Picks and predictions for NFL total wins by four teams
Chicago Bears over 6.5 (-135): The best kept secret in the NFL a season ago was Chicago’s defense. The Bears stop unit held 11 of their 16 opponents to 23 points or less. Unfortunately, their offense scored 20 points or less on 12 of those 16 occasions, and hence the Bears final season record of 5-11.
The Bears have compiled some valuable pieces throughout this offseason that should help improve upon their year’s anemic offensive production. Most notably, they’ve brought in some fine additions at wide receiver with former Atlanta Falcon Taylor Gabriel and Jacksonville Jaguar Allen Robinson. Chicago already possesses one of the league’s best running backs in Jordan Howard. If for anything else, the Chicago offense should be more likely to sustain drives this season, and in turn keep their talented defense from wearing down late in games.
I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see the Bears get to 8 and even possibly 9 wins this season. Especially if 2nd year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky takes the next step in his maturation process.
Minnesota Vikings over 10.0 (-120): Despite enjoying a career year which saw him lead his team to a superb 13-3 regular season and trip to the NFC Championship Game, Minnesota opted not to resign quarterback Case Keenum. They also rid themselves of former starting quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater, who were both huge health risks. Subsequently, they inked UFA quarterback Kirk Cousins (Washington) to a massive contract, and also signed former Denver Broncos starter Trevor Siemian to fill in a backup capacity. Cousins especially will be a long-term upgrade from Keenum who’s ceiling can’t go any higher than it did last year, in my professional opinion.
Minnesota’s already stout defense became even stronger by securing veteran defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. The rest of that stellar group has remained mostly intact. This is a defensive unit which allowed 19 points or less during 12 of their 16 regular season games last season.
Since moving into their new stadium (U.S. Bank Stadium), the Vikings have possessed a huge home field advantage that includes them winning 11 of their last 12 regular season home games. I look for more of the same in 2018.
Minnesota is one of my NFL picks to make it to the 2019 Super Bowl. With that in mind, I look for them to match or near last season’s 13 regular season wins.
New England Patriots under 11.0 (+110): Forecasting New England to capture the AFC East on an annual basis has become monotonous. Moreover, with an exception of being a Patriots fan, it’s become tiresomely boring to seemingly view them every year as a favorite to win a world championship. However, until the tandem of head coach Bill Belichik and future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady’s ceases to exist, it’s a foregone conclusion that New England will remain a top choice to win it all.
Let me keep it simple, New England will once again win the AFC East, and that’s mostly by default. Neither the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, or New York Jets will be capable of providing New England with a serious challenge in 2018. However, 9 or 10 wins will be enough for the Patriots to maintain their AFC East supremacy, and that’s where I’m calculating their regular season win total to land.
Seattle Seahawks under 8.0 (-125): From all the information I’ve gathered, Seattle is destined for a losing season in 2018. Seattle’s vaunted “Legion of Boom” secondary has been dismantled, and only Earl Thomas remains from a quartet of defensive backs that once was the envy of other NFL defensive coordinators. Furthermore, Thomas has recently expressed on his Instagram account a desire to be traded.
Seattle took some huge offseason hits. They no longer have the services of defensive linemen Michael Bennett (Philadelphia) and Sheldon Richardson (Minnesota). Additionally, star tight end Jimmy Graham (Green Bay) is gone along with his backup Luke Wilson (Detroit). Steady wide receiver Paul Richardson (Washington) and longtime cornerback Richard Sherman (San Francisco) are also off to greener pastures. Adding insult to injury, all those previously mentioned ex Seahawks landed with fellow NFC teams.
By all accounts, Seattle will rely on rookie first round draft choice Rashaad Penny to spearhead their rushing attack. The former San Diego State Aztec will be running behind a very suspect offensive line. The Seahawks brass took their fair share of criticism for opting to choose Penny so early in the 2018 NFL draft. Penny was projected by many to be a mid-second round pick.
Adding to Seattle’s potential downfall is they’re in an NFC West Division that contains two ascending young teams, namely the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers. One of my preseason NFL predictions is that there will be a drastic shift of power in this division, and as a result, Seattle will take a significant step backwards during this upcoming 2018 NFL regular season campaign.
Ross Benjamin is a top sports analyst and one of the sports industry's most respected handicappers. Follow him on Twitter: @RossBenjamin1 or visit his website at RBWins.com