This week will feature the first of a two-part series looking at the over/under win totals for each NFL team this season. I'll start with the AFC this week before tackling the NFC next week.
Here's a link with the over/under totals for each team:
New England, 2011 record: 13-3, over 12 (-125), under 12 (-105)
I don't feel great about this one, but I'd bank on the over. The Patriots should be a lot healthier on defense this season and the addition of Brandon Lloyd gives them another potent weapon for QB Tom Brady. The schedule doesn't look too bad either, as two of their three toughest matchups (BAL, HOU and SF) are at home.
Buffalo, 2011 record: 6-10, over 7 (-110), under 7 (-120)
I've already written a blog on Rotosynthesis.com explaining why this is the line I love the most. I'd be really surprised if the Bills don't go over, given all of the moves made this offseason.
New York Jets, 2011 record: 8-8, over 8.5 (-115), under 8.5 (-115)
I'd go with the under here as I don't really see how the Jets are better than they were last season, unless you think Tim Tebow is a +1 win player. The addition of Stephen Hill is interesting, but Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene don't strike me as anything more than league average players at their positions.
Miami, 2011 record: 6-10, over 7.5 wins (-110), under 7.5 wins (-120)
Given the loss of Brandon Marshall and the question marks at quarterback, this one seems to be a pretty easy under call. It's surprising to see the line jump 1.5 wins over last season without seeing the team get significantly better during the offseason. The defense should be pretty solid, but with Ryan Tannehill likely taking over behind center at some point, I don't see how they get to .500.
Baltimore, 2011 record: 12-4, over 10 wins (-105), under 10 wins (-120)
This is a suspicious looking line, given that the Ravens had 12 wins last year. However, this could be taking into account a tough schedule (NYG, DEN, NE, PHI, DAL, HOU) and the (potentially lengthy) loss of Terrell Suggs. Ray Lewis isn't getting any younger and as of now Ed Reed (who turns 34 this season) is reportedly not 100 percent committed to playing this season. I'm going to go under here.
Pittsburgh 2011 record: 12-4, over 10 wins (-125), under 10 wins (-105)
This is another one that smells like a trap, given that the Steelers have finished 12-4 each of the last two seasons. Rashard Mendenhall (bouncing back from an ACL tear) should be able to play this season, but it's not like he's a big difference-maker on offense. Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown are a solid 1-2 punch in the passing attack and Ben Roethlisberger is one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the league. I'd go over, especially since a 10-6 season is a push.
Cincinnati, 2011 record: 9-7, over 7.5 wins (-130), under 7.5 wins (even)
While this isn't an easy division to play in, I'd think there's another level of performance Andy Dalton and A.J. Green haven't attained yet. BenJarvus Green-Ellis is another plodder in a long line of running backs since Corey Dillon who, if nothing else, will hang on to the football. I like the over here, as a .500 record seems more than achievable.
Cleveland, 2011 record: 4-12, over 5.5 wins (even), under 5.5 wins (-130)
The Browns have long been a league doormat, but there's reason to think they'll be much better this season with the additions of Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson. I still like Greg Little and there seems to be enough in place at the skill positions to eke out six wins. I'll hold my nose and take the over here.
Houston, 2011 record: 10-6, over 10 wins (-140), under 10 wins (+110)
This is a team that lost Arian Foster for three games, Andre Johnson for nine games and Matt Schaub for six games in 2011. Yet, the Texans still managed 10 wins and won a playoff game. It's pretty easy to imagine a healthier scenario this season and Wade Phillips has constructed one of the better defenses in the league. The only reason this line isn't higher is likely due to the schedule outside of the division (GB, NE, DET, CHI, and DEN). On an odd scheduling note, they have Indy in two of the last three weeks. I'll still go over despite the schedule.
Tennessee, 2011 record: 9-7, over 7 wins (-130), under 7 wins (even)
Chris Johnson is already in camp this season and the big question is whether Matt Hasselbeck or Jake Locker will be under center Week 1. That's a good problem to have. Kenny Britt just had another knee procedure, but looked like one of the best receivers in the league before his injury. I've been ranting about Jared Cook for years; he should be utilized more in the passing game. The schedule isn't a cakewalk, but I'd go over with the idea that they can be a .500 team.
Jacksonville, 2011 record: 5-11, over 5.5 wins (+105), under 5.5 wins (-135)
Other than the Bills, this might be the team I like the best to go over. Maurice Jones-Drew has proven to be a durable back who can produce even when defenses knows he's getting the ball a ton. I've been critical of Blaine Gabbert in the past, but there's enough talent at receiver – thanks to the additions of Laurent Robinson and Justin Blackmon – that he can throw short patterns and let them make plays. If Gabbert doesn't pan out, keep in mind that the Jags have Miami castoff Chad Henne, who looked competent before his injury last season, on the roster. Their defense is underrated too.
Indianapolis, 2011 record: 2-14, over 5.5 wins (+105), under 5.5 wins (-135)
This is a tough one since rookie quarterbacks are more NFL-ready than ever before. I liked the Colts grabbing TE Coby Fleener, who should develop into Andrew Luck's safety blanket. However, Reggie Wayne is in the twilight of his career and running back has been a carousel of mediocrity for years. While passing 5.5 wins isn't a lot, I just don't see it this season. I'd go under.
Denver, 2011 record: 8-8, over 9.5 wins (-110) under 9.5 wins (-120)
This is one of the more interesting lines, given that I'd think the upgrade from Tim Tebow to Peyton Manning would be worth at least two wins. Looking a little deeper, the 8-8 record was probably pretty lucky considering that the Broncos were outscored by 81 points last season. Still, it's hard to pick another team to win the division over them provided Manning stays healthy for the full season. The schedule is tough, having non-divisional games against PIT, ATL, NO, NE and BAL. I'd go under here, as the over seems too obvious and if Manning goes down, I don't see much upside.
San Diego, 2011 record: 8-8, over 9 wins (-130), under 9 wins (even)
It's hard to imagine Phillip Rivers having another tough season in the interception department, although he surpassed 4,600 passing yards for the second straight season in 2011. Vincent Jackson is gone, but Vincent Brown showed some promise and supposedly Antonio Gates is the healthiest he's even been. Ryan Mathews will have the opportunity to become a premier back, provided he stays healthy and hangs onto the ball. I see enough upside here to take the over.
Oakland, 2011 record: 8-8, over 7 wins (-110), under 7 wins (-120)
The Raiders should be one of the more fantasy-friendly teams this season with their combination of talent on offense and a bad defense. Carson Palmer (who I discuss as a sleeper in the RotoWire magazine) has plenty of weapons at wide receiver and there's always the outside chance that Darren McFadden stays healthy for the full season. In the end I think there's not enough on defense, so I like the under, but not a lot.
Kansas City, 2011 record: 7-9, over 8 wins (-120) under 8 wins (-110)
I have a feeling that this is the season where Matt Cassel shows that he can be more than a league-average quarterback. He has one of the best rushing tandems in his backfield, with a (hopefully) healthy Jamaal Charles and the signing of Peyton Hillis, plus OT Eric Winston should be able to open up some holes. Moreover, Jonathan Baldwin and Steve Breaston are solid secondary receiving options after Dwayne Bowe. I'll go over with this one, especially since the schedule doesn't look too daunting.
Agree or disagree with any of my opinions? Hit up the comments section.