When looking at season win totals each year I tend to offer more under than over selections but this season is the exception as I like just one team to go under and four teams to go over their posted season win total.
Here is a brief look at my selections with a short explanation as to what I see playing out for the following teams.
Pittsburgh Steelers – Under 10 (-120)
The Steelers have been a force in the AFC but I see them slipping a bit this season. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger took a beating all of last year and now will have to deal with new offensive coordinator Todd Haley and my thinking is it will take some time for that offense to gel. The Steelers are so weak on the offensive line, they used their first two draft picks on a guard and tackle and those young kids will need time getting to know the NFL and successfully protect Big Ben. Plus the schedule is brutal. Outside of their division, the Steelers have road games against the Broncos, Raiders, Titans, Giants and Cowboys.
Chicago Bears – Over 9 (-130)
The Bears would have been a playoff team last year if not for the season ending injuries to quarterback Jay Cutler and running back Matt Forte, which lead to a five game losing streak. The Bears acquired wide receiver Brandon Marshall from Miami in the offseason. Most would expect a productive year from Marshall as he reunites with Cutler from their days in Denver. They drafted a pass-rushing machine in Shea McClellin out of Boise State and a speedy WR from South Carolina in Alshon Jeffrey. The Bears have a favorable schedule and could beat out the Packers for the NFC North crown if things fall into place.
Atlanta Falcons – Over 9 (-140)
The Falcons made it to the playoffs for back- to-back season for the first time in franchise history last year. With so many offensive weapons, Atlanta’s attack will be one of the best in football and they have added coordinator Dirk Koetter, who is the former head coach of Arizona State. Plus, they picked up former Fresno State head coach Pat Hill, who will be their offensive line coach. Even more important is the hiring of top notch defensive coordinator Mike Nolan who will no doubt make improvements with the Falcons defense. Helping Nolan in the secondary this season will be cornerback Asante Samuel, who was acquired from Philadelphia.
Rams – Over 6 (-120)
Jeff Fisher taking over this Rams franchise will do wonders for a club that has simply been one of the worst in the league the last several seasons. The new head coach will put his stamp on the defense and bring this team to the next level. In the weak NFC West the Rams will be a scrappy team with a solid running game and should improve in the passing game with QB Sam Bradford starting his third season at the controls. The Rams were busy in the draft getting a total of 10 players after making some very smart trades. While this team is still a few years away from making the playoffs I see them improving enough to win at least seven games if not more.
Chargers – Over 9 (+100)
Every year the NFL has surprise teams that make a Super Bowl run out of nowhere and those teams didn’t even make the playoffs the previous season. The Chargers have done that the last two seasons. In the unpredictable AFC West, I see the Chargers winning the division as they are the better team than the Broncos even with QB Peyton Manning at the helm. They used the draft to upgrade their defense with their top three picks. Most people don’t like head coach Norv Turner and while I am not a big fan either, this team has enough weapons. QB Phillip Rivers is still a legit signal caller and despite losing WR Vincent Jackson, he can lead this team to a serious run in the AFC. I like the Chargers to beat the Raiders in Week 1 and start strong, which is something thehy haven’t done in previous years. Expect the Bolts to win more than 10 games this season,