By: Dan Leach
As we get ready to kick off what should be another epic NFL season, I have you covered from all angles to get you ready for liftoff. In a continuing series of a look at the National Football League from all angles, today I want to take a look at my top five best bets when it comes to NFL season win totals. Some teams will be improved, some will fall mightily. Season’s greetings as you can literally count the days now to opening night between the Ravens and Broncos September 5th.
5-New York Jets under 6.5 wins- The Jets are simply a mess of a franchise and things are not going to get any easier with a possible QB brew- ha-ha between Matt Sanchez and rookie Geno Smith. The strength of the team over the past several years, its defense, is taking steps back and it is hard for me to see how the offense is going to score points. There is a good chance 2013 is one of the worst in Jets history and says goodbye to a slimmer, but just as bad Rex Ryan when all is said and done.
4-Jacksonville Jaguars over 5 wins- The Jags are going to be nowhere near the playoffs this season but their win total of 5 is way too low. I like the Jags draft a lot and think that fifth round pick Denard Robinson could end up being a huge offensive weapon this season. QB Blaine Gabbert is going to have to make a move this year if he wants to prove he is the guy and I believe that pressure is going to make Gabbert a better leader. It won’t be by much but the Jags will definitely win more than 5 games
3-Indianapolis Colts over 8.5 wins- The Colts had a 2012 to remember. First losing their coach Chuck Pagano to cancer treatment, then rallying around interim head coach Bruce Arians and rookie QB Andrew Luck to make the postseason. Then Pagano returned late in the season to lead the team into their first January without Peyton Manning since 1999. The Colts are only going to get better under Luck and this is a team that will absolutely contend for the AFC South crown.
2-Carolina Panthers over 7.5 wins- The Panthers were absolute underachievers in 2012 and know they left a lot of wins on the table in a 7-9 season. QB Cam Newton is one of the most dynamic in the game and showed late last year that he has to be considered one of the most deadly in the game. Carolina has an offense that can score points; it will just be up to a defense that let the team down often last season to pull it together. I feel the Panthers should be on the edge of the playoffs at worst with 9 wins.
1-Detroit Lions over 8 wins- I think the Lions are tremendously undervalued here as they had one of their most focused offseason periods in recent memory. RB Reggie Bush adds to an already potent offense with QB Matt Stafford and the best WR in football Calvin Johnson. On defense, which has been one of the Lions Achilles heels, the Lions signed free agent S Glover Quin from the Texans, drafted DE beast Ziggy Ansah overall number five, and have a secondary that could end up being one of the NFL’s best if it stays healthy. This is a huge year for the whole organization, including head coach Jim Schwartz, who feels this is the best team he has had since taking over after the 0-16 season in 2009. I think the Lions have an outside chance at even winning the NFC North and should absolutely be a playoff team in 2013.