Win Totals - Bucs, Browns
August 14, 2012
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Play On: OVER 6 WINS
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Despite finishing just 4-12 last year, the Bucs came into the 2011 season with high expectations. Remember, this team was an impressive 10-6 in 2010 and made the playoffs. The main nucleus of that playoff team is still intact and we expect a bounce back season in 2012. The one change, which should be a positive one at least initially, is at the top where Greg Schiano has taken over as head coach. The former Rutgers head coach has already started to change the attitude in Tampa by basically telling starting tight end Kellen Winslow to hit the road. Schiano didn't like Winslow's attitude and traded him to Seattle and in the mean time picked up tight end Dallas Clark, a great locker room presence along with being a good receiver.
Quarterback Josh Freeman had a great year in 2010 starting all 16 games throwing 25 TD's and just six interceptions. Last year he took a big dip with just 16 TD's and 22 interceptions. We look for a much better year in 2012 for the talented signal caller.
The defense also has nowhere to go but up. After allowing just 318 total points in 2010 (19 PPG) the Pirates were horrible last season allowing 494 points (30 PPG). Expect them to be much better on that side of the ball this year as Schiano really stresses that side of the ball. He drafted Alabama safety Mark Barron and Nebraska linebacker Lavante David with two of his first three picks. They will help from day one on the defensive side.
Scheduling is always a big factor if not the key factor when looking at NFL win-total numbers. Tampa might have to send the NFL schedule makers a thank you card this year. Outside of division rivals Atlanta and New Orleans, the Buccaneers play only one team that had a winning record last year, the New York Giants. Their strength of schedule is ranked 27th entering the year. Tampa simply had an off season last year.
Their coach, Raheem Morris, didn't keep this team focused and was in a "lame duck" situation and the players knew it. Expect much better results this season under Schiano. Again, this team won 10 games just two seasons ago and we feel OVER 6 WINS shouldn't be a problem in 2012.
Play On: UNDER 5.5 WINS
Cleveland struggled through a 4-12 season last year and we don't expect things to get better for them in 2012-13. According to the Cantor Gaming line projections for the season, the Browns could potentially not be favored in a game this season.
The Browns have upgraded their talent through the draft with QB Brandon Weeden and running back Trent Richardson but don't expect those two to dramatically turn things around in their rookie season. Offensively the Browns were awful last season ranking 24th overall in passing and 28th in rushing.
Defensively they were 2nd overall in passing yards against but that's skewed by the fact teams ran it down their throats and didn't have to pass. Cleveland was 30th against the run last year allowing 147.4 yards per game which doesn't bode well for them this year considering nine of their games are against teams that were in the top half of the NFL in rushing last season. We can't even make a case for them being competitive last year as they had the 5th worst point differential in the entire league.
Cleveland was 0-6 SU against the AFC North last year and realistically could be the same again this season. They didn't play well on the road either with a 1-7 SU away record. We're not really sure how the NFL creates their schedules but they might want to take a long look at the process. The Browns were 4-12 SU last season but somehow they have the toughest schedule in the NFL in 2012-13. They get the NFC East and the AFC West. The North is obviously loaded with Cincinnati, Baltimore and Pittsburgh all of whom made the playoffs last season. The Browns are making strides in the right direction which will pay off down the road, just not next season as we can't see them winning two more games than they did a season ago. BET UNDER 5.5 WINS
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