Jerry Jones must be tearing his hair out with the Cowboys failing every year to take advantage in the NFL’s weakest division. Even with six division games against the likes of Washington, the Giants and the Eagles, oddsmakers have set the Boys’ Over / Under total at just 9 (in a 17-game season). Winning double digits used to be ice cream for Dallas, but these days nothing is guaranteed in north Texas. At least the quarterback situation is settled after months of uncertainty, and Dak Prescott is probably the best of a mediocre lot in the division.
***It’s entirely possible that both New York teams finish last in their divisions this season. Giants’ O / U is set at 7.5 in most places, and Over bettors would have to see lots go right before cashing. Daniel Jones needs a breakout season. It that doesn’t happen, there’s little chance of getting to 8 wins.
***It looks like Washington will roll with Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB, and that – along with a solid defense – might be enough to get the Football Team to limp to another East title and a playoff berth. Getting to 9 wins (the O / U is set at 8) seems attainable.
***Says a lot about your franchise when a soft schedule in a soft division is one of your top assets, and the O / U is still only 6.5. Then again, maybe last season (4-12, last place) was a one-off for the Birds. Carson Wentz is gone, and no one is really sure if Jalen Hurts is the QB of the future. He’ll have all of this season to establish himself.
Green Bay fans are now able to sleep at night now that Aaron Rodgers didn’t follow through on his bluff to sit out the season, and oddsmakers have settled on 10 as the Pack’s O / U number. Whether they can get to the 11 needed to cash is another matter, and a lot depends on Rodgers’s frame of mind. Will he show management who’s boss by being a locker room diva, or will he drop the drama and produce the same numbers on the field that he has in the recent past? And what about NEXT year? Will the spring/summer of 2022 bring more of the same?
***Minnesota (9) looked ready to pounce if things went south for GB, but then the Vikes developed a QB situation of its own when Kirk Cousins and two backups were sidelined due to Covid concerns. Now coach Mike Zimmer is beside himself, and bettors with Over tickets are wondering if they made a huge mistake.
***The Lions (4.5) are the Lions, and it doesn’t appear that much is going to change. Except the quarterback (Matthew Stafford is gone, Kared Goff is in), the head coach (Matt Patricia is out, Dan Campbell is in) and a lot of other players.
***The Bears (7.5) are saying that Justin Fields will not be thrown to the wolves right away and that Andy Dalton will start the season under center. One bad loss will probably change that.
The Super Bowl-champion Bucs will be running it back with the same cast of characters that flourished under Tom Brady, and if you like the Over you’ll have to swallow hard because the number is most places has been set at an aggressive 12. The uber-competitive Brady enters the season at 44 years old, but what’s lost in the talk about his age is that he has very good offensive players around him – and the Tampa Bay defense isn’t bad, either.
***Drew Brees is gone, and while the Saints (9) still have talent, none one knows what’s going to happen under center. Jameis Winston has shown he can still play, but Taysom Hill could beat him out.
***Atlanta (projected at 7.5) needs a re-boot, but will run Matt Ryan out for another season. The offense will be different, with Julio Jones gone and rookie TE Kyle Pitts now a primary focus.
***Carolina is also at 7.5, and whether you think the Panthers can cover that number depends on how you feel about Jets reject Sam Darnold, who threw more interceptions (11) than TDs (9) last season.
After all their draft shenanigans, the 49ers could be blowing smoke. But so far they say they REALLY like what they’re seeing in rookie QB Trey Lance, and maybe the plan to start vet Jimmy Garoppolo will be altered before it even gets going. As far as betting goes, can Lance get San Francisco to 11 wins (the O / U is 10.5) in his first season if he DOES get the job?
***After last year’s .500 season Arizona is smack dab in the middle of the projection pack again at 8.5, and the feeling is that the Cardinals seem ready to kick things into high gear.
***Russell Wilson has been a double-digit winner for Seattle in every year except 2017 (9 wins then), so the 10-win projection this time seems doable.
***The Rams (10.5) went 10-6 last season and seem absolutely giddy about their prospects with Matthew Stafford replacing Jared Goff, and an easy schedule that includes the likes of Houston and the Giants makes LA backers smile even more.