The sports world is starting to stir and while we may not have fans in the stands at the start of the NFL season, the league should still start on time. Any kind of football is better than no football at all. Today, I will give you my Top Seven Win Total Plays for the upcoming season.
7) Tampa Bay Over 9.5 (-140); Under 9.5 +110
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have upgraded their team on offense with the additions of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, plus OT Tristan Wirfs through the draft. There is a lot of hype surrounding this team but I do not see them posting more than nine wins this year. The offense is strong but it was last year and they went 7-9. The secondary is the big key after ranking 30th in pass defense a year ago and they didn’t do a ton to upgrade it t his year. It will be their pass defense that keeps them from double-digit wins. We also note that Brady is 43 years old and should he go down, the Bucs have absolutely no one to back him up. The Schedule is not all that easy especially since they begin the year at New Orleans while starting on November 23rd, they have a four-game stretch against the Rams (home), Chiefs (home) Vikings (home) and Atlanta (away). Even though three of those games are at home, they will not be easy by any stretch. I look for nine wins at most for the Bucs this year. Prediction: Under 9.5 (+110)
6) Detroit Lions Over 6.5 (-130); Under 6.5 (+100)
The Detroit Lions were a horrible 3-12-1 last year, which included a 0-9 mark over their final nine games. Detroit was 2-10 against the NFC, including 0-6 against the division. The Bears, Packers, and Vikings are all solid teams so the Lions will struggle in the division again. Their road slate is tough with the only two winnable games being at Jacksonville and Carolina. The Panthers could even be a tough game for them. The Lions should go 2-6 or 1-7 on the road and that means they have to win five or six at home to post seven wins. The home slate has all three division opponents plus the Houston Texans. Indianapolis Colts New Orleans Saints, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The best they will do at home is 4-4. Granted, the Lions really struggled with Stafford out last year and he will be back this year, but still, this is not a team that will post more than five or six wins. Prediction: Under 6.5 (+100)
5) Indianapolis Colts Over 9 (-125); Under 9 (-105)
I like the Colts to win the AFC South this year and they should do so with at least 10 wins. The Colts finally have a good quarterback again in Philip Rivers, who they signed in the offseason. The offense will now be far better to go along with a defense that looks very solid. This is an improved team and the schedule is not extremely daunting. They get three of their toughest non-division opponents at home in Green Bay, Baltimore, and Minnesota while having winnable road games against Houston, Jacksonville, Chicago, Detroit, and Las Vegas. The Colts should have no problem in reaching at least 10 wins this year. Prediction: Over 9
4) New York Giants Over 6.5 (+100); Under 6.5 (-130)
The New York Giants had a miserable 4-12 season a year ago and it prompted them to fire Pat Shurmer as a coach. He has been replaced by Joe Judge, who has no head coaching experience. His first draft was solid but this team still has plenty of work to do and Daniel Jones is in just his 2nd year at running the offense. The defense has some big holes and that is something the Giants will need to address in next year’s draft. The road slate is very tough for a rebuilding team as they have dates at Washington, Philadelphia, Dallas, Baltimore, Chicago, the Rams. Cincinnati and Seattle. The Giants will most likely go 1-7 in those games. That means they will need to go 6-2 at home and that just doesn’t seem likely with home games that include Saan Francisco, Dallas, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Arizona, and Cleveland. The last two are not powerhouses but they are far better teams than the giants are. I see New York going 5-11 at best. Prediction: Under 6.5 (-130)
3) San Francisco 49ers Over 10.5 (-125); Under (-105)
The San Francisco 49ers went 13-3 last year and they have basically the same core of players back plus they had a very nice draft, considering the Niners had just five picks. San Francisco had a solid defense that got even better with 1st round pick Javon Kinlaw, who many feel has superstar written all over him. The Niners had another 1st round selection and they used it on WR Brandon Aiyuk, who should replace the departed Emmanuel Sanders. This is not a team that will regress much at all. Yes, the Seahawks and Cardinals have all gotten better this year, but San Francisco is still the class of the division and will total at least 11 wins this year. The Road slate is rather tough but they should be able to go at least 5-3 in their road games with the three losses at Seattle, New Orleans, and Dallas. Yes, I have them beating New England and the Rams on the road. The home slate should net them six wins at least. They have Arizona, Philadelphia, Miami, The Rams, Green Bay, Buffalo Washington, and Seattle in their home games. Do not be surprised if the Niners run the table at home this year. Prediction: Over 10.5 (-125)
2) New Orleans Saints Over 10.5 (-115); Under 10.5 (-115)
The gap in the NFC has closed some after the Bucs had an amazing offseason which saw them land Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski while also having a very good draft. Still, the Saints did nothing to hurt themselves from a team that went 13-3 a year ago. They even made themselves better with the addition of WR Emmanuel Sanders, while also shoring up their offensive line with the selection of C/G Cesar Ruiz in the first round. This is a team that is just as strong, if not stronger than last year. The Road slate is rather easy as it includes very winnable games against Las Vegas, Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, Denver, and Carolina. I can see the Saints going at least 5-3 on the road and that means they need to go 6-2 or better at home. The Saints have gone 6-2 or better at home in each of the last three seasons. The Saints going at least 11-5 is a lock. Prediction: Over 10.5 (-115)
1) Dallas Cowboys Over 9.5 (-145); Under (+115)
Even before the draft, I did a podcast here at Winners & Whiners and I had the Cowboys going 10-6 this year. The Cowboys then went out and had an outstanding draft and so nothing has me thinking that they will not at least achieve the 10 wins I thought they would before the draft. Dallas already had one of the best offenses in the league and it got better with the addition of Ceedee Lamb. The defense has also improved itself. The Eagles are a good team but they failed to improve themselves enough to overtake the Cowboys in the division. The home slate includes Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, Washington Redskins, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, and San Francisco 49ers. At the very least, Dallas should go 7-1 in those games. The only possible loss could be the Niners. The road slate is also rather easy with games against the Eagles, Giants, Redskins, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota Vikings, and Seattle Seahawks. At the very worst, Dallas will go 4-4 on the road. The schedule and the talent that the ‘Boys have, clearly screams out that Dallas will go at least 11-5.