Part 2 on the NFL Win Totals series I will analyze Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver
Chicago Bears Total 8.5 2012 Record 10-6
No team was higher ranked and did not make the playoffs then the Chicago Bears. They finished 6th overall led by the number 4 defense. The Bears were close to making the playoffs had Green Bay beat Minnesota in the final week of the season. A game that went down to the wire. Urlacher is now gone and filling that void of a leader will be tougher to do then filling in his on field abilities as he was in decline the last few years. Lovie Smith and his defensive minded coaching departs and in comes Marc Trestman. Trestman has been known for taking QB’s to the next level. Under his tutelage Bernie Kosar, Scott Mitchell, Steve Young, Jake Plummer and Rich Gannon all had some of their best seasons ever. There is no reason his West Coast system could not benefit Jay Cutler. The talent has always been there now it is time to keep him upright and this system should do that. Last season the Bears were 20th in offense and 29th in passing. There will be a dramatic increase in both. The defense should remain solid. The schedule will not be easy. The division is full of potential playoff teams. Out of the division the only easy game is Cleveland and maybe St. Louis but they are on the road. If you like the Over you have to think they are just better than the rest of the division and they just might be. I am going Over the 8.5.
Cincinnati Bengals Total 8.5 2012 Record 10-6
The Bengals finished the regular season ranked 10th and made the playoffs. They were one slightly over thrown ball away from beating Houston in Houston and advancing but it was not meant to be. The Bengals strength was its defense finishing 9th overall. The defensive line was good and should be even better this season. Atkins and Johsnon are a formidable pass rush combination and getting better. AJ Green is a superstar but Andy Dalton was very inconsistent last season. They look to improve offensively as Mohamed Sanu will become a bigger factor for this team. But for all of their talent to show its riches Andy Dalton will have to be better than last season. If Dalton brings the QB rating up into the mid 90’s this team could be very tough to beat. The schedule is not one of the toughest we have seen. There are a number of winnable games. They need to win 6 home games to make the over look really good and 5 keeps you in the running. The toughest games will be Baltimore, New England, Green Bay, Baltimore. If they can split those I think the over hits. I will take Over 8.5 with the Bengals.
Cleveland Browns Total 6 2012 Record 5-11
The Browns were disappointing yet again last season. They may have found the RB of the future in Trent Richardson but the QB of the future is still up in the air. You do not win in this league without a QB and the Browns need one to emerge. Brandon Weeden will need to become that guy this year. Norv Turner is now the offensive coordinator and he has had great success with QB’s in the past. Especially as a coordinator. Weeden showed flashes throwing for 300 yards 3 times last year. The TD to INT needs to improve from 14 and 17 however. The schedule is not easy. The Browns have not been very good on the road and it is tough to see them winning more than 1 or 2 games on the road this season. It will take more than that to get this number over 6. Lean under 6.
Denver Broncos Total 11.5 2012 Record 13-3
As long as we are just looking at the regular season then the Broncos have one of the best QB’s of all time. Manning took a little time to settle in last year but when he did the Broncos became a force to contend with. Gamblers cashed in big on Denver as well as it was easy money backing the Broncos after the first few weeks winning 9 of 11 down the stretch ATS. Now that Manning is healthy and familiar there is no reason to expect the Broncos to come out of the box like they did last season. Wes Welker should be a great addition for the Broncos. Manning loves to have a slot WR he can rely on and Welker is as good as it gets. One big issue they do have is Von Miller is suspended for the first 6 games due to substance abuse violations. The Broncos schedule opens tough with Baltimore and the Giants but after that there are a slew of winnable games. Since 2003 Manning has failed to win 12 games just once. With a defense that ranked 3rd last season Manning should be able to get that 12 number again easily. Broncos over the 11.5.
Dallas Cowboys Total 8.5 2012 Record 8-8
When are the expectations not high in Dallas? The Cowboys had destiny in their own hands last season and let it slip away in the last week. Tony Romo, once again, threw the game away, with a pick 6 against the Redskins and sealed the fate of the Cowboys for 2012. Dallas finished 16th in the power rankings and were only higher ranked than one playoff team, the Colts. There is a ton of talent on this team. Romo, despite his clutch mishaps, has a ton of talent. Dez Bryant is one of the top 5 WR in the game today. Witten at TE continues to be a great security blacket for Romo. RB Demarcus Murray was a beast on short yardage situations last season. If he stays healthy he will be a TD machine in the red zone. Monte Kiffin has come in to replace Rob Ryan as defensive coordiantor. The defense will move from a 3-4 to a 4-3. It will be interesting to see if Ware and Spencer will be as effective as they were in the 3-4 system. Kiffin should help the 19th defense in the league and a healthy Murray will improve on the 31st rushing attack. The schedule gives them a chance to start of decently with KC, ST. Louis and San Diego but if they struggle at all it wont be easier the rest of the way. Dallas will be in the hunt most of the year as 10 wins will likely win the division but I am not sure they will be the team to get the 10. No opinion here on the 8.5.
Tomorrow I will go over Detroit, Green Bay, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville
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