The Kansas City Chiefs did not win the Super Bowl but that little inconvenience has not dampened enthusiasm for their 2021 regular season, with the NFL win totals putting the Chiefs at the top of the chart.
Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are listed second, with the number opening at 11.5 victories.
This season’s shift to a 17-game schedule caused all teams’ win totals to be slightly higher than they would under the league’s previous 16-game regular season.
One year ago, the Chiefs’ win total was 11.5 wins for the 16 games, a total quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the team easily surpassed with a 14-2 finish.
We’ll look at the three most intriguing options below, but first here are the projected win totals for all 32 NFL teams.
(Odds courtesy BetMGM. Sides are –110 unless otherwise noted):
- Kansas City Chiefs: 12 (-115 over)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 11.5 (-120 over)
- Baltimore Ravens: 11 (-120 over)
- Green Bay Packers: 11
- Buffalo Bills: 10.5 (-115 over)
- San Francisco 49ers: 10
- Cleveland Browns: 10 (-115 over)
- Los Angeles Rams: 10
- Seattle Seahawks: 9.5 (-140 over)
- New England Patriots: 9.5 (-115 under)
- Indianapolis Colts: 9.5 (-125 under)
- Dallas Cowboys: 9 (-140 over)
- Miami Dolphins: 9
- New Orleans Saints: 9
- Tennessee Titans: 9
- Los Angeles Chargers: 9 (-125 under)
- Minnesota Vikings: 9 (-115 under)
- Pittsburgh Steelers: 8.5 (-115 over)
- Washington Football Team: 8 (-130 over)
- Arizona Cardinals: 8
- Atlanta Falcons: 7.5
- Carolina Panthers: 7.5
- Las Vegas Raiders: 7.5
- Denver Broncos: 7.5 (-125 under)
- Chicago Bears: 7
- New York Giants: 7
- Philadelphia Eagles: 6.5 (-130 over)
- Cincinnati Bengals: 6.5
- Jacksonville Jaguars: 6.5 (-120 under)
- New York Jets: 6
- Detroit Lions: 5.5
- Houston Texans: 4.5
Intriguing team No. 1: Jacksonville Jaguars (OU 6)
Rookie coach Urban Meyer has a tall task, and this is likely to be the Trevor Lawrence bet in 2021. How much do you like Lawrence when considering a wager?
The Clemson star, a near-unanimous prediction to go No. 1 overall to the Jaguars, is seen as the best QB in a decade or more. Building on a 1-15 season means there’s (almost) nowhere to go but up, and Jacksonville has some weapons.
Standouts Laviska Shenault and James Robinson return, along with star wideout D.J. Chark and defensive stalwarts Josh Allen and Myles Jack. Even with the extra game, though, the schedule isn’t very favorable.
Outside of their AFC South rivals, the Jags have road games against Cincinnati, the Jets, Patriots, Falcons, Rams and Seahawks while hosting the Cardinals, 49ers, Dolphins, Bills and Falcons.
Good news: Intradivision foe Houston will be awful – both times. The Titans lost a ton of talent and the Colts are relying on Carson Wentz at QB.
Bad news: Rough year for the division to draw the loaded NFC West, and no No. 1 overall pick at QB has had much first-year impact since Andrew Luck in 2012.
Intriguing team No. 2: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (OU 11.5)
It’s clear that previously unbeaten Father Time is in a real battle with Bucs quarterback Tom Brady, who is now unbeaten as a Tampa QB in Super Bowls (1-0).
The Bucs brought back a majority of the restricted and unrestricted free agents on the playoff roster and coach Bruce Arians has pledged a repeat title.
Tampa faces significantly weaker NFC South divisional foes, with the Falcons, Saints and Panthers all in various stages of disrepair. In addition, the NFC South drew the AFC East, and aside from the Bills that’s a good thing in 2021.
Good news: Brady’s key people along the offensive line, including Rob Gronkowski, are back. The running game returns Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette, while Brady’s key targets Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are again primed for big seasons.
Bad news: Really, only Antonio Brown remains unsigned – and that reunion remains a possibility.
Intriguing team No. 3: Arizona Cardinals (OU 8)
It’s put up or shut up for Kliff Kingsbury and his Kyler Murray-led offense. There are few excuses this season, with Murray having a full offseason to work with DeAndre Hopkins and his other key targets.
Former Steelers running back James Conner was brought aboard to stabilize the rushing attack and, in the team’s biggest offseason move, Hall-of-Fame-worthy J.J. Watt was added to the defense.
Good news: Watt and sacks specialist Chandler Jones will likely prove to be mutually beneficial, taking some of the pressure away from what may be a subpar defensive secondary. The Titans, Colts, Panthers, Texans is a nice draw, and games against the Vikings and Packers are home games.
Bad news: The division is perhaps the best in the NFL, and that leaves only 11 other games. The Vikings and Packers games are no picnic, and the extra game this season is at the improving Cleveland Browns.