Projecting Over-Under for NFL Teams' Win Totals in 2013

Old AccountSenior Writer IFebruary 8, 2013

Projecting Over-Under for NFL Teams' Win Totals in 2013

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    With the conclusion of a wild NFL season, the focus now turns to the offseason, where all 32 teams begin making preparations for the upcoming year. Teams will begin making major decisions through free agency and the draft.

    Super Bowls may be decided on the football field, but the transactions made by front offices are a large indicator in predicting future success.

    As the offseason begins, let the speculation begin while we're at it. What teams will use this offseason to further improve their roster? What teams won't show much of a drastic change in the coming season?

    Here are my predictions for every team on whether its win total will improve in 2013.

1. Kansas City Chiefs

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    2012 Record: 2-14

    After a majorly disappointing season that led to the firing of a second head coach in two years, the Chiefs decided it was best to turn the franchise over to a proven winner who also needed a change of scenery.

    The hiring of Andy Reid should be a major boost for Kansas City's locker room, as his success during his time in Philadelphia speaks for that. However, the questions will begin quickly for the new head coach.

    Who is the quarterback moving forward? The Chiefs' best bet is to target Alex Smith, who the 49ers are expected to trade, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. However, there is no guarantee that Reid won't turn the franchise over to a rookie quarterback.

    They hold the first overall pick, and the best prospect available is left tackle Luke Joeckel. But with Branden Albert likely to return, could they go in that direction and use the money toward re-signing Dwayne Bowe?

    While there is a lot of uncertainty, Kansas City has enough cap space and surplus of picks to have a complete turnaround next season.


    Over/Under Two Wins: Over

2. Jacksonville Jaguars

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    2012 Record: 2-14

    The Jaguars have made it clear that a new era has begun in Jacksonville, starting with general manager Dave Caldwell and followed by first-year head coach Gus Bradley.

    Certainly, their work is cut out for them. The case can be made that the Jaguars hold the worst roster in the National Football League. Quarterback Chad Henne was average in relieving Blaine Gabbert and doesn't appear to be the long-term answer.

    Yet, the defense has plenty of question marks along the line and secondary. Bradley has proved to be a superb defensive coach, but he'll be working with a group that is far inferior to the roster in Seattle.

    Maurice Jones-Drew should return healthy next season, which should help the struggling offense. However, I envision another losing season, with three wins being the most likely possibility.


    Over/Under Two wins: Over, but barely

3. Oakland Raiders

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    2012 Record: 4-12

    The Raiders are in another tough situation during a crucial time for their franchise. Due to the lack of salary cap space, Reggie McKenzie doesn't have the opportunity to significantly upgrade Oakland's roster through acquiring quality players in free agency.

    Carson Palmer has shown some promise late in his career, but he will never succeed with the talent around him. The offensive line has been a problem in Oakland for years and continues to be a major question mark. Meanwhile, Jacoby Ford and Darrius-Heyward Bey have not proved their worth as quality receivers in the NFL.

    Despite the issues on offense, Dennis Allen's best bet may be improving a defensive unit that wasn't impressive by any stretch. With the third pick in the draft, Star Lotulelei could have a major impact in the middle of a defense that lacks talent in most areas.

    There won't be much improvement for the Raiders in 2013, as the lack of resources around them won't help matters. It's very possible that four wins could be the maximum for the AFC West doormat next season.


    Over/Under Four Wins: Stays The Same

4. Philadelphia Eagles

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    2012 Record: 4-12

    The Philadelphia Eagles ultimately hired Chip Kelly to run their franchise moving forward, which could either lead to huge success or failure.

    Decisions will be crucial beginning in the upcoming weeks when they decide the fate of Mike Vick, Nnamdi Asomugha and other veterans out there.

    LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are explosive offensive talents who could flourish in Kelly's system. However, the offensive line is one of the worst units in the NFL. If Luke Joeckel managed to fall to the fourth overall selection, the Eagles wouldn't hesitate to pair him with Jason Peters.

    Though, it's tough to judge the team until the quarterback situation is decided. Is Dennis Dixon an actual possibility? 

    Change was needed in Philadelphia, and the team will improve from its four-win season. However, I am not sold on them it a threat in the NFC East this coming year.


    Over/Under Four Wins: Over

5. Detroit Lions

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    2012 Record: 4-12

    Despite the fantastic production out of Calvin Johnson, the Lions were an absolute mess last year. Matthew Stafford didn't show many signs of improving, and the vaunted defensive line proved to be a bunch of players who needed an attitude adjustment.

    Jim Schwartz realizes he is on the hot seat now, and changes have already begun. The front office parted ways with Titus Young and Kyle Vanden Bosch, which could be the beginning of many transactions for the NFC North squad.

    The money that is owed to both Stafford and Johnson has depleted the ability to be aggressive toward acquiring secondary help in free agency. Linebacker is also a major question mark on Schwartz's defense.

    After a drama-filled season that involved plenty of questions surrounding that entire locker room, I do expect the Lions to play closer to their potential and win seven to eight games in 2013.


    Over/Under Four Wins: Over

6. Cleveland Browns

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    2012 Record: 5-11

    The Cleveland Browns showed improvement in their play during 2012, but it wasn't enough to save Pat Shurmur's job in the long run.

    Rob Chudzinski takes over the head coaching reins, and he hired two fantastic additions to the coaching staff: Norv Turner as offensive coordinator and Ray Horton as defensive coordinator.

    Under owner Jimmy Haslam, one can't doubt the Browns' willingness to spend money. However, the best bet appears to be the Browns using the draft to improve the defensive front as well as add a receiver and tight end alongside Josh Gordon.

    While there are questions surrounding Brandon Weeden's future at quarterback, the quality coaching should propel the variety of young players to exceed expectations. They will pass the five-win mark in 2013.


    Over/Under Five Wins: Over

7. Arizona Cardinals

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    2012 Record: 5-11

    They say hard work pays off. In the case of Bruce Arians, the opportunity to coach the Arizona Cardinals is well deserved after his coaching success in Indianapolis this past season.

    Now, the challenge begins with finding the quarterback not only for the future, but for next season. Larry Fitzgerald continues to be a productive receiver, but can only be a factor if a quarterback can involve him in the offense.

    Defensively, there is plenty to like about this group. Patrick Peterson continues to grow into one of the league's elite corners, and Darnell Dockett should be more effective playing at his natural position at tackle.

    The cap situation isn't in the Cardinals' favor, which leaves the draft as the main priority in addressing both the quarterback and offensive line questions.

    The Cardinals will show improvement in a tough NFC West and could pose a challenge to the 49ers and Seahawks if the quarterback situation is corrected. Although, it will be tough to find a quarterback through the draft that will be steadily better than Kolb.

    Seven or eight wins is their ceiling for next season.


    Over/Under Five Wins: Over

8. Buffalo Bills

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    2012 Record: 6-10

    The Buffalo Bills made one of the more surprising hires of the offseason in former Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone. This upcoming season, I believe the hire will pay dividends quicker than you think.

    Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett will utilize his most consistent offensive talents in C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson on a consistent basis. While quarterback appears to be a need in the upcoming draft, the Bills could find very nice value with another defensive lineman or linebacker with the eighth overall pick in the draft.

    It's tough to have much faith in Ryan Fitzpatrick, and it would be in the best interest of the Bills to stick with him as a starter for one more season. While I do think the Bills will win around seven games in Marrone's first year, the playoff drought will continue in Buffalo.


    Over/Under Six Wins: Over

9. New York Jets

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    2012 Record: 6-10

    As the New York Jets attempt to recover from a disastrous 2012 season, the way the organization conducts itself makes it tough to believe the team will improve drastically next season.

    Currently, the biggest target involves Darrelle Revis, who could head to a new team this offseason if the Jets are enticed by an offer. The Revis trade scenarios have clout because of a horrible cap situation due to the contracts of Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes and Antonio Cromartie.

    The rest of the defense has only worsened by the year. The Jets are incredibly thin at defensive tackle and linebacker, and it appears their talented safeties will run out of town to the free-agent market.

    Finally, the quarterback situation is a complete disaster. Yet, one can't argue that there is "talent" on the Jets offense.

    The pieces in place would set up any quarterback to fail. In the end, it's tough to see the Jets improving much with the roster Rex Ryan will deal with.


    Over/Under Six Wins: Under

10. Tennessee Titans

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    2012 Record: 6-10

    The Tennessee Titans had a setback during Mike Munchak's second year as head coach. In the offseason, fixing the defense is the most obvious priority. Gregg Williams has been hired as the new defensive coordinator and given his first opportunity since "Bountygate."

    Can he instill toughness into one of the league's worst units?

    It would help if there can be an improvement on the defensive line, which has been a disappointment due to highly touted prospects not panning out (e.g. Derrick Morgan).

    Although, 2013 will be a big year for Jake Locker, as his future isn't so certain if he fails to progress as a pocket passer. The offensive line could also use an upgrade, especially when it comes to blocking for running back Chris Johnson.

    Overall, the Titans will get better on both sides of the football enough to improve by a win or two. However, they won't contend for an AFC wild-card spot.


    Over/Under Six Wins: Same

11. San Diego Chargers

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    2012 record: 7-9

    The Norv Turner era couldn't have ended fast enough for the Chargers, who hired former Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy for the position. McCoy certainly faces plenty of challenges ahead. The first priority is to aid Rivers' path back to becoming an "elite" quarterback.

    However, it's easier said than done. His accuracy and arm strength have been alarmingly poor, and the lack of a vertical threat from Vincent Jackson has made life difficult for Rivers.

    Defensively, the focus should be improving a secondary that was once one of the better units in the league. With a very weak free-agent crop this season, the primary additions will have to come through the draft for the Chargers.

    Ultimately, I don't believe the Chargers will regress, but the lack of talent on offense will keep this team with the same amount of wins as a year ago.


    Over/Under Seven Wins: Same

12. Miami Dolphins

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    2012 Record: 7-9

    The Miami Dolphins are one of the few teams that will have plenty of cap space to work with along with their own draft picks. Jeff Ireland's priority needs to be improving the talent around Ryan Tannehill, who quietly produced at a high level despite the challenges surrounding him.

    Offensive line will be in question, and it begins with whether it will give in to Jake Long's high demands. Since his play has significantly dropped off in recent years, the Dolphins could address the left tackle position with the 12th overall pick in the draft.

    Wide receiver is an obvious need for the Dolphins, and both Mike Wallace and Greg Jennings will be available on the free-agent market. With the potential to add an explosive receiver alongside Brian Hartline, Miami's offense can become productive enough to create some noise in the weak AFC.

    I do believe the Dolphins will surprise many people next year due to the wise decisions they will make in the offseason. Ultimately, nine wins will be in their future.


    Over/Under Seven Wins: Over

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    2012 Record: 7-9

    The Buccaneers ended the season on a very disappointing note after a great start under Greg Schiano. Josh Freeman's inconsistent play is alarming, but the emergence of Doug Martin as a future elite running back is an incredible sign.

    Also, the offensive line will return at full strength after multiple starters (most notably Carl Nicks) missed a good portion of the season.

    The biggest concern for the Buccaneers is the secondary, which posed one of the worst passing defenses in the league. Could they attempt to acquire Darrelle Revis in a blockbuster deal? It seems more likely they will address the secondary early on in the draft, and could become a threat if Freeman progresses in 2013.

    However, there is uncertainty if Freeman will ever further develop into a typical franchise quarterback for the Buccaneers. His struggles, combined with a weak defense, leaves seven wins just right for Tampa Bay.


    Over/Under Seven Wins: Same

14. Carolina Panthers

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    2012 Record: 7-9

    After an incredibly slow start, Cam Newton led the Carolina Panthers to a respectable 7-9 record and ultimately saved Ron Rivera's job in the process.

    Next year will be a different story. The Panthers face one of the league's toughest schedules and have plenty of holes on defense. Carolina's defensive front is in need of improvement, especially at the defensive tackle position.

    Could they strike gold on another quality defensive player in the first round once again?

    The offensive line isn't a strong suit for a team that has relied heavily on the run in recent years. Steve Smith is a quality receiver, but he has displayed signs of becoming slower. Who can step up to be another reliable target in the passing game?

    The Panthers remain a few years away from becoming a legitimate threat in the NFC.


    Over/Under Seven Wins: Same

15. New Orleans Saints

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    2012 Record: 7-9

    New Orleans can finally put to rest a season that was remarkable for all the wrong reasons. Sean Payton's return to the Saints is great news for an offensive unit that still managed to produce in the passing game.

    New Orleans needs to focus primarily on a defense that displayed one of the worst regular-season performances in the history of the league.

    There can be improvements made on the defensive front along with the secondary, whose veterans are no longer worth the paycheck they were given a few years back.

    The Saints had a down year, but I fully expect this organization to return as one of the league's elite teams.


    Over/Under Seven Wins: Over

16. St. Louis Rams

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    2012 Record: 7-8-1

    Jeff Fisher's first year on the job as head coach of the Rams showed some bright moments for the future. The most notable moments occurred against the 49ers, where the Rams beat San Francisco once and had another opportunity to win in overtime before finishing in a tie.

    A major priority is to find upgrades at the wide receiver position in St. Louis. Titus Young might have been a risk worth taking on the waiver wire, but he is not a clear-cut answer to the lack of vertical threat the Rams have.

    Despite the consistency from Fisher's defense each week, improvements can still be made at both linebacker and safety—two positions that appear to be very strong in the draft.

    The Rams are another team that will benefit from the offseason and will make enough upgrades on the offense to win about nine games and make the NFC West a three-team race. 


    Over/Under Seven Wins: Over

17. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    2012 Record: 8-8

    For the first time in his career, Ben Roethlisberger's late-game heroics cost the Pittsburgh Steelers an opportunity at a postseason berth. After battling injuries late in the season, Roethlisberger was ultimately doomed by turnovers late in games.

    After watching their rival, the Baltimore Ravens, win their second Super Bowl, the Steelers clearly have a sense of urgency surrounding a return to the AFC's elite. It must start with rebuilding a defense that has aged significantly on the line and at the linebacker position. Casey Hampton and James Harrison could very well be cap casualties.

    The offense is much more clear. Roethlisberger needs a better offensive line if he wants to eventually retire on his own terms.

    However, despite the overall concerns surrounding the Steelers, I believe a younger defense combined with an improved offensive line will get Pittsburgh over the .500 mark.


    Over/Under Eight Wins: Over

18. Dallas Cowboys

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    2012 Record: 8-8

    Another disappointing finish for the Cowboys was a result of a collapse in Week 17 against the Washington Redskins. It's becoming apparent that Tony Romo can't be trusted when it matters most.

    Dallas has plenty of glaring areas that need to be addressed if the team wishes to return to the postseason. The offensive line has been a weakness for the last few years and remains one of the worst units in football.

    On the flip side, the defensive front has quickly aged and needs to be reformed due in large part to overpriced players who aren't producing. A safety could also be used to complete a secondary that has the potential to make an impact on a weekly basis for the Cowboys.

    It's difficult to have faith in Romo or Jason Garrett. The Cowboys are staying right where they are, which could lead to a massive overload in Dallas next offseason.


    Over/Under Eight Wins: Same

19. New York Giants

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    2012 Record: 9-7

    Following their second Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots, Eli Manning and the New York Giants faltered late in the year and missed the postseason.

    Changes were imminent and have already begun with the dismissal of Ahmad Bradshaw and Chris Canty (h/t The New York Times). New additions are crucial on the defensive line—a unit that has dramatically fallen off, aside from Jason Pierre-Paul.

    As for most teams, the cap situation isn't in the Giants' favor. In fact, there is concern that Victor Cruz could be on his way out of town as a result of a new contract for Hakeem Nicks. However, I believe Cruz will be with the team in 2013 and New York will bounce back after a nice overhaul to its roster.


    Over/Under Nine Wins: Over

20. Chicago Bears

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    2012 Record: 10-6

    The Chicago Bears have begun a new era under Marc Trestman after another late-season collapse by one of the more experienced teams in the league.

    Can Jay Cutler be trusted as not only a quarterback, but as a valuable leader? They will need him to improve in 2013, and it will be a challenge due to the league's worst offensive line around him. The lack of production out of receivers not named Brandon Marshall is also a concern.

    As for the defense, this veteran unit was successful under Lovie Smith despite being mainly an older group. I believe the defense will take a step back in 2013, putting a lot of pressure on a new coach early on to keep this team together.


    Over/Under 10 Wins: Under

21. Cincinnati Bengals

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    2012 Record: 10-6

    The Cincinnati Bengals have made the postseason two straight years. Unfortunately, both were followed by first-round losses to the Houston Texans.

    Questions are beginning to surround Andy Dalton, who thus far hasn't proved to be a quarterback ready to handle the big stage. WR A.J. Green is certainly an elite talent, but there is no other legitimate offensive playmaker who makes a consistent impact on the Bengals offense.

    And while their defense is up and coming, the Bengals were fortunate to beat a reeling Steelers team and a Ravens team that showed no interest in the Week 17 finale.

    Ownership has never shown much willingness to be active in free agency, which will be crucial this time around. While the Bengals will have a winning record, it will be under last year's win total. It's hard to trust this team in big moments.


    Over/Under 10 Wins: Under

22. Washington Redskins

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    2012 Record: 10-6

    The Washington Redskins capped off an impressive run to the postseason due to their dynamic dual-threat quarterback, Robert Griffin III. Unfortunately, Griffin's ACL tear last month brings up major causes for concern. There is no guarantee Griffin will be ready for the start of the season, and this type of injury could cautiously lead to the Redskins attempting to make Griffin a firm pocket passer.

    It's going to be a challenge for the Redskins to improve the roster around RG3. The cap space is at a minimum for Dan Snyder's club, and the trade to ultimately select RG3 resulted in losing quality draft picks in 2013.

    Griffin III will eventually return and the Redskins will be a threat, but I don't see a division crown for a second straight year.


    Over/Under 10 Wins: Under

23. Minnesota Vikings

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    2012 Record: 10-6

    The Minnesota Vikings completed an impressive run to the postseason after Adrian Peterson had the best season of his career.

    And while Peterson's production won't be a question, the lack of talent around the Vikings back will be the difference in this team missing the postseason. Christian Ponder hasn't shown many signs of being the type of quarterback who can bring this team into the same conversation with the league's elite. His most valuable receiver, Percy Harvin, also can't be trusted due to injury.

    The primary avenue for improving the offensive playmakers and parts of their secondary will come through their draft. However, the Vikings don't benefit from playing in a tough conference where teams are bound to show improvement.


    Over/Under 10 Wins: Under

24. Indianapolis Colts

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    2012 Record: 11-5

    Andrew Luck capped off an impressive rookie season as he took the reins of Peyton Manning's old franchise. With a young team that does have a workable cap situation, their success can be maintained in 2013.

    However, there is plenty of work left to be done for general manager Ryan Grigson. The first priority needs to be improving an offensive line that was a clear weakness all season, especially in the loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

    The defensive front could use an upgrade in the pass rush, especially with Dwight Freeney likely moving on to a new team. One could look to the secondary—a unit that overachieved in 2012—as an area that could use some improvement.

    The departure of Bruce Arians will also have an impact on Luck and the way the offense is run. While playoffs are a legitimate possibility, the Colts will have to do it without earning 11 wins.


    Over/Under 11 Wins: Under

25. Seattle Seahawks

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    2012 Record: 11-5

    Led by rookie sensation Russell Wilson, the Seahawks have emerged as a threat in the NFC for years to come. How can Seattle improve its chances at Super Bowl contention?

    First, it starts with improving the offensive firepower around Wilson. Sidney Rice and Doug Baldwin aren't capable of becoming top-flight receivers and had minimal impact in their playoff loss to the Falcons.

    And while the defense proved to be one of the better units in the league, the pass rush is a concern. This is especially true if the Seahawks don't have Chris Clemons right away, who tore his ACL in the Wild Card Game.

    The Seahawks will also be dealing with a tougher NFC West, where both the Rams and Cardinals will improve. While another playoff appearance seems likely, I see 10 wins for the Seahawks in 2013.


    Over/Under 11 Wins: Under

26. Green Bay Packers

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    2012 Record: 11-5

    While the Green Bay Packers have sustained their excellence in the regular season, the glaring weaknesses on both sides of the football have prevented this franchise from returning to the Super Bowl.

    It's evident that the lack of pass protection for Aaron Rodgers has proved to be a factor against the 49ers and the other quality defenses in the NFC. Greg Jennings is likely to test the market, possibly leading to bigger roles for Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson.

    However, the bulk of the Packers' problems remain on defense, where their secondary—sans Charles Woodson—has not played its best football against the elite quarterbacks in the conference.

    There is a lot of improvement to be made this offseason, and I don't think every weakness will be addressed to their liking. An NFC North crown is still in control, but the win total will remain the same.


    Over/Under 11 Wins: Same

27. Houston Texans

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    2012 Record: 12-4

    The Texans' hot start last season ended with a collapse in the regular season and ultimately a blowout loss against the New England Patriots.

    Matt Schaub hasn't shown the capability of becoming the enforcer at the quarterback position, as the team has won in spite of his erratic play.

    Andre Johnson continues to play as one of the elite receivers, but as he continues to age, one has to question the lack of playmakers in the passing game who contribute consistently besides him.

    Aside from the dominance of J.J. Watt, the defense disappointed down the stretch. The return of Brian Cushing will improve their run defense, but Johnathan Joseph needs to step up as the only reliable cornerback in that secondary.

    Houston is a playoff team, but it won't see 12 wins next season.


    Over/Under 12 Wins: Under

28. Denver Broncos

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    2012 Record: 13-3

    This story seems too familiar for Peyton Manning. A highly successful regular season ultimately leads to disappointment in the postseason.

    The Denver Broncos' collapse against the eventual Super Bowl champion Ravens highlights the most pressing need within the roster. The secondary came up small when it mattered most, especially Champ Bailey, who showed signs of aging fast.

    If they want improvement in the secondary, it will come through the draft. While the salary cap is flexible, the Broncos need to prioritize locking up Ryan Clady to a new deal this offseason.

    Denver will ultimately prevail in the weak AFC West, but I don't envision another 13-win season for the Broncos next year.


    Over/Under 13 Wins: Under

29. New England Patriots

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    2012 Record: 12-4

    Despite another successful regular season, it's now nine years since the Patriots last won a Super Bowl. And this offseason will be one filled with crucial decisions, which includes deciding the fate of Wes Welker and Aqib Talib.

    Tom Brady will have the majority of his offensive targets back, and letting Welker go may be the best option if the Patriots wish to improve other areas. A downfield threat is needed in this offense, which was slightly disappointed with Brandon Lloyd's production.

    Defensively, the concerns are clear across the board. With a secondary that struggles against spread offenses and a pass rush that was invisible in the playoffs, Bill Belichick will need to use his draft picks wisely.

    The Patriots will be a contender as usual, but 12 wins seems the likely total for them next year.


    Over/Under 12 Wins: Same

30. Atlanta Falcons

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    2012 Record: 13-3

    The Atlanta Falcons came up one drive short of representing the NFC in the Super Bowl. As the offseason begins for the defending NFC South champions, their offense is in need of a fine tuneup. Michael Turner appears to be on his way out of Atlanta, and a more dynamic running back needs to be in place.

    Former Alabama running back Eddie Lacy seems like a good way to start. And while Atlanta tries to convince Tony Gonzalez to return one more season, it's overlooked how the offense could potentially lose its most reliable offensive threat late in the postseason.

    Defensively, an improved pass rush is needed, especially as John Abraham nears the end of his career. The secondary will be fortunate with the return of Brent Grimes, but upgrading at safety should be in their plans as well.

    Last year could have been the season the Falcons proved all of the doubters wrong. For now, they must focus on building up this team fast for another postseason run.


    Over/Under 13 Wins: Under; projecting around 12

31. San Francisco 49ers

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    2012 Record: 11-4-1

    The San Francisco 49ers were one play away from becoming Super Bowl champions. The focus is purely on returning to the title game for a second straight season.

    It's evident the biggest concerns revolve around the secondary, which was the weakest link against the Ravens spread offense.

    It also may be ideal for the 49ers to find a new wide receiver to play alongside Michael Crabtree. Randy Moss appears to have run his course.

    Despite these concerns, San Francisco will be a threat and the team to beat in the NFC. Colin Kaepernick will have his first full offseason as a starting quarterback, and the defense will be healthy enough to return to dominance.


    Over/Under 11 Wins: Over

32. Baltimore Ravens

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    2012 Record: 10-6

    The defending Super Bowl champions will begin their offseason with plenty of decisions that need to be made concerning both their offense and defense.

    Contributors such as Paul Kruger and Cary Williams are likely to depart for free agency. Meanwhile, Lardarius Webb and Jameel McClain will return as valuable starters after missing the postseason with season-ending injuries.

    The salary-cap issues will be a challenge for the Ravens, making the draft a priority to fix the middle of the defense. Defensive tackle appears to be a big need, according to Ozzie Newsome, and a new middle linebacker is needed as Ray Lewis settles into retirement.

    However, could the Ravens end up with more wins than a year ago? It's possible, especially since they have a very favorable schedule. This includes home games against their toughest opponents (Packers, Patriots, Texans).

    While it will be a challenge to bring a second straight Super Bowl back to Baltimore, I envision the Ravens will surprisingly improve by at least one win next season.


    Over/Under 10 Wins: Over