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Tuesday, June 18, 2024
The Observer

NFL Win Totals

Now that the NFL free agency dust has settled, Caesars Sportsbook released its annual NFL win totals for the 32 teams. To clarify (as I do with any gambling columns I write), I am only 20 and do not bet. However, this is a fun exercise that gives me a chance to compare my evaluations of teams to that of the sports betting world. 

AFC North

The Ravens (9.5) are one of the two teams in the division that I would take the over on. They did finish last in the division last season, but Baltimore was one of the most injured teams in the league. They also have the 23rd most difficult schedule in the NFL. Last season they had the second most difficult.

The Bengals are the second of the two teams I would take the over on. I know I was a little low on them a few weeks ago, but they should be able to clear 9.5 wins. Thanks to their offensive line free agency acquisitions, the team should be pretty good this year.

I am taking the Browns (9.5) and Steelers (7.5) on the under; Mitchell Trubisky is just not a starting caliber QB option.

The Browns may fall short because Deshaun Watson will likely face a 6-8 week suspension. If Baker plays, he could potentially get them to the over, but I doubt he will do the Browns any favors considering he wants out.

AFC South

I can see both the Titans (9.5) and the Colts (9.5) hitting the over. Both teams have a bottom 24 strength of schedule (SOS), and the Colts improved dramatically at QB. If I had to pick one of the two as a lock to hit the over, it would be the Colts. Thanks to acquiring Ryan, they have the better defense between the two teams and now the better offense.

The two other teams, the Texans (4.5) and Jaguars (6.5) feel more likely to hit the under. Considering the Jaguars' timeline, 6.5 is too high a mark. Maybe they get to five, but nothing higher. And while I can see the Texans certainly getting over 4.5, I think they are going to be a rebuilding team that maxes at four wins. 

AFC East

The Bills (11.5) feel like a team that could hit the over this season. I like what the team has done this year, and, like last year, they are my team to come out of the AFC. My only hesitation is that they have a more demanding schedule (12th), up from 23rd.

The Patriots and Dolphins are both set at 8.5, and I like both teams to hit the over (I honestly would have put it at 9). As much as the Dolphins are going to miss Brian Flores, Mike McDaniels will do a lot to help Tua.  

I also like the Patriots' moves this off-season, specifically signing Malcolm Butler, Jabrill Peppers, Devin McCourty, and trading for DeVante Parker.

The Jets (5.5) are the only team in the AFC East that I expect to hit the under. As much as I think Robert Saleh can help with the Jets' defense, I do not believe in Zach Wilson. 

AFC West

This division feels hard to pick. I like the Chiefs to hit the over at 10.5, but I have mixed feelings after that. 

The Raiders (8.5) feel like they are the most likely to hit the under, as they did the least to improve. 

Based on their free agency moves, I think that the Chargers are likely to hit the over.

I can certainly see the Broncos hitting the over, but given how hard their division is, I think they will be a push.

NFC North

At 11.5, I think the Packers can hit the over. Since the arrival of Matt LeFleur has consistently gotten the Packers to 13 wins. With Davante Adams gone and a lack of talent at the WR position, I could see the Packers falling short of 13, but still getting to 12.

At 8.5 wins, I can see the Vikings getting to nine wins. The defense should improve somewhat this season, and under Kevin O'Connell, I expect the Vikings' offense to be incredible. 

As for the Bears and Lions (6.5), I expect them to hit the under. This is the first year Jared Goffs' cap number will impact the cap, and I expect it to hamstring the Lions a bit. The Bears are in full rebuild mode; do not expect a lot from them.

NFC South

The Buccaneers (11.5) should hit the over with the return of Tom Brady.

I think the Saints are the biggest bargain of the 32 teams at 7.5. Large sources of doubt are both new head coach Dennis Allen and Jameis Winston's recovery. When Winston was healthy, the Saints looked like a playoff-caliber team and I expect them to be such again. 

Even with the free agency moves that the Panthers have made, I doubt they clear six wins. If anything, they will be a push and try to acquire a QB next year.

The Falcons finally took my advice (from last season) and dealt Matt Ryan, beginning a rebuild. I expect Atlanta to hit the under (5.5) as their offense will struggle mightily without Matt Ryan and Calvin Ridley (serving a one-year gambling suspension).

NFC East 

I expect the Dallas Cowboys (10.5) to hit the over, but it will be a lot closer to 10.5 than Cowboys fans would like. The roster has gotten a lot worse this offseason and seems to be feeling the consequences of Dak Prescott. 

I think the Eagles can get to the over, as they currently have the 30th easiest schedule in the NFL. I like the direction the Eagles are moving in, (though their trade with the Saints may move the timeline back). 

The Commanders (7.5) can hit the over, but it will depend on their defense improving dramatically from this season.

The Giants (seven) will hit the under.

NFC West

The Rams (10.5) are both my favorite to win the division, and to come out of the NFC playoffs. They do have the most challenging schedule in the NFL, and as with last year, health is a problem, but they should clear 10 wins. 

The 49ers (10) are interesting because I have no idea what their starting QB situation will be like. However, if we get the 49ers of the back half of last season, the 49ers should clear 10 wins. 

Arizona feels like a push at nine. They may have started at 7-0, but they finished at 4-6. I do think that the limitations of the air raid offense showed themselves down the stretch.

The Seahawks (six) are likely to be under. With QB Drew Lock starting and DK Metcalf on the trading block, the Seahawks are beginning a rebuild.