Our NFL experts debate over/under win totals for nine of the 32 teams opening minicamps this week.
Nine of the NFL’s 32 teams open minicamps this week, so on this week’s episode of The MMQB NFL Podcast, Albert Breer, Jenny Vrentas and Conor Orr pick over/under for win totals for those nine teams. Who takes the under on the Patriots?
(Listen to the latest The MMQB NFL Podcast here. The following transcript has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Breer: As I promised earlier we are going to wrap things up with over/under win totals. We're gonna put this on the record now. We've got the nine teams that are gonna be in minicamp this week. There are 23 teams in minicamp next week, and we'll probably split those up over the next couple of weeks, but we're going to start with the nine teams that that are in their minicamps this week.
The first one's the world champions, the Patriots. Their over/under is set at 11. I think that's on the nose, that's right where they're going to be. So I'm going to roll the dice on this one. I'm going to say that they're going to be under 11 wins. I'm going to say they go 10–6 because they've taken a step back the last couple of years in the regular season, and a big piece of that has been—I think last year it was the process of figuring out who they were going to be took a little bit longer because they're a little bit older. I think with some of the older players on their roster they're going to have to pace themselves a little bit differently. They've got a lot of guys who are over 30. You know they've got older guys in their secondary and the McCourty brothers and Gilmore, and you know they've got Ben Watson on offense, a guy who at least for right now looks like they're going to be there's going to be somebody they're going to rely on. Obviously Brady is going to be 42 years old. So, to me, I think that the regular season for them is going to be very, very managed. And so right now, I'm going to say under. I think they're somewhere between 10 and 12 wins. I'll go 10–6 right now, and I still think they've got a good chance to get to the Super Bowl even at 10–6.
Vrentas: I agree that 11 [wins] seems right on the nose, but I guess that's why these oddsmakers are so good at what they do. I'll go over because it's always smart to pick the over for the Patriots.
Orr: I agree, but first let me answer it...
Vrentas: But first! That was a very Bachelorette transition.
Orr: That was, wasn't it.
Vrentas: This is the most dramatic scene in The Bachelorette. It's coming up next, but first!
Orr: Let me answer it like someone in the NFL would answer it because we're talking about nobody wanting to take accountability for this. If you ask someone, anybody, like an official, a commissioner or coach for over/under totals they would say well the Patriots seem like a team that could certainly win 11 games but they also might win 12 and you know again, they could win 10. So that would that would be how someone in the NFL would answer. I would say that they're going to go over. I think that you know we're all saying, oh they don't have Gronkowski, and you know they're starting over at receiver. But then here comes here comes Tom just destroying time and, and they're going to win like, they're going to like 14–2 in the regular season. Because you know what, I'm not going to stand there after the Super Bowl and listen to Kyle Van Noy criticize me about doubting them. I'm putting this shit to bed. Yeah, they're gonna win the Super Bowl again. Everybody here thinks you're going to win the Super Bowl again. So let's just stop. There's no doubters. Don't use me as a crutch to propel you into the postseason. I already think you're going to win.
Breer: I think 10–6 and maybe in the Super Bowl.
Orr: You just did it! You just did it!
Vrentas: You hedged your bets, Albert!
Breer: I just hedged my bets. Now I see I play both sides shooters.
Orr: Commissioner Breer over here.
Vrentas: You could be a general manager!
Breer: So I got a chance to be right twice.
Vrentas: When is your interview for the Jets’ general manager job? Is that why you're calling in remotely Albert? Are you actually in Florham Park?
Breer: That's exactly right. I'm not actually in Massachusetts. I'm not going to tell you where I am. So, Browns. This is an interesting one: 9.
Vrentas: I'm going over. I think I'll go 10–6. I'm not going to say much over. But just 10–6.
Orr Under. Yeah, I think under. I mean, when has this worked? Let's sign a bunch of superstars, and they'll all fight. Figure out a way to get along. 7–9.
Breer: I'm going to go under I'll say 8–8. I think the hype is a little a little out of control. I think sometimes we overrate skill position talent, and they do have some issues on the offensive line. They've got a completely new coaching staff. I'm going to say 8–8. OK. The Denver Broncos are at seven.
Orr: Wow, interesting.
Vrentas: You're gonna go with over?
Orr: Over. I think it's gonna be a Flacco renaissance and Vic Fangio, Scranton guy.
Vrentas: There is the motivation.
Breer: I'm going to go under. I think 6–10. I think Drew Lock's in the lineup by the end of the year. So I'm going to go under seven wins. I think 6–10. The Dolphins are at five.
Vrentas: You know this is interesting because, if Rosen has his renaissance, Conor... I'm going to go under though. I mean, I think that they're really sort of—obviously we know that they're starting over think maybe 4–12 makes sense for their first season.
Orr: I'm oddly going to go over, because I think that in times when you don't need Ryan Fitzpatrick to be the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL, he does. And so this is what you want to lose, right? The Dolphins, you want to tank, and Ryan Fitzpatrick is going to throw for like 4,500 yards and like 30 touchdowns this year. It's gonna be amazing.
Breer: Ryan Fitzpatrick does have those, just those stretches, where like last year—wasn't it last year, like four or five games for the Bucs. There was obviously the 10-win season with the Jets. But I still think the Dolphins probably wind up 4–12. I think that division is a little better than people think because I think Buffalo... I really believe in what Buffalo is doing now. Whether or not they're going to eventually get to a championship level depends on what happens with Josh Allen, but I think they're gonna be competitive this year. And the Jets—you look at them on paper, they should be competitive, and so I'd say under for the Dolphins. I think that they will be maybe 4–12, and in position to take one of the quarterbacks in the top in next year's draft. OK. The Giants: six.
Vrentas: I'll go over. You know I don't hate their offseason as much as some people do. Obviously we've talked about the Daniel Jones situation. But you know, Albert, you referenced earlier the Browns having some issues on the offensive line and I agree. You know that Zeitler trade I think was perhaps an underrated bad move. Zeitler for Vernon? I think the Giants won that trade. Yeah and so you know I think I'll go over.
Orr: I think over. Big season for say "Say-Say."
Vrentas: "Say-Say." Another Penn Stater you know, yeah. You know Scranton area is a big fan of Penn Staters.
Orr, Vrentas: Connected in some way to northeastern Pennsylvania. Yeah.
Breer: So wait a minute. All this criticism of Dave Gettleman all offseason, Connor, and you're taking the over?
Vrentas: This is a great point. Keeping him accountable.
Orr: No it's good. In almost everything that I wrote crushing Dave Gettleman for trading Odell Beckham, I did say that I do think that the team is going to be better this year though. I I supported the Golden Tate signing. I think functionally in that offense he's going to make that wide receiver group work. And Saquon Barkley is going to rush for like 1,800 yards this year. So I think that there is a way that they could win ugly especially if that division logjams together again like it has the tendency to do.
Breer: I think it's over. I think they're going to be a good competitive team. I don't think that they're much better than 7-9 because of what Connor just said because the division they're in. I expect the Eagles to be good. I expect the Cowboys to be good. I actually think the Redskins are going to be good, too. So I think the last-place team, and this is going to foreshadow something coming, but the last place team in that division might wind up 8-8 or 7-9. And so I think the big thing I look at with the Giants going into this year is the one thing that's just crushed them over the course the last five years I think has largely been taken care of now. They've invested a lot. Whether it's well Will Hernandez, Nate Solder, Kevin Zeitler. They've invested a lot in getting the offensive line right. I think the offensive line is going to be better which is going to be a path for them to get a lot better. Here's another interesting one.
Jets at seven ...
Vrentas: I'll go over. 8-8. I think [Sam] Darnold will play well under Gase but I just don't know who's playing cornerback for the Jets.
Orr: So yeah I'm going under I'm going 6-10
Breer: I'm going under also. It's just like all the noise. There's been a lot of noise there the last four or five months, and I just always wonder with teams like that like what happens when something goes wrong. Like what happens with the Bell-Gase relationship when when when there's that inevitable left-hand turn in the season? How are they going to react? I just I don't know if the foundation there is quite strong enough.
The Bucs at six ...
Vrentas: Under. I don't have high expectations for this team.
Orr: I'm going to go over but only because this is a weird situation for me where I don't think I've ever looked at a team and said, 'I love this coaching staff but I despise their quarterback situation.' I've never had this sort of like tug and pull between these two things before. But I think Bruce Arians is going to figure out a way to get it done. I think they got some good mojo going on down there.
Breer: I'm going to go under. I think they're going to score a zillion points and they're not going to be able to stop anybody. And so I think in that division, which has been one of the toughest divisions in football the last few years, the Saints should be good again. The Panthers I think they're going to be very good. The Falcons have a lot going for them. So I think this is one that the Vegas has it about right at six. I'll take the under just because the division that they're in is very very strong.
The Redskins at 6 ...
Vrentas: Under for Washington under.
Breer: OK. So I'm going to go over now. I know you guys think it's because of Haskins. I don't know if Haskins or Case Keenum is going to start. I do think that the talent on defense is a little bit better than people give him credit for and they've invested so much there, whether it's Daron Payne, Jonathan Allen. Obviously, the Reuben Foster thing didn't work out, but they still got Ryan Kerrigan over there. They signed Landon Collins, who I don't think is worth the money that he got but it is a very good player. I just think that there's real talent on the roster. I don't think they are going to be a great team, but I think that they're right there with the Giants at seven or eight wins. So I'm going to say they go slightly over.
And then the last one the Lions at seven. Jenny what do you got there?
Vrentas: Under. They have made you know some big additions this offseason, but I see them as being the worst team in the NFC North. I agree but with a good season for Orr's favorite draft pick T.J. Hawkins into hock.
Breer: Nice. OK. So I can't say about the NFC North what I've already said about the other two divisions, right? Even though I sort of feel that way. I feel like they're another one of these teams that could be the victim of the division that they're in. Do I think they're better than the Bears? No. Do I think they're better than the Vikings? No. Do I think they're better than the Packers? No. And with that no sitting there at seven, if I go over, that means I think that maybe the last place team in the division is going to go 8-8. And I don't think that's going to happen in the NFC North so I'm going to say under. I'm going to say they finish, based on this right here, I'll say 6-10. The one thing that gives me pause here is that the one thing that I like when you're picking these things at the beginning of the year to me you want to look at like teams that surprise are usually really strong on the lines of scrimmage and the Lions have invested an awful lot on their lines of scrimmage. Whether it's Trey Flowers, all the draft picks on the offensive line, Dekker and Frank Ragnow, in signing Ricky Wagner in free agency. They've just they've done so many different things on both lines of scrimmage. Generally, teams like that are at the very least in a lot of close games over the course of the year. And so I think they're in a position to compete. But right now if you asked me where they are in the division, that would be fourth, and it's hard for me to say they're going to be .500 finishing fourth in that division.