As we approach the end of July, sports entertainment is perhaps the most boring it gets all year long. NBA free agency has settled down, and the Summer League is just about over. NFL players are enjoying their down time before training camp starts in a week or two. The second half of the MLB season is just about all we have, but that’s not exciting enough to satisfy my needs. To spice it up a bit, I want to look at VegasInsider’s team over/unders for the 2016 NFL season.
I’m going to choose three of the most attractive o/u’s I see for the 2016 season, starting with the Jags.
Jacksonville Jaguars: OVER 6 wins (-130).
I may look back after this season and call myself a fool, but I’m jumping on the Jags’ bandwagon. I explained why I think they’ll have a big season here, but I want to reiterate some of my points. I’ll keep it short.
The Jags went 5-11 last season, but they lost six of those games by 7 points or less. That’s pretty common for a young team. Their offensive was explosive in most part because of the production from Blake Bortles, Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. All three players were under 25 years old, and they barely saw production from Tight End Julius Thomas, who showed what he’s capable of in Denver with Peyton Manning. This young offense is only getting better, and they’ll get some much needed help from what should be an improved defense thanks to their draft and offseason additions.
Denver Broncos: UNDER 9.5 (-120)
The defending champs aren’t going to even make the 2016 playoffs, and it’s not just because of their quarterback situation. Denver’s had four consecutive seasons with 12 or more wins. That’s incredibly impressive, but I don’t see them cracking double digits for a fifth straight year. Their offense is the main reason why.
Denver still has a formidable receiving core and a strong running game, but the problem lies within the quarterback and those blocking for him. Mark Sanchez will likely start the season, and he’s a significant downgrade from both Peyton Manning and even Brock Osweiler. Furthermore, the offensive line could be among the worst in the league. Pro Football Focus has them ranked 28th going into the season, and they make a strong case for their projection.
“Key stat: The Broncos let go of their offensive lineman with the highest run-blocking grade last season (Evan Mathis, Cardinals), as well as their O-lineman with the highest pass-blocking grade (Louis Vasquez, UFA).”
That’s going to be a problem for whoever takes the snaps for Denver, whether it’s Sanchez or rookie Paxton Lynch. Their defense should still be a force like it was in 2015, but is it going to be enough to win 10 games? I certainly don’t think so. I’ll ride with the under.
New York Giants: OVER 7.5 (-130)
The Giants are coming off three consecutive losing seasons for the first time in over two decades. Under new head coach Ben McAdoo, I expect them to get back into the winning category.
The Giants offense should be flat out explosive. Not only is Odell Beckham one of the best receivers in football, he’s going to have Victor Cruz and Rookie Sterling Shepard to play next to. Eli Manning is going to have a monster year, and their offense should move the ball even better than last year. The Giants’ woes come from the defense.
The defense was ranked in 30th and 32nd in points allowed and yards allowed respectively last season. They spent big time $$$ to get that fixed this offseason by signing DE Olivier Vernon and DT Damon Harrison for over $70 million guaranteed combined. They should have one of the best defensive fronts in football, and that’s the type of formula that’s helped bring them two Super Bowls in the last decade. It’s also going to help them win over 7.5 games this season.
Notable attractions: Dallas OVER 9, Tampa Bay OVER 6.5, Buffalo OVER 8.
Featured Image Credit: Spotrac.com