Over/Under Win Predictions for Every NFL Team in 2022
Expectations can be a heavy burden and never serve as a true indicator of what's about to happen next.
A year ago, the Cleveland Browns were considered one of the league's up-and-coming teams and a possible Super Bowl contender after winning their first playoff game since the franchise returned to the NFL in 1999.
They severely disappointed, finishing with an 8-9 record. Those expectations and the ensuing results brought consequences. Quarterback Baker Mayfield, wide receiver Jarvis Landry and tight end Austin Hooper are no longer with the team.
In the same division, the Cincinnati Bengals surprised everyone with an AFC North title and a run all the way to Super Bowl LVI. The Fighting Joe Burrows came up just short of capturing the franchise's first Lombardi Trophy, but expectations are now heaped upon them entering the 2022 campaign and deservedly so.
Cincinnati spent the offseason rectifying its biggest mistake: not properly addressing its offensive line a year ago. Now with multiple additions up front, the Bengals look more than capable of exceeding 10 victories for the second straight season.
Expectations do vary based on circumstances, and DraftKings set the demarcation lines for each squad's upcoming forecast.
Will those teams exceed or fall short of those projections? Let's find out together.
Over/Under: 8.5 wins
The Arizona Cardinals are difficult to assess.
First, the front office and quarterback Kyler Murray haven't exactly been on the best terms as the latter has searched for a contract extension. The organization, meanwhile, reportedly had some reservations, though general manager Steve Keim said on the Pat McAfee Show in May that something should get done this summer.
Second, the Cardinals will be without star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins for the first six games of the regular season after the NFL handed down a six-game suspension for a violation of its performance-enhancing drugs policy. The team did offset Hopkins' loss in the short term with the acquisition of Marquise Brown, who will make the wide receiver corps stronger overall.
Third, linebacker Chandler Jones, who recorded the second-most sacks (10.5) on the team in 2021, signed a free-agent deal with the Las Vegas Raiders.
Finally, Arizona lost five of its last six games last season, including its playoff appearance against the NFC West rival Los Angeles Rams. However, the Cardinals looked like one of the NFL's best teams prior to that point.
All in all, there's still enough talent on this roster for Arizona to secure a winning record.
Over/Under: 5 wins
Someone has to be the NFL's worst team, and the Atlanta Falcons are as good of a choice as any.
Clearly, the organization entered a rebuilding phase when it couldn't complete a Deshaun Watson trade while spurning the franchise's all-time leading passer. Matt Ryan quietly asked to be dealt, and the team obliged by sending him to the Indianapolis Colts (while eating the biggest dead-cap hit in NFL history at $40.5 million).
Now the Falcons are unsettled at quarterback, with Marcus Mariota and this year's 74th overall draft pick, Desmond Ridder, vying to become the starter. A strong possibility exists that neither will adequately fill the role, thus creating a runway toward a top quarterback prospect in the 2023 draft.
The Falcons do feature some fun, young talent in cornerback A.J. Terrell, tight end Kyle Pitts and this year's eighth overall draft pick, wide receiver Drake London. At the same time, the lineup lacks depth and overall quality. An argument can be made that Atlanta features the league's worst roster, even with those previous talents and defensive lineman Grady Jarrett taken into consideration.
Five wins is a low bar. Yet the Falcons look like they'll swoop under it.
Over/Under: 9.5 wins
The Baltimore Ravens have been somewhat forgotten among the wintry mix of AFC North opposition.
Yes, the Bengals are the AFC's reigning Super Bowl representatives. The Browns feature one of the league's best rosters no matter how many games quarterback Deshaun Watson plays this season. A ruling on a possible suspension related to 24 women filing lawsuits accusing Watson of sexual assault or misconduct is expected before Cleveland opens training camp at the end of the month.
Even the Pittsburgh Steelers still have some buzz because of a top-shelf defense and the top-drafted quarterback (Kenny Pickett) among this year's crop.
Lamar Jackson's contract status seems to be the only discussion point surrounding the Ravens franchise. While something needs to be done on that end, it overlooks the fact that Baltimore dealt with far more last season than most endure during a typical campaign.
Yet the team managed eight wins despite season-ending injuries to J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, Justice Hill, Patrick Ricard, Ronnie Stanley, Tyre Phillips, Derek Wolfe, L.J. Fort, Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey. Jackson didn't end up on injured reserve, but he missed the last four games because of an ankle injury.
As The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec noted, five projected starters or key reserves didn't play in a game last season, while 10 others missed at least 10 contests.
The Ravens hired a new athletic trainer and toned down offseason workouts, per Zrebiec. A healthy version of this team will be a dangerous opponent.
Over/Under: 11.5 wins
An 11.5-win projection sets a high bar and reflects the Buffalo Bills' new role as the favorite to win the AFC outright.
To be fair, the AFC West could feature the NFL's best team, but its depth will turn the race toward a division crown into a knockdown, drag-out fight. The AFC North isn't far behind as the league's toughest division.
The Bills managed 11 wins last season as part of an AFC East that should be even tougher in 2022 with the much-improved Miami Dolphins (at least on paper) and the New England Patriots entering Year 2 with Mac Jones under center. The New York Jets should experience some sort of upswing as well.
Still, Buffalo claims arguably the league's deepest and best overall roster. Quarterback Josh Allen is now on the shortlist of yearly MVP candidates. The majority of last year's No. 1-ranked defense is returning, with upgrades at edge-rusher in Von Miller and possibly cornerback with 23rd overall draft pick Kaiir Elam.
General manager Brandon Beane also added a running back (James Cook), wide receiver (Jamison Crowder), tight end (O.J. Howard) and defensive tackle (DaQuan Jones and Tim Settle).
Yes, the AFC East should be better. But so should the Bills. Currently, they're considered the favorite in their conference, and their roster says they should be.
Over/Under: 6.5 wins
The Carolina Panthers look like a disaster waiting to happen.
David Tepper is an active owner who doesn't seem to have much patience. Head coach Matt Rhule is entering his third campaign on the hot seat. The team spent all offseason searching for a new quarterback only to settle on Cleveland castoff Baker Mayfield. The team's second-leading receiver, Robbie Anderson, doesn't seem to like his new quarterback. Carolina's best player, Christian McCaffrey, hasn't been able to stay healthy, playing in only 10 games over the last two seasons.
Everything could go wrong at a moment's notice. Yet some intrigue exists. Why?
Well, no one can argue with the fact that Mayfield has experienced more success so far compared to Sam Darnold, thus denoting an upgrade at the position (even if the former isn't the long-term answer).
The Panthers also made significant improvements along the offensive line with the additions of Bradley Bozeman, Austin Corbett and this year's sixth overall draft pick, Ikem Ekwonu. D.J. Moore is one of the league's best young wide receivers. And the Panthers defense is packed with potential after finishing second overall last season.
Furthermore, the NFC South isn't loaded. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are deserving favorites. From there, plenty of wiggle room exists for a team like Carolina to improve at least a couple of games over last year's five-win effort.
Over/Under: 5.5 wins
The telltale signs of a franchise failing its first-round quarterback are already in place for the Chicago Bears.
From a talent perspective, the team's wide receivers and offensive line are among the league's worst. Some young players must exceed expectations for either unit to make its way into the passable category.
Luke Getsy is a first-time NFL offensive coordinator. Justin Fields is being asked to learn his second offense in as many seasons. And the team now revolves around the philosophies of a first-time defensive-minded head coach in Matt Eberflus.
The setup is disappointing because the Bears did the right thing last offseason by trading up for Fields. Unsurprisingly, the 23-year-old struggled as a rookie. Like any good quarterback, he spent significant time during the offseason to reshape his body, work on his mechanics and just become more assertive.
"He has a commanding leadership on the field, a legit field general," defensive tackle Justin Jones said, per ESPN's Courtney Cronin. "He gets guys wound up, gets guys going."
In order for the Bears to get the most out of Fields, they must do far more to surround him with the best available talent.
Over/Under: 10 wins
Twelve months ago, people were still arguing over whether the Bengals should have selected Penei Sewell over Ja'Marr Chase with the fifth overall pick in the 2021 draft.
Turns out, both sides of the argument were right.
Chase emerged as one of the game's premier wide receivers. He became a Pro Bowler, as well as a second-team All-Pro, and brought home the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. His inclusion gave Cincinnati the league's best group of wide receivers, with a true franchise quarterback pulling the string. The group helped make a surprise run toward the Super Bowl.
At the same time, no one can overlook the fact that Joe Burrow was sacked more times than any other quarterback during the regular season or that the Bengals tied a playoff-record nine sacks given up during their divisional-round meeting with the Tennessee Titans. Or that the team's Super Bowl dreams fell short because the offensive line couldn't slow down Aaron Donald on the most important play of the season.
The Bengals attacked the problem and signed Ted Karras, Alex Cappa and La'el Collins to reform center to right tackle.
Outside of the ongoing contract squabbles with franchise-tagged safety Jessie Bates III, Cincinnati's future is blindingly bright. Another Super Bowl appearance and perhaps a championship are very much possible since the Bengals are now the team to beat in the AFC North.
A line hasn't been set for the Browns since the NFL remains in a holding pattern with possible disciplinary action against quarterback Deshaun Watson after there were 24 civil lawsuits filed by women accusing him of sexual assault or misconduct during massage sessions.
The number of open lawsuits has been reduced to four after he settled with 20 plaintiffs.
With his potential suspension ranging from no games to an entire season, it's difficult to project how good or bad the team can be. The NFL's disciplinary officer, retired federal court judge Sue L. Robinson, is expected to make a decision before training camp opens.
If there's a suspension, the Browns won't be at full strength, which will change how the coaching staff and offense operate.
"It's tough because they're trying to figure out what pieces they've got for the season and what plays they want to put in,” running back Kareem Hunt told reporters. "There's different plays for Deshaun and [backup] Jacoby [Brissett], different playbook, different things we can do at quarterback."
Even without clarity at quarterback, the Browns are good enough to be in the AFC North conversation because of Nick Chubb, Amari Cooper, whom the team acquired this offseason, David Njoku, Myles Garrett, Jadeveon Clowney, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Denzel Ward, Greg Newsome II and one of the game's elite offensive lines.
Watson's status may define the Browns' season, but the team is about far more than who is under center.
Over/Under: 10 wins
Regression is baked into the Dallas Cowboys' projection for the 2022 campaign. The gap is closing between last year's NFC East winner and the rest of the division.
The Cowboys had to make certain financial concessions, and Amari Cooper, Connor Williams, La'el Collins, Randy Gregory, Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee are no longer with the team. Also, wide receiver Michael Gallup may not be ready for the start of the regular season after he tore an ACL during a Week 17 contest against the Cardinals.
These subtractions are bound to create a ripple effect, though the Cowboys tried to offset some of the losses by drafting offensive lineman Tyler Smith, edge-rusher Sam Williams and wide receiver Jalen Tolbert.
While the Cowboys treaded water, the Philadelphia Eagles pieced together one of the league's best offseasons. The Washington Commanders should be better, if not significantly so. Even the New York Giants appear to now be led by people who can once again make them into a far more difficult opponent.
It's easy to envision the Cowboys taking a step back this season and not capturing a division title. Thusly, Dallas' win total may decrease even more than what's projected.
Over/Under: 10 wins
The Denver Broncos could turn into a victim of circumstances.
Those who faithfully support the franchise should be excited about the acquisition of Russell Wilson. The Broncos have a true elite quarterback for the first time since Peyton Manning last donned the uniform in 2015.
Yet all four of the AFC West squads are among the conference's best based on what they've done this offseason.
The Kansas City Chiefs have been the standard-bearer for years. The Los Angeles Chargers claim one of the game's brightest young quarterbacks in Justin Herbert and a much-improved defense. The Las Vegas Raiders made the necessary changes to stabilize the franchise, including bringing in All-Pro receiver Davante Adams.
Denver has a better chance of finishing at the bottom of the division than it does of winning it, which is a shame since the front office made the necessary moves to improve upon the mediocrity the team previously experienced.
The Broncos never won more than seven games during Vic Fangio's tenure as head coach. They should be much better under Nathaniel Hackett. But the uphill climb in the division is far too steep to believe in Denver managing more than 10 wins.
Over/Under: 6.5 wins
A four-win improvement doesn't seem like a stretch after seeing how the Detroit Lions competed for head coach Dan Campbell and his staff last season.
The team never gave up and fell short of a win by a touchdown or less in seven contests. As Detroit continues to build, some of those games will swing in its favor. The lineup now looks far more representative of the how Campbell wants his team operate.
D.J. Chark's free-agent addition immediately improves the league's worst wide receiver corps. Last year's Matthew Stafford trade helped in the acquisition of Jameson Williams in the draft to continue the overhaul at the position.
Detroit used its original first- and second-round picks on defensive linemen Aidan Hutchinson and Josh Paschal because they're both A) excellent football players and B) culture-changers. Hutchinson now serves as the face of the franchise and the solution to improving upon last year's 30th-ranked finish in sacks (30).
The reset under current leadership is far from complete, of course.
Eventually, the Lions must address quarterback. But the team is putting a solid supporting cast around Jared Goff, particularly a strong offensive front. Even without further change under center, the Lions are more than capable of stealing more games than they did during Campbell's first season at the helm.
Green Bay Packers
Over/Under: 11 wins
The Green Bay Packers may not be the same without Davante Adams, but the loss won't be enough to push the team out of the playoff picture.
Since Matt LaFleur became head coach in January of 2019, the Packers won 13 games during each of the following campaigns. There's no reason to believe Green Bay isn't capable of earning a fourth straight division crown.
After all, Aaron Rodgers remains under center after back-to-back MVP campaigns.
Yes, Adams' loss will be felt, and the team's wide receivers are suspect, with Allen Lazard, free-agent signing Sammy Watkins, a soon-to-be 32-year-old Randall Cobb and second-round rookie Christian Watson serving as the top targets. Rodgers can pick up some of the slack, and Green Bay has other weapons in running backs Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, as well as returning tight end Robert Tonyan.
Injuries to the offensive line are another concern, but both David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins are expected back at some point this season.
Defensively, the Packers are exciting, with continued growth from Rashan Gary and Eric Stokes and the addition of first-round rookie Quay Walker to go alongside the likes of Kenny Clark, De'Vondre Campbell, Jaire Alexander and Darnell Savage.
Besides, the rest of the NFC North has plenty of question marks.
Over/Under: 4.5 wins
The construction of the Houston Texans roster feels like there was a kid mixing and matching everything in their toy box while desperately waiting to receive their next new plaything.
Certain toys don't belong with others. Some are just run down. The collection needs a new focal point.
Since Nick Caserio took over as general manager, he's been the kid trying to assemble a complete lineup of Power Rangers only to get too many blue rangers and fail in the construction of a Megazord.
Caserio and Co. are giving Davis Mills a second season to prove he's their guy at quarterback. Wide receiver Brandin Cooks turns 29 later this year. Aside from offensive tackles Laremy Tunsil and Tytus Howard, the team's building blocks all come from the latest draft class, assuming Derek Stingley Jr., Kenyon Green, Jalen Pitre and John Metchie III even work out at the NFL level.
Meanwhile, the Indianapolis Colts made significant moves this offseason. The Tennessee Titans should still be highly competitive. The Jacksonville Jaguars will be better with Doug Pederson as head coach. But the Texans appear to be content with playing around and not getting any better.
Over/Under: 10 wins
A season-ending loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 18 changed everything for the Indianapolis Colts.
The organization quickly came to the decision to move on from quarterback Carson Wentz after only one year. Fortunately, Matt Ryan became available as the Atlanta Falcons pursued Deshaun Watson. The Colts send a third-round pick to the Falcons for the former league MVP and instantly upgraded under center.
Adding Ryan's steadying presence might have been the most critical component of the Colts' offseason, but other pieces fell into place at other key spots.
They traded for Yannick Ngakoue to help their lackluster pass rush. They also signed Stephon Gilmore in free agency to offset and upgrade one cornerback spot after they sent Rock Ya-Sin to the Las Vegas Raiders as part of the Ngakoue deal. Draft selections of wide receiver Alec Pierce, tight end Jelani Woods, left tackle Bernhard Raimann and safety Nick Cross all came at excellent values and helped solidify weak areas on their roster.
With Derrick Henry coming back from an injury-plagued season and the Tennessee Titans trading wide receiver A.J. Brown, the door is cracked for the Colts to burst through and capture their first AFC South title since 2014.
Over/Under: 6.5 wins
Urban Meyer's implosion was the best possible outcome for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The organization took an ill-advised leap of faith on Meyer, whose history of questionable decisions followed him to the NFL. He lacked the leadership and personality to handle the rigors of professional football.
The Jaguars have sinced turned to Doug Pederson, a former Super Bowl-winning head coach. His hire alone should be enough to elevate the franchise a degree or two after holding the No. 1 overall pick in each of the last two draft classes.
Pederson should put Trevor Lawrence in a better position to succeed. Second-year running back Travis Etienne is ready to play his first NFL snaps. Christian Kirk brings dynamic traits to the wide receiver room. Brandon Scherff is an elite interior blocker. The defense should be better at the point of attack after adding Folorunso Fatukasi. This year's No. 1 overall pick, Travon Walker, is a ball of clay with the physical tools to eventually develop into an elite edge-rusher.
The Jaguars will undoubtedly be better this season, but a two- or three-game improvement would still put them below their over/under.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs have been the AFC's premier franchise since the start of the 2019 campaign, but they're going to be pushed this season. The Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers all made landscape-changing roster moves this offseason, while Kansas City might experience a slight backslide.
The Chiefs' decision to trade Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins changes their offensive dynamic. Patrick Mahomes must become more of a distributor to take full advantage of his wide receivers, including the newly acquired JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdez-Scantling and rookie Skyy Moore.
Kansas City also chose to move on from All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu and replace him with Justin Reid. Meanwhile, left tackle Orlando Brown could be a training camp and possible regular-season holdout after the two sides couldn't reach an agreement on a contract extension prior to the franchise-tag deadline.
With Mahomes leading the way, the Chiefs remain among the AFC's best. But their standing as the AFC West's top dog isn't so certain anymore.
Las Vegas Raiders
Over/Under: 8.5 wins
No team may benefit more from a coaching change than the Las Vegas Raiders.
The team finished 10-7 last season and made the playoffs even though Jon Gruden resigned midseason. The Raiders had been a disaster under Gruden's watch anyhow. The team finished 19-29 during his previous three seasons.
Josh McDaniels brings a completely different mentality. He learned from his mistakes during his time as the Denver Broncos head coach and subsequent years on the New England Patriots staff. McDaniels knows he must trust those he hires, delegate responsibilities and be available to everyone within the building.
While each of these steps are vital, McDaniels also happens to be one of the game's best offensive minds. He should help capitalize on an already talented offense with quarterback Derek Carr, tight end Darren Waller, slot receiver Hunter Renfrew and left tackle Kolton Miller. The Raiders also added the NFL's best wide receiver, Davante Adams, in a blockbuster trade with the Packers this offseason.
Despite the additions of McDaniels and Adams, the Raiders have the longest odds to win the AFC West. It's a mistake to overlook this roster's potential while being led by a competent coaching staff and front office.
While the Raiders might not capture the division crown, they could still win nine games and grab a wild-card spot.
Los Angeles Chargers
Over/Under: 10 wins
The Los Angeles Chargers are the squad that's most likely to make a significant leap this season after not making the playoffs last year. Third-year quarterback Justin Herbert appears ready to ascend into superstardom.
"You'll become less and less surprised as the game goes," a source told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. "He'll be the best QB in the game."
A longtime NFL coordinator added, "When you're that talented physically and you're smart, it's mind-boggling. Adding his strength and power, he's hard to tackle, all of that; and he's seeing things for another season so will have a better understanding."
Herbert can't carry the entire team, as evidenced by last season. The Chargers had to do something about a soft defense that was incapable of fully implementing Brandon Staley's defensive scheme.
This offseason, they traded for Khalil Mack to play opposite Joey Bosa, signed interior defenders Austin Johnson and Sebastian Joseph-Day and made one of the best moves of any team by signing star cornerback J.C. Jackson.
With Herbert creating plays on offense and a revamped Chargers defense forcing opposing quarterbacks into mistakes, Los Angeles might emerge as the best team in the crowded AFC West.
Los Angeles Rams
Over/Under: 10.5 wins
The biggest concern regarding the Los Angeles Rams is whether they experience a Super Bowl hangover. Otherwise, this team looks primed for another deep playoff run.
The Rams went about their business this offseason and kept their superstars happy by giving Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp new contract extensions. Although they lost Andrew Whitworth to retirement and lost Von Miller, Darious Williams, Austin Corbett, Sebastian Joseph-Day and Sony Michel in free agency, they've added to key areas.
The Rams signed wide receiver Allen Robinson II and linebacker Bobby Wagner. They also brought back Troy Hill in a trade with the Cleveland Browns.
Robinson should thrive in an offense that can take advantage of his ability to work outside the numbers and down the sideline. Wagner is an eight-time Pro Bowl selection who continues to play at a high level. Hill knows the system and has inside-out versatility at cornerback.
The Rams have been preparing for this moment by drafting mid- to late-round picks who could step in and fill roles when certain players left. For example, Joseph Noteboom will now protect Matthew Stafford's blind side after being groomed behind Whitworth.
A team hasn't won back-to-back Super Bowls in 17 years. These Rams are certainly capable, though.
Over/Under: 9 wins
Tyreek Hill has served as Tua Tagovailoa's hype man since the Kansas City Chiefs traded the star wide receiver to the Miami Dolphins.
"It's gonna be a lot of people taking their words back on what they said about [Tua]. I can't really name point, but I'm saying reporters, analysts, Twitter trolls," Hill said when talking about his quarterback on It Needed to Be Said. "All those people are gonna take their words back on what they said about [Tua]. I’m gonna be sitting there, eating my popcorn."
Earlier this summer, Hill said Tagovailoa is more accurate than Patrick Mahomes.
The Dolphins now have an elite playmaker on the outside who loves his new quarterback. Hill will go out and make plays whenever he isn't sitting there, eating his popcorn.
Hill isn't the Dolphins' only offensive addition of note. Connor Williams is taking over center, while Terron Armstead will be manning left tackle. Cedrick Wilson Jr. and Chase Edmonds will contribute at wide receiver and running back, respectively.
Miami remains solid on defense. Now, the Dolphins have a true difference-maker on offense, an improved front five and an offensive-minded head coach with a proven scheme to finally get the most out of the team.
Last year's Dolphins finished with nine wins despite having no offensive identity. This year's team should be even better.
Over/Under: 9 wins
The Minnesota Vikings are flying under the radar a bit because the Green Bay Packers are overwhelming favorites to capture yet another NFC North title. The Vikings have the potential to escape from the caveman-style play of Mike Zimmer's tenure and emerge as a playoff contender under their new regime, though.
New head coach Kevin O'Connell brings the Los Angeles Rams' offensive scheme with him after he won a Super Bowl with the franchise.
"We're doing a lot of things that are simple for us, but maybe a little bit more difficult for a defense to defend,” O’Connell explained in February. "That illusion of complexity where teams think that there's a lot of offense that they're defending, but really we're only doing small details here and there just to change the picture, change angles, give ourselves an advantage wherever we see fit, both in the run game and in the pass game, using tempo as a weapon. Things that people have seen our offense do in L.A. that they will absolutely see our offense do here in Minnesota."
A modern approach to offense could very well open the floodgates for quarterback Kirk Cousins and wide receiver Justin Jefferson. At the very least, they should be able to improve upon last year's eight-win campaign.
New England Patriots
Over/Under: 8.5 wins
How much upside do the New England Patriots have? Bill Belichick will place a capable and ready team on the field, but the roster appears to have limited potential.
Yes, quarterback Mac Jones made the Pro Bowl in his first year. He deserves credit for that accomplishment, although the Patriots coaching staff greatly protected him as a rookie.
"He was way too protected last year," an offensive coach told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. "They didn't let him push the ball at all."
While Jones is capable of pushing the ball down the field, Josh McDaniels is no longer his offensive coordinator. The sophomore signal-caller must now turn to...*checks notes*...Joe Judge and Matt Patricia as his top offensive minds.
New England is still figuring out what it has at wide receiver as well. The Pats traded for DeVante Parker this offseason to join Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor. They also drafted the class' fastest target in Tyquan Thornton with the No. 50 overall pick.
On defense, the Patriots signed safety Jabrill Peppers, brought back corner Malcolm Butler and acquired linebacker Mack Wilson from the Cleveland Browns. However, none of them are likely to move the needle.
If anything, the Patriots fell a step behind others in the division who did more to address their rosters.
New Orleans Saints
Over/Under: 8 wins
The New Orleans Saints are a team in transition. Sean Payton stepped down as their head coach after 16 years, and they still aren't settled at quarterback.
The Saints have eased the transition by elevating defensive coordinator Dennis Allen to head coach, while quarterback Jameis Winston had a promising start to the 2021 campaign before he suffered a torn ACL in Week 8. A 5-2 start quickly devolved into five straight losses without Winston in the lineup.
Still, the Saints clawed their way to a 9-8 record. And the pieces they've added this offseason should create some excitement.
Marquez Callaway led the Saints with 698 receiving yards last year, but they revamped their receiving corps this offseason. Michael Thomas should return after missing the entire 2021 campaign with an ankle injury. Jarvis Landry is returning home to give New Orleans a reliable slot option. The Saints also traded up to the No. 11 overall pick to select Chris Olave, the smoothest route-runner in the class.
Their secondary will also look different this fall. The signings of safeties Tyrann Mathieu and Marcus Maye, as well as the second-round selection of Alontae Taylor, give New Orleans one of the most dynamic, deep and flexible defensive back rooms.
The playoffs remain in the picture for the Saints despite two major areas of concern.
New York Giants
Over/Under: 7 wins
The New York Giants will be better this fall under the direction of new head coach Brian Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen. They couldn't get much worse than what they experienced under Joe Judge. Their 10 wins over the past two seasons tied for the fifth-worst record during that stretch.
It's unclear how much that improvement will translate to the win column, though.
There are still significant question marks about starting quarterback Daniel Jones. Running back Saquon Barkley must stay healthy. Wide receiver Kenny Golladay needs to provide more as the team's No. 1 wide receiver. The Giants lack a quality starting option at tight end, and cornerback remains suspect as well.
The Giants deserve credit for making significant investments to bolster its shoddy offensive line. Free-agent signees Mark Glowinski and Jon Feliciano will help solidify the interior, while No. 7 overall pick Evan Neal gives New York an exciting tandem of young offensive tackles.
No. 5 overall pick Kayvon Thibodeaux is another potential building block as one of the favorites to capture NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. An aggressive scheme under new defensive coordinator Don Martindale will only help matters, especially with Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence working along the interior.
A promising campaign is forthcoming. A full turnaround might be too much to ask at this juncture, though.
New York Jets
Over/Under: 5.5 wins
Building a football team takes time. The New York Jets are in the second year of their rebuild, and the fuller picture is coming into focus.
“The athletes [we've added], we’re excited about for sure,” head coach Robert Saleh told Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer. “Obviously, we believe they fit our system, and fit what we’re trying to get accomplished. Our front seven, it is long and athletic, we’ve got a bunch of three-techniques and a bunch of rush ends—throw four guys on the field and let’s go play."
A pair of top-10 selections allowed the Jets to become more dynamic outside the numbers on both sides of the ball. Cornerback Sauce Gardner and wide receiver Garrett Wilson are the caliber of athletes that they previously lacked.
The Jets signed veteran tight end C.J. Uzomah signed in free agency to give themselves a presence at that position. Laken Tomlinson joined to shore up the offensive interior. Breece Hall, the top running back in this year's draft class, fell into the Jets' lap in the second round. Their third first-round selection, Jermaine Johnson II, will help create an exciting pass-rushing trio with a healthy Carl Lawson and John Franklin-Myers.
As long as quarterback Zach Wilson lives up to his status as the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, the Jets should be far more competitive this fall.
Over/Under: 9.5 wins
The Philadelphia Eagles pieced together arguably the best offseason of any team. Already a year ahead of schedule after making the playoffs in Nick Sirianni's first season as a head coach, general manager Howie Roseman went to work this offseason and added significant talent on both sides of the ball.
To aid in Jalen Hurts' continued development, Roseman took advantage of the Tennessee Titans not wanting to give wide receiver A.J. Brown an exorbitant contract extension and traded a first round pick—one of three that the Eagles originally owned—to acquire the two-time, 1,000-yard target.
Brown's presence in the lineup should create a cascading affect in the passing game. DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins, Jalen Reagor and Zach Pascal will now find themselves going against weaker defenders.
The Eagles upgraded all three levels of their defense, too.
They signed pass-rusher Haason Reddick to give themselves more juice off the edge. They drafted the class' best interior defender, Jordan Davis, with the 13th overall pick. The reigning Butkus Award winner, Nakobe Dean, fell to them at No. 83. The Giants released cornerback James Bradberry because of his massive salary-cap hit, and the Eagles signed him to give themselves a true bookend to Darius Slay.
As long as Hurts' developmental curve continues to ascend, the Eagles may replace the Dallas Cowboys atop the NFC East.
Over/Under: 7 wins
Don't discount the Pittsburgh Steelers just because longtime quarterback Ben Roethlisberger retired. Head coach Mike Tomlin knows how to win, and the roster features plenty of difference-makers, particularly on defense.
Quarterback remains a work in progress, though. Mitchell Trubisky and No. 20 overall pick Kenny Pickett will compete for the starting spot, with the former likely opening the season behind center. However, Pickett will almost certainly start games this season.
While the Steelers figure out their offensive identity, they'll do so knowing they'll likely be better behind center than what they got from Roethlisberger over the last two seasons. The franchise's all-time leading passer limited the entire scheme because of his lack of mobility and inability to drive the ball down the field.
Pittsburgh does have talent on offense with running back Najee Harris, tight end Pat Freiermuth and wide receivers Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool and rookie second-round pick George Pickens. Meanwhile, the Steelers defense can take over a game at a moment's notice thanks to playmakers like T.J. Watt, Cameron Heyward and Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Stephon Tuitt's surprise retirement didn't help, though the addition of Larry Ogunjobi should offset that loss to some degree. Myles Jack should greatly help the second line of defense, too.
San Francisco 49ers
Over/Under: 10 wins
The San Francisco 49ers' fate this season comes down to one factor more than anything else: Trey Lance taking over for Jimmy Garoppolo as the starting quarterback.
Deebo Samuel's contract status/pending trade request, Alex Mack's retirement and Nick Bosa being nearly two years removed from ACL surgery are all subplots worth monitoring as well. But nothing is going to affect the 49ers more than Lance's development.
"The biggest thing with Trey that people have to realize is he is younger," head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters in June. "He has more horsepower inside of him than I think he even knows of. Just from the whole talent, but also what he's made of, how intelligent he is."
Five quarterbacks heard their names called in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft. Lance was the youngest of the group by nearly a year. The 22-year-old started only 17 games and threw 318 passes at North Dakota State, which made him far more inexperienced than his first-round counterparts.
Lance's natural abilities will help expand Shanahan's playbook. His athleticism and explosive arm talent should make one of the league's best designed systems even more dynamic. Considering the 49ers won 10 games with Garoppolo behind center last season, a better playmaker at the position could result in an even better performance.
Over/Under: 5.5 wins
Embrace the rebuild should be the Seattle Seahawks' mantra this year after trading longtime quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos.
The Seahawks' restart should look similar to head coach Pete Carroll's first two seasons with the team, when they leaned on a strong run game and burgeoning defense. The difference now is that instead of having Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks will have to rely on a stable of backs including Rashaad Penny and Kenneth Walker III, this year's No. 41 overall pick.
The Seahawks no longer have Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas III and the rest of the Legion of Boom to set the tone on defense, either. However, Jamal Adams should have something to say about what the team does or doesn't do this season.
Everything goes back to quarterback, where the Seahawks are transitioning from a surefire future Hall of Famer to either Geno Smith or Drew Lock. A lost season appears to be on the horizon for Seattle, which might be bad enough to land the No. 1 overall pick in next year's draft and reset behind center.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Over/Under: 11.5 wins
For nearly two months, the rest of the NFC South had dreams of possibly capturing a division title. Tom Brady had called it a career, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers needed to rework their roster without the GOAT in their lineup.
Instead, Brady dashed those dreams with one tweet.
The Buccaneers are currently the favorite to represent the NFC in Super Bowl 57. They might have the least amount of resistance, too.
The New Orleans Saints have an excellent roster overall, but they're transitioning under a new head coach after Sean Payton's retirement. The Carolina Panthers are still trying to decide who their starting quarterback will be. The Atlanta Falcons are more likely to vie for next year's No. 1 overall pick than challenging the Bucs' standing as divisional champs.
Beyond Brady, the Bucs' roster remains largely intact. General manager Jason Licht brought in Shaq Mason to replace Ali Marpet, Akiem Hicks to take over for Ndamukong Suh and Russell Gage to fill in for Chris Godwin until he returns from injury. Gage should then complement Godwin and Mike Evans once the offense is full-go.
Over/Under: 9 wins
The Tennessee Titans are one of the NFL's most well-coached and fundamentally sound squads. They have won at least nine games in each of Mike Vrabel's four seasons as head coach, and they went 23-10 with two AFC South titles over the past two years.
The Titans appear poised to regress this season, though.
The offense is built around workhorse running back Derrick Henry, who missed nine games last season due to a Jones fracture. The Titans might not be able to lean on him as much this season, but they're more unstable at other positions now, too.
Up front, left guard and right tackle aren't settled. Tennessee chose to trade away A.J. Brown and hasn't re-signed Julio Jones. Robert Woods, whom the Titans acquired from the Rams, is coming off a season-ending injury. First-round wideout Treylon Burks will help, though he won't immediately replace Brown.
Despite their potential offensive shortcomings, the Titans still boast the league's best defensive front. They have plenty of talent on that side of the ball, especially if Caleb Farley stays healthy.
The Titans' grip on the AFC South may be slipping, but they are still good.
Over/Under: 8 wins
The Washington Commanders may be the closest any team came to a push among these predictions. It's hard to envision the now-Carson Wentz-led squad being significantly better than last year's seven-win campaign.
Washington should benefit from healthy seasons from defensive end Chase Young, tight end Logan Thomas and center Chase Roullier, all of whom wound up on injured reserve last year. The Commanders also added wide receiver Jahan Dotson with a first-round pick to give themselves a secondary option beyond Terry McLaurin, since no other wide receiver managed more than 383 yards last season.
However, the NFC East will be difficult for Washington to navigate. The Cowboys are the reigning division champs. The Philadelphia Eagles could make a realistic run at the crown. Even the New York Giants should be better.
Where does that leave Washington? Smack dab in the middle of another mediocre campaign, which could turn ugly depending on Wentz's transition to the lineup.
According to the Indianapolis Star's Nate Atkins, Colts head coach Frank Reich appeared to lose faith in Wentz, who didn't properly orchestrate the offense. If the same happens in Washington, the Commanders' season will be doomed.