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NFL Over/Under picks for all 32 teams: Jets overachieve, Giants underwhelm

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold drops back

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold drops back to pass the football against the New Orleans Saints during the second quarter of an NFL preseason football game at MetLife Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

With the NFL season inching closer and closer to Week 1, it’s that time of the year for over/under predictions for all 32 teams. Here is a division by division breakdown, with teams listed in order of how I envision the standings at season’s end. The over/under win totals are according to OddsShark.com.

Last year’s over/under record: 15-14-3

AFC EAST

PATRIOTS

O/U TOTAL: 11.5 WINS

New England is one of the toughest teams for over/under predictions. As long as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are still there, you know the Pats will post double-digit wins. They haven’t finished with fewer than 10 wins since 2002 (9-7). The Pats went 11-5 last season but before that had at least 12 wins in eight consecutive seasons. What makes it a tough call is figuring out if they’ll win 11 or 12 games, hence the linemakers setting the total at a perfect 11.5. A look at New England’s schedule has me thinking it could start 6-0 (vs. Pittsburgh, at Miami, vs. Jets, at Buffalo, at Washington, vs. Giants). Then there’s a tough seven-game stretch at the Jets, vs. Cleveland, at Baltimore, at Philadelphia (after the bye week), vs. Dallas, at Houston and vs. Kansas City. But with the final three weeks being at Cincinnati, vs. Buffalo and vs. Miami, I think it’s either 11-5 or 12-4 (see what I mean!).

The pick: OVER (12-4 record)

JETS

O/U TOTAL: 7.5 WINS

The Jets had a great offseason, bringing in free agents Le’Veon Bell, Jamison Crowder and C.J. Mosley. But their biggest additions to me are Williams & Williams, as in defensive coordinator Gregg and third overall draft pick Quinnen. Both are poised for strong seasons, and while the Jets have serious question marks in the secondary, I’m willing to bank on Williams’ defensive game plan being the answer more times than not. On offense, Sam Darnold should make a sophomore jump with new coach Adam Gase calling the shots. The Jets figure to be in the hunt for one of the AFC’s wild cards, so the over is the play here. It will all come down to how they fare in their first six games: vs. Buffalo, vs. Cleveland, at New England, at Philadelphia (after the bye week), vs. Dallas and vs. New England. The Jets need to go at least 3-3. Facing the Pats twice in the first month and a half will be a challenge, but the Jets have played them well at MetLife Stadium of late so a split is very possible. The Jets’ playoff hopes could come down to a Week 17 game at Buffalo (sound familiar?)

The pick: OVER (9-7 record)

BILLS

O/U TOTAL: 7.5 WINS

Speaking of Buffalo, the Bills could be one of the 2019 season’s biggest surprises. Or not. Coach Sean McDermott is one of the best defensive minds in the game, and I love how his team plays for him. Will second-year quarterback Josh Allen be able to take that next step? With slot machine Cole Beasley joining the Bills’ offense, Allen figures to look to him so often that I think (hot take alert!) Beasley could break Marvin Harrison’ single-season NFL receptions record of 143. In a weird scheduling wrinkle, Buffalo (the only true New York team) opens its season with back-to-back games at New York, first the Jets and then the Giants. If the Bills can get to the bye at 3-2 (vs. Cincinnati, vs. New England and at Tennessee in Weeks 3-5), then 8-8 is possible. But I’ll play the odds and say 7-9 is more likely.

The pick: UNDER (7-9 record)

DOLPHINS

O/U TOTAL: 4.5 WINS

The Dolphins aren’t making the playoffs, but the only concern here is if they can win five games. With first-year coach Brian Flores a Bill Belichick disciple – he was the linebackers coach and called the defensive plays for the Patriots at times last season – Miami’s defense will be improved. I’d go with Josh Rosen at quarterback but Ryan Fitzpatrick will probably start. So, can we find five wins? Let’s see: Week 1 at home against Baltimore wouldn’t shock me. Four more? Hosting Washington (Week 6) and Cincinnati (Week 16) and then maybe a split with the Jets gets them to four wins. I’m having trouble finding that fifth win, but the NFL is so unpredictable that I think the over is worth a shot considering the 4.5 is so low.  

The pick: OVER (5-11 record)

AFC NORTH

BROWNS

O/U TOTAL: 9 WINS

I’m all-in on the Browns this season. With Freddie Kitchens going from offensive coordinator to head coach, Baker Mayfield and a high-octane offense should take the NFL by storm. Mayfield is my pick for MVP. Just look at all his offensive weapons: Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry at receiver, Nick Chubb at running back (Kareem Hunt will return after an eight-game suspension) and tight end David Njoku. Mayfield’s 27 touchdown passes were the most by a rookie quarterback in NFL history, and he should pick up where he left off. The way the NFL is now with penalties and geared toward offenses scoring a lot of points, I don’t think it’s outlandish to say that the Browns could become the first NFL team to score 30 points in every game (I told you I was all-in!). With Myles Garrett and Denzel Ward leading the defense, as well as another Giant, Olivier Vernon, having something to prove, Cleveland is stacked on both sides of the ball. The offensive line is the only question mark, and you never know with the Browns’ kicking game. The Browns have their fair share of doubters, those who say there’s too many divas and they won’t be able to live up to the hype. But count me as a believer, one who thinks this team can make a Super Bowl run.

The pick: OVER (12-4 record)

STEELERS

O/U TOTAL: 9 WINS

Pittsburgh may have the freshest start of any NFL team. Gone are drama kings Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner look poised to carry the load as the main guys, and Ben Roethlisberger always puts up big numbers. On defense, first-round pick Devin Bush is a beast at linebacker and should make an immediate impact. After opening at New England, Pittsburgh could run the table (vs. Seattle, at San Francisco, vs. Cincinnati, vs. Baltimore, at Chargers) before the bye in Week 7. At 5-1, the Steelers would only need five more wins over their next 10 games to hit the over.

The pick: OVER (10-6 record)

RAVENS

O/U TOTAL: 8 WINS

Baltimore should be right around .500, so picking over/under on this total is a tough call. I lean under because I think the rest of the NFL will take a page out of the Chargers’ defensive playbook in last year’s wild-card round and find ways to slow the elusive Lamar Jackson. L.A. used seven defensive backs on all but one defensive play to contain the speedy quarterback. John Harbaugh’s defense is always solid, and while they added Earl Thomas, they lost leaders Terrell Suggs and Eric Weddle. This over/under could come down to the final two weeks (Baltimore at Cleveland, vs. Pittsburgh).

The pick: UNDER (7-9 record)

BENGALS

O/U TOTAL: 5.5 WINS

Zac Taylor was Sean McVay’s quarterbacks coach with the Rams, but don’t expect the first-year Bengals head coach to have success right away like McVay did. Not with star wide receiver A.J. Green sidelined to start the season. With six games against superior division foes and four more against an improved AFC East, I can’t find five wins, let alone six.

The pick: UNDER (3-13 record)

AFC SOUTH

JAGUARS

O/U TOTAL: 7.5 WINS

This is my biggest surprise team for the 2019 season. You see it all the time: A team that overachieved one year (see: 2017 Jaguars making the AFC Championship Game) has a letdown the following year (see: 2018 Jaguars going 5-11) only to regroup the next year when no one expects it. Jacksonville’s defense has too many playmakers not to rebound, and most importantly, the Jags finally have a quarterback in Nick Foles. The Super Bowl LII MVP gets his chance to prove he can be a successful starter right out of the gate instead of replacing someone, and I think he will have a big year. You heard it here first: Jacksonville’s resurgence starts Week 1 at home with an upset of Kansas City. Fast forward to Week 17, when Colts at Jaguars could decide the AFC South champion.

The pick: OVER (9-7 record)

COLTS

O/U TOTAL: 9.5 WINS

Even before the stunning news that Andrew Luck was retiring, the Colts were too much of a risk considering they needed 10 wins. Their total will probably drop to 6.5 or so, now. Jacoby Brissett is a solid backup, so things could be worse for Indy, which has a strong young defense and offensive playmakers. Still, it’s asking a lot without Luck. The Colts open at the Chargers, and have road games at Kansas City, Pittsburgh and New Orleans.

The pick: UNDER (7-9 record)

TEXANS

O/U TOTAL: 8 WINS

Houston went from 0-3 to 9-3 to 11-5 and hosting a wild-card game last season. Still, I never was a believer and wasn’t shocked one bit when the Colts went in there and handled them rather easily. Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins are as electric a QB-WR combo in the NFL, and the defense has stars in J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. Still, I think the Texans take a two-step backward this season, partly because of a tough seven-game stretch to start (at New Orleans, vs. Jacksonville, at Chargers, vs. Carolina, vs. Atlanta, at Kansas City, at Indianapolis) plus a home game against New England.

The pick: UNDER  (7-9 record)

TITANS

O/U TOTAL: 7.5 WINS

You can always count on Mike Vrabel’s team to give it their all, but that might not be enough in a talented division. The Titans had their moments last year and were a win away in the final game of the regular season from making the playoffs, but Marcus Mariota & Co. couldn’t get it done. The Titans have road games at Cleveland, Atlanta, Denver and Carolina plus home contests with the Chargers, Chiefs and Saints.

The pick: UNDER (6-10 record)

AFC WEST

CHIEFS

O/U TOTAL: 10.5 WINS

Patrick Mahomes probably won’t throw 50 touchdowns again like he did during his remarkable 2018 MVP season, but then again, he’s capable of an encore. Mahomes mastered Andy Reid’s offense in his first NFL year and there’s no reason to think there will be a letdown, not with all those weapons in Kansas City. The Chiefs’ defense has always been its biggest issue, and they addressed some of their holes by bringing in Steve Spagnuolo as coordinator, Tyrann Mathieu at safety and Frank Clark (13 sacks with Seahawks in 2018) to pair with Chris Jones (15.5) as pass-rushing specialists. Arrowhead is one of the toughest places to play, so Kansas City could get two-thirds of the way to their over/under total just at home.

The pick: OVER (12-4 record)

CHARGERS

O/U TOTAL: 10 WINS

The Chargers always seem to start slow, but this could be the year they bolt out of the gates. They open by hosting Indianapolis, then it’s at Detroit, vs. Houston and at Miami. There’s a strong chance Philip Rivers & Co. could be 4-0 at the end of September and not miss Melvin Gordon, who is currently holding out. Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson aren’t at Gordon’s level, but the 1-2 punch could fill that void. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram lead a talented defense. Like last season, the Chargers and Chiefs will battle it out and the Week 17 matchup at KC could be for the AFC West title. The consolation prize? A wild card.   

The pick: OVER (11-5 record)

BRONCOS

O/U TOTAL: 7 WINS

Denver is another of my surprise teams. While John Elway is still looking for the next John Elway, he made a great coaching hire in Vic Fangio. The longtime defensive coordinator now has linebackers Von Miller and Bradley Chubb to go with a strong secondary, so expect the Broncos to be one of the NFL’s stingiest defenses. It also helps that Mile High is one of the most difficult places to play. Now, about Joe Flacco. He’s past his prime but I think the chip on his shoulder will be so big that he will have a “remember me?” type of season. The Broncos figure to be involved in a lot of 20-17, 20-13 type of games, which from a karma standpoint, could be a good sign: Flacco won the Super Bowl in 2013. Denver’s floor is 7-9 and its ceiling is 9-7 and a possible wild-card spot.

The pick: OVER (9-7 record)

RAIDERS

O/U TOTAL: 6 WINS

If you’ve watched “Hard Knocks,” you know the Raiders’ preseason has been centered on Antonio Brown, from helmet to toes. But beyond his issues, Jon Gruden’s grinders have had a pretty good preseason. Will Year 2 be smoother than the 4-12 debacle in Gruden’s return? Yes. But the Raiders are a still a work in progress. The AFC West could be one of the best divisions in the NFL so getting to seven wins won’t be easy, especially not with a tough five-game stretch to open the season (vs. Denver, vs. Kansas City, at Minnesota, at Indianapolis, vs. Chicago). I could see as little as five wins and as many as seven wins, so this is a close call. Considering how bad things were in Oakland last year, maybe Derek Carr can turn things around enough to hit this over.

The pick: OVER (7-9 record)

NFC EAST

COWBOYS

O/U TOTAL: 9 WINS

Don’t worry about all the offseason hoopla surrounding the Cowboys. Jerry’s World will be back to normal in no time. Ezekiel Elliott’s holdout surely will end, right? Even if it doesn’t, he will eventually return, and in the meantime, fourth-round pick Tony Pollard looks pretty good. Dak Prescott also wants a big payday, and while he hasn’t proven he’s a top 10 quarterback yet, I think this is the year he makes that big jump. Having Amari Cooper for a full season will help, as well as new addition Randall Cobb. Dallas’ defense, one of the best last season, is stacked with linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch, and defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. Jason Garrett’s in-game decisions are often head-scratchers, but Dallas has so much going for it that it won’t be a big-enough factor to not take the over. Also, no team has an easier road to 3-0 than Dallas: vs. Giants, at Washington, vs. Miami. The Cowboys and Eagles will battle for the top spot in the East, and their Week 16 contest in Philly could determine the winner.

The pick: OVER (11-5 record)

EAGLES

O/U TOTAL: 10.5

Philadelphia’s season, like this over/under total, will center on one number: 11. Carson Wentz’s health will determine how far this Eagles team can fly, and as long as he’s OK, Philly should be playoff-bound. With Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and old/new Eagle DeSean Jackson at receiver to go with running back Jordan Howard (acquired in a trade with the Bears), Wentz has so many weapons. Oh, and there’s tight end Zach Ertz. The defense is loaded with playmakers, too. Doug Pederson’s team is one of the NFC favorites to make it back to the Super Bowl. With four of their last five games against the Dolphins, Giants (twice) and Redskins, Philly should get to 11 with No. 11 at the helm.

The pick: OVER (11-5 record)

GIANTS

O/U TOTAL: 6 WINS

Eli Manning is still the man for the Giants, but will he finish the season or will No. 6 overall pick Daniel Jones pull an Eli and take over the way he did with Kurt Warner? My guess is you’ll see Jones the last month or so, which will mean the Giants again won’t be in playoff contention. As great as Saquon Barkley is, it doesn’t always translate to wins (see: last season’s 5-11 record). With Odell Beckham Jr. traded away and Golden Tate serving a four-game suspension, the Giants are thin at receiver. After the opener at Dallas, they have three winnable games (vs. Buffalo, at Tampa Bay, vs. Washington) but having to face Dallas once more, Philadelphia twice, the NFC North and New England, the Giants are due for another long season.

The pick: UNDER (5-11 record) 

REDSKINS

O/U TOTAL: 6.5 WINS

It’s going to be a LLLLLLLLLLLLLong season for Washington. Yes, that’s 13 L’s for every loss. With either Case Keenum or rookie Dwayne Haskins at quarterback, offseason turmoil within the organization and a defense that will have trouble stopping anyone, expect Jay Gruden’s seat to get hotter by the week.

The pick: UNDER (3-13 record)

NFC NORTH

BEARS

O/U TOTAL: 9 WINS

Many will look at Chicago’s surprise playoff run last season and dismiss it as a one-year fluke. Not me. I picked them to make the postseason before the start of the 2018 season and I think they’ll repeat as NFC North champs. Mitchell Trubisky should only get better in his second year under coach Matt Nagy’s system. Khalil Mack and the defense should deliver again under new defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano, who replaces Vic Fangio, now the Broncos head coach (Chicago is at Denver Week 2). Now, about the Bears’ kicking game . . .

The pick: OVER (11-5 record)

PACKERS

O/U TOTAL: 9 WINS

As long as the Packers have Aaron Rodgers, they’ll always be a threat. But what can you expect from a first-time head coach in Matt LaFleur? To think Rodgers and the Pack will automatically revert back to their postseason power now that the Rodgers-Mike McCarthy drama is over with is silly. Rodgers has weapons but the defense is mostly unproven, so it’s hard to know what you’ll get from them. After opening at Chicago on Thursday Night Football, Green Bay has three home games against Minnesota, Denver and Philadelphia before trips to Dallas, Kansas City and the Chargers. If the Packers can get to the bye in Week 11 at 6-4 or 5-5, they’re set up nicely the last six weeks (at San Francisco, at Giants, vs. Washington, vs. Chicago, at Minnesota, at Detroit) to fight for a wild-card spot.

The pick: OVER (10-6 record)

VIKINGS

O/U TOTAL: 9 WINS

Minnesota has an all-around solid team, so 10-6 is in play. Still, 9-7 is more likely but again, I’m not doing pushes so I have to decide if there’s a stronger chance the Vikings go 8-8 or 10-6. After Kirk Cousins failed to produce a playoff run a year after the Vikings made the NFC Championship Game with Case Keenum, I’m not confident he will this season either. Until he wins the big game, it’s hard to trust him in a big spot. He’s 5-13 in prime-time games, and the Vikings play five of those this season. He’s also 13-23-2 on the road for his career, and Minnesota has tough away games at Kansas City, Dallas, Seattle and the Chargers in addition to Chicago and Green Bay.

The pick: UNDER (8-8 record)

LIONS

O/U TOTAL: 7 WINS

I’d be lying if I told you I could figure out these Lions. They’re always one of the more unpredictable teams. They do have some weapons (Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola at receiver and Kerryon Johnson at running back) to help quarterback Matthew Stafford. But will Matt Patricia’s defense look like the one he used to lead in New England? Playing in one of the NFL’s best divisions, as well as games against the Chargers, Eagles, Chiefs (Weeks 2-4) and Cowboys, adds up to a long season in Detroit.

The pick: UNDER (4-12 record)

NFC SOUTH

FALCONS

O/U TOTAL: 8.5 WINS

Atlanta had so many season-ending injuries to its defense last season that it never had a chance. Now, after a major coaching overhaul in the offseason, which included head coach Dan Quinn taking over defensive play-calling duties, the Falcons have a healthy outlook for 2019. Matt Ryan has a talented trio of receivers in Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu and Calvin Ridley, as well as speedy running back Devonta Freeman so the offense should put up big numbers. Atlanta has a tough first-half schedule but it gets easier the last month (vs. Carolina, at San Francisco, vs. Jacksonville, at Tampa Bay). From Weeks 10-14, it’s five straight division matchups after the bye week, so that likely will decide the Falcons’ season.

The pick: OVER (10-6 record)

SAINTS

O/U TOTAL: 10 WINS

You think New Orleans and its fans can’t wait for the Monday Night opener against the Texans? In the same building in which a non-PI call cost them a trip to the Super Bowl, the Saints should start the 2019 season with a bang. But I’m not sure they’ll coast like they did last year. Drew Brees, as great as he is and was last season, is 40. Can he put up those MVP-type numbers again? The Saints will battle the Falcons for the division crown, and while they’re likely to make the playoffs, I’m going to go out on a limb and say they take a step back from last year’s 13-3 record and finish at 10-6 or 9-7. No pushes here, so . . .

The pick: UNDER (9-7 record)

PANTHERS

O/U TOTAL: 8 WINS

Carolina is one of the NFL’s biggest enigmas. I never know what to expect, and with Cam Newton having offseason shoulder surgery (plus suffering a sprained foot in the preseason), it’s hard to pick them as an over. The Panthers are a strong home team (Rams are on upset alert in Week 1) and they have an electric playmaker in Christian McCaffrey, but Newton’s uncertainty is too big an issue to ignore.  

The pick: UNDER (7-9 record)

BUCS

O/U TOTAL: 6.5 WINS

Bruce Arians was a great coaching hire, and if anyone can help Jameis Winston take that next step, it’s him. Losing defensive leader Gerald McCoy will hurt, and while the Bucs have some tough road games (at the Rams and Seahawks in addition to their division), I think they can start 2-1 (vs. San Francisco, at Carolina, vs. Giants) and position themselves for a run at .500.

The pick: OVER (7-9 record)

NFC WEST

RAMS

O/U TOTAL: 10 WINS

Sean McVay’s Rams picked the worst time to play their worst game, scoring a Super Bowl record-tying low three points in last year’s big game. This season, expect to see more of the high-flying Rams you’ve been accustomed to the last two years. Oh, and lots of Aaron Donald. McVay led L.A. to records of 11-5 and 13-3 in his first two seasons, including a 10-2 mark against division foes. If they go 5-1 in the division, they’ll only have to go 6-4 in their other games to ‘over’ achieve. 

The pick: OVER (11-5 record)

SEAHAWKS

O/U TOTAL: 8.5 WINS

I learned my lesson doubting Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll and the Seahawks last season. I thought they were going to be one of the NFL’s worst teams, and they instead went 10-6 and made the playoffs as a wild card. Even though they lost safety Earl Thomas (free agency to Ravens) and wide receiver Doug Baldwin (retirement), I’m banking on Wilson, Carroll and a Bobby Wagner-led defense to again compete for a wild card. If wide receiver DK Metcalf (knee surgery) can make it back relatively early, I think he can be the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

The pick: OVER (9-7 record)

49ERS

O/U TOTAL: 8.5 WINS

With Jimmy Garoppolo, the 49ers will always be one of the most-hyped teams. Now it’s time to match those expectations. While I think he can be a star quarterback, I’m taking a more “wait and see” approach after his season-ending injury in Week 3 last season. With home games against the Steelers, Browns, Packers and Falcons, in addition to four games against the Rams and Seahawks, I can’t find nine wins.

The pick: UNDER (7-9 record)

CARDINALS

O/U TOTAL: 5.5 WINS

Call me a conspiracist, but I think Kliff Kingsbury, Kyler Murray and the Cards are slow-playing the rest of the NFL this preseason. Not only are they saving all their highlight-reel and gadget plays for Week 1 (like they should), but I think they’re saving even more. Look out in Week 1, because I think the rookie coach and No. 1 pick are going to be a big hit right out of the gate. But will the Cards flop after opening the season at home against the Lions? Beating the Rams and Seahawks will be tough, so that could be four losses right there. Then there’s road games at Baltimore and New Orleans, and home tilts against Pittsburgh and Cleveland. If the first-year unpredictability and innovation of Kingsbury and Murray produced six wins, I wouldn’t be shocked. But I think the safer play is the under.

The pick: UNDER (5-11 record)

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