Latest Win-Loss Predictions for Every NFL Team Ahead of 2021 Season

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistSeptember 2, 2021

Latest Win-Loss Predictions for Every NFL Team Ahead of 2021 Season

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Now that preseason action is done and training camps have closed, we can look with almost complete clarity at the upcoming NFL campaign. Aside from some surprise cuts here and there, not much will change between now and the first weekend of the regular season.

    With that in mind, this is an appropriate juncture in which to predict how many games each team will win in the expanded 2021 regular season.

    And for those of you who decide to add up all of the wins and losses and call us out on the overall totals being mathematically impossible, note that we're not in the business of predicting injuries and other unfortunate events that are impossible and awkward to forecast, even if they're inevitable. Consider each predicted record here to be in a vacuum.

    With that out of the way, let's jump in.

Arizona Cardinals

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Over/under win total: 8.5

    The talented Arizona Cardinals were 8-6 before the wheels fell off late in the 2020 campaign. This season, there's no reason to expect that third-year No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray won't make progress following a proper offseason with superstar wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. 

    The defense should also be better with top pick Zaven Collins joining 2020 first-rounder Isaiah Simmons at linebacker, sack artist Chandler Jones returning from a biceps injury that cost him most of the 2020 season and future Hall of Famer J.J. Watt joining the fray up front. 

    The Cards were hyped last summer and didn't deliver. But the talent is there, and the results could come one year later with lower expectations.

    This is a team with double-digit-win potential, although it'll be a close call because the NFC West will be stacked if the San Francisco 49ers have half-decent injury luck this time around.

    Prediction: 10-7

Atlanta Falcons

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    Michael Reaves/Getty Images

    Over/under win total: 7.5

    The Atlanta Falcons haven't had a winning season in any of the last three campaigns. Why should we expect that to change with an over-the-hill Matt Ryan operating without superstar wide receiver Julio Jones in 2021? 

    The NFC South might be weaker than it has been in years with Drew Brees no longer a New Orleans Saint, but the Falcons didn't do enough to improve a defense that ranked 29th in the league with 6.2 yards allowed per play, and the offense will have trouble replacing the departed Jones. 

    No. 4 overall pick Kyle Pitts could become special, but rookie tight ends are rarely massive difference-makers right off the bat and it's hard to envision him compensating for all of the problems that appear to be plaguing the Falcons.

    The four-win Falcons were one of the healthiest teams in football last year, according to Football Outsiders. It's hard to argue they're even a six-win squad, even with a 17-game schedule in 2021.

    Prediction: 5-12

Baltimore Ravens

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    Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

    Over/under win total: 11

    Standout left tackle Ronnie Stanley missed all but six games for the Baltimore Ravens in 2020, and 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson had a bit of a down year. But the Ravens still won 11 games. Stanley's back to protect Jackson's blind side, and he'll be joined in that supporting cast by veterans Sammy Watkins, Kevin Zeitler and Alejandro Villanueva.

    With an extra game to work with and the division-rival Pittsburgh Steelers coming off a painful offseason, a dozen wins should be the expectation in Baltimore in 2021. 

    The Ravens could miss departed edge defenders Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue, but the pass rush wasn't exactly fire down the stretch last year anyway, and don't count out Tyus Bowser or the ageless Justin Houston. Besides, the secondary remains deep and talented.

    Even with the Cleveland Browns improving in the AFC North, the over on 11 wins looks logical here.

    Prediction: 12-5

Buffalo Bills

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    Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

    Over/under win total: 11

    The over also feels obvious on the surface for a Buffalo Bills team that should be as strong in 2021 as it was during a 13-3 2020 campaign in which quarterback Josh Allen was the MVP runner-up. However, the New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins and even New York Jets look stronger in the AFC East, and the Bills will likely have more of a target on their back this year. 

    It was a quiet offseason for a Buffalo team that didn't want to fix what wasn't broken. Still, the division will be tougher, even if Sharp Football Analysis gives them one of the 10 easiest schedules in the league.

    They also lack bite on the edge defensively and have questionable depth at cornerback, so there are vulnerabilities. 

    That's why 11-6 makes some sense for the Bills, who were also one of the 10 healthiest teams in the league in 2020, per Football Outsiders. That said, it's hard to imagine them losing seven games, so the over wouldn't be a risky bet either.

    Prediction: 11-6

Carolina Panthers

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    Justin Casterline/Getty Images

    Over/under win total: 7.5

    The Carolina Panthers have won five games in each of the last two seasons, but oddsmakers feel they're ready to take a step forward in 2021, and that's hard to dispute.

    New quarterback Sam Darnold at least has a higher ceiling that the departed Teddy Bridgewater. He's also got plenty of support with Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore and Taylor Moton in key spots offensively, and that young defense has a ton of growth potential with rising edge Haason Reddick and first-round corner Jaycee Horn joining Brian Burns, Jeremy Chinn and Yetur Gross-Matos. 

    It's still a work in progress, but the key pieces are in place, and the NFC South looks weaker than it has in a long time with Brees out of the way in New Orleans. Throw in that Matt Rhule has had a proper offseason to get his grip on this team, and eight or nine wins isn't unrealistic for Carolina in 2021.

    That said, there's a lot of variance with this team. Darnold could implode, and the defense might not be ready, in which case another five-win campaign could be in the cards. We'll go the semi-optimistic route. 

    Prediction: 8-9

Chicago Bears

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    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    Over/under win total: 7.5

    I don't buy that the Chicago Bears will roll with Andy Dalton for very long. I think they're going to protect rookie first-round quarterback Justin Fields from Aaron Donald and the Los Angeles Rams in a road prime-time opener, and then we're going to see Fields as early as Week 2. 

    And if that happens, a team this talented on defense and that has several quality weapons for Fields on offense should at least be in the .500 range in 2021.

    The Bears had a top-10 D in terms of DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) at Football Outsiders last season, and key figures Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Roquan Smith, Eddie Jackson and Robert Quinn are all back. 

    The offensive line could be weak, especially with second-rounder Teven Jenkins out until at least Week 4 on IR, and Fields could have some growing pains. But he's got star potential and enough talent around him to excel in 2021. 

    The Bears won eight of 16 games with Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles last year and eight with Trubisky in 2019. Eight shouldn't be a problem with Dalton and Fields having an extra game to work with in 2021.

    Prediction: 8-9

Cincinnati Bengals

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    Aaron Doster/Associated Press

    Over/under win total: 6.5

    Losing promising rookie pass-rusher Joseph Ossai to a season-ending knee injury was a blow for the Cincinnati Bengals, but don't let that distort the fact Cincinnati should make significant progress as a spoiler in 2021. 

    That starts with quarterback Joe Burrow's return from the knee injury the cost him most of his rookie season. The Bengals were 2-6-1 when Burrow suffered that injury against the Washington Football Team, but four of those six losses came by five or fewer points. They were competitive, and now they've gotten a lot better with Ja'Marr Chase joining the receiving corps, Riley Reiff and Jackson Carman bolstering the offensive line and Chidobe Awuzie and Mike Hilton improving the secondary. 

    That line could still be a problem, and Burrow may need more time to become reacclimated with Chase and Co. But there's also reason to expect young cogs like Tee Higgins and Jonah Williams to continue to rise.

    The Bengals haven't notched eight wins since 2015, but with an extra game to work with, seven should at least be attainable in 2021.

    Prediction: 7-10

Cleveland Browns

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    Kirk Irwin/Associated Press

    Over/under win total: 10.5

    Like a lot of us, oddsmakers might be attempting to curb their enthusiasm over a Cleveland Browns team that has done very little to earn anyone's trust in recent decades. But the Browns are one of the four or five most talented teams in the NFL, and they deserve credit for an 11-win 2020 season that featured their first playoff victory of the 21st century. 

    Now take that team and add elite safety John Johnson III, excellent slot cornerback Troy Hill, veteran edges Jadeveon Clowney and Takkarist McKinley, draft steal Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and first-round cover man Greg Newsome II. 

    Oh, and bring Odell Beckham Jr., Greedy Williams, Grant Delpit and Andrew Billings back from injury (or in Billings' case, a COVID-19 opt-out).

    There isn't a weak spot on this roster, and 2018 No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield looks poised for a breakout season following the offense's first uninterrupted offseason with head coach Kevin Stefanski.

    With one of the easiest schedule projections in the league, they could absolutely win 13 or 14 games.

    Prediction: 12-5

Dallas Cowboys

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    Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

    Over/under win total: 9

    I'm not buying the Dallas Cowboys.

    There's obviously a lot to like about the offensive core, but there are a lot of unknowns as well. How will Dak Prescott look coming back from injury? Can a fading Tyron Smith hold up after an injury-derailed 2020 campaign? And did Ezekiel Elliott peak in 2018? That unit might have missed its chance to go on a run. And now, the line isn't what it once was and the skill players are feeling it.

    On defense, they lost key cogs Chidobe Awuzie and Xavier Woods, and they didn't have the money for any major additions. So it's hard to imagine a bottom-10 unit in terms of DVOA performing much better in 2021.

    Dallas is in a weak division, and it might have better injury luck this time with the law of averages on its side, but I still think it'll be tough for the 'Boys to put up their first winning record since 2018.

    Prediction: 8-9

Denver Broncos

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    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    Over/under win total: 8.5

    Teddy Bridgewater is not a game-changing quarterback, and Drew Lock has yet to prove himself reliable, which is why it's difficult to forecast a playoff run for the Denver Broncos in 2021. 

    That said, they've become so strong elsewhere that they should at least be in the .500 range even if Bridgewater and/or Lock can't deliver. 

    This offseason, they re-signed star safety Justin Simmons and added Kyle Fuller, Ronald Darby and rookie top-10 pick Patrick Surtain II to an already-stacked secondary. They also brought back legendary sack man Von Miller to work with the rising Bradley Chubb and the underrated Malik Reed.

    The offensive line is solid, the pass-catching corps is deep and they've got several potential standouts in the offensive backfield. They're a strong all-around team, and they should win eight or nine games with what is expected to be an easy schedule despite their tough division.

    Yes, they won just five last year, but they were one of the most injured teams in football, and they've since added plenty of talent on both sides of the ball.

    Prediction: 9-8

Detroit Lions

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    Fred Vuich/Associated Press

    Over/under win total: 4.5

    Take the five-win 2020 Detroit Lions and replace Matthew Stafford, Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. with Jared Goff, Tyrell Williams and Kalif Raymond, and tell me this isn't going to be one of the worst teams in the NFL. 

    Sure, they probably needed a change at quarterback, and they pocketed oodles of draft capital, but Goff hasn't been right since bombing in the 2018 Super Bowl, and those receivers are both better-suited as No. 3 targets at best. 

    Detroit should still score some points because the offensive line is one of the best in the sport, and tight end T.J. Hockenson is becoming a star, but last year's 32nd-ranked defense in DVOA might somehow be worse with Jarrad Davis, Desmond Trufant and Justin Coleman departing, and Alex Anzalone and Michael Brockers climbing aboard.

    Based on Football Outsiders' adjusted games lost formula, the Lions were quite fortunate from a health standpoint in 2020. That's terrifying. The future could soon become bright, but they're likely to take a step backward in Dan Campbell's debut season.

    Prediction: 4-13

Green Bay Packers

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    Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

    Over/under win total: 10

    That over/under feels quite low for a Green Bay Packers team that has won 13 games in each of Matt LaFleur's two seasons as head coach and will have 2020 MVP Aaron Rodgers under center in 2021. 

    But it's fair to wonder about the Packers' offensive line with Corey Linsley and Rick Wagner gone, and stalwart left tackle David Bakhtiari fighting back from a late-2020 torn ACL. And a good-not-great defense doesn't look much better off now than it was when they were roasted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in last year's playoffs.

    Plus, you're now allowed to at least look at the panic button with regard to star pass-rusher Za'Darius Smith's back injury.

    Could Rodgers slip up with less support in his age-38 season? Could injuries and a fairly tough schedule bring Green Bay down? It's all possible, but I still think the oddsmakers are being a little too conservative. I'll take the over by a victory, even if a nine- or 10-win season wouldn't shock me.

    Prediction: 11-6

Houston Texans

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Over/under win total: 4

    No team is projected by the oddsmakers to win fewer games than the Houston Texans, who may or may not have star quarterback Deshaun Watson for all or none of the 2021 campaign but are in poor shape pretty much everywhere else anyway. 

    Watson's future is of course up in the air as he faces 22 lawsuits and 10 criminal complaints from women accusing him of sexual assault or sexual misconduct committed while receiving massages (allegations he denies). There's still a chance he plays all year, in which case it's hard to imagine the Texans losing 14 of 17 games. In that case, the over isn't a bad bet in this parity-dominated league. But there's a very good chance he never plays for the Texans again, in which case 4-13 is probably about right considering the state of the roster and the organization in general.

    It's a mess, especially with J.J. Watt and Will Fuller V also moving on this offseason.

    If you need any further warning signs, Houston had a bottom-10 DVOA despite being one of the healthiest teams in the NFL last season. That's just another bad omen for 2021. 

    Prediction: 4-13

Indianapolis Colts

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Over/under win total: 9

    Pegging a specific win total for the 2021 Indianapolis Colts is tricky because there's no telling how MVP candidate turned train wreck Carson Wentz will bounce back from a miserable swansong season with the Philadelphia Eagles. He's in a new setting, but there's no guarantee that's a cure, and he's already injured

    Still, I'm at least willing to meet the oddsmakers at that nine-win mark because of that history between Colts head coach Frank Reich and his former Philly disciple, and because the Colts are stacked in so many other areas. 

    The Colts won 11 games with a semi-washed Philip Rivers in 2020 and even won seven with Jacoby Brissett under center in 2019. With dudes like Quenton Nelson, DeForest Buckner, Darius Leonard, Kenny Moore II and Jonathan Taylor leading the way on either side of the ball, and with Reich's top-notch coaching, Indy will be in the mix with what should be a forgiving schedule in a very forgiving division.

    We'll go with nine wins but recommend the over rather than the under.

    Prediction: 9-8

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Over/under win total: 6.5

    Oddsmakers must have a lot of faith in Jacksonville Jaguars rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

    Even though the AFC South is weak, it'd be quite bold to project a 7-10 or better season for a Jags team that went 1-15 to "earn" the pick that was used on Lawrence atop the 2021 draft. 

    Lawrence makes them better, of course, but he was limited physically this offseason and couldn't get the offense moving in August. The NFL jury's still out on new head coach Urban Meyer as well, and it doesn't help that they've already lost first-round rookie back Travis Etienne to a season-ending Lisfranc injury.

    Beyond that, the offensive line looks like a liability and the transitioning defense might need time.

    Lawrence may lead them to an extra win or two, but it'll still be a long year in Jacksonville.

    Prediction: 4-13

Kansas City Chiefs

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Over/under win total: 12.5

    As long as they remain healthy, this might be the best version yet of Andy Reid's Kansas City Chiefs. 

    An offensive line that was a major problem down the stretch last year has become a tremendous potential strength thanks to the additions of Orlando Brown Jr., Joe Thuney, Austin Blythe and Kyle Long, plus promising sophomore Lucas Niang's return from the COVID-19 opt-out list.

    They also have that quarterback guy named Patrick Mahomes, and two of the best defensive players in the league in safety Tyrann Mathieu and defensive lineman Chris Jones. They won 14 games last year despite playing hard in just 15 and having poor injury luck.

    With 17 games on the table, I'm expecting at least that many wins in 2021.

    Prediction: 15-2

Las Vegas Raiders

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Over/under win total: 7

    I hate to admit it because it's become real hard to believe in the current Las Vegas Raiders regime, but this team should be better than the one that won seven games in 2020.

    I don't love their decision to gut a strong offensive line, but Kolton Miller remains in place at left tackle and they've added Alex Leatherwood to the fray at right tackle and brought in good competition on the interior in Nick Martin. Kenyan Drake also gives them another skill option on offense, where they essentially looked to swap out Nelson Agholor and Tyrell Williams for John Brown and Willie Snead IV before Brown was released.

    But fellow receivers Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards should be expected to make progress as sophomores, and that unit should have more support from a defense that added Yannick Ngakoue, Solomon Thomas, retained Johnathan Hankins and is pretty rich in young potential with highly drafted defensive backs Johnathan Abram, Tre'von Moehrig, Damon Arnette and Trayvon Mullen on board.

    The odds are some of those guys will excel in 2021, which is why I'd peg them for nine or even 10 wins if I could get behind Jon Gruden and overlook a tough schedule. Instead, we'll stick with the oddsmakers' number.

    Prediction: 7-10

Los Angeles Chargers

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    Over/under win total: 9.5

    It's gotta be trendy to get behind the Los Angeles Chargers right now. Their quarterback, Justin Herbert, is coming off an Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign, and he's got a lot more support after the Bolts spent the offseason renovating the offensive line. He's also finally coming off a proper offseason. 

    Unfortunately, Herbert spent much of that offseason learning yet another new offense with Joe Lombardi taking over the coordinator role in L.A. And a sophomore slump is always a possibility now that the league has had plenty of time to study Herbert's tape. 

    The Chargers didn't have much injury luck last year, but they rarely do, and they remain stuck in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL. With so much change, I could see this being a transitionary season with some rocky moments, especially on the rather shallow defensive side of the ball. If Joey Bosa and Derwin James don't remain healthy and productive all season, the Chargers could give up a lot of points in that division.

    With that in mind, I wouldn't bet on a double-digit win total for Los Angeles. That said, they have enough promise following a 4-0 conclusion to 2020 that they should improve on a 7-9 2020 season.

    Prediction: 9-8

Los Angeles Rams

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Over/under win total: 10.5

    The Los Angeles Rams failed to exceed 10 wins in each of the last two seasons. And while bringing in veteran gunslinger Matthew Stafford could help energize the offense, the Rams have simply bled too much talent in recent offseasons to be viewed as an 11- or 12-win squad entering 2021. 

    Just this offseason, the constantly cap-strapped and low-on-draft-capital Rams lost standout defensive backs John Johnson III and Troy Hill, veteran pass-catchers Gerald Everett and Josh Reynolds and experienced defensive linemen Michael Brockers and Samson Ebukam.

    Jumping from Jared Goff to Stafford and bringing in DeSean Jackson and Sony Michel won't likely compensate for those losses, and there's a good chance the injury gods won't be as kind to a team that was viewed by Football Outsiders as the second-healthiest in football in 2020.

    There's only so much Stafford and Aaron Donald can do on their own.

    Prediction: 9-8

Miami Dolphins

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    Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

    Over/under win total: 9.5

    The Miami Dolphins might have taken advantage of a fairly easy schedule while winning 10 games in 2020. But Sharp Football Analysis projects their sked will be even easier in 2021, and they sure look a heck of a lot better on paper. 

    Will Fuller V and Jaylen Waddle could take the receiving corps to the next level, rookies Jaelan Phillips and Jevon Holland should give a boost to a defense that also added veteran Justin Coleman, and newbies Liam Eichenberg and Greg Little give them more options along a young offensive line that remains unproven but has a pretty high ceiling. 

    Does that mean we should expect 11-plus wins over a 17-game schedule? It's certainly possible with that strength of schedule projection, but the AFC East could be extremely tough and quarterback questions still linger considering Tua Tagovailoa's struggles in limited action as a rookie in 2020.

    The safe bet is another 10-win campaign, but I wouldn't touch that under.

    Prediction: 10-7

Minnesota Vikings

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Over/under win total: 9

    The Minnesota Vikings were relatively healthy in 2020, and they had their supposed franchise quarterback, Kirk Cousins, for all 16 games. Yet they won just seven and ranked 20th in the league in DVOA at Football Outsiders

    The schedule was tough, but it's not expected to be substantially easier in 2021 and the same core remains in place, minus key defenders Anthony Harris and Eric Wilson. 

    Who knows when we'll see first-round left tackle Christian Darrisaw, and how the pass rush will look as Danielle Hunter comes back from a neck injury with limited support. Cousins puts up solid numbers but has never been consistent, his offensive line remains a question mark and the NFC North should be difficult again with Aaron Rodgers returning to the Packers.

    Even with a revamped secondary, star back Dalvin Cook and Hunter's return giving them a slightly higher ceiling than in 2020, it's hard to get behind a winning record for these Vikes.

    Prediction: 8-9

New England Patriots

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    Boston Globe/Getty Images

    Over/under win total: 9.5

    The New England Patriots posted a losing record last year for the first time since 2000. I'm not betting Bill Belichick will let that happen again in 2021.

    This time, Belichick looks as though he's all-in for another championship run, and we'd be silly to rule that out. 2021 first-round pick Mac Jones is his new franchise quarterback, the offensive line looks strong again, and new tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry should make life a lot easier on Jones.

    The Pats were already extremely deep on defense before adding Matthew Judon, Davon Godchaux, Jalen Mills and Kyle Van Noy to the fray. Now, that unit should be viewed as elite so long as 2019 Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore is leading the way for Belichick and senior adviser Matt Patricia.

    Per Football Outsiders, only the San Francisco 49ers were ravaged more by injuries than the Patriots in 2020. With better fortune in that regard in 2021, I'd expect them to bounce back in a very big way.

    Prediction: 11-6

New Orleans Saints

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Over/under win total: 9

    The New Orleans Saints were tops in the NFL in Football Outsiders' DVOA during a 12-win 2020 campaign, but that Drew Brees fella is no longer on the roster, and it's tough to peg how the Saints will fare with what's supposed to be a much tougher schedule in 2021. 

    Those factors alone indicate why oddsmakers are projecting a sub-double-digit win total despite the presence of a 17th game. It's possible Jameis Winston will finally put it all together in place of the retired Brees, but that's far from a guarantee considering his turnover habit. 

    Plus, the cap-strapped Saints also said goodbye to its top 2020 sack man, Trey Hendrickson, as well as experienced pass-catchers Jared Cook and Emmanuel Sanders and veteran defenders Malcom Brown, Sheldon Rankins and Janoris Jenkins this offseason. Throw in cornerback Patrick Robinson's August retirement and you can see how tough it might be for New Orleans to remain within shouting distance of the Buccaneers in the NFC South.

    That said, the defense still has a lot of talent and has performed well this month, and a healthy Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara could do some serious damage with Winston behind a strong offensive line. We're giving Sean Payton and Co. the benefit of the doubt.

    Prediction: 10-7

New York Giants

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    Diamond Images/Getty Images

    Over/under win total: 7

    The New York Giants haven't won seven games since 2016, but I get the feeling they could push for eight or nine if their key cogs can remain healthy in 2021. 

    Why? Well, let's start with the anticipated return of star running back Saquon Barkley. It's a tad concerning that he's come back from that torn ACL at a particularly slow rate, but there's still no reason to believe he won't be a major factor for the lion's share of the 2021 campaign.

    It's likely a make-or-break season for third-year quarterback Daniel Jones. That alone could light a fire under the 2019 first-round pick following his first full and proper offseason as an NFL starter, as could the fact that his pass-catching corps is stacked with Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, John Ross III and Kyle Rudolph joining Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton and Evan Engram.

    The offensive line remains a potentially huge liability and the defense is still a question mark, but left tackle Andrew Thomas has superstar-level ability, and the Giants have at least established some continuity there. Plus, the D has some strong and exciting pieces in Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, Xavier McKinney, James Bradberry and rookie Azeez Ojulari.

    I'm quite high on these Giants, but there's a boom-or-bust dynamic there.

    Prediction: 8-9

New York Jets

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    Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

    Over/under win total: 6

    The New York Jets have won six or more games just once since 2015. But this year, there are reasons for optimism with rookie No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson on board at quarterback alongside new offensive cogs Corey Davis, Elijah Moore and Alijah Vera-Tucker. 

    Still, it's a long road from 2-14 to even 6-11, and growing pains should be expected with a rookie quarterback and a new coaching staff. The loss of high-profile free-agent addition Carl Lawson to a season-ending Achilles injury doesn't help either.

    With the AFC East looking stronger and a schedule that isn't particularly forgiving, it's hard to get behind the Jets exceeding a handful of wins even if Wilson excels and they get a healthy season from returning star linebacker C.J. Mosley.

    The under looks like a pretty safe bet here.

    Prediction: 4-13

Philadelphia Eagles

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Over/under win total: 6.5

    The Philadelphia Eagles were often an utter mess with one of the toughest schedules in the NFL during an injury-plagued 2020 season, but they still managed to keep their loss total to 11.

    Even after a tough offseason, with what should be a slightly easier schedule in a weak division, and with better injury luck, seven or eight wins can't be ruled out under new head coach Nick Sirianni and new starting quarterback Jalen Hurts.

    There are significant questions still surrounding Hurts, and at wide receiver, left tackle and cornerback. But this is still a team with Lane Johnson, Brandon Brooks, Jason Kelce, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham and a high ceiling in the skill positions with youngsters DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, Quez Watkins and Miles Sanders.

    I'm calling this a "regrouping season" for the Eagles, but I still think they find a way to win at least half a dozen games.

    Prediction: 6-11

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Over/under win total: 8.5

    This is a bad year for the Pittsburgh Steelers to run into one of the toughest schedules in the league. That's the case, according to projections from Sharp Football Analysis. The AFC North could be hell for the Steelers, whose 39-year-old quarterback could be in trouble behind a gutted offensive line under new offensive coordinator Matt Canada.

    The Steelers did win 12 games last season, but only one win came in their final six regular-season and playoff games. And the injury gods weren't even that hard on them, per Football Outsiders' adjusted games lost formula.

    Rookie first-round pick Najee Harris could give a jolt to the offense at running back, but that won't likely make up for the fact that they're without departed veterans Bud Dupree, Mike Hilton, Matt Feiler, Steven Nelson, Alejandro Villanueva and Maurkice Pouncey.

    The Steelers haven't experienced a losing season since 2003. They're due.

    Prediction: 8-9

San Francisco 49ers

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Over/under win total: 10.5

    Meanwhile, per the same smart source, the San Francisco 49ers have the easiest schedule projection in the NFL this season. That'd be a break for a talented team that was hit hard by Murphy's Law in one of the most injury-ravaged campaigns I've seen as an NFL analyst.

    With returns to health for Jimmy Garoppolo, Raheem Mostert, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Nick Bosa and Jaquiski Tartt, and with Trey Lance a potential difference-maker at some point down the line, a 49ers team that won 13 games when things were right two seasons ago could return to that range in 2021.

    The NFC West is arguably the toughest division in the league right now, but I'm willing to bet Kyle Shanahan's squad can exceed 10 victories with an extra game to work with this season.

    Prediction: 11-6

Seattle Seahawks

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    Abbie Parr/Getty Images

    Over/under win total: 10

    The Seattle Seahawks have put up double-digit win totals in each of the last three seasons. And with elite receiver DK Metcalf emerging in support of game-changing quarterback Russell Wilson, I wouldn't bet against that happening again in 2021.

    Sure, they could miss departed defensive backs Shaquill Griffin and Quinton Dunbar, while rookie second-rounder D'Wayne Eskridge will have to fill David Moore's shoes as the No. 3 receiver, but Metcalf is becoming a superstar and Wilson has more support with offensive lineman Gabe Jackson and tight end Gerald Everett joining the fray.

    There's also a ton of young talent up front on defense, and there's no doubting the impact Bobby Wagner and Jamal Adams bring to the table off the ball.

    There's little reason Seattle shouldn't be able to make another run at a dozen wins in 2021.

    Prediction: 12-5

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Over/under win total: 12

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have won just 11 regular-season games last season, but they'll have a 17th game to work with in 2021 and it's important to keep in mind that they finished the 2020 campaign with eight consecutive wins culminating in their Super Bowl LV victory.

    Now, with all of the key players from that team returning and Drew Brees no longer a factor for the division-rival Saints, the Bucs should be on track for more than a dozen wins in 2021.

    Yeah, Father Time could finally catch up with Tom Brady at any point, but that doesn't appear to be happening this summer, and it could help that he's surrounded by a lot of quality young players on both sides of the ball.

    2020 rookie sensations Tristan Wirfs and Antoine Winfield Jr. should also be expected to perform even better coming off proper offseasons.

    Put it all together and the Bucs are terrifying.

    Prediction: 14-3

Tennessee Titans

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    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    Over/under win total: 9

    The Tennessee Titans have won nine or more games in five consecutive seasons and are coming off an 11-5 2020 campaign. With the same core back for 2021, taking the over on a nine-win total from oddsmakers is a no-brainer with a 17th game on the schedule.

    Still, I have my concerns about an 11-plus-win projection for the Titans, who gutted the secondary, continue to have a hole at right tackle and are dangerously reliant on a bruising running back who has quite a lot of mileage on his tires.

    Can reigning Offensive Player of the Year Derrick Henry hold up again after carrying the ball 681 times the last two seasons? If not, can Ryan Tannehill carry the offense? And how will Taylor Lewan and Bud Dupree bounce back from major knee injuries in critical spots?

    There are a lot of questions surrounding this team, but at least the schedule shouldn't be overwhelming in the soft AFC South.

    Prediction: 10-7

Washington Football Team

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    Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

    Over/under win total: 8.5

    Powered by a killer defense that should only be stronger as Chase Young, Montez Sweat and Kamren Curl continue to blossom in 2021, the Washington Football Team finished the 2020 campaign with five wins in its last seven games.

    With more reliability and talent at the quarterback position, Washington should be expected to continue rolling like that into a 2021 season that features a potentially tough schedule but has it defending a division title in the weak NFC East.

    For what it's worth, in August, both Ryan Fitzpatrick and Taylor Heinicke showed a lot of promise under center. That's encouraging considering what the team went through with Dwayne Haskins and Alex Smith in 2020.

    Throw in that they could have emerging stars at the skill positions in Terry McLaurin and Antonio Gibson and I'm willing to hand the flawed but talented WFT a double-digit win projection this year.

    Prediction: 10-7


    Over/under win totals courtesy of DraftKings.

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