NFL season win totals dropped way back in March (what a time to be alive!) and I went through every single division then, looking at my favorite immediate bets. There's a lot more clarity now after offseason roster moves are largely done, contracts are mostly signed and we know what we're getting ... at least until we don't after the season starts.
There's a pick for every single team, plus a look at our SportsLine projection model simulations, but if I actually believe a team is worth betting on I'll include a note.
The NFC East and NFC West are below. Let's get to it.
(All lines courtesy Caesars Sportsbook)
Over 11.5 (+110)/Under 11.5 (-130)
Any suggestion the Eagles won't be as good as their 2022 season is met with outrage and indignation from those oh-so-typically calm Philly sports fans. But let's be realistic here: the Eagles had everything come together in 2022, leading to a 14-3 record and a Super Bowl berth. They could be a great team in 2023 and finish with less wins (they could also win less regular-season games and actually win a Super Bowl, something no one is really considering). Last year's team had the easiest schedule in the entire NFL and this year's team , according to John Breech's rankings. That's a big deal! Philly also went 6-1 in one-score games during the regular season last year (their one loss came in a Gardner Minshew start) and had the third-fewest adjusted games lost to injuries in 2022. Regression from 14 wins is probably inevitable even if this team is really good! SportsLine's Stephen Oh agrees, placing the Eagles No. 2 in his power ranks, but projecting Philly for 11.3 wins in his simulations. The Eagles make the playoffs more than 90 percent of the time and win the Super Bowl more than 15 percent of the time in the sims, but even if their season culminates in a Lombardi Trophy, there's a good chance they end up with fewer wins this season. I'll almost always bank on regression and I'm doing so here.
Brinson's Pick: Under 11.5 wins (-130)
Over 10 (-145)/Under 10 (+125)
This number just recently moved off over 9.5 (-170) up to the current total of 10 wins. For me, I think it's probably an over here or nothing. The SportsLine projections peg the Cowboys for 9.3 wins, meaning there could be some value in the under. But the NFC is weak and Mike McCarthy is coming off back-to-back 12-win seasons. Kellen Moore's departure -- and McCarthy's ensuing quote lamenting Dallas scoring points -- certainly raised my eyebrows several hundred times over the summer, but he's calling the plays and has a good history of successful offenses while doing so in Green Bay. Dan Quinn might be the real key here. The second he was hired by McCarthy as defensive coordinator, everything changed for the Cowboys, who sported top 10 defenses the last two seasons. The Zack Martin situation is handled, so the offensive line comes into the year fully intact. Ezekiel Elliott can't sign in Dallas to steal high-value touches from Tony Pollard. Nine wins isn't out of the question but I'd lean over here despite the SportsLine simulation model leaning under.
Brinson's Pick: Over 10 wins (-145)
Over 7.5 wins (+100)/Under 7.5 wins (-120)
Originally I'd planned to play the Giants over, because I believe in Brian Daboll and think the concerns about Daniel Jones regressing after he got paid are kind of silly. Yes, the approach to how they handed out contracts feels influenced by management and could have been better, but Jones should only improve in his second year with a consistent, high-level coaching staff. The issue for me is I see the 2022 Giants identically to the 2017 Bills, who shocked the world in Sean McDermott's first year. They added Josh Allen the following offseason and saw some regression down to six wins. The Giants, who won a ton of one-score games last year (8-4-1 overall) could easily play well in 2023, look like a franchise on the rise back to stability ... and still go 7-10. There aren't a ton of weapons on this roster still, but this is clearly a front office/coaching staff on the rise. The SportsLine projection model doesn't see any value here, with the Giants pegged to win 7.6 games. A playoff berth wouldn't shock me but I'll back a little regression.
Brinson's Pick: Under 7.5 wins (-120)
Over 6.5 (+100)/Under 6.5 (-120)
A very difficult team to peg, given the number of unknowns facing Washington this season. We have a coaching staff led by Ron Rivera -- by my quick count the only guy in NFL history to ever coach through two different scandal-filled ownership changes -- who knows this is an audition for new owner Josh Harris. Eric Bienemy is "out from under" Andy Reid with a chance to prove himself. There's already some controversy brewing! Sam Howell is a former fifth-round pick with a pretty decent pedigree. Chase Young is a former first-overall pick looking to break out ahead of free agency. This year's first-round pick, Emmanuel Forbes, joins a defense that could potentially be stout -- Jack Del Rio's unit gave up just 20.2 points per game last year and features a whopping SIX former first-round picks in the starting lineup. Week 1 versus Arizona is a must-win to lock up this over, which is a little nerve-wracking. SportsLine's projection model has the Commanders going for 6.7 wins and I'm right there too -- I'll take the over because I'm higher on Howell than most people, but wouldn't call it a confident pick.
Brinson's Pick: Over 6.5 wins (+100)
Over 10.5 (-160)/Under 10.5 (+145)
Everyone by now should know the deal with the 49ers: completely loaded roster at basically every position, elite offensive coaching and ... massive questions marks at quarterback. Brock Purdy is cleared and would have to "melt down" in order to lose the starting job, but no one can justifiably say Purdy is a lock to play the way he did down the stretch in 2022. Purdy's 17-game pace based on last year's final six games (five starts): 68.3 completion percentage, 3,706 passing yards, 37 touchdowns, eight interceptions, 8.1 yards per attempt. Ten quarterbacks have ever gone 68%+, 3,500 yards+, 35 TD and 10 or less picks in a season and seven of those seasons were MVP winners (three of whom were Aaron Rodgers). The good news for the Niners is Purdy doesn't have to be an MVP, he just needs to not make mistakes and put the ball where Kyle Shanahan wants it. Additionally, if he fails/gets hurt, Sam Darnold has looked reasonably competent in short moments so far this offseason and Trey Lance is always ... still there. They have unicorns -- Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle -- at every skill position, not to mention superhuman Trent Williams at left tackle. Steve Wilks taking over the defense will be interesting, given his propensity to blitz and a lack of secondary depth is concerning, but as long as Nick Bosa is ready for Week 1 contractually this defense should cook. The division is weak to boot. SportsLine's projection model gives the Niners 11.4 wins and I agree on taking the over here, although shop around because there are better numbers. You could also take the Niners to win the division -- they're (-200) at Caesar's but (-160) at DraftKings and SportsLine gives them a better than 80 percent chance to win the division.
Brinson's Pick: Over 10.5 wins (-160)
Over 9 (+100)/Under 9 (-120)
Another really sharp total here for a Seahawks team bringing back basically the whole roster and adding multiple first-round picks again. This time around it's wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba and cornerback Devon Witherspoon, two unusual position picks for Pete Carroll and John Schneider. The players fit, though -- Witherspoon was a surprisingly high pick but he is a DOG and spot on with Seattle's culture. Jamal Adams' return isn't getting enough attention maybe (?) after he played 33 snaps last year. Kenneth Walker and rookie Zach Charbonnet appeared set to miss time but now are both back, which is a big plus because Seattle needs their running game cooking. Geno Smith probably can't replicate last year but there's no guarantee he won't put up 75 percent of his 2022 season. If the defense gets back to average for the first time in a half-decade with Carroll, this is absolutely a playoff team in a weakened NFC.
Brinson's Pick: Over 9 wins (+100)
Over 6.5 (+100)/Under 6.5 (-120)
Good luck finding someone who is on the Rams bandwagon this year ... but guess who has two thumbs and is gonna go down with the Matthew Stafford ship? THIS GUY. The Rams are severely underrated in my opinion, although that opinion was not bolstered by their Week 1 preseason performance, which featured a struggling offensive line (although a surprisingly effective Stetson Bennett!) This is going to rely entirely on health for Stafford, Cooper Kupp and Aaron Donald (25-1 is a good look for Defensive Player of the Year). Donald can carry an entire defense, especially if some of the younger Rams on the roster step up and play well. The offensive line is everything, though. Cam Akers needs holes to run through and Stafford has to be upright. Do we really believe Sean McVay just can't coach all of a sudden? This team won the Super Bowl two years ago. No, my arguments aren't that convincing and no, I don't care. The SportsLine projection model gives the Rams 6.8 wins, which is just barely an over, but also a reminder this team only needs to go 7-10 to hit this total.
Brinson's Pick: Over 6.5 wins (+100)
Over 4.5 (+110)/Under 4.5 (-130)
The Cardinals are widely predicted to be the worst team in football -- the SportsLine projection model has them worse than any other team in the NFL by 0.7 wins. Buuuuuut SportsLine also projects them for 5.5 wins, a full game over their actual Las Vegas total. I'm still inclined to go under here as long as Kyler Murray is still on the shelf. Colt McCoy is a frisky veteran starter, but there's a lack of talent across the board for this team. The offensive line has some interesting upside with first-round pick Paris Johnson Jr., former first-round pick D.J. Humphries and Hjalte Froholdt at center. Froholdt shoved some dudes around in Week 1 of the preseason and will make for a super-fun storyline if he's actually legit. Marquise Brown, James Conner and Zach Ertz just isn't enough to sustain an elite offense. This defense blitzed like crazy against Denver to start the preseason; if that's an indication of what we'll get in the regular season, great, but teams aren't usually prepped for blitzing in these exhibition games. I'm going under this total but if you wanted to bet it, there were 5.5s available earlier this offseason you should have taken.
Brinson's Pick: Under 4.5 wins (-130)