The boys are back to complete the over/unders for the 2016 NFL season.
Dallas Cowboys - 9.5
Denery: OVER: i am big on the Cowboys this year with a finally healthy Tony Romo back under center. With the return of Romo, I think Dez Bryant is going to return to the superstar status that he had in years past, and do not forget about that offensive line that now has a formidable running back in Ezekiel Elliot to block for. In a weak NFC East with a veteran team, expect the Cowboys to win the division with ease.
Scott: OVER: The Cowboys went 3-1 when Romo was healthy last year with the only loss coming to the then undefeated Panthers. The other 12 games were played by Matt Cassell, Brandon Weeden and Kellen Moore combining to go 1-11. This team is reloaded offensively with Elliot in the backfield behind the best run blocking unit and probably the best overall offensive line in the league. This offensive is combined with a defense that allowed the 5th fewest yds/g last season. I expect the Cowboys to go at least 4-2 within the division giving them a clear path to the playoffs.
Lynch: OVER: With Tony Romo back healthy, the Cowboys should be the overwhelming favorite in the NFC East. They were 12-4 with Romo healthy in 2014, and could end up around there again this season. The Cowboys face the easiest schedule in all of football, and should see their poor record in close games and league-worst turnover margin convert back to around league average. I would have had the Cowboys as a best bet if not for their shaky defense, which is certainly the team’s biggest question mark. Still, 10 games should be a given.
New York Giants – 8
Denery: OVER: This is an extremely tough decision for me because the Giants are historic underachievers in the regular season and they have not made any drastic changes that would make you think that would be any different this year. However, I am curious to see how the team transitions into the Ben McAdoo era, and I think the time is now for Eli. He is going to step up and make all of the plays he needs to make, and really build off of last seasons 35 touchdown campaign. If they can play any type of defense in 2016 look for them to make the leap and vie for a wild card spot.
Scott: PUSH : For a pass-heavy offense the Giants had two of the worst pass blocking tackles in the NFL last season in Flowers and Newhouse. Their defense added Vernon and Jenkins, but lost Amukamara, who was easily their best CB in an otherwise bad secondary last season. Last year the defense allowed the most yds/g at nearly 300 and the 3rd most pts/g with just under 28. They are an incredibly inconsistent team, which is why I find them so hard to predict.
Lynch: OVER: The Giants are one of the most fickle teams in the NFL. They finished 6-10 last season but were a 7.5 win team according to pythagorean expectations. They drafted Eli Apple and signed Janoris Jenkins to sure up secondary issues following Prince Amukamara’s departure. With Odell, Victor Cruz, and Sterling Shepard, Eli Manning has all the tools he needs to get the Giants back above .500. They also face the league’s second easiest schedule.
Philadelphia Eagles - 7
Denery: PUSH: There are a ton of question marks in Philadelphia going into 2016. Who is going to be the starting quarterback? How is Doug Pederson going to transition into being a head coach and what type of leader will he be? How is this team going to respond to the fact that they will be playing for a guy in Sam Bradford that will inevitably be benched once Wentz is ready? With all of that going on it is expected that 2016 will be a tough year for Philly, but I still think they are talented enough to weather the storm and remain competitive all season.
Scott: UNDER: They had seven wins last year, which was what was expected with their 6.7 pythagorean wins. The team didn’t get better, but didn’t get that much worse either. However, they will need to count on health from both Bradford and Ryan Mathews again in order to be over 7 wins. Jordan Matthews and Agnolor will need to have comeback years after poor sophomore and rookie seasons. Their secondary should be improved, but that isn’t saying too much considering they were a bottom five defensive in both yds/g and pts/g last season. Their linebacking core is still one of the worst in the league after losing Kiko Alonso.
Lynch: UNDER: Philadelphia used the second overall pick on a player who they don’t expect to play this year. They fired one of the 10 best coaches in the NFL and have a starting quarterback who asked for a trade. This team will not be .500, so I take the under.
Washington Redskins - 7.5
Denery: OVER: The thing with the NFC East is that every team usually remains competitive throughout the entire season and the battle for the division title is not decided until late in the season. I think that the Cowboys will win the division and it might be by a few games, but I do believe that Washington and New York will not be far behind. The Redskins have a stacked receiving core with Garcon, Jackson, and the rookie Doctson, they have a formidable running game with Matt Jones and Alfred Morris, and a developing starter that is still learning and getting better. Now I do not think Cousins can win you a championship but he is a solid starter who can win some regular season games for you and he will do that in 2016.
Scott: UNDER: With the hardest schedule by far in the division (4th overall), I would be shocked if the Redskins got 7 wins. I project them to get 6 wins in a struggle of a year. With probably the worst RBs in the league, they will be pass-heavy again. With the potential garbage time minutes, Cousins could get the stats he wants during his contract year. Norman will be an upgrade to the secondary, but we will see just how much of a system guy or not he is, and the front seven still needs a lot of help, as their defense allowed the 8th most yds/g last season.
Lynch: UNDER: Everything broke right for Washington to win nine games last season. A weak schedule helped lift Kirk Cousins, as injuries to Tony Romo and Dez Bryant derailed their biggest competition. This year, Washington will face the league’s fourth toughest schedule. Their running game rests in the hands of Mr. 3.4-yards-per-carry, Matt Jones. Also, Jordan Reed is an injury waiting to happen. Doctson, Garcon, and DeSean Jackson lead the receiving corps, which they will need because they won’t be able to run the ball. Also, no team has won the NFC East in back-to-back season since Philadelphia in 2004. Take the under.
Chicago Bears - 7.5
Denery: Over: Chicago is another young team that i am really high on. Now, i do not think that they are quite ready to make the playoffs considering their defense still has some question marks, mostly in the secondary. However, I am a big fan of John Fox, I love their young core, Jay Cutler is not as bad as people like to say he is, and they are going to be hungry. There is a culture change that is going on in Chicago and I think it will continue this season.
Scott: UNDER: Expect the Bears to put up above average passing numbers with Jeffrey and White on the outside trying to catch up once behind in games. The have a relatively easy schedule (24th overall) but it won't be close to easy enough to get them to .500. The Bears lack major talent in a thin secondary similar to their offensive line.
Lynch: UNDER: The Bears will be good at linebacker and wide receiver, and I’m not sure they will even be average in any other area. They have a favorable schedule compared to last season, but the offensive line will not be able to carry one of the league’s worst backfields (though I do like Jordan Howard). The Bears will be in close games, they will mount comebacks on the shoulders of Jay Cutler, Kevin White, and Alshon Jeffery, but asking them to win eight games seems too high.
Detroit Lions - 7
Denery: UNDER: As much as I like John Fox and what he brings to the table as a head coach, I am just as down on Jim Caldwell. I think Caldwell has a clear leadership issue and is simply not capable of leading an NFL team. To add on to all of that, Matt Stafford has declined over the past few years and i expect that to continue, they have virtually no running game, and with Calvin Johnson gone we all wonder who will be there to catch the football?
Scott: UNDER: The Lions only have one unit (front-seven) rank in the top half of the league. Marvin Jones is no Calvin Johnson, so now the Lions are left with two #2 WRs, as well as a change of pace RB in Abdullah. I have a lot of faith in Abdullah, but he is not a three-down RB that the seem to want right now. I see the Lions regressing more this season.
Lynch: UNDER: The Lions have won at least seven games each of the past three seasons. Still, I can’t bring myself to take the over. The Lions will be pesky, and they may once again win seven games, but a .500 record is too much to ask.
Green Bay Packers - 10.5
Denery: OVER: BEST BET: With Jordy Nelson coming back this season I expect the Packers to make a huge jump and get back to playing football the way they did in 2014 when they just narrowly missed a trip to the Super Bowl. They quietly had one of the best defenses in the league last year, and it was clear that Rogers was not nearly as comfortable with Nelson out of the lineup. With his return and another year for all of his receivers to develop to go with a skinny Eddie Lacey, I could see this team competing for the number one seed in the NFC.
Scott: OVER: I am not totally convinced that a slimmer Eddie Lacy means great things for him again, but I also don’t think it can hurt. Combine that with Jordy coming back, sliding Cobb back to the number two WR, where he is much more comfortable, and a top-3 QB in the NFL, the offense will be back to its staggering standards. The defense was a top-10 in points allowed per game and very underrated. They will need both Randall and Rollins to step up big time at the CB position this year after the loss of Hayward.
Lynch: OVER: The Packers struggled for their standards, winning just nine games last season, but an easier schedule, a skinny Eddie Lacy, and a healthy Jordy Nelson will bring the Pack back into the upper echelon of the NFL.
Minnesota Vikings - 9.5
Denery: OVER: This team is going to be right in the thick of it all year with a shot at the division at the end of the season. Bridgewater has continued to improve each year. He is becoming more of a threat in the passing game which will be big for Adrian Peterson if they can take some pressure off of him. I also think Diggs is poised for a jump this year after his huge rookie season, and with the defense they have in a division with two sub-par teams, they should have a solid season in 2016.
Scott: OVER: Here is the thing, I like watching the Vikings and want to take the over; however I think they are being a little overrated, so that makes me want to take the under. When going through the schedule I see six losses for them (assuming a cushy 4-2 division record), with tough wins versus NYG and at JAX. But either of those teams can pull off the upset. With all of this being said, Bridgewater is an electrifying QB that doesn't seem to fit Norv Turner’s system. Their front seven is top 10 along with a pretty good secondary led by one of the best safeties in Smith. Their offense may have passing struggles, but Peterson (age 31) is still good for now. With the 8th hardest schedule in the league, I think the Vikings squeak out 10 wins.
Lynch: UNDER: The Vikings again face a tough schedule, and this year I don’t see them being as successful. They have young talent, but I worry about Peterson’s effectiveness now 31 with over 2300 carries in his career. I’m not a huge Teddy Bridgewater fan, and this team seems ripe to come back to reality after last season’s 11-5 surprise.
Atlanta Falcons - 7.5
Denery: OVER: There is simply too much talent on this team for them to win less than 8 games. Eventually Matt Ryan will have to put on his ‘Big Boy’ pants and start winning close games in clutch situations, and I think this could be the year. They have the best outside reciever in football, and emerging defense under one of the best defensive minded coaches in the game, and a running back that has shown serious flashes of superstar potential. This team is going to compete this year.
Scott: UNDER: I wanted to say over on this one as well, but the Atlanta defense looks like it could be awful this season. Their front seven is reliant upon young guys who have yet to do anything of value in the NFL, while the secondary appears to be leaning on Trufant to carry the load even after a down season for him. Their offensive line is incredibly strong with the addition of Mack, but I am not convinced Freeman can be a star as he slowed down considerably after last season. Don’t forget about Coleman if Freeman begins to struggle this season. Ryan is a underrated QB in my mind, but I don’t think he’ll be able to get it done.
Lynch: UNDER: The Falcons finished last season 26th in total DVOA, the worst mark among teams with at least eight wins. To make matter worse, they finished that low against the league’s third easiest schedule. This year they face the third toughest schedule. They are awful defensively, thin at wide receiver, and not as solid in the running game as many think.
Carolina Panthers - 10.5
Denery: OVER: This one is obvious. Simply put, Cam Newton is a winner.
Scott: OVER: This will be tougher than it appears for the Panthers though. There are many above average teams which they could lose to on their schedule even with a supposedly easy schedule. My biggest worries are about Stewart’s health and their secondary. They lost both Norman and Tillman this offseason leaving a gaping hole. They drafted several corners in the draft hoping to aid in the replacement, but the biggest help will be the deep zone coverage that they run. Hopefully this, along with the incredible pass rush of the front seven will mask their deficiencies at CB.
Lynch: OVER: The Panthers will regress, but not below the 11 win mark. Kelvin Benjamin will bolster an already efficient passing game led by Cam Newton and Greg Olsen. I don’t feel great about their running game, but Cam is good enough to carry the Panthers offensively. Defensively, the secondary will be a mess, but their bottom-5 schedule will not feature many high powered passing attacks, and they still have one of the top front sevens in football.
New Orleans Saints - 7
Denery: UNDER: Here is the problem for me when it comes the Saints, they play absolutely no defense. They had the 32nd ranked scoring defense in the NFL in 2015 allowing a whopping 30 points per game, and it does not look like it will get much better. As good as Drew Brees is, he is wasting away some of his most prime years for a team that cannot help him win because they cannot stop opposing offenses. Unfortunately, it will be much of the same in 2016, a lot of shootouts and a lot of high scoring losses.
Scott: OVER: Like Carolina, their RB position is all about health. If Ingram can stay healthy, he is huge for them, but that’s a large if. Their offensive line is top 10 in the NFL, giving a top tier QB plenty of time to find his young, improving WR corps. Their front seven is still lacking even though I like the Laurinaitis addition. I like Delvin Breaux to step up into his bigger role at CB, but I don’t think he will be the star many in the organization are hoping for. Temper your expectations defensively for the Saints as they seem to have big improvements, but I don’t think it’ll play out that way. Because I believe the Giants are a bigger push, I will take the over hoping they can squeak out a 5-5 non-division record, leaving them with room for error in the division. I think they can get to .500.
Lynch: OVER: The Saints still have one of the best QB-Coach duo’s in the NFL with Drew Brees and Sean Payton, and now Brees has even more options. Brandin Cooks, Michael Thomas, and Coby Fleener comprise one of the more underrated receiving corps in the NFL. If Mark Ingram and C. J. Spiller can stay healthy, this offense will be really good. Defensively, they bolstered their front seven with the additions of Nate Billings, Nick Fairley, and James Laurinaitis. They got rid of Brandon Browner, who was historically bad last year, and you have to think Jairus Byrd and Kenny Vaccaro will return to form after disappointing seasons. Delvin Breaux may be the breakout corner of the year and Vonn Bell may be used as the “moneybacker”, like Deone Bucannon in Arizona. Despite a tough schedule, I believe in New Orleans.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 7.5
Denery: OVER: I say over for Tampa Bay but not by much. I have them winning 8 games this season. I am very high on Jameis Winston and I do think he is going to make a jump, and so will this talented young team. However, both he and the rest of the team are not quite ready to break into the upper echelon of the NFL. It is going to take some time for this team, but they will improve this year.
Scott: UNDER: They were 6-10 last year, right on their Pythagorean wins, and I like them to improve this year but just don’t think they can get to .500 in a division with no terrible teams to beat up on. The Bucs look great offensively at the skill positions with Martin and Sims as the tandem in the backfield, Evans and Jackson being the big targets on the outside, and most importantly the improving Winston. However, I am very concerned about protecting him. Their offensive line could be bottom-5 in the league both running and pass blocking. With your future QB in danger, they opted to go with Hargreaves (who I do like a lot) instead of o-line. That is because their defense is no longer the stout Bucs D we are used to. Besides McCoy, their defensive front is filled with average players at best, coupled with the Linebacking top-heavy as well with David. They did add Daryl Smith, but I am not sure if he will be able to keep up his production at the age of 34. Along with Hargreaves, the Bucs are trying to bolster the secondary with Brent Grimes, who had a off year last year.
Lynch: OVER: I don’t feel great about this, but I like Jameis Winston. He was one of the best quarterbacks under pressure last year, and will need to be again. Their sub-par offensive line doesn’t bode well for the inconsistent Doug Martin, but it didn’t bother him last year. They will be better defensively, and if Winston can take the next step, they should finish at least .500.
Arizona Cardinals - 9.5
Denery: OVER: 9.5 is way too low a number for Arizona. They are going to be one of the top teams in the NFC vying for one of those first round bye’s come January. I am not sure if this is a Super Bowl caliber team because of their quarterbacks inconsistencies in the playoffs, but they are going to be a very strong regular season team like they always are.
Scott: OVER BEST BET: Not even close. As we’ve discussed, they will be title contenders and one of the best all around teams in the league. It is so obvious that we apologize for not writing much.
Lynch: OVER: I’m all in on the Cardinals this season. I go into more depth in our prop bets article coming soon!
Los Angeles Rams - 7.5
Denery: UNDER: It is a quarterback league and this team does not have a quarterback for 2016. It is clear that Goff is not ready to start come week 1, and who knows when he will be ready to start. They are talented in almost every other aspect of the game, but when you have a huge hole at the quarterback position, it takes a Denver Broncos’ type defense to make up for it, and although they are talented, they are not quite there.
Scott: UNDER: Again no doubt in this one. I don’t believe Goff will be that good in his career, let alone his rookie season. His WR corps is probably the worst in the league, and he isn’t getting any help from his poor offensive line full of high draft picks that haven’t panned out. Their front seven and running game is what they cling too. You can argue that both of those could be the best in the league. Their secondary seems much worse than last year. Combine all of this with a super hard schedule and the Rams aren’t getting near .500.
Lynch: UNDER: It’s going to be a lot of fun watching the Rams this season. Their defensive front features Robert Quinn, Aaron Donald, and the unheralded Dominique Easley. Mark Barron and Alec Ogletree cap off one of the league’s best front sevens. Todd Gurley is a monster, and I believe their receivers (Kenny Britt, Brian Quick, Tavon Austin, Pharoh Cooper) are talented enough to help Goff in year one. Trumaine Johnson is a really good corner, and their O-line is improving. But they aren’t winning eight games in that conference. At least not with the fifth hardest schedule in year one of the Jared Goff era.
San Francisco 49ers - 5.5
Denery: OVER: 2016 is going to be the year of the comeback thanks to RGIII and Colin Kaepernick. I think Kaep is going to have a solid season under center with Chip Kelly at the helm. They are going hopefully going to stick with him, teach him, live with his mistakes, and try to instill confidence in a player that once lead his team to the Super Bowl. This team is going to hover around the 7-8 win mark.
Scott: UNDER: I do have faith in Chip, but let’s be real. A team with this little talent, the hardest schedule in the league, and oh by the way are still starting Blaine Gabbert! They managed 5 wins last season yet were the 4th luckiest team in the league! Honestly, I don’t see them getting past 4 wins this year.
Lynch: UNDER: The 49ers finished last in DVOA last season, and they face a gauntlet of a schedule this year. The league’s hardest schedule includes three cross country trips (Buffalo, Atlanta, and Miami) and the best the league has to offer (Seattle twice, Arizona twice, New England, Dallas, at Carolina). They have issues everywhere offensively, and aren’t much better on defense. The only solace is Chip Kelly. Kelly will make it work with the talent he has, and he is good enough for me to think twice about this. But you can only do so much with so little talent.
Seattle Seahawks - 10.5
Denery: OVER: I think the Seahawks are the favorites to come out of the NFC in 2016. Back to back Super Bowl runs clearly takes a lot out of a team and we saw that in 2015, but they have one of the most talented rosters, one of the best defenses ever, and a quarterback that is ready to get back to the big game and redeem himself for the goaline mistake against New England. This team is going to dominate in 2016, just wait and see.
Scott: OVER: The only weak spot on the team is their offensive line, which happens to be worst in the league, but to compensate Wilson is good under pressure. Their defense is still one of the best in the league and of course Wilson is too, so the only uncertainty lies within the RB position. I am not convinced Rawls is good, but it always helps to have a QB that can run as well. I expect them to have a continuous battle with AZ for first.
Lynch: OVER: The Seahawks finished first in total DVOA last season, and finished nearly two wins below their pythagorean expectation. Wilson’s passing attack will have Jimmy Graham back healthy, Doug Baldwin, and Tyler Lockett. Thomas Rawls was solid when he played, and of course, their defense will be top of the line as well.