Now that the NFL Schedule is out and Projected Season Win Totals are trading on the NFL odds board, we're serving up way too early predictions and picks for each and every team.
NFL Schedule And Strength of Schedule
We recently looked at the NFL schedule in terms of its strength for each and every team and discussed whether strength of schedule matters in the broad spectrum of a season. For your convenience, we've included the aforementioned article's NFL Strength of Schedule chart at the end of this article (Table 2).
Now, we take it one fun step further and serve up our predictions and NFL picks for the projected season win totals (Table 1). Obviously, way too early predictions because the season is four months away at least and we're not armed with all the requisite information about every team. So fail-safe they might not be. But they are still NFL picks made in good faith. So here goes....
Table 1: Las Vegas Sportsbook NFC East Projected Season Win Totals
Rundown of NFL Sason Win Total Picks
Dallas Cowboys – Over 9.5
The Dallas Cowboys go into the 2015 season with a slightly more favorable schedule than they had last season. Given how well they performed (12-4-0) when handed the 18th toughest schedule in the league, exceeding all expectations and even stunning the Seahawks on the road, they should be able to tackle the 24th toughest schedule successfully with all the talent they have on both sides of the ball. Certainly, better than the 9.5 win total chalk.
Philadelphia Eagles – Under 9.5
Although the schedule for the Eagles ranks lower than it did last year, the difference in the winning percentage between the two schedules is nominal: a difference of 0.004 to make it a moot point. The Eagles went 10-4-0 SU last season to finish second in the NFC East but miss the playoffs. There are many uncertainties about the Eagles going into this season namely because Chip Kelly axed a significant chunk of the roster. Now, with the season hanging in the balance of the often-injured Sam Bradford and a remodelled team, we feel the 9.5 chalk line is way too high. We're projecting a 9-7 win season at best.
That said in his two seasons with the Eagles, he's led the team from a 4-12 record (2012) to back-to-back 10-6 seasons. With such a track record of success, there's ample evidence against our NFL pick to believe that he can lead the new recruits to another double-digit winning season.
New York Giants – Push 8
Last year, despite receiving the 26th toughest schedule or sixth easiest schedule, the Giants struggled mightily. It marked their third season in a row that they missed the NFL playoffs. To say, the pressure is on is to put it mildly.
In the last two seasons they finished with 6 and 7 wins, respectively. In 2012, despite a 9-7 record on the season, they still missed the playoffs. Towards the latter stage of the season, Odell Beckham Jr. emerged as a rising star to spot. He'll proved loads of entertainment in the next season, but he can't do it alone. We're simply not sure if this team is going to be better than it was last season, and if so not by much.
Washington Redskins – Under 6
The Redskins are coming off an underwhelming 2014 season, in which they finished with a 4-12 record on the season. It marked the second straight year they propped up the NFC East after finishing with an even worse 3-13 record in 2013. There's very little to like about the Redskins right now, from shaky management to suspect quarterbacking and more, they strike an unconvincing pose on the NFL odds board. Risky business here.
If in two seasons the Redskins could only combine for seven wins, the six wins projected for this season appears rather overzealous. Hence, our NFL pick here is the Under 6.
Green Bay Packers – Over 11
Aaron Rodgers is a one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and he can carry a team on his broad shoulders and do so much with the talent at his disposal that it's ridiculous. How can one NOT take the OVER for the Green Bay Packers on their NFL picks. Lambeau field was an impenetrable fortress last season as the Packers swept all eight home games and if they can do as much this season, they'll need just four wins on the road to crack this projected season win total. OVER, OVER, OVER!
Detroit Lions – Over 8.5
The Lions put in a very good account of themselves last year, so much so that they should be able to build on that result in this coming season. The 8.5 win totals chalked seems fair, but they should go over that total.
Minnesota Vikings – Under 7
While there's a lot to like about Teddy Bridgewater and his prospects in the league as he learns how to become a fine quarterback, we're going for the Under 7 wins on our NFL picks. Simply because of the strength of their schedule. Vikings have the eleventh hardest schedules this season (Table 2 below), which opens with a quartet of heavyweights (49ers, Lions, Chargers and Broncos) and features an early week 5 Bye. If they could only muster up 7 wins on the season with the 21st toughest schedule last season, going OVER 7 wins with the eleventh toughest schedule is going to be a challenge. UNDER, UNDER, UNDER is the NFL pick.
Chicago Bears – Under 7
A new era is set to begin in Chicago . It's hard to say what to expect from them as a result unequivocally. There's good talent there and they've brought in John Fox and Ryan Pace to revamp the team and get rid of the weak links. That said they are set to start against the Packers, Cardinals and Seahawks – three powerhouse teams of last season that can do a lot of damage to their confidence early in the season. Then face the Chiefs and Lions in succession before going into a week 7 bye. Overall, they have a much tougher NFL schedule than last season in terms of winning percentage (Table 2). We're going with the UNDER 7 here on our NFL picks.
New Orleans Saints – Under 9
After last season's debacle, chalking the line at 9 wins on the coming season is rich. Granted they've got one of the easiest NFL schedules this season and in all possibilities they might just come through with a winning season. But expecting them to go OVER 9 wins (in other words put in a double-digit winning season) is a bit overzealous. We're thinking more towards and 8-8 or 9-7 season at best. Hence, our NFL picks is the Under 9.
Carolina Panthers – Over 8.5
If Cam Newton can get the help that he needs on the field, there'll be a lot to like about the Panthers in the coming season. The way they accounted in the post season after a subpar regular season augurs well. We'll take a chance on the Over 8.5 on our NFL picks with the Panthers.
Atlanta Falcons – Under 8
The Falcons have the easiest schedule according to our chart (Table 1), which could factor in the win column. Question is can one trust Matt Ryan and this team, even with the league's easiest schedule? The resounding answer, not really. We're going with the Under 8 where the Falcons are concerned, with the idea that if they do go Over it'll not be by much.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Under 6
The Buccaneers are still a side in remodel mode and with a rookie quarterback leading the charge, going OVER on your NFL picks here is a risky play in our opinion. Under, Under, Under makes the most sense at this point in time.
Seattle Seahawks – Under 11
The Seattle Seahawks have been one of the best teams in the NFL over the past two seasons. Can they still be the best with all the changes that are on the horizon? Hard to say with absolute certainty. While they are sure to enjoy a winning season, eleven wins might be just a tad too high. We'd like this NFL betting line much better if it were chalked at 10 wins on the season; as such, we're going for the UNDER 11 on our NFL picks with a view towards a 10-6 win season or at best an 11-5 win season, which would mean a push.
Arizona Cardinals – Over 8.5
The Cardinals punched above their perceived weight class last season despite a slew of massive injuries that hit key positions on their bench. Clearly, NFL odds makers aren't buying what they are selling, chalking the line at 8.5 wins for the coming season. That's fair maybe.
Consider they got an 11-5 mark all while playing with backup quarterbacks for good chunks of the season and enjoying one of the toughest schedules (8th toughest last season at 0.547 winning percentage). If they can stay healthier this season, they should be good for at least 8-9 wins. Take the Over 8.5 on your NFL picks.
St. Louis Rams – Under 8
The Saint Louis Rams have the sixth toughest schedule this season. While it's partly down to one of the toughest divisions in the league, they also have dates with some serious heavyweights, such as the Packers, Ravens and Bengals ( all on the road) and Steelers and Lions at home. Those are five games right there that they're going to be hard pressed to win. Over and above their divisional games with the Seahawks, Cardinals and 49ers. Projecting an 8 win total season therefore is ambitious. UNDER, UNDER, UNDER.
San Francisco – 49ers Over 7
Many NFL betting experts are of the opinion that the 49ers will be transitioning this season. Losing Harbaugh was a huge blow and, as such, they enter the NFL betting market with the lowest expectations of the entire NFC West division. Having the third toughest schedule also doesn't help matters. That said there's a lot of talent on this team and if they can find a way to put it together, they can go OVER 7 wins. Take the OVER on your NFL picks.
Table 2: NFL 2015 Strength Of Schedule