I am a football nerd and proud of it. With the NFL Draft in the rear view mirror, another favorite offseason event of mine took place earlier this week. Las Vegas released their projected regular season win totals for all 32 NFL teams. Here are my three favorite over/under bets for 2017.
Cowboys (Under 9.5 wins)
Unless you are an all-time great, this league has a way of humbling players whose careers get off to a hot start. Dak Prescott could be the latest example of that.
If he takes just a half step back from his 2016 season that saw him toss 23 touchdowns and just four interceptions, the effect will be dramatic.
In addition to their own division where all three opponents are at least reasonably capable, Dallas squares off with the western divisions in each conference, along with the Falcons and Packers. That is a really tough schedule for any team.
Dallas will still be very competitive, but that defense is not scaring anyone. The addition of Brandon Marshall makes the Giants the most complete team in the NFC East, and they already beat Dallas twice last year.
Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott will have to be superhuman again for this team to be close to where they were last year. That is a tough thing to bank on.
Browns (Over 4 wins)
This one is a bit dicey given the quarterback situation. None of Cleveland’s options are particularly appealing in the short term.
Even so, accumulating talent is the name of the game in the NFL. They’ve added linebacker Jamie Collins and three freakishly talented first-round draft picks that actually made sense. Add that to franchise mainstay Joe Thomas and this roster is already much better than last year’s 1-15 squad.
Several of Cleveland’s losses last year were relatively close. They’ve improved via the draft and free agency. They also have a schedule that includes the likes of Jacksonville, Minnesota, the Jets and division rival Cincinnati twice. Four wins does not seem like much to ask.
Bucs (Over 8 Wins)
In each of the last two seasons, an NFC South team has risen from relative obscurity to reach the Super Bowl. If you are a fan of odd trends, here are a few reasons why Tampa Bay could follow their division rivals.
The thought of Jameis Winston throwing to Mike Evans along with new additions O.J. Howard and DeSean Jackson is enough to make any defender lose sleep. Winston gets better with every snap. The organization surrounding him with this kind of talent will only expedite that process.
Most of the same faces are on the young defense that is far from perfect. They did have a few shining moments last year, including holding Seattle and the Saints to under 15 points.
The Super Bowl might be a reach in the minds of some, but eight wins feels like stealing.
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