2018 AL East team projections
The most popular organizations in the league -- teams such as the Cowboys, Giants and Steelers -- often will have inflated totals in Vegas because the books know that their fans are more likely to bet the over. If the Giants had the same talent but wore the Bills' uniforms, they would hit the board at 5. Big Blue only posted 4. If new general manager Dave Gettleman uses the second overall pick on a passer, the Giants will probably be using to rebuild and retool. The Bucs underachieved in , in part because they went in games decided by a touchdown or less, including four such losses to playoff teams.
Numbers suggest the Bucs should improve, but it's difficult to see a high ceiling for Tampa Bay when it is bringing back frustrating coach Dirk Koetter and is still stuck in a division with three stacked teams in Atlanta, Carolina and New Orleans. A healthy season from Jameis Winston -- who posted the league's seventh-best passer rating after returning from injury in Week 13 -- would help. The Bears will be a sleeper pick in plenty of places, and indeed, people who didn't catch onto the Rams until it was too late will look at Chicago as the team most similarly constructed to Los Angeles.
It could very easily work out that way, but it would be aggressive to look at Jared Goff , a quarterback who was a mess in Year 1 and a franchise quarterback in Year 2, and assume Mitchell Trubisky will make the same sort of drastic strides forward in his sophomore campaign. Most teams that go in their division improve the following season, but the Bears will still be up against the NFC North. This one would go up with juice on the over. It's almost impossible to project the Cardinals, given that they don't have a head coach or an obvious choice at quarterback.
If general manager Steve Keim opts to go for a veteran and trades for Alex Smith , this number will be higher, even if the Cardinals performed far worse than their record this past season. And likewise, if Arizona settles for a stopgap such as Josh McCown and drafts a quarterback 15th overall, this number might fall below six in a division that already has three franchise quarterbacks.
Everyone suspects the Broncos are going to make an addition at quarterback, but it's not yet clear whether their decision will dramatically move the needle.
The Broncos' defense hasn't declined as much as the raw totals suggest; it fell from fourth to 22nd in points allowed but was still the 10th-best defense by DVOA after leading the league in But Denver could cut Aqib Talib.
And it is feeling the effects of what look to be middling drafts in and You suspect the Dolphins might want to chalk up as a lost season after Ryan Tannehill went down with a torn ACL in preseason, but their 28th-ranked defense by DVOA is a bigger concern. Miami likely will hit the free-agent market yet again to try to plug holes, even if it means moving on from Jarvis Landry and cutting Ndamukong Suh , who might have worn out his welcome. Questionable contracts from years past might prevent Miami from importing as much new talent as it might like.
Arguably the most injury-hit team in football, Jay Gruden's team will hope to get more games -- if not full seasons -- out of impact contributors such as Chris Thompson , Jordan Reed and Trent Williams in Of course, Washington might be coming back with a totally different team, given that it could move on from Kirk Cousins and cut cornerback Josh Norman , which would slice its most expensive offensive and defensive players off the roster.
This total assumes both players stay while Washington allows Bashaud Breeland and Zach Brown to leave in free agency, but much is up in the air. While the Bills shocked the world and made it to the playoffs at , their Pythagorean expectation was for a 6. If they decide to turn the quarterback position over to Nathan Peterman , seven wins might be a tall order. My best guess is that the Bills will use their two first-round picks to trade up and grab a passer; but unless the incoming signal-caller plays like a superstar and props up the rest of the team, Sean McDermott's squad might take a step backward before it takes a step forward.
Cincinnati's motto for might as well be "Run It Back," given that it re-signed coach Marvin Lewis and will return most of its starters from Most teams would look at how badly they got their offensive line choices wrong and go into free agency to try to invest in replacements. But with the Bengals treating the market as if it were lava, Cincinnati is going to have to hope for a healthier season and further development from would-be contributors such as Cedric Ogbuehi and John Ross.
The second-most difficult number on this board was Oakland. Do you believe in Jon Gruden and a talented core that went as recently as ? Or do you see a Raiders team that went with the Pythagorean expectation of a 6. I'd put heavy juice on the over, because it's hardly out of the question that Gruden turns the offense around quickly, but defensive struggles might hold back the Raiders in a difficult AFC West.
And this was the toughest number to peg, if only because the Niners looked like a totally different animal while going under Jimmy Garoppolo. Kyle Shanahan's team isn't going to go undefeated in with its new quarterback, but the 49ers are going to return Jimmy GQ and a defense with as many as six first-round picks. They could get good in a hurry. The Niners' road schedule includes six teams that were. The Titans won a playoff game and still managed to fire Mike Mularkey, which might have been the best possible outcome for Tennessee fans.
It's possible that Marcus Mariota takes a leap forward underneath a new offensive coordinator, but the Titans were 18th in DVOA and had the Pythagorean expectation of a 7. Watt , the Titans might get squeezed by their division. The Lions were actually a better team in than they were in , according to both point differential and DVOA, but their record suffered by virtue of falling from in one-score games to , which brought an end to Jim Caldwell's time as coach.
Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia is expected to take over , but will the Lions ever develop a running game or a secondary pass rush behind franchise-tag candidate Ezekiel Ansah? Detroit also has to face a second-place schedule in the NFC, which means games against the Cowboys, Panthers and Seahawks. Nobody doubts how brilliant Deshaun Watson played during his six-game stint as Houston's starter last season, but the Texans were also in those games.
Granted, their losses over that stretch were to the Chiefs, Patriots and Seahawks by a combined 14 points, but it's fair to point out that they might not become a Super Bowl contender solely by virtue of getting back Watson.
They are certainly likely to improve, though, and while J. Watt is hardly guaranteed to return to his previous form after missing 24 of the past 32 games thanks to injury, if he does come back as his old self that defense will be scary. The league's most perennially frustrating team did just enough to get into playoff contention, only for the Bills to keep the Chargers from the postseason with a win in Week Los Angeles's biggest problem -- kicker -- is fixable this offseason, but this might be the best version of the Chargers we'll see for a while.
Outside of Denzel Perryman and Jason Verrett , virtually every one of Los Angeles' core talents stayed healthy this past season. Philip Rivers also posted the lowest interception rate of his career, a trick that isn't likely to stick around in New England's opponent in the AFC Championship Game could hit the board with a higher total if it upgrades at quarterback.
This line assumes the Jaguars come back with Blake Bortles for on his fifth-year option. Jacksonville's defense should still be legit in , but it can't be as healthy as it was this season, when the Jags' 11 starters missed a combined three games. The Falcons brought back virtually their entire personnel core, but they didn't get remotely similar results with a revamped staff of assistants; after outscoring teams by 8.
They only hit 10 wins by virtue of a pair of breathless last-second victories in September, including a drop in the end zone by the Bears in Week 1 and the Golden Tate second runoff play in Week 3. Atlanta's ninth-ranked offense by DVOA was unfairly blamed for the struggles of a defense that finished 22nd, so if the offense does play as poorly in as people perceived it to perform in , things could get worse.
Nine wins weren't enough to get the Ravens into the playoffs, with a record in games decided by seven points or less keeping out the league's seventh-best team by DVOA. The Panthers enter an uncertain offseason as Jerry Richardson prepares to sell the team, which might impact their ability to upgrade during the spring. It would be nice to bring back Julius Peppers , who might retire after an sack season, but it seems likely Carolina will lose star guard Andrew Norwell to free agency after signing fellow guard Trai Turner to an extension in July.
Carolina drove to that record with a mark in close games, and that sort of dramatic performance in one-score games drove precipitous declines for the Panthers in and No number is more likely to be inflated in Vegas than that of America's Team. The Cowboys should get a full season from Ezekiel Elliott , after their star running back was suspended for six games, but Zeke also lost a full yard per carry from his averages.
They'll have to hope for healthier seasons from Dan Bailey , Sean Lee and Tyron Smith , but there are still major questions at receiver, along the defensive line and in the secondary. The Chiefs have posted winning records in each of their five seasons with coach Andy Reid, which would make this nine-win line conservative if it weren't for the likelihood of Alex Smith being traded.
Kansas City will turn over its offense to Patrick Mahomes , which should be exciting -- and occasionally terrifying -- based on what we saw in Week The defense might improve with the returns from injuries of Eric Berry and Dee Ford , but the Chiefs still have holes they'll have to cover up and will likely move on from longtime contributors Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson for cap reasons.
Very few people saw this year's breakout coming, and while the Rams are returning many of their big names, their secondary will be a question mark if they can't resign Trumaine Johnson and Lamarcus Joyner. The Rams also have to figure out whether to retain Sammy Watkins , who was their fourth target in the passing game this past season, and they are missing their second-round pick in the draft. Sean McVay's team improved by seven wins over their total; since , teams that have jumped by seven or more wins in a given year declined by nearly four wins the following season.
So why would their win total be at 9. It's because of the quarterback position, as all three of the passers on the roster are due to become unrestricted free agents this offseason, with offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur likely leaving town for a head-coaching gig.
The Vikings have the financial flexibility to do whatever they want, so they could franchise Case Keenum and re-sign Teddy Bridgewater , but can Keenum's breakout continue without his offensive coordinator? Alternately, if they sign Kirk Cousins , this Vikings line would leap toward The Saints' defense came to life in , and young stars such as Marshon Lattimore and Sheldon Rankins should continue to improve in , but it's hard to believe it will remain a top unit.
One of the most satisfying experiences for a true MLB fan is making a bet on your team to blow past the over-under for wins set by the oddsmakers in Vegas. The Vegas insiders are good at what they do, and the lines are always set so as to draw roughly an equal number of bettors on either side.
Current projections from the smart folks at Baseball Prospectus and FanGraphs are included. The Diamondbacks returned to the playoffs for the first time since by winning 93 games and claiming the top NL Wild Card. Arizona returns much of the same team that made a surprising playoff run last year, but will miss the dangerous bat of J.
Martinez in the middle of the lineup. The entire starting rotation is back, but questions surround Zack Greinke, whose velocity continues to drop in Spring Training. With the line set at The NL West will also be much more competitive in — perhaps the toughest division in baseball — with the San Francisco Giants making a series of aggressive moves this winter to dig out of last place. The Diamondbacks have one of the deepest lineups in the league even without Martinez.
Pollock healthy for a full year and wins over 90 games again.