The NFL is a 12-month sport, and as the college basketball season closes, we keep our eyes peeled towards next football season.
DraftKings Sportsbook released win totals for each team ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft on April 29th, giving sports bettors a window to buy low or sell high on teams ahead of one of the biggest weekends of the offseason.
Don’t forget that this season will feature a 17th game. No more .500 football teams folks, so make sure to factor that into your handicapping.
Here are three win totals that immediately jumped out to us.
After starting 11-0 last season, the Steelers stumbled into the postseason at 12-4. After that, an embarrassing loss to division rival Cleveland sent Pittsburgh home early.
Another year will pass for the aging Ben Roethlisberger as the AFC North continues to get stronger. The Ravens and Browns seem poised to be playoff threats for the foreseeable future while the Bengals should be better with another year of No. 1 pick Joe Burrow and necessary upgrades in free agency.
The Steelers pass happy approach became predictable as the season wore on and ‘Big Ben’ is going to struggle even more after losing two mainstays on the offensive line in Maurkice Pouncey and Matt Feiler. The Steelers were second in the NFL in pass rate at 64.2%.
New offensive coordinator Matt Canada is going to try and work with similar weapons that were there last season as the team didn’t add any significant contributors at the skill positions. With stale skill players and an over the hill QB, expect this offense to struggle mightily.
The writing was on the wall for the last quarter of the season for Pittsburgh, and this is where the bottom may fall out. The Steelers also have the most difficult schedule according to last season’s winning percentage.
After several years of incompetence across the board, the Jets are finally pushing the right buttons.
New York was one of the worst teams in football last year, putting together a 2-14 record, but there is reason for optimism for Gang Green.
First, the team is set to bring in BYU quarterback Zach Wilson with the No. 2 pick. Wilson is a dynamic passer capable of escaping the pocket and has shown the ability to make high level passes all over the field.
The QB will usher in a new era of Jets football with the organization bringing in head coach Robert Saleh as well as a offensive coordinator in Mike LaFleur, both two years removed from a Super Bowl appearance with the 49ers.
It was also a productive free agency for the NY. The team brought in a big target in Corey Davis at receiver and a defensive end to pressure the quarterback in Carl Lawson.
The Jets are trending upwards and I’m bullish on their future. 7-10 feels attainable in a competitive division with a rejuvenated roster around Wilson and Saleh. At + money, I’m in.
Getting a flat 7 with a cheap vig feels good, and I see this price trending towards the under as we get closer to the season.
The Bears are turning to Andy Dalton in 2021, who showed why he was brought in as a backup in Dallas with his erratic play for much of 2020 after Dak Prescott’s injury. Dalton threw for under 200 yards per game in nine starts for the Cowboys, tossing 14 touchdowns to eight interceptions. Dallas was 4-5 in those games.
Chicago’s offense is going to remain stagnant around Dalton despite placing a franchise tag on Allen Robinson and another year of emerging running back David Montgomery.
Looking at the NFC North, The Lions are going to struggle, but the Vikings should be better after being hit hard by injuries in 2020. Of course, the Packers remain the class of the division.
On top of what should be a competitive division with possibly two playoff teams, the Bears are set to face the third most difficult schedule in the league based on last year’s record.
Khalil Mack is going to anchor a defense that is going to need to be as good as ever in order to make up for the deficient offense. Last season, the Bears were elite at stopping the run, allowing a 43% rushing success rate and allowing a touchdown on 51% of opponent’s red zone tries.
However, the D won’t be able to keep the offense afloat to get to eight wins. Chicago may be in for a long season as they wait for the next quarterback of the future.