Denery, Scott and Lynch pick the over/under for every AFC team.
Buffalo Bills - 8
Denery: OVER: I am not sure if the Bills will be able to get over the hump in an improving AFC, but I do think they have a very good chance of reaching the 10 win mark this season. With all of the young talent that they have on the offensive side that is continuing to improve from Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, Tyrod Taylor, and the vet LeSean McCoy, their offensive may finally be able to match the production of their defense. Look for them to make some ground on the top teams in the AFC East in 2016 and contend for one of those wild card spots.
Scott: UNDER: With one of the tougher schedules in the league, I have them right at the 7 or 8 win mark this season, which is why I am forced to take the under here. This team will ride and die with Taylor, and I do think he will have another good season. They have two great corners Gilmore and Darby (coming off a phenomenal rookie season). On offense, one worries about the health of McCoy as well as the lack of depth at the WR position.
Lynch: UNDER: The Bills have won at least eight games each of the past two seasons, but I don’t think they make it to .500 this year. They upgraded defensively, and Tyrod Taylor should improve, but the schedule it too tough. Cross country trips to Seattle, Oakland, and Los Angeles will be tough, especially considering they get New England twice, Arizona, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati as well.
Miami Dolphins - 7
Denery: PUSH: Look, I know this team has more talent on both sides of the ball than a lot of teams could ask for, but there is something about this core and that quarterback that forces skepticism from my end. In 2015 Tannehill threw a mere 24 touchdowns to go along with 12 interceptions, and any sort of leadership qualities have yet to be seen from him. I am curious to see how he meshes with Adam Gase, the former offensive coordinator in Denver, and how Gase responds as the leader of this team. There is hope but until I am shown otherwise I cannot be confident in this teams ability to stay afloat.
Scott: UNDER: Their front-seven is overrated with aging, past their prime Wake and Williams at the defensive end position. Their only good player is an expensive man by the name of Suh. They seem to have one-way linebackers, as Alonso is strong in coverage, while being weak in run stopping, and Misi is the opposite. With the loss of Miller, they will need Foster to stay healthy at running back. Parker will have to take a big step into Tannehill’s number one WR if the Dolphins want to be able to get over 7 wins.
Lynch: UNDER: Barring a Ryan Tannehill leap or DeVante Parker becoming a monster receiver, the Dolphins will middle again in the six win range. They lost Olivier Vernon, Lamar Miller, and Rishard Matthews, and picked up an aging Mario Williams and one of the NFL’s worst starting corners last year in Byron Maxwell. The Dolphins have talent, but not enough to bring them to .500 in an increasingly tough AFC East.
New England Patriots - 10.5
Denery: OVER: This is too easy. Like Justin said, this team has won at least 12 games each of the last six seasons, and you could argue that this is the most talented roster that they have had from top to bottom since the 2007 team that went undefeated. Yes, there are clear question marks regarding Garoppolo in the first four games, but the only real competition he will face will be in week 1 against Arizona. This team is going to do what it does every year, win 12-13 games, win the AFC East, and be playing on Conference Championship Sunday with a chance to go to the Super Bowl.
Scott: OVER: Don’t expect them to go out there and win 14 games, but they will get 11 or above. Their toughest games are AZ, SEA, CIN, PIT. The patriots still lack a running game with Lewis being a great receiving back. Their receiving core is probably the best in the league (including Gronk), which is not to be outdone by the secondary, which continues to improve.
Lynch: OVER: The Patriots have won at least 12 games each of the past six seasons. They also have a relatively easy schedule and will have an extra-motivated Tom Brady starting in week 5. And as a general rule, if there’s one team you don’t want to bet against, it’s the Patriots.
New York Jets - 8
Denery: OVER: As much as this pains me to say as a Patriots fan, this Jets team is going to be competitive. They have a versatile and dominant receiving corps lead by Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, and a strong-armed quarterback that can actually get them the ball. The biggest worry for other teams when it comes to the Jets is whether or not their offense could put up enough points to support their consistently strong defense. They have yet to be able to do it in the past but they are definitely trending in the right direction and this year could definitely be the year they put it together.
Lynch: PUSH: I hate to break out the push this early, but the Jets are not a team I feel good about this season. After having the 28th toughest schedule last season, they will face the second hardest schedule this season. Darrelle Revis is on the decline, and, as a corner who relies on using his hands, may struggle even more coming off of wrist surgery. Ryan Fitzpatrick set a bad tone going into camp, and this seems like a team that may unravel. Still, it’s tough to see them dropping below .500 after ending 10-6 last season.
Scott: UNDER: I have the Jets can see the Jets getting exactly 8 wins this season. The Jets only really added Forte this offseason as everyone else on the team got older, and they lost Cromartie. I do really like Skrine as I mentioned last year, but we will see if he is up to the task of being the CB on the other side of Revis. Fitz coming back cannot be overstated, but the Jets face a BRUTAL, yes all caps, first six games of CIN, BUF, KC, SEA, PIT, AZ. I believe they will have five losses from that start to go along with a 3-3 division record. That leaves them already at 8 losses with a toss-up game against the colts in my minds. This is why I lean towards the under.
Baltimore Ravens - 8.5
Denery: UNDER: This Baltimore Ravens team gets more and more mediocre as each year progresses. They are a team that has always been able to perform in the playoffs and they always will be in my opinion, but they have always had trouble in the regular season, even in their peak years with that Super Bowl core. The Ravens worry me as they have continued to get older, Flacco has seemed to digress and so has his production, that vaunted defense is not so scary, and their best skill player is a 37 year-old wide receiver coming off of a torn achilles. If I had to guess, this team is going to win no more than 8 games.
Scott: UNDER: This team is full of uncertainty and is the single biggest question mark of the NFL season. After being 10-6 in 2014, they were 5-11 last year riddled with injuries. Sadly, Flacco was playing poorly before the injury. It’s a question as to whether Suggs can come back from injury to be the same player and if Mosley can build off of their rookie year, as he failed to progress much his sophomore year. The secondary is still weak even with the addition of Weddle. I look to the WR position to define this team though. Like the team they are a huge question mark of uncertainty. They could be great or terrible. To make matters worse, the play a lot of average teams, leaving the outcome of the game in question even more. So with my least confident answer of all: under. I just think somehow they’ll come up short.
Lynch: OVER: Anything and everything about the Ravens scares me. I know they were bad last season, but they were bad against expectations. They still had six pythagorean wins, and finished 17th in total DVOA. Not a total disaster. Justin Forsett will be back to spearhead a rushing attack with Buck Allen, for a team with a significantly easier schedule than last season. Their -14 turnover margin should return to normal levels, and they should have better luck with injuries. I don’t feel great about it, but give me the over.
Cincinnati Bengals - 9.5
Denery: OVER: For the first time almost ever, I am actually high on the Bengals this season. I am still skeptical as to what they can do come January, but this team is loaded with talent and they have a quarterback that can perform at a high level under the less stressful regular season situations. They were 12-2 last season before Dalton went down and although they might not be able to completely replicate that, they are definitely good for at least 10 wins in a division with the Browns, Ravens, and the suspension-prone Pittsburgh Steelers.
Scott: OVER: Dalton returns, and they resigned almost everyone on defense; A defense that allowed the second fewest points per game last season! They have been a model of consistency recently in the regular season. I have faith in Tyler Boyd, the rookie from Pitt, and Lafell to do at least an adequate job trying to replace Jones and Sanu. They will be helped by Eifert (assuming he can stay healthy). But what I like most about this team is the protection. Their offensive line is top 5 in the league, giving the two-headed running back committee of Bernard and Hill great lanes while allowing Dalton plenty of time to find the new receivers as well. I see them right around 11 wins.
Lynch: UNDER: The Bengals were 12-2 before Andy Dalton’s injury derailed them last season. They still finished second in total DVOA and face an easier schedule this season. They also have won at least 10 games for four straight seasons. Their biggest loss was Reggie Nelson, who they were probably right to let go of at that price. But I just can’t bring myself to take the over. They are exceptionally thin at receiver just a year after having maybe the best corps in the NFL, and they will rely big time on rookies Andrew Billings and William Jackson III on defense. I may not have a good reason to do it, but I’ll take the under.
Cleveland Browns - 4.5
Denery: OVER: I am ALL-IN on RGIII in 2016. If I were to make a bet on the Comeback Player of the Year Award at this point in the season, I would be putting all of my money on RGIII. He has had an entire year to sit out, get healthy, mature, and learn a ton about the quarterback position, and with the addition of Hue Jackson at head coach it is all going to come together for him. This team probably is not at a playoff level quite yet but they are not going to be an automatic win on the schedule like they have been in the past.
Scott: UNDER: I’m sorry Cleveland, but you have the Cavs and Indians now so it’ll be fine. If the Browns want any hope of 5 wins, the need Haden to get back to playing like he did in his first four years. It allows the entire secondary to play off of him. With the new system coming in, allowing him to press or back off (more like his first four year), he should improve. Unlike others on the site, I am not in are RGIII for 5 wins, more so for just an average year. No one knows what Gordon will be, and I just don’t think Barnidge will keep up his production from last season. The Crowell and Johnson one-two punch may compose the best position group the Browns have.
Lynch: OVER: The Browns won three games last year. But pythagorean expectations had the Browns at four wins. They finished in the bottom five of turnover margin and faced the league’s toughest schedule. They also had the worst record in the NFL in close games. These are all things that tend to even out. RG3, Josh Gordon, Gary Barnidge (assuming he’s not the next Peyton Hillis), and Corey Coleman is sort of a real passing attack. Joe Haden can’t be nearly that bad again, either. Maybe I’m crazy, but I’ll take the over.
Pittsburgh Steelers - 10.5
Denery: Under: I know this is not a popular opinion but the Steelers are not generally a regular season team. There is too much that is going against this team for me to be confident in them winning more than 10 games. Bryant is suspended for the season, Bell is suspended for the first four games, that defense continues to age, they play in a tough division with no easy victories, and Big Ben is almost guaranteed to get hurt at some point in the season. I see them winning 10 games on the dot, getting one of the wild card spots, and making things very difficult for teams come January.
Scott: OVER BEST BET: Bryant is suspended for the year. Bell is suspended for four games, but neither suspension will matter with this line. Worst case scenario the Steelers lose to the Bengals twice, Chiefs, Patriots and Cowboys. That still has the Steelers at 11 wins, and that is worst case.
Lynch: OVER: Rooting for the Steelers to lose games is no way to go through an NFL season. As a Patriots fan, I feel like I can be an authority on this. Don’t worry about Bell’s suspension, if it is even upheld. The Steelers face the 30th ranked schedule this season, and shouldn’t be as horrendous in the secondary as they were last year. Shazier and Timmons will be better, and this Steelers team will be right back in the mix come January.
Houston Texans - 8.5
Denery: OVER: I am giving the Texans the over but not by very much. I have been high on Houston for a while and I am very excited about their potential but I have said it before, Brock Osweiler has not done anything that makes me believe he is a capable starter in this league. This team is loaded with talent up and down the board, but this is a quarterback league and if you do not have a formidable option under center you will not be able to do very much. Now I am not saying that there is Brock Osweiler is absolutely going to be terrible, he may be a very good quarterback. However, until he shows me that side of him, I am forced to be skeptical.
Scott: OVER: With one of the ten most difficult schedules, I still believe the Texans will be over. We all know about their top-3 defense last year and now they have added an offense to go with it. With Osweiler at the helm, Lamar Miller primed for a breakout season, Hopkins a top-5 WR, and a plethora of young talent in Fuller, Strong and Miller, the Texans offense looks prepared to take a leap this year.
Lynch: OVER: Bill O’Brien has made Christian Hackenberg, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Brian Hoyer into good football players, and may be the best coach no one is talking about in the NFL. Lamar Miller should rejuvenate a rushing attack the oft-injured Arian Foster could not carry, and Will Fuller may be able to take some pressure off of DeAndre Hopkins. The defense is slowly becoming one of the league’s best, and though I’m not a big Brock Osweiler fan, I think this Texans team can win nine games.
Indianapolis Colts - 9.5
Denery: OVER: This is a big deal for me considering I was the captain of the Anti-Colts bandwagon a season ago, but there is just too much talent and too much Andrew Luck on this team for me to not buy in for the regular season. I truly believe Andrew Luck is going to have a bounce back season and return to the form he had in 2014 when he lead this team to the AFC Championship. Also, they are not terrible defensively. They have trouble stopping the run but that should improve at least a little bit, and they have a strong secondary lead by Vontae Davis which should give other teams trouble.
Scott: UNDER: I want to say yes, but Gore is yet another year older coming off a season where he averaged a career low in yards per attempt with little help from the atrocious offensive line. Their defense is still terrible, but on the brightside, Phillip Dorsett could turn into a great WR alongside Hilton because Moncrief doesn’t impress much. With Luck potentially having a bounce back year, he could lead them to the playoffs once again returning to his 2014 form, but I just don’t see that happening.
Lynch: UNDER: I’m a huge Andrew Luck fan, but at some point you have to give him some help. The Colts defense will be strong at cornerback with Vontae Davis and Patrick Robinson, but will be among the league’s worst outside of those two. Offensively, they are relying on a rookie center and a 33-year-old running back who averaged 3.7 yards per attempt last year. Luck won 11 games in each of his first three years, so I don’t put much stock into his 2015 performance, but this team needed to be one of the luckiest in the NFL to even get to .500. I’m not sure their a 10-win team even with Luck this season.
Jacksonville Jaguars - 7.5
Denery: OVER BEST BET: You are hearing it here on the Breakdown first, the Jaguars WILL MAKE THE PLAYOFFS in 2016. This team is stacked on both sides of the ball, and their third year quarterback is coming off of a 35 touchdown season with two great receivers, a solid tight end, and a newly discovered running game with the offseason addition of Chris Ivory. Oh, and that 31st ranked defense? Well, they added Malik Jackson, Tashaun Gipson, Prince Amukamara, Myles Jack, Dante Fowler, and Jalen Ramsey. I am a big fan of Gus Bradley and the direction that this team is going in. Pencil it in now, the Jaguars will be playing in January.
Scott: OVER: I think they can get to .500. This would be a three win improvement from last year. I am not sure they are three wins better, but they are definitely better. They have six new players on the defensive end who expect to have huge contributions with the newly signed Jackson, Gipson, and Amukamara, along with the 3 rookies in Fowler (missed all of last season), Ramsey and Jack. Offensively Bortles should continue to improve with both WRs in Hurns and Robinson. The two RB combo of Ivory and Yeldon will serve them well after Yeldon’s inconsistency last year.
Lynch: UNDER: Do not misconstrue my pick here: I’m all in on Jacksonville. They got two of the best three defenders in the draft, added a pass rush, and invested in their secondary. Blake Bortles showed a lot of promise last season, Allen Robinson is a top-12 receiver, and you’re not going to find a bigger Chris Ivory fan. But does it all come together this season? Are we sure Blake Bortles is good? Is Gus Bradley up for the job? This team will be a ton of fun to watch, but typically spending in free agency doesn’t directly lead to wins. Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack, and Dante Fowler are all coming off injuries. Maybe this team is different, but no matter how much I want to, I will not take the over.
Tennessee Titans - 5.5
Denery: UNDER: Despite all of the additions that this team made in the offseason, there is something about Marcus Mariota, his youth, and his injury troubles that hold me back with the Titans. They are playing in what will be one of the toughest divisions in football, and I do believe that they will eventually put it all together with this core, but they are too young, too inconsistent, especially on defense, and have a huge hole when it comes to coaching. I would love to see them try and go get a big name coach with an offensive prowess to come in and embark on this journey with Mariota, but until that happens and until Mariota can become more consistent, I am going to be skeptical of Tennessee.
Scott: UNDER: They have improved from last year; however, so has the entire division. I look forward to seeing how Henry is used next to Murray, especially if he can take over the starting role by the end of the season. Green-Beckham’s connection with Mariota could be what makes me wrong on this, but I just don’t see it happening. They would both need to take HUGE steps forward.
Lynch: UNDER: The stats point towards the Titans having a big comeback year. They let up oodles of defensive touchdowns, had an awful turnover margin, and struggled in close games. Their pythagorean wins were 4.9, making them the second “unluckiest” team in the league. But they got pummeled against good teams. The aforementioned close games were mostly at home against teams like Buffalo, Jacksonville, and Atlanta. They got better in the trenches, committed to the running game, and will hopefully get the ball to Dorial Green-Beckham as much as possible. But Mike Mularkey is not an NFL-caliber head coach, and without much talent on defense, this Titans team will falter.
Denver Broncos - 9
Denery: PUSH: The Broncos defense is just good enough to propel them to nine wins, but it will not be easy. If you thought the Broncos were bad offensively last year (hint: They were), then you are in for a treat this year because it could get much worse. They are deciding between Mark Sanchez and Trevor Simeon at quarterback, Demaryius Thomas no longer knows how to catch a football anymore (9 drops in 2015), and CJ Anderson will no longer have the luxury of having Peyton Manning calling the protections and audibles to spring the running game loose. It could be a tough year in Denver for a team that has to face Kansas City and an emerging Oakland team twice a year.
Scott: PUSH: I hate to have two pushes on the same team, but I think this stems from indecisiveness really. Yes, the quarterback and running back situations are tough, but what no one is talking about it the offensive line. The offensive line is returning only one player! That player is Matt Paradis. Once walk-on defensive lineman at Boise St., the 6th round draft pick in 2014 was fresh off the practice squad last year and is now the only returning starter. Yes they added Okung, who will help the running game, but overall the offensive line is unproven and hasn’t played together. With this all being said, the defense is still the defense.
Lynch: UNDER: BEST BET: The Broncos are currently deciding between Mark Sanchez and Trevor Simien for their starting quarterback. That should be enough for you to run far, far away from the over. But I will go on. The Broncos, 12-4 in 2015, finished with 9.7 pythagorean wins last season, making them the second luckiest team in football. Their vaunted defense lost starters Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan, and instead of trying to replace them in the draft, the Broncos took Paxton Lynch to further muddy their QB issues. According to Football Outsiders, the Broncos have just a 37% chance of even making the playoffs. And if you’re still not convinced, ask yourself this: Do you really think Mark Sanchez will lead a team to 10 wins in the NFL this season?
Kansas City Chiefs - 9.5
Denery: OVER: In my opinion, it is between Kansas City and Cincinnati for who is going to compete with the Patriots for the number one seed in the AFC in 2016. Alex Smith is no longer a game manager, he can lead an offense, and that defense is polarizing. Kansas City is going to be strong in 2016.
Scott: OVER: Absolutely loved the signing of Mitchell Schwartz and think they are trending in the right direction. Charles and Houston will be back with Berry hoping to continue his resurgence allowing Peters to improve while not being the number one guy in the secondary. Much more will come on the Chiefs throughout this season, as the Breakdown tends to like them at a low 9.5 over/under.
Lynch: OVER: As you will see in our upcoming prop bets article, I’m in on the Chiefs at least for the regular season this year. With a significantly easier schedule and everyone in place offensively, the Chiefs will be the team to beat in the AFC West.
Oakland Raiders - 8.5
Denery: OVER: The Raiders are another team that I really believe can compete for a wild card berth this year. Derek Carr continues to get better each year, Amari Cooper is a future star, Latavius Murray is a top-10 back in the league, and they have a young defense that is only going to get better. I am a big Jack Del Rio fan, I think that he is a strong leader and has the perfect attitude for what this team needs to be, and when it comes down to it I really trust Derek Carr in tight situations.
Scott: OVER: The only real weakness on the Raider is their running game which is young and relatively inexperienced. Carr is surrounded by receiving weapons of Crabtree, Helu Jr, 3rd round pick, TE Walford from the U, and most importantly Cooper. Their offensive line is the only one that can rival the Cowboys with the addition Osemele. The defense was completely revamped in the secondary by adding Sean Smith, Reggie Nelson and Karl Joseph (Safety,1st rd pick from West Virginia). This secondary is now a strength after being a weakness since Nnamdi Asomugha left. The front seven is obviously still great with led by Mack and the newly acquired Bruce Irvin.
Lynch: UNDER: I really don’t feel good about this. This Raiders team added a ton of talent, especially on defense. Khalil Mack is a top five defensive player in the NFL, and they even bulked up their offensive line. My issue is that I just don’t believe in Jack Del Rio. He has a sub-.500 record in a decade of head coaching, and I don’t trust him making decisions for a team that will be in a bunch of close games. I feel almost as bad about this as I did about picking against the Jaguars, but I’ll take the under.
San Diego Chargers - 7
Denery: UNDER: The problem with the San Diego Chargers is that they are not very good and they are super old. Their starting quarterback is entering his age 34 season, he was not very good last year, and their offense did not get any better. I also have a problem with the draft picks that they have made in the past two years between Melvin Gordon and Joey Bosa, those are two guys with huge question marks. Gordon did not perform well at all in 2015, and Bosa has already put himself on management's bad side with this contract dispute that is currently going on. I have a tough time seeing them win more than 6 or 7 games in that division with the team they are trotting out each week.
Scott: UNDER: What worries me about the Chargers is that they are terrible in the trenches on both sides of the ball. I liked the signing of Benjamin, but just feel as though the team is too weak. On the bright side, the Chargers were the unluckiest team by pythagorean wins last season, but they were still 4-12. I don’t think Rivers can reverse the downward trend the team has been heading in the last several years with such a weak running game and line play on both sides of the ball.
Lynch: OVER: Last year was Philip Rivers’ only season finishing with under seven wins as a starting quarterback, and just his second under .500. Melvin Gordon’s development will help the rushing attack, and all the stats point to a major comeback.