Today we look at Kansas City, Miami, Minnesota, New England, New Orleans
Kansas City Chiefs Total 7 2012 Record 2-14
No team gets a bigger improvement over 2012 total in Vegas then does the Chiefs. The number is 5 games over their total from a year ago. New Head Coach Andy Reid probably has something to do with that. Another key addition is at QB with Alex Smith taking over the reins. Smith emerged as a solid QB under the tutelage of Jim Harbaugh the last 2 seasons but fell out of favor after San Francisco got a taste of how electric Colin Kaepernick can be. The running game is sold with Jamaal Charles leading the way. Expect Charles to have a big year under Andy Reid who likes to throw the ball to his backs. The Chiefs were a tough team to watch last season. They were in so many games yet had so many turnovers cost them. They had 37 turnovers in all. They lost 5 games by less than 10 points. The Chiefs were dismal in my rankings last season finishing 31st overall. They should be much improved from that but getting to 8 wins may be difficult. The schedule is not the toughest. They get an easy opponent out of the box in Jacksonville but it is on the road. They only games they are in against much better talent is Houston at home and the two Denver games. With the new coach and QB this team holds the ball better than it did last season and finds a way to win more than 7. Over the 7.
Miami Dolphins Total 7.5 2012 Record 7-9
The Dolphins got off to a nice start, 4-3, in 2012 but then went 3-6 to close it out. Tough losses to the Jets, Arizona and Indianapolis really kept this team from a possible playoff birth. But they were not really deserving. Finishing 22 overall, just ahead of the Colts, in the rankings. Miami was doing it mostly on defense ranking 11th overall the offense however ranked 29. Ryan Tannehill looked good at times and will now have Mike Wallace to throw to. This should boost the 26th ranked passing offense a bit. Reggie Bush had a nice season with almost 1300 all purpose yards. Bush is now running in Detroit so Miami will look to unproven backs to pick up the slack. The schedule has the Dolphins on the road 3 of the first 4. They must beat Cleveland or they could be facing 0-5 with Indy, Atlanta, New Orleans and Baltimore as the first 5 games. That start looks too daunting. I like the under 7.5 on Miami.
Minnesota Vikings Total 7.5 2012 Record 10-6
Interesting total as the oddsmakers anticpate a big drop off for the Vikings who made the playoffs last season. Of course Minnesota has the premier RB in the game in Adrian Peterson. AP figures to have another monster season. The question mark will be in the passing game. Ponder was efficient last year at 62.1% but it was mostly short passing as he threw for just 2935 yards. A good 20/12 TD/INT ratio though showed Ponder will take care of the football. Minnesota was middle of the pack last year ranking 15th. That would be an 8-8 record, right where the experts have them this season. The question is do they outplay last season or are they about the same. Greg Jennings comes in from GB to help the 31st ranked passing offense. Defensively Minnesota ranked 16th. Minnesota loses a home game this year because they are playing in London as the home team against Pittsburgh. The schedule is brutal. The weakest team they face looks to be Philadelphia, whom they get at home. 7.5 will be close to where they are. I would lean to the under slightly as I think the rest of the division is better.
New England Patriots Total 11 2012 Record 12-4
The class of the AFC East by far the Patriots need to duplicate last season to cover the 11 win total. Tom Brady loses his favorite target We Welker but Danny Amendola takes Welkers place and is probably a better talent. The question is always health with Amendola. If healthy he could be a great target for Brady to go to. Another lost target is Aaron Hernandez who is sitting in jail awaiting trial for murder. The other great TE Rob Gronkowski is battling health issues as he has had numerous surgeries in his short career. If healthy he is a force. The Patriot defense has been overlooked in recent years as the unit has given up big chunks of yardage. They should improve from the 21 ranking a year ago. The other night the defense was able to hold Detroit to 16 points in the first half despite playing with their backs on the end zone the whole half as the offense had 4 turnovers. The schedule is manageable The division looks to be weak so figure on 5 wins there. 7 more gets the over. It won’t be easy but consider Brady has won at least 11 games in 8 of 11 season. The Patriots over the 11.
New Orleans Saints Total 9 2012 Record 7-9
The whole bounty situation is a thing of the past and now the Saints are back to normal. Sean Payton will be back calling plays, just the way Drew Brees likes it. This team got off to an 0-4 start and just could not get enough momentum together to make a playoff run last year. The offense was great as usual finsihing 2nd but the defense stopped nobody finishing dead last. The defense is moving to a 3-4 scheme to try and improve. It can’t get much worse. The schedule is tough but not brutal. Two tough divisional games to open and then two winnable games with Arizona and Miami at home. After that it gets a bit tougher but they still get Buffalo and the Jets. Winning 10 to get this over will be a lot to ask for. I do not like this defense and that could be what keeps this team from making the playoffs again. I would lean under the 9 but it should be close.
Tomorrow I look at Giants, Jets, Oakland, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh
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