By: Denery Noone, Scott Brock-Wilson, and Justin Lynch
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS - 7.5
Scott: Under: I am interested to see the offense with Allen and Mike Williams both healthy. The offense has never been the issue with the Chargers though, their secondary is what scares me. Every game tends to be a shootout and you can’t solely rely on Rivers and Bosa to carry the team.
Denery: Over: I am buying into the LA Chargers bandwagon. They have an awesome pass rush with Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa, Phillip Rivers is too much of a winner, and they have too much offensive weaponry to sit back and lose 9 or 10 games again. What it will really come down to is how well they play in the fourth quarter, because that is where they have lost so many games in the past two seasons.
Lynch: Over: This is a big jump for the 5 win Chargers,but Rivers will be better with more weapons (Keenan Allen is back, Hunter Henry is better) and Melvin Gordon should improve on his breakout 2016 campaign. Joey Bosa is one of the league’s best pass rushers, and the defense as a whole is underrated. Eight wins scares me, but I’ll take the over.
LOS ANGELES RAMS - 5.5
Scott: Under: The Rams QBs are Jared Goff and Sean Mannion. Not Exactly your ideal QBs when you are moving into a city where you need star players to survive. I only see 3 potential winnable games (49ers twice, Jaguars), but I certainly don’t feel confident picking them. So needless to say, it’s under.
Denery: Over: I’m telling you right now, buy into what Jared Goff is selling. There are so many quarterbacks that struggled mightily in their first season as a starter (Look at both Mannings). Give this kid a chance, and with the addition of Sammy Watkins to go with Todd Gurley, he is going to have playmakers.
Lynch: Over: The Rams were a good football team two years ago, with a ton of talent of both sides of the ball. The quarterback position was the issue, and still is. Goff may not be the answer, but he should undoubtedly improve. Six games is a reasonable expectation for a 4-12 team which should be better all around.
MIAMI DOLPHINS - 7.5
Scott: Over: They were one of the luckiest teams last year and are bound to regress this year. With the Jets and the Bills in your division, that is at least 3 wins off the bat. The Dolphins can squeak out a .500 record.
Denery: Under: Jay Cutler stinks, and they aren’t good enough to overcome that.
Lynch: Under: I just don’t trust the Dolphins. Cutler has talent and weapons, but I’m not sure it will be a seamless transition back into football life after preparing the entire offseason for broadcasting. The defense is fine, but that’s not going to cut it. 10 wins was an aberation, still they should land just under .500.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS - 8.5
Scott: Under: The defense was incredible, leading to an inevitable dip this year. As much as I love Dalvin Cook, he won’t be able to do enough to get the vikings over .500 in his rookie season.
Denery: Under: Sam Bradford stinks, and even more so than the Dolphins they are definitely not good enough to overcome that. I could see them around 5-11 this year.
Lynch: Under: They went 8-8 last year and now Bradford is more comfortable in the system and their running game should be better. Still, I just don’t feel good about them getting to nine wins.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS - 12.5
Scott: Over: Why is the Patriots line always too low. Just before the Edelman injury, people were talking about an undefeated season, and they are at 12.5. Over. Over. Over.
Denery: Over: Do I even have to say why?
Lynch: Over: The Edelman injury hurts and the offense may take a few weeks to adjust, but they’ll be okay. Defense is better, Gronk is healthy, don’t bet against the Pats.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS - 8
Scott: Under: I know i’m always higher on the Saints than most, but this year they’ll have a tough time, most likely finishing last in the division.b On paper they have a potent backfield of Ingram, Peterson, and Kumara, but how helpful will that truly be? They need defense and always have.
Denery: Over: This is going to be the year the Saints finally get back into playoff contention. Brees will continue to light up the scoreboard, and as long as that defense improves at all, they should win around 10 games.
Lynch: Push: Their division is stacked plus they play vs. New England and at Green Bay. The defense will be better, but the offense may take a slight dip. Brandin Cooks is gone and Adrian Peterson may not have anything left. Mark Ingram is solid, and Michael Thomas emerging. The Saints still have Drew Brees and should go .500.
NEW YORK GIANTS - 9
Scott: Over: The Giants defense carried the team last year, and they reloaded offensively providing Eli with more weapons. The Giants are the best team in one of the top divisions in football. I certainly expect over 9 wins.
Denery: Over: They might be the second most talented team in the NFC behind the Falcons. They have an incredible defense, dynamic weapons, and a hungry quarterback. Only thing that worries me is the running game.
Lynch: Push: Odell starts the season injured and Brandon Marshall another year older. Eli Manning is good, and consistent over the course of his career, but has shown signs of slowing down. They have no running game, either. The defense is solid, but games at Arizona, Denver, and Oakland plus their division schedule scares me. Maybe this is too much of a regression, but 10 wins seems like too much.
NEW YORK JETS - 4.5
Scott: Under: Just take a look at their super bowl odds (1000-1) and that tells the whole story.
Denery: Under: We all know that the Jets are gunning for the number one pick to try and get Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen. It’s the new age Philadelphia 76ers. #TrustTheProcess
Lynch: Under: Jets stink.
OAKLAND RAIDERS - 10
Scott: Over: The Raiders are returning healthy, and didn’t lose any key pieces from last year. Adding Lynch has been an overrated signing, but the Raiders won’t be two wins worse.
Denery: Over: That young defense is going to continue to improve, and they may actually have a resemblance of a running game to match that potent passing attack.
Lynch: Under: The Raiders wildly outperformed their pythagorean expectation last season. Derek Carr is coming off a tough leg injury, and we don’t know what to make of Marshawn Lynch’s return. Their defense finished 23rd in defensive DVOA last year, and the Raiders brutal schedule, especially down the stretch will illuminate their defensive struggles.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES - 8
Scott: Under: The Eagles are the worst team in the NFC East right now. It is tough to get to .500 as the 4th best in the division. Wentz has a weak receiving core and subpar RBs surrounding him. After a good rookie year, temper your expectations heading into this season.
Denery: Under: The NFC East is simply too talented for the Eagles to be in the mix. They have a really talented defense, but I don’t fully trust Carson Wentz yet.
Lynch: Under: I’m not in on Carson Wentz. He reminds me a lot of Alex Smith, who can’t get a team with significantly more talent than the Eagles over the hump. Wentz may only have to get to nine wins for the over, but in a tough division I just don’t see it.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS - 10.5
Scott: Over: This is a tough one. The Steelers are being over hyped coming into this year. Instead of their vaunted 2000s defensive the Super Bowl winning teams were reliant on, they have turned into the Packers. The Steelers have a lackluster D, that claims to hold to the ‘bend but don’t break’ motto. Even with all this negativity, the Steelers still get to 11 wins and take the division.
Denery: Under: I know, I know, they are loaded. However, we know Big Ben is good for an injury at some point this season, and their defense is still porous. Look for them to win 10 games.
Lynch: Over: They finished top 11 in offensive and defensive DVOA, as well as 3rd in weighted DVOA last season. They have one of the five easiest schedules in the league this year, and they get Martavis Bryant back from suspension. I think the general public is overrating their super bowl chances. But this is a good team that should get to 11 wins.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS - 4.5
Scott: Under: With Kyle Shanahan taking over, their offense is sure to improve, but it is hard to see them getting to 5 wins. They are fortunate enough to play the Rams twice, Bears and Jaguars, but even if they come out with a W in all of those, they’d still need an upset.
Denery: Over: I liked the way their offense looked during the preseason under Shanahan with Brian Hoyer at the helm. They have guys like Marquise Goodwin, Pierre Garcon, and Carlos Hyde on offense, and that young defense with Deforest Buckner, Reuben Foster, and Solomon Thomas should improve.
Lynch: Over: Brian Hoyer is better than people think, and Kyle Shanahan can make any offense competent. The defense is young, but could make things interesting. Five wins may be tough, but the schedule isn’t too bad.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS - 10.5
Scott: Over: They desperately missed Earl Thomas last year. The didn’t do anything dramatic to upgrade the offense, but were able to retain everyone. The Seahawks should be able to walk away with the division this year.
Denery: Under: TEN.AND.SIX...EVERY.YEAR.
Lynch: Over: Seattle has only lost six games once out of the past five seasons (since Russell Wilson took over), and they get Earl Thomas back from injury. The committee backfield of Prosise, Rawls, and Lacy should take some pressure off Wilson. The defense isn’t what it was four years ago, but they just added Sheldon Richardson to bolster the defensive line, and Justin Coleman for some secondary depth. They have a pretty easy schedule, and should get to 11 wins.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS - 8.5
Scott: Over: The Bucs are poised to take a leap this year. They have surrounded Winston with more talented receiving options with OJ Howard and DeSean Jackson. Their defense, specifically their secondary remains questionable at best. With this said, the look for the Bucs to improve upon their record from last year.
Denery: Over: Love the Bucs coming into this year. Jameis continuous to improve, Mike Evans and Desean Jackson will be nightmares for defenses, and their defense is loaded.
Lynch: Over: I don’t think the Bucs are going to be anything special this year, but they improved too much to expect a decline. The running game is a little shaky, especially until Doug Martin is back from suspension, but the Bucs went 9-7 last year and should be able to at least hold steady.
TENNESSEE TITANS - 8.5
Scott: Over: Mariota is lined up for a breakout year. With players like Murray and Henry out of the backfield and Decker plus both rookies Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor as receiving options. There will be no worries offensively. Defense may be rough though...
Denery: Over: The Titans offense is way too talented to not win this division. They have weapons across the board and their division is weak.
Lynch: Over: The Titans are maybe a little too overhyped, but it isn’t without reason. Murray and Henry should become one of the best backfield tandems in the league, and Mariota, with new weapons, will keep improving. The secondary is suspect, but their commitment to the trenches should offset some of that. They should manage nine wins.
WASHINGTON REDSKINS - 7.5
Scott: Under: They are boring, and Kirk Cousins is making way too much money.
Denery: Over: The Washington Redskins are the definition of an 8-8 team. Their offense is average, their defense is average, their coach is average.
Lynch: Over: I think the Cowboys and Giants regress a bit, and Cousins will play with everything he has for that new contract. He has solid weapons, despite little semblance of a running game (unless Samaje Perine steps up). The defense is okay, and I think they can go .500.