The NFL Draft is over, which means we head into the doldrums of the NFL offseason. Every year in the first two weeks of May, I embark upon a dangerous mission: looking at the win totals for every NFL team and deciding whether or not each team will win more or less
The NFL Draft is over, which means we head into the doldrums of the NFL offseason. Every year in the first two weeks of May, I embark upon a dangerous mission: looking at the win totals for every NFL team and deciding whether or not each team will win more or less games than Vegas predicts.
Guessing in May as to who will end up with a certain number of wins come January isn't easy. And things can go south quickly -- two years ago, I went a very disappointing 14-17-1 overall. Last year was much more promising, however, as I finished 18-12-2 across the board. I will take that all day and run with it.
We're going to look at two divisions per day over the next few days. If you hate any picks, love any picks or have better ideas, leave them in the comments or yell at me on Twitter @WillBrinson.
- Any best bets are noted by (***) and the words BEST BET in large letters.
- Lines are courtesy of Sportsbook.ag. The numbers next to the win total indicate the juice. If an over is +150, it means you make $150 for betting $100. If it's -150 you need to bet $150 just to win $100
- Look for these to drop in this order:
- Friday, May 12 - NFC West
- Monday, May 15 - AFC East
- Monday, May 15 - AFC North
- Tuesday, May 16 - AFC South
- Tuesday, May 16 - AFC West
10.5 Over (-115) / Under (-115)
This whole Pete Carroll/John Schneider thing is working out pretty well, right? Six out of seven years the Seahawks have made the playoffs, five out of seven years they've won the division and in the last five years Seattle has averaged 11.2 wins per season. If you're going to nitpick, they've only won the division once in the last two years and only have 20 wins total in that span. For normal football purposes, that is some serious nitpicking. For predicting their total wins in the upcoming year, it's at least worth monitoring.
The Seahawks are entering their second season without Marshawn Lynch, and this is Russell Wilson's team. Which is fine, but there isn't any protection to believe in, and the Seahawks didn't draft any offensive line help at tackle. Luke Joeckel would be a laugher in any other landing spot, but it's believable that the Seahawks can turn him into a steal because that's what they do. Eddie Lacy is similar; he is a perfect fit in this offense if he's less hearty and more healthy. Seattle drafted a bunch of safeties this year -- three fairly early to be exact -- which could lead one to believe they're worried about the future of Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor.
Even with three road games in their first five weeks, it's hard to imagine anything less than 3-2 for this team to start the season. There are six or seven wins just hanging out there for the Seahawks after the bye too, based primarily on how their schedule lines up. If they win four before the break or eight after (instead of three and seven) then taking the under will be a loser. This total is too high to love, though.
8 Over (-130) / Under (Even)
Arizona struggled badly last year, and they still finished No. 16 in DVOA overall. Carson Palmer was much better down the stretch and Larry Fitzgerald, who somehow has more than 100 catches each of the last two years, will be motivated, as he understands the short window for this team. The defense lost a lot of players in free agency, but credit Steve Keim and the front office for remaking it on the fly, especially in the draft. Haason Reddick and Budda Baker make perfect sense for this amoeba defense.
Offensively this squad has some questions at the wideout position, which would have seemed unfathomable just a year ago. Michael Floyd is on his third team since 2016. John Brown was a non-factor last year. Fitz is not a spring chicken. David Johnson is coming off surgery but is the best all-around back in the league right now (no offense, Le'Veon Bell). The Cards redshirted a couple of guys in D.J. Humphries (twice?) and Robert Nkemdiche, and both of them need to have breakout years.
They open up with a pair of games on the road, but there are ample opportunities for wins here, including a late-season, three-game stretch at home against the Jaguars, Rams and Titans. They could open up 0-3 and still cover this over.
Los Angeles Rams
5.5 Over (Even) / Under (-130)
Last season was such a disaster for the Rams that it started with Jeff Fisher complaining about some "7-9 bulls--t" and it ended with us finding out that Jeff Fisher had authorized a reality series that would film him getting fired. The Rams didn't get to use their top-five pick on a wideout for Jared Goff because they used it trading up to get Goff, who they didn't start until late in the season. If Corey Davis is great for the Titans, it will linger over a team that has Tavon Austin, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp as its wideouts. All are nice guys, but there's no lead dog for a young quarterback.
Andrew Whitworth was an inspired signing. Todd Gurley will bounce back this year. Aaron Donald is a superstar on the defense. Sean McVay might very well be a great young coach, but he is really young and he's got all eyes on him as the Rams try to take a step forward.
The start is going to be massive for the Rams. They need to get three wins before their bye -- one against the Colts or Redskins in the first two weeks, if not both, 49ers on the road, Jaguars on the road -- in Week 8 or else things get really tough. They host the Texans, Saints and Eagles before closing out with the 49ers at home in Week 17.
San Francisco 49ers
4.5 Over (-125) / Under (-105)
It's easy to stare at the 49ers' roster and assume that they're going to be terrible. But there's a low bar to clear between "terrible" and "kind of impressive." Specifically, if the 49ers manage to win six games, people will praise them. And there's a formula here for that to happen. The defense has to be good, but that's possible with Solomon Thomas and Reuben Foster as first-round additions alongside DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead. The back end of that defense, with the underrated Dontae Johnson, Eric Reid and Jimmie Ward, is better than you think. Maybe everything clicks and they generate some turnovers and look like a team capable of playing some defense every now and then. Add in Kyle Shanahan managing to put together an above-average offense by utilizing Brian Hoyer, Carlos Hyde, Pierre Garcon and Vance McDonald ... weirder things have happened.
The start is rough for this squad. Carolina at home to open, Seattle on the road in Week 2, the Rams at home in Week 3 and then a three-game road trip that involves the Cardinals, Colts and Redskins. That's brutal. The Cowboys (home), Eagles (road), Cardinals (home) and Giants (home) wait on the other side before the bye. Six would be miracle working by Shanahan. But that doesn't mean it won't happen.