97 more days until the 2015 NFL season! pic.twitter.com/OEyF6OnzaJ— NFL_Central (@Central_NFL) June 5, 2015
Dallas Cowboys (Opener: 9.5), Prediction: OVERGoing 12-4 in a season that they had an 18th-ranked strength of schedule last year is an indication that the Cowboys should be able to comfortably handle a 24th-ranked schedule in 2015 for 10-plus victories, even with Murray gone.
Philadelphia Eagles (Opener: 9.5), Prediction: OVEREvery market has its own mad man and the NFL has one in yours truly Chip Kelly. Until now, I am yet to figure out what this mad man is trying to do with Nick Foles, Sam Bradford, Tim Teebow all in his team as quarterback. I am, however sure that the quick-paced Philadelphia offense will be a perfect fit for the electric-fast DeMarco Murray, which should guarantee a back to back double-digit win season for the Eagles.
NY Giants (Opener: 8), Prediction: PUSHThe budding relationship between Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. is one that is bound to bear some good results in 2015. However, having finished with 6 wins in 2014 and 7 wins in 2013, it doesn’t look like there is much to hope for in this team. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Giants tallied another 9-7 season like in 2012, but based on the tough competition in the division, I would say that the safest bet here is an 8-8 season.
Washington Redskins (Opener: 6), Prediction: UNDERRobert Griffin III gets the starting duty in the team once again and the pressure to deliver results in 2015 is unreal, with his job potentially on the line. Will he deliver or fail? We have no answer to that now, but we can tell you that, after combining for just 7 wins in their last two seasons, there is simply no way the Redskins are going above 7 wins this season.
Green Bay Packers (Opener: 11), Prediction: OVEREven with just one leg fully healthy, Aaron Rodgers is better than half of the quarterbacks in the current league, so going past the 11-win mark shouldn’t be that big of a deal, as he is entering the season fully fit and his No. 1 target, Randall Cobb re-signed for the Packers. Not to mention, the Lambeau Field has always been a fortress, which should guarantee victories in the so-called big games in 2015.
Detroit Lions (Opener: 8.5), Prediction: UNDERSay all you want about Haloti Ngata, but losing Ndamukong Suh is going to hurt like hell and Detroit’s solid defense in 2014 will regress in the coming season. Added to the inefficiency of QB Mathew Stafford, who struggled mightily in 2014, an UNDER with an 8-8 season looks very likely for the Lions.
Minnesota Vikings (Opener: 7), Prediction: OVERThe downward spiraling of Detroit is going to bode well with the Vikings, who’ve made a good number of value additions to their team, including Trae Waynes and Eric Kendricks in the defense. Meanwhile, Teddy Bridgewater has a variety of offensive weapons in Mike Wallace, Charles Johnson and Cordarellee Patterson, who bring a lot of proven potential into 2015.
Chicago Bears (Opener: 7), Prediction: UNDERReplacing Brandon Marshall with first-rounder Kevin White was a risky, but worthwhile move that could pay dividends in the new season. Unfortunately, Jay Cutler leading the team as the chief signal-caller doesn’t orient much confidence about Chicago’s chances. Coupled with the tough divisional matchups ahead of them (including the Packers and Lions twice each) and a stern test in the conference, Chicago should be a 5-11 or 6-10 team in 2015 if it is lucky, so go with an UNDER.
New Orleans Saints (Opener: 9), Prediction: OVERLast season was simply a case of an isolated bad year for the Saints. If you doubt that, check out the stats posted by their QB Drew Brees, who ranked top among the best passers in 2014. Usually, the Saints are solid at home and that will be evident this season. Added to the lackluster competition in the AFC South and a soft 2015 strength of schedule for New Orleans, the 9-win mark should be very favorable pick for OVER bettors.
Carolina Panthers (Opener: 8.5), Prediction: UNDERAfter managing to reach last year’s postseason and making their mark, the Panthers (winners of the NFC South title for the past two seasons in a row) should be buoyed enough to make another solid regular season push, led by QB Cam Newton. Sadly, the Panthers have a brutal schedule, including back-to-back games against the Seahawks, Eagles, Green Bay and Packers. So, although Carolina should be good for a .500 mark, we don’t see them going above it.
Atlanta Falcons (Opener: 8), Prediction: OVERWhat were these Las Vegas guys smoking to peg Atlanta for 8 wins? Even with Jalen Collins and Vic Beasly impressing in their rookie years, and Matt Ryan doing a serviceable job with a promising backfield combo in Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, the Falcons will (at best) soar to the 7-win mark. If they somehow squeak their way to 8 wins, don’t worry ‘coz you’ll get your money back on a PUSH outcome.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Opener: 6), Prediction: UNDERThis Guy Jameis Winston is too full of himself and hotheaded to heed instructions and get as many as 6-or-more wins in his rookie year. Not to mention, the Bucs are a young squad on a rebuilding agenda, so betting on an OVER would be a highly risky bet.
Seattle Seahawks (Opener: 11), Prediction: UNDERThe Seahawks have been a dominant force over the recent times and they are likely to continue their success with a winning season in 2015. Still, with Arizona getting most of its injured stars back on the roster, and St. Louis packing a nasty bite as a “we-have-nothing-to-lose” underdog, we feel that that the evened-out competition in the conference will just about keep the Hawks below 11 wins, finishing on a 10-6 mark.
Arizona Cardinals (Opener: 8.5), Prediction: OVERIn spite of having the 8th toughest schedule in 2014 at 0.547 opponents’ winning percentage, and playing the majority of the season with backup QBs, the Cardinals still managed to get an impressive 11-5 record. Going with a healthy team into 2015, and a visionary coach leading them, a winning record of 9-7 (or better) should be possible for Arizona.
St. Louis Rams (Opener: 8), Prediction: UNDERThe Rams have been a middle-table team, so reaching around the 8-win mark sounds like a fair assessment from them. However, the Rams have a fierce schedule in 2015 that is ranked as the 6th-toughest in the league, including games against the Packers, Ravens and Bengals all on the road, and the Steelers and Lions at home. Add the Seahawks, Cardinals and 49ers to that list, you get a very solid UNDER.
San Francisco 49ers (Opener: 7.5), Prediction: UNDERWithout Jim Harbaugh not coaching the 49ers, and a depleted roster that enters 2015 without a long list of stars like Justin Smith, Chris Borland and Patrick Willis on the defense, and Frank Gore and Mike Iupati missing in the offense, it will be a miracle if Jim Tomsula takes his team anywhere above the 7.5-win mark.
Sources ESPN.com (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/14005/demarco-murray) NFL.com (http://www.nfl.com/player/aaronrodgers/2506363/profile)