2019 NFL Season Win Totals: Patriots continue to be a safe bet, but two other AFC East sleepers will emerge
Breaking down the AFC East win totals for the 2019 NFL season
With the NFL Draft now behind us, I'm diving in to one of my favorite exercises of the offseason: going through each team's win total and coming up with my early picks on how I think the NFL season will go down. We kicked things off earlier this week with the NFC East, and now it's time to get to the New England Patriots and the rest of the AFC East.
Nothing ages better than NFL predictions in May right? Turns out I'm not terrible at it! The last few seasons have been pretty profitable: 2016 I went 10-5-1 in the AFC and 8-7-1 in the NFC. In 2017 I went 12-2-2 (!) in the AFC and 9-7 in the NFC. Last year in the NFC was not ideal with a 7-8-1 record. The AFC was once again absurd, as I went 12-4 in my over/under picks for that conference.
For you math majors, my AFC record from May the last three years is 34-11-3 in terms of picking over-unders. That's stupid. I'd tell you to bet on every AFC pick I give here, but there's some regression coming at some point probably.
Last year we went team-by-team with these picks, but this year we'll be going back to the divisional format I used in 2016 and 2017. If you hate any picks, love any picks or have better ideas, leave them in the comments or yell at me on Twitter @WillBrinson. You can also get an audio breakdown of all these divisions on the Pick Six Podcast, as we run through each division on our DAILY NFL PODCAST over the next few weeks.
Listen to the latest episode breaking down the AFC East with Dan Lifshatz and Joey Murray of 98.5 the Sports Hub in the player below:
All lines are courtesy of the Westgate at the time the article was published. They're subject to change but I'll be grading myself next May on these numbers. 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.
New England Patriots
Win Total: 11 (Over -140, Under +120)
Time is a flat circle, and so is the Patriots hitting the over. Betting the under on the New England Patriots win total is a very unprofitable move. The Patriots are a ridiculous 13-4-2 to the over on season win totals since Bill Belichick arrived in New England. This is more impressive when you consider they are routinely staring down a total of somewhere between 10 and 12 wins before the season. Last year was a push with 11 wins and, honestly, that's maybe the best you can hope for here if you take the under: Tom Brady struggles while Josh Allen and Sam Darnold explode onto the scene; Miami surprises; the Pats' offensive line can't hold up another season and the run game doesn't get going; Rob Gronkowski is sorely missed. There's a viable path to this happening, but you're taking an unnecessary risk by going under here.
Either bet the over or just pass. I actually love the over, considering the schedule. The only thing that gives me pause here is the Patriots potentially playing possum for much of the season and just trying to get a top two seed in the AFC before making a run in the playoffs.
VERDICT: Over 11
Win Total: 7.5 (Over -110, Under -110)
I really liked this over before the whole Adam Gase situation with Mike Maccagnan exploded onto the back pages. That's some unnecessary drama for a team that had been getting good at staying out of the tabloids. That being said, there is a lot to like here. The Jets added Le'Veon Bell and Jamison Crowder, and Sam Darnold will operate a similar system to what he ran at USC in terms of the throws he'll be asked to make. Those two guys are perfect fits for what Gase wants to do on offense. I've got concerns with the offensive line for sure -- if they can't protect Darnold that's going to be a major problem. Quinnen Williams and C.J. Mosley are big additions to this defense, even if you don't like the price they paid for the middle linebacker.
They've thrown a lot of free agency money at this roster in recent years, particularly on the defensive side. I don't like that style of team building, but I don't hate the pieces they have in place this year to actually make a run as a wild card. They open with Bills (home), Browns (home) and Patriots (away) so getting to 2-1 would be a big plus. But their late-season stretch is easy, man: from Week 9 on they get the Dolphins twice, the Giants, the Redskins, the Raiders, the Bengals and the Bills. None of those are locked-in wins, but they are all winnable games. I was a big fan of Todd Bowles, but I also think Adam Gase squeezes the most out of a roster. If this team can steer clear of major drama issues over the next nine months, it's a wild card contender.
VERDICT: Over 7.5
Win Total: 7 (Over -125, Under +105)
Are the Bills too trendy now? In the podcast above with Dan Lifshatz and Joey Murray from 98.5 the Sports Hub, I expressed my adoration for the Bills offseason and both guys agreed Buffalo was a bit trendy. Vegas agrees too: this line was 6.5, heavily juiced to the over (-160 to -180, depending on where you looked). The Westgate went ahead and swung it up to 7 (-125). That's a big bump in May.
But it's not unreasonable: the Bills had a very good, under-the-radar offseason. They build the foundation around Josh Allen in his second year by adding some quality players at pass catcher and offensive line. Tyler Kroft, a nice tight end addition, is already hurt, so that's not a great start. But the combo of Zay Jones, Robert Foster, Cole Beasley and John Brown intrigues me. Those aren't sexy names or anything, but they complement each other well and should play to Allen's biggest strength (his deep ball) while improving his biggest weakness (accuracy). Signing Mitch Morse, Quinton Spain and Ty Nsekhe while drafting Cody Ford presents a massive upgrade to a very bad offensive line. Devin Singletary can learn from geriatrics Frank Gore and LeSean McCoy. Defensively they can just be good: Buffalo was the No. 2 team in Football Outsiders' defensive metrics last season, and adding Ed Oliver will only help. Sean McDermott is a much better coach than his public perception implies. I think he'll squeeze an unexpected win or two out of this team -- they've now outperformed their Pythagorean win total in each of his two years as coach.
My biggest concern with liking both the Bills and the Jets is you need multiple teams in the division to finish over .500. But it's happened six times since realignment (basically since the Brady/Belichick era began) so it's not far-fetched for the Patriots to dominate and win the division and still get a pair of .500 teams below them. We don't need the Bills to win 12 games. We just need them to win eight.
VERDICT: Over 7
Win Total: 5 (Over +110, Under -130)
This is not an "easy" play because a) there are no such things as easy plays, and b) NFL teams luck into five wins on the reg. The Dolphins did some nice stuff this offseason. Defensively, I don't think they're that far from being a tough out. Christian Wilkins was an excellent first-round pick. Maybe Brian Flores can get something out of Charles Harris, their 2017 first-round selection. Minkah Fitzpatrick and Xavien Howard are excellent building blocks on the back end. I could see this being an above-average defense that keeps the Dolphins in games, which is why I wouldn't want to take the under with my own money.
Offensively, there are some concerns. Chad O'Shea is a first-year OC and he will need to cook early on without a great offensive line. Who's the quarterback? I'm not buying Ryan Fitzpatrick creating Fitzmagic with this roster the way he did in Tampa Bay. I want Josh Rosen stock, but I don't think he's guaranteed to have a monster year or anything. Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki have some upside, but that's not a skill group that is going to buoy the play of a quarterback. Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage both have fantasy upside, but neither is a true feature back in my mind. The schedule is brutal -- three of their home games are in the first month (in Miami, which means the weather could throw uncertainty into the equation about where one is played), and they draw the Ravens, Patriots and Chargers in those games along with a trip to Dallas to play the Cowboys before their Week 5 bye. Anything other than 0-4 would be a win. Another team I wouldn't run the risk on playing personally, but I like the under here.
VERDICT: Under 5
Pick Six Newsletter
Get the day's big stories + fun stuff you love like mock drafts, picks and power rankings.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox for the latest sports news.
There was an error processing your subscription.
The former first-round pick still wants to start for a team one day, but is using a long-term...
Is there reason for NFL players to be jealous of NBA deals? Let's take a look
The Bears desperately need a kicker, and Gould doesn't appear to want to play for the 49ers...
With 100-to-1 odds of winning the award, these QBs headline some decent long-shot bets
There is no shortage of qualified and capable coaches of color, and many came together to share...
Danny Kanell and Raja Bell explore both sides of Washington's 2019 quarterback conundrum