2013 NFL Regular Season Win Totals: NFC North and East
So my schedule has gotten the best of me lately. The NFL season starts in 3 days, and we haven’t talked about the NFC at all, clearly the superior conference these days, no matter what happened in the last Super Bowl. With only 3 days remaining to get a jump on future bets, let’s do quick hits around the NFC North and NFC East.
Green Bay Packers – 10.5 wins, OVER +110, UNDER -130
Green Bay is one of those teams that is always there in the playoffs so it’s hard to see them only winning 10 games. They’ve upgraded at Running Back to Eddie Lacy, which should balance the team out a little more. Their defense is getting younger which is good long term, but this team does give up a lot of passing yards and faces Brandon Marshall and Calvin Johnson twice a year. A sneaky problem this team could face is at left tackle. With Brian Bulaga out for the year, turnstile Marshall Newhouse and rookie David Bakhtiari will hold the edges, who knows which on what side. If this offense is going to revolve around Aaron Rodgers, you have to keep him upright. And no more Immaculate Interception blown calls, please. I’m going OVER at +110, but don’t be surprised if you’re sweating out week 17 to cover this.
Detroit Lions – 8.5 wins, OVER +110, UNDER -140
Always a trendy pick because of Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford throwing for 5,000 yards, I don’t think people realize Detroit went 4-12 last year. This defense is bad, and they get shredded every year by a difficult division full of super stars. The addition of Reggie Bush at Running Back is important, as Mikel Leshoure couldn’t get it done last year. Reggie Bush is a great fit for a pass-first offense, and he can also run between the tackles if forced. Rashean Mathis has come over from Jacksonville and Glover Quin from Houston, not to mention their front 7 that looks like they spend as much time on the field as behind bars. They look fearsome, but I just can’t see them being a 9 win team. They were unlucky in terms of moving the ball and not scoring; settling for 3 rather than 7 last year. They weren’t 5 games unlucky though. UNDER at -140.
Minnesota Vikings – 7 wins, OVER +125, UNDER -145
Another way to win a bar bet is ask someone to guess how many wins Minnesota had last year. They won 10 games on the strength of one of the greatest running back seasons in history and flamed out in round 1. This line has a lot of regression built into it, not to mention the loss of Percy Harvin. Other than running the ball, this team doesn’t do anything else particularly well. I think they have a brutal schedule especially in the second half (at NYG, GB, at DAL, WAS, at SEA, at GB, CHI, at BAL, PHI, at CIN, DET) and they definitely don’t get to 8 wins. UNDER -145.
Chicago Bears – 9 wins, OVER even money, under -130
10-6 and out of the playoffs last year, Chicago should be right back in the conversation. Their defense had a lot of points scored, so that will come down, but the offense should improve. If Matt Forte can stay healthy for a whole year, the addition of Martellus Bennett and hopefully a second receiver opposite target monster Brandon Marshall should balance out the offense. It remains to be seen if the loss of Brian Urlacher as emotional leader affects the defense at all. I expect this team to improve on offense and win at least 9 games. I’d expect a push here, so the OVER at even money is a solid bet.
Dallas Cowboys – 8.5 wins, OVER -105, UNDER -115
Every year this team has a stacked roster and every year they manage to underwhelm. Tony Romo still had a great year last year despite an offensive line that allows jailbreak rushes constantly. Their receivers are studs, and this team should still put up points. DeMarcus Ware is still a beast rushing the quarterback, but their linebacking corps leaves much to be desired and often puts the team in a shootout by allowing teams to kill them over the middle. I think their schedule is easy as the NFC East gets the AFC West, and I think Dallas matches up well with the NFC North. 9-7 should be doable. If not, Jerry Jones needs to reevaluate this whole team. And himself. OVER -105
Washington Redskins – 8 wins, OVER -120, UNDER even money
All eyes on Robert Griffin III. All summer we’ve been hearing the designed runs will go down, but that doesn’t bother me at all. This team won 10 last year, and I don’t think it’s a fluke. Alfred Morris and RG3 will make the sophomore jump. Pierre Garcon should be healthy all year and a monster at the receiver position. The only question with this team is if the pass rush can’t get the QB out of the pocket, the secondary has some holes in it. That’s not enough for me to go under on 8 wins. I think a push is possible but -120 is good value on the over. I think this is a fun, dynamic team and I love these odds. OVER -120!
New York Giants – 8.5 wins, OVER -130, UNDER even money
As delighted as I was to see this team finish 9-7 and out of the playoffs last year, I couldn’t put my finger on why they couldn’t get it done. I just don’t think they do any one thing better than any other team in the division, and the injury bug usually hits this team hard. Ahmad Bradshaw was replaced at starting RB by David Wilson, and goal-line/3rd down guy Andre Brown is already hurt. Victor Cruz had some offseason injuries and Hakeem Nicks is a walking medical case. This team is too inconsistent. You can’t win 26-3 in San Francisco and then fail to put up a single point in Atlanta. I’m taking the better value. UNDER at even money.
Philadelphia Eagles – 7.5 wins, OVER +120, UNDER -140
I always love this team every year and they always let me down. 4-12 last year with injuries across the board (especially at QB) and an offensive line that couldn’t stop me from getting into the pocket. Philly didn’t get unlucky last year, they got blown out more often than not. They’ve already lost their second best receiver and we haven’t even started the season yet. You can throw and run all over this team. Not really much to this. Sure, if Michael Vick becomes old Michael Vick then the sky is the limit, but I just don’t see that happening. I think the Chip Kelly factor is overblown; you can only do so much with this team. UNDER -140.