The NFL Draft has been completed, most of the impact moves in free agency have been made months ago and the 2013 schedule is out. Perhaps most importantly, Las Vegas has weighed in and set the over/unders for each NFL team. We are going to take a look at each team, division-by-division and speculate on whether they will finish better or worse than their numbers show.
Atlanta Falcons- Over/Under- 10 Wins
Is this bettable? In a word, No. With Atlanta playing a first-place schedule and major losses on defense, it’s difficult to imagine the Falcons repeating their 13-victory success from 2012. The return of Sean Payton to the Saints, along with offseason improvements from the Panthers and Buccaneers should affect the Atlanta Falcons win total. At first glance, the Falcons should probably finish with 10 wins, but if I was forced to bet I would wager on the under.
Carolina Panthers- Over/Under- 7 Wins
Is this bettable? It is bettable. The Carolina Panthers are a very poorly coached team. That said, they are more talented than their 7-9 record showed last season. Cam Newton actually had a nice sophomore campaign and should continue to improve in Year 3. Carolina had a solid draft and should be tougher against the run. I like the Panthers to make a solid run at .500 with eight wins.
New Orleans Saints- Over/Under- 9.5 Wins
Is this bettable? It is very bettable. There’s a reason why the Saints fell off the map last season with their coach missing- it’s because he’s one of the very best coaches in the NFL. Sean Payton used his suspension to parlay himself into being the highest paid coach in the league and his return will certainly help a Saints team that struggled in close games last year. Add in a solid draft and a manageable schedule and this New Orleans team should compete for the division title. I like the Saints to win at least 10 games.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Over/Under- 7.5 Wins
Is this bettable? In a word, No. The Buccaneers ought to be a better team in 2013 with the additions of Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson, but what about the loss of Michael Bennett? Certainly Tampa’s secondary is better on paper, but they’re missing their best pass rusher in Bennett, and are depending on youngsters such as Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers. The Bucs probably have a net gain, but everyone in the division seems better than a season ago. The Bucs are truly one of those teams who should be involved in a lot of close games and could finish anywhere from 7-9 to 10-6. This is very bettable if the over/under was 7, but the extra half-victory makes it difficult. The Bucs schedule seems fair and they must feast early on to figure into the playoff mix.
The Charlie Bernstein Show is on Sportstalk 1040 The Team from 3-7 EST Monday through Friday. You can listen live by clicking here.