excited, especially since the addition of Amari Cooper to the passing game. Latavius Murray is budding as a quality tailback, and as this team coalesces, they will threaten in the AFC West.