- DJ Gallo, ESPN.com
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Nevada bookmaker Cantor Gaming became the first bookmaker to release lines on 2012 NFL win totals earlier this week.
Let the way-too-early prognosticating begin!
Green Bay Packers: +/- 12
Over. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker declared Wednesday “Donald Driver Day” in Wisconsin because of the Packers receiver winning "Dancing With the Stars." Dec. 12, 2012, has already been named Aaron Rodgers Day in the state. So even if the Packers fall short again this year, they can still expect an official state proclamation announcing them “totally the best EVER.”
New England Patriots: +/- 12
Over. Especially if Gisele’s husband can learn to %#$&^@* throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time.
Baltimore Ravens: +/- 10
Ray Lewis is 37, Ed Reed doesn’t know if he wants to play and Terrell Suggs is out for the year, according to every medical expert not named Terrell Suggs. On the other hand, they have the best quarterback in football. This is an easy one: 16 wins is way over 10, right? Over.
Houston Texans: +/- 10
You can look at this two ways. Option 1: The Texans are an up-and-coming team that is ready to win a Super Bowl after finally making the playoffs last year. Option 2: The Texans still aren’t that good, but they play in a division with the Colts, Jaguars and Titans. Either way, it’s the same conclusion: Over.
New Orleans Saints: +/- 10
Under. Even if they overcome all the player and coach suspensions, and even if Drew Brees’ contract situation ends amicably, and even if Joe Vitt turns out to be mustachioed Vince Lombardi, Roger Goodell has made it clear he has it in for this team. You can bet that if the Saints start zeroing in on a playoff spot, Goodell will suddenly uncover some new evidence. “Well, lookie here. Drew Brees ordered the death of 50 men. Evidence? I destroyed it. Just trust me.”
Philadelphia Eagles: +/- 10
Andy Reid picked a ... what's the term? ... “line-backer” in the second round of this year’s draft after trading for DeMeco Ryans in March. Both moves were likely some sort of mistake, but no doubt Reid will be pleasantly surprised at what these unique specialists can provide to a football team. Over.
Pittsburgh Steelers: +/- 10
The Steelers have really upgraded their offensive line, meaning Ben Roethlisberger will be able to stand in the pocket instead of running around all over the place making plays. What were they thinking? Pittsburgh will need a huge season from its defense to overcome its neutered offense. Over.
San Francisco 49ers: +/- 10
Randy Moss and Patrick Willis have reportedly become bestest pals over fishing trips. Perfect. If Moss becomes a distraction like he always does, the 49ers can dispose of him fairly easily. Over.
Denver Broncos: +/- 9.5
Under. The Broncos were an eight-win team last year and have a much tougher schedule in 2012. Adding Peyton Manning doesn’t fix the whole team. Most likely their season will turn on Manning’s unwillingness or inability to play upback on the punt team. TEBOW’S REVENGE!
New York Giants: +/- 9.5
Under. “What?! Are you kidding me? You’re just a hater! They’re the reigning Super Bowl champs, idiot!” Yes, and last year they only won nine regular-season games. Relax and pipe down.
Detroit Lions: +/- 9.5
San Diego Chargers: +/- 9
Atlanta Falcons: +/- 9
The Falcons are without defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, who left to become the defensive coordinator at Auburn. (Reminder: taking the same job at the college level is actually a step up in SEC country.) So not only will the Falcons have to adjust to a new coordinator, but now when times are tough, they have no one whose appearance alone no doubt provided hours of laughter. Under.
Chicago Bears: +/- 8.5
Under. Have you not been paying attention to Chicago sports of late?
Dallas Cowboys: +/- 8.5
Jerry Jones says the Cowboys’ window of opportunity to win a Super Bowl is starting to close. I hate to tell him, but the window he thinks is the Super Bowl window just gets you into the playoffs. After that there’s a whole different room, a long hallway, another room, another hallway, another room and finally the Super Bowl window. If his team is still having trouble with the first window, maybe it’s time to just knock the house down and build a new one. Under.
New York Jets: +/- 8.5
On the one hand, the Jets are a declining 8-8 team with questionable leadership, an underperforming offense and an overrated defense that created a season-long media storm for itself by acquiring a cultural icon as a backup quarterback. On the other hand, Mark Sanchez supposedly looked sharp in seven-on-seven passing drills in May. Tough call here. Tough call. Hmm. Hmmmmmm. Under.
Kansas City Chiefs: +/- 8
With Jamaal Charles back and their young players developing, don’t sleep on the Chiefs. Hey! Romeo Crennel! Wake up! I said don’t sleep on the Chiefs! Over.
Carolina Panthers: +/- 7.5
Under. The Panthers still have a lot of issues that Cam Newton can’t fix. And even as good as Newton was as a rookie, there is still plenty of room for him to improve, too. Even the great Joe Flacco wasn’t the best quarterback in the NFL as a rookie. Or maybe he was. Someone should ask him.
Cincinnati Bengals: +/- 7.5
So Vegas seems to think that Cincinnati’s 9-7 playoff season last year was a fluke. I’m old enough to know not to doubt Vegas or history. Under.
Miami Dolphins: +/- 7.5
The Dolphins won six of their last nine games in 2011. That’s pretty good. Even if they had signed Peyton Manning, you have to wonder if he would have made the team. Over.
Tennessee Titans: +/- 7.5
Under. The Titans plan to have an open competition in training camp between Matt Hasselbeck, a quarterback who will turn 37 this year, and Jake Locker, who has never started an NFL game. The clear winner will be … you, if you bet under on the Titans.
Arizona Cardinals: +/- 7
Over. Why? Who knows? Larry Fitzgerald seems like a nice guy, so let’s root for him. But it doesn’t really matter. The 49ers ruined this division with their fancy double-digit win total. So six, seven, eight wins for these other teams? Whatever. Completely inconsequential.
Buffalo Bills: +/- 7
It has been an exciting offseason for the Bills. They signed Mario Williams, had a solid draft and Ryan Fitzpatrick hasn’t thrown an interception in almost five months. Under.
Oakland Raiders: +/- 7
Under. They didn’t have a first-round draft pick, but at least they’ve got Carson Palmer. #ThingsNoOneSays
Seattle Seahawks: +/- 7
Over. Seattle won seven games a year ago with Tarvaris Jackson at quarterback, and Matt Flynn should be an upgrade at the position. Pete Carroll’s sideline celebrations might even rival those of Russell Wilson’s wife.
Washington Redskins: +/- 6.5
Under. Sorry, I don’t mean to dump on the Robert Griffin III positivity train, but I don’t think the Redskins will be very good this year. If it makes you feel any better, Dan Snyder still owns the team. There you go. There’s a smile. Washington continuing to lose isn’t so bad, is it?
St. Louis Rams: +/- 6
The Rams had one of the NFL’s worst defenses last season and now won’t have Gregg Williams offering them cash for Rams-appropriate bounties, such as not giving up a touchdown before third down. Under.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: +/- 6
After coaching at Rutgers, a win target of six will not be daunting for Greg Schiano. Over.
Minnesota Vikings: +/- 6
Under. With a new stadium on the way in the next few years, it would be inappropriate for the Vikings to send the Metrodome out with success. They need to honor their history there by losing.
Cleveland Browns: +/- 5.5
Plus/minus 5.5 is the line for Cleveland’s win total. Or it could be the line for how many years Brandon Weeden has left in his career. Under.
Indianapolis Colts: +/- 5.5
Franchise is taking shape..3rd Receiver and 2nd Corner must emerge..much progress in Free Agency n Draft...Def Front 7 could impress new 3-4
— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) May 15, 2012
They sound so close! But let’s maybe give it another year. Under.
Jacksonville Jaguars: +/- 5.5
The Jaguars got Blaine Gabbert a weapon in Justin Blackmon. It’s obviously time for better background checks on who we give weapons to. No matter what your political slant, I think we can all agree that someone with a completion percentage of 50.8 and a passer rating of 65.4 should not be allowed to have weapons that someone else could use. Under.