Wait, what? We’re less than a week away from the season? Time flies when you have fun! Is the preseason fun? For the sake of players’ health, I hope either a) it gets taken away or b) the starters just don’t play, but, hey, it makes Hard Knocks more entertaining!
Sorry, that’s not what you’re for! Rather, you clicked on this article because you’re interested in every team’s outlook this season. Maybe you’re a fan of a specific team, or are looking for value in the betting markets. Either way, you’re covered here! Today, we’ll be analyzing every team’s win total. Are they likely to exceed expectations, or will they fall short of their win total? That’s the million-dollar question we’ll be answering for all 32 teams here! Here are my personal projections for all 32 teams, with my offense and defense ranks for them. Using these ranks, I was able to come up with implied points per game and points allowed per game, which allowed me to come up with their projected point differential. Then, adjusting for strength of schedule, I was able to calculate projected win totals for the upcoming year and compare that to their current win total in the betting market. Simple story, it’s about to go down! Let’s get right into it!
All Stats via Pro Football Focus. Win Totals via Vegas Insider
This isn’t just about the Cardinals’ overall talent. However, when you play in the NFC West, you’re going to face a difficult schedule. Following the news that Malcolm Butler will be placed on the retirement lists, the Cardinals likely will have to rely on either fourth-round rookie Marco Wilson or Tay Gowan as a starting cornerback. That’s certainly not ideal. The Cardinals may have ranked 8th in yards/play allowed last year, but did so while ranking just 25th in PFF defense grade. Expect major regression there.
In the end, the success of Arizona comes down to their offense; if it can perform at an elite level, then their defensive woes can be overcome. Yet, even though Kyler Murray is a fantastic rushing quarterback, there are still limitations with this offense in the passing game. After DeAndre Hopkins, they’ll be relying on AJ Green as their #2 receiver, who averaged just 1.02 yards/route run last year. Maybe Murray takes the next step in his progression, or one of the rookie cornerbacks exceeds expectations. For now, though, it’s looking likely they’ll finish under 8.5 wins and with a losing record in 2021.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Prediction: Over
- Confidence Level: 5
The Buccaneers won the Super Bowl last year, and it’s hard to not see them as a clear favorite to do so again. Seriously; they didn’t lose a SINGLE STARTER from last year. I’m sorry, what? Also, Tom Brady is going to play forever, isn’t he? What is there here to analyze? In fact, with a weaker division (Saints getting worse), they’re in an even better position this year, especially with Brady and the offense having a full offseason to mesh together. There’s a reason why Brady is my MVP pick for 2021.
- Prediction: Over
- Confidence Level: 9.5
I’m probably more confident in this than I should be. The Titans lost offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, have relied on extensive rushing efficiency and will face a first-place schedule. That’s all a flash in the pan, though, due to this simple fact: they play in the AFC South! That’s four games against the Jaguars and Texans, which place much less pressure on their success in other games. We’re still talking about a passing attack led by Ryan Tannehill throwing the ball to AJ Brown and Julio Jones, and one that could pass the ball more this year- that’d be a good thing! Plus, while their defense struggled last year, they should benefit from better success on third downs and in the red zone (unstable metrics), while they ranked 12th in PFF coverage grade. Easy schedule? Check. Talented offense? Check. Satisfactory defense? Check. Feel comfortable betting the over here.
Washington Football Team
- Prediction: Under
- Confidence Level: 5
Ryan Fitzpatrick heaving the ball up to Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel? Yes, please. That being said, let’s be careful of placing the Washington Football Team as the team to beat in the NFC East. Most of their success last year was based on elite defensive performance, which is tough to bank, especially with a difficult slate of opposing offenses. Meanwhile, for all of Fitzpatrick’s success in recent years, there are still limits here, as well as some significant downside. Unless they experience a high range of outcomes offensively, it’s going to be difficult to keep pace with them likely to allow more points than expected. I’ll side with the better quarterback and offense with the Cowboys in the NFC East. Still, don’t think I won’t be rooting hard for “Fitzmagic” to once again shock the world this year!
(Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire)
For Dallas, your offense and defense ranks should be swapped