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Analyzing NFL Win Totals, Part 2
by Bryan Leonard - 07/18/2008
This is part two of a look at NFL future lines for projected win totals. Letâ€™s take a peak at some offseason moves and if there is some betting value with respect to future win totals.
Vikings: over/under 8Â½ wins: Many would agree you build NFL teams around the QB and the lines. The Vikings are positively loaded on both lines. Theyâ€™ve ranked No. 1 against the run the last two years anchored by old DT Pat Williams and young Kenechi Udeze. The defense got even better as they stole Pro Bowl DE Jared Alled in a trade with the Chiefs.
The offensive line is huge with excellent running back depth in RB Adrian Peterson (1,341 yards, 5.6 yards per carry) and Chester Taylor (844 yards, 5.4 ypc.) Minnesota ranked first in running the football. Now about that QB playâ€¦.Third-year QB Tarvaris Jackson (9 TDs, 12 picks) is a better runner than passer, so they grabbed pocket passer QB John David Booty from USC in the fifth round. The passing game adds Bernard Berrian from the Bears, giving them a speedy one-two punch with young WR Sidney Rice. The Vikings look better than last season when they went 8-8. Over 8 wins.
Bengals: over/under 8 wins: There are no gimmees in this division anymore, with the Steelers, the Brownsâ€™ offense and the
Ravensâ€™ defense. Cincinnati has an ace in QB Carson Palmer, but he had to carry the offense and had 20 interceptions. His top WR, Chad Johnson (93 catches, 1,440 yards), is unhappy and has asked for a trade.
The defense has been a disaster, ranking 27th overall in 2007. At one point last season they were so short on depth they ran out of linebackers against New England! Thatâ€™s one reason they took USC LB Keith Rivers in the first round, 9th overall. LB Odell Thurman and WR Chris Henry were cut loose, talented but troubled off the field. They replaced a handful of veterans with young, unproven players, particularly on defense. From 11-5 in 2005, to 8-8 in 2006 and 7-9 last year, the Bengals are heading in the wrong direction in a tough division. Under 8 wins.
Patriots over/under 12 wins: They wonâ€™t go 16-0 again, but 13 or 14 wins wonâ€™t be that difficult. The Patriots play in the weakest division in football, playing 6 games against the Bills, Jets and rebuilding Dolphins. So will they go 6-4 against everyone else? The record-setting offense is loaded, resigning WR Randy Moss. Moss and WR Wes Welker are dynamite for QB Tom Brady (50 TDs, 9 INTs) and they have depth with former second-round pick Chad Jackson and WR Kelly Washington.
They stockpiled depth last season and it was a huge key in their 16-0 regular season, ranking 4th in total defense. The defense loaded up in the draft with players to rotate in the secondary after losing CB Asante Samuel, plus first round pick LB Jared Mayo (10th overall from Tennessee). Reports are heâ€™s an unselfish, hard working player in the mold Bill Belichick likes. The schedule
looks ridiculously easy, with the only tough road games at Indy, Seattle and San Diego. Even if they lose all three, a 13-3 season is more likely than not. Over 12 wins.