The NFL Draft is over, which means we head into the doldrums of the NFL offseason. Every year in May, I embark upon a dangerous mission: looking at the win totals for every NFL team and deciding whether each team will win more or fewer games than Vegas predicts. Guessing in May 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.
Especially in the AFC,, including a sweep of the AFC East and a sweep of my two best bets (Raiders and Patriots over). The NFC wasn't quite as good, , and that's not a loser, although my two best bets (Cardinals, Bears) were total eggs.
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. Some notes:
1) Any best bets are noted by (***) and BEST BET.
2) 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
3) Look for these to drop in this order:
Tuesday, May 16 - AFC South
9 Over (Even) / Under (-130)
What a run -- literally -- for the Titans last season. Tennessee's success was , a laughable concept when he unveiled it that became terrifying by the end of the season when DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry were clicking on all cylinders. There's reason to believe it can succeed again. Murray and Henry are back, along with one of the more underrated offensive lines in football. The Titans return Delanie Walker and added Corey Davis, the most pro-ready prospect in this draft class, with a top-five pick. If Marcus Mariota is healthy, this offense should dominate again. The defense should be improved too -- the secondary will be much better with Logan Ryan, Johnathan Cyprien and Adoree Jackson all offering upgrades.
The schedule is tough, because it features the NFC West and the AFC North. Going 4-3 before the bye looks doable, but the Titans have to beat the Raiders (Week 1) or Seahawks (Week 3) at home. Do that and there are five home games on the backside of the schedule, all of which are winnable, although not easy.
9 Over (-115) / Under (-115)
It has been a really solid offseason for new Colts GM Chris Ballard, who has done the polar opposite of Ryan Grigson, eschewing big names in order to build a quality roster. This defense isn't going to magically be top-10 or anything, but Sean Spence, Johnathan Hankins and Margus Hunt are going to make this defense bigger and meaner. Malik Hooker can be Chuck Pagano's Ed Reed, a ball-hawking safety with crazy range. If the offensive line can play well and Andrew Luck is healthy the offense will put up points; there are just too many weapons for the Colts not to produce points.
Yet something seems off. This number feels high for a team that has several easy wins on its schedule early -- the Browns, Jaguars and 49ers at home before the Week 11 bye -- but a ton of toss-up games too, including the Cardinals at home in Week 2 and a road combo against the Bengals and Texans in Week 8 and 9. I think it's going to be a push at best.
8.5 Over (-130) / Under (Even)
The Texans are all in for 2017, having traded away their first-round pick (to draft Deshaun Watson) and their second-round pick (to dump Brock Osweiler) in 2018 to the Browns. If Houston craters, they could owe Cleveland a pair of top-40 picks. They shouldn't be a disaster, if only because Bill O'Brien teams usually outperform themselves. Tom Savage or Watson is an upgrade over Osweiler. Adding D'Onta Foreman gives the Texans good depth behind Lamar Miller, who was poorly used early last season. DeAndre Hopkins should bounce back. J.J. Watt is going to play again, Jadeveon Clowney should only improve and Whitney Mercilus remains underrated. Zach Cunningham was a fantastic second-round pick who could impact this defense. There's reason to think the Texans can make a run here.
But the schedule isn't great. Opening with the Jaguars is nice, but games at Cincy and New England are followed by home games against the Titans and Chiefs. The Browns are a welcome respite before the Week 7 bye, but playing in Seattle coming out of the break isn't easy. Four of the final six are on the road.
6 Over (-120) / Under (-110)
Is it finally the Jaguars time? Every year, Jacksonville adds a bunch of nice players in free agency and the draft only to disappoint the next season. This year it was Calais Campbell, A.J. Bouye and Barry Church in free agency to shore up an already talented defense and Leonard Fournette and Cam Robinson in the draft to try and help an offense that turned into a disaster last year. If Blake Bortles plays like he did in 2015, the Jaguars can make a playoff run. If he plays like he did in 2016, they're going to run right back to a top-10 pick.
Looking at their schedule, it's hard to definitively say that there are easy wins on there. Do you trust Jacksonville to go into Cleveland and beat the Browns? Are the Jags definitely going to handle the Rams at home? They should be better than the Jets, but they could lose that game on the road. At the end of the day, they'll be better coached and Doug Marrone secretly has the most wins of any Bills coach in the last 15 years. Anything isn't possible, but seven is.