Projecting how the 2013 NFL season is going to shake out is a tall task, but it's one that many gamblers are attempting to accomplish prior to Sunday’s kickoff. Sportsbooks in Vegas and offshore have released projected win totals for the upcoming campaign, inviting bettors to wager on whether teams end up over or under the set line.
Let’s take a look at the win totals for each team in the NFL—with the notable exception the Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens, since they already played—and predict whether it will outperform expectations or underwhelm in 2013.
Colts Will Regress
The Indianapolis Colts are poised for a disappointing outing, and there is no way they come within two games of their shocking 11 wins from last season.
Remember, Indianapolis was the only team in football history to win that many games while being outscored by 30 points in the process. In games decided by one touchdown or less, the Colts won nine and lost just one.
No matter how you cut it, this team got lucky, and it will be hard-pressed to repeat that success.
Although quarterback Andrew Luck certainly proved that he belongs in the league and will soon be an elite signal-caller, the schedule is tougher in 2013 and the team’s defense did not drastically improve from the mediocre unit we saw last year.
Expectations may be high around Indianapolis, but it shouldn’t shock you when the Colts fail to live up to the hype.
Chiefs Set to Impress
The Kansas City Chiefs were the worst team in football last year, but they are primed to bounce back in a big way this season.
It’s not easy to win eight games after polishing off a 2-14 season just over nine months ago, but the Chiefs are ready to show that the drastic, sweeping changes they made in that span will have an immediate impact.
By upgrading at the quarterback position (Matt Cassel to Alex Smith) and making a head coaching change (Romeo Crennel to Andy Reid), the team easily added a few games to its projected win output in 2013. There’s also a pillow-soft schedule that includes two meetings with the Oakland Raiders, a showdown with the Jacksonville Jaguars and a contest against the lowly Buffalo Bills.
Factor in that K.C. will match up with the NFC East this season—Reid’s former division when he was with Philadelphia—and you have a recipe for success in 2013.
Gang Green may have a stout defense on paper, but they also boast one of the worst offensive units in the entire league.
Rookie quarterback Geno Smith is being trotted out under center after a disastrous preseason showing. The former West Virginia star notably threw three interceptions and drew comparisons to the infamous Dan Orlovsky after running out the back of his own end zone during the team’s third exhibition contest.
Smith is clearly not ready for prime time quite yet, unless he somehow drastically improved while sitting on the bench in the club’s final preseason game.
It’s going to be a tough for this group to put points on the board, and the team will need to overly rely on an exhausted defense to have any chance of winning a ballgame.
Fade the Jets until Smith develops into something more than a raw rookie and the team shows it can pound the rock.