2016 Over/Under Wins Predictions – AFC

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AFC West

Denver Broncos 9.0 Over (-125) / Under (-105) — What a wild card team this is. John Elway gives no bleeps and stared down the quarterback market all offseason before drafting Paxton Lynch late in the first round. Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders will make him a much better quarterback in Gary Kubiak’s offense than people expect (rolling out on the edge and throwing deep fits his skill set). Despite the departures, this defense remains stacked, thanks to DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller, plus the best secondary in the NFL. Expect a better C.J. Anderson than you saw for most of last year. The AFC South is better, but this is a strong schedule for an underrated team.

VERDICT: OVER

Kansas City Chiefs 9.5 Over (-115) / Under (-115) — Lot of wins here, although they also benefit from a bad schedule. Mitchell Schwartz was a nice addition in free agency and the defense will still be strong, but losing Sean Smith definitely hurts. Andy Reid has a funny way of making Alex Smith and some combination of running backs dangerous. They’ll flirt with the number and get easy divisions on the schedule, but this could be the year they stumble a bit under Reid.

VERDICT: UNDER

Oakland Raiders 8.0 Over (-150) / Under (+120) — There’s not a hotter team in terms of a bandwagon than Oakland. They loaded up on upgrades in the secondary with Reggie Nelson, Sean Smith and Karl Joseph and have Khalil Mack, destroyer of men. Derek Carrcould take a step forward and has Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. This is secretly the best offensive line in football. Sometimes a line is just a line.

VERDICT: OVER***

San Diego Chargers 7.0 Over (-110) / Under (-120) — The Joey Bosa pick makes sense because he’s a great football player, but he’s a weird guy for that defense. The offensive line can’t get any more injured than it’s been in the last few years, right? Philip Rivers is still elite, and he dealt with the Antonio Gates suspension, Keenan Allen‘s kidney exploding and Melvin Gordon generally being terrible last year. This offense can’t help but be more efficient. The defense has lots of pieces that could jump as well. Sneaky team in a division that might not be great.

VERDICT: OVER

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AFC North

Baltimore Ravens 8.5 Over (Even) / Under (-130) — A rare disastrous season for the Ravens has the world expecting another bad year, except even the expectations for a bad Ravens team are still high. They’ll get Steve Smith back, and a first year out of Breshad Perriman should mean more vertical explosion for this offense. Joe Flacco‘s health is being totally glossed over. Multiple guys on this defense need to take a step forward, but are totally capable of doing so. Bounceback season coming.

VERDICT: OVER

Cincinnati Bengals 9.5 Over (-130) / Under (Even) — Last year’s total was a total joke and easily exposed. This year is a little more difficult, considering it requires 10 wins and it’s not paying very well. Also: you have to deal with the loss of a viable second wide receiver (although Tyler Boyd is going to be a sneaky stud) and the loss of Hue Jackson. The latter is the biggest concern for Andy Dalton‘s development, but this is a team getting the NFC East and AFC East. The problem is the schedule looks brutal and it might be a step-back year.

VERDICT: UNDER

Cleveland Browns 4.5 Over (-140) / Under (Even) — Four wins is an obscene number. But the Browns are averaging five wins a year over the last 13 years. That is a factory of sadness at maximum efficiency. And this roster is designed to be the worst we’ve seen in a while. Robert Griffin III is going to surprise some people. Corey Coleman is a sleeper for Rookie of the Year. Duke Johnson is perfect for Hue Jackson’s running back attack. The defense added pieces. But it’s a rebuild, and this team is terrible. Like them for the future but can’t like them right now.

VERDICT: UNDER

Pittsburgh Steelers 10.5 Over (-130) / Under (Even) — Potential Super Bowl pick for me here. So much invested from the draft on the defense and offensive line. Those pieces are eventually going to click for a franchise whose success is predicated on developing talent. Ben Roethlisberger should have been mentioned more the last few years in terms of the MVP conversation. Antonio Brown is unstoppable. Le’Veon Bell will be back. They just find talent at wideout and could be the most explosive offense in football. The price is terrible, but betting against them is crazy.

VERDICT: OVER

AFC East

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Buffalo Bills 8.0 Over (-115) / Under (-115) — Tremendous job of improving in the draft on defense by the Bills. Shaq Lawson and Reggie Ragland make them better off the bat. No one is talking about the quarterback situation though — if Tyrod Taylor isn’t happy and won’t play for a low amount of money, they could be stuck with EJ Manuel. Taylor is going to play, but him unhappy is bad news. Cardale Jones starting in the NFL right now? Worse news. Sammy Watkins is a stud, but who is playing next to him? This defense gets way better, but the offense gets way worse in a surprisingly down year.

VERDICT: UNDER

Miami Dolphins 7.0 Over (-125) / Under (-105) — Kind of a sucker for Adam Gase here, so forgive me for buying into the Dolphins a bit. They did add more protection in Laremy Tunsil (smokescreen!) and the defense has a lot of “win-now” potential if everything breaks right. Ryan Tannehill is going to get better under Gase, the way people thought he would last year. His weapons — DeVante ParkerJarvis LandryKenny StillsJordan Cameron — are sneaky. Jay Ajayi has to carry a load, but he can do that for a year. If they can go 2-2 out of the gate, they’ll crush this over.

VERDICT: OVER

New England Patriots 10.5 Over (-115) / Under (-115) — How is this not discounted for Tom Brady‘s four-game suspension? Take us down to single digits, Vegas! The reality is the Pats are going to win double-digit games because that’s what the Patriots do. The over is a tough sell because of Brady’s suspension, but it’s still a really good buy. They have Brady for 10 games, which means something in the range of eight wins worst case (look at the schedule). So if they can go 3-1 against the Cardinals, Dolphins, Texans and Bills with Jimmy Garropolo under center, it’s a lock. Oh yeah — Brady could still play theoretically.

VERDICT: OVER***

New York Jets 8.0 Over (-115) / Under (-115) — Does this price assume Ryan Fitzpatrick will play quarterback or … who? Geno Smith is going to be better than people expect if he starts, but if Christian Hackenberg ever has to play this under is a lock. Muhammad Wilkerson‘s status is a major concern and the defensive line is much, much worse without him. Four of six and six of nine on the road to start the season is brutal. At least they don’t get the Pats without Brady! Oh wait. I buy into Matt Forte but he isn’t the physical workhorse Chris Ivory was.

VERDICT: UNDER

AFC South

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Houston Texans 8.5 Over (-130) / Under (Even) — The Texans won nine games each of the last two years and they didn’t have Brock OsweilerLamar Miller, Will Fuller and Braxton Miller on offense. There are issues with acclimating the group to a new scheme, but Bill O’Brien works wonders on offense and this is his best personnel grouping by far. The Texans are getting way less love than the rest of the AFC South and are a strong pick here to steal the division if they’re not favored. Also: J.J. Watt is on the defense.

VERDICT: OVER

Indianapolis Colts 9.5 Over (Even) / Under (-130) — Grabbing Ryan Kelly was critical to help Andrew Luck stay healthy. They’re better this year just because he’s not being pelted left and right and consistently injured. But the defense isn’t better, and the entire division is significantly improved. It just feels like a nine-win team, which is totally fine and also the level at which they played over the past few years, and not some lucky 12-win team that feasts on a really terrible division.

VERDICT: UNDER

Jacksonville Jaguars 7.5 Over (-125) / Under (-105) — The second-hottest team in the NFL when it comes to bandwagon riding. Hard to blame people considering what Jacksonville did this offseason, adding Malik JacksonPrince Amukamara and then landing Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack in the draft. They look like they could take a leap. The biggest concern might be Blake BortlesAllen Robinson and Allen Hurns continuing to progress in a similar fashion. But you just need .500, and anything is possible in this division.

VERDICT: OVER

Tennessee Titans 5.5 Over (-165) / Under (+130) — I love the effort to get better at being a running, exotic smashmouth team by adding Derrick Henry and Jack Conklin. The division is easy, and getting to play the Browns is choice. Marcus Mariota is a legitimate future superstar at quarterback. But Mike Mularkey isn’t transforming this team into some juggernaut and they could struggle out of the gates with a tough schedule and an improved division. It wouldn’t be surprising at all to see them pick in the top two for the third straight year.

VERDICT: UNDER