Schwartz: Three NFL Win Total Unders I’m Buying
Mark J. Rebilas – USA TODAY Sports
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The first wave of priority free agency is over. Teams have gotten better, and I wrote about which ones I’d buy for next season. Some teams choose to sit out the priority phase of free agency for a multitude of reasons. There are teams that believe strongly in building through the draft and want to save money to retain their own players. Some put in bids for free agents and just don’t land them. Whatever their reasons for not filling holes in free agency or keeping their own players, these are the three teams I’m selling hard.
Vegas and offshore sportsbooks are likely to re-post their season total props any day now. When that happens, I’ll strongly consider investing in the unders.
The Seattle Seahawks went 9-7 last season, but the writing has been on the wall for the end of their mini-dynasty. Last season Russell Wilson accounted for more than 80 percent of their offense while trying to avoid getting crushed in the backfield by constant defenders in his face. Wilson often had to make amazing plays in the fourth quarter to keep his team alive. Lastly, Wilson accounted for 37 of the team’s 38 offensive touchdowns.
To help Wilson out, the team could’ve added offensive weapons, offensive linemen or anyone on defense, but the opposite has happened. Seattle has lost Richard Sherman, Sheldon Richardson, Michael Bennett, DeShawn Shead, Paul Richardson, Jimmy Graham, and Matt Tobin. Meanwhile, Jeremy Lane, Thomas Rawls, and Luke Joeckel have yet to re-sign. It seems that Seattle has decided to rebuild the roster and get younger.
There’s always one team with routinely high expectations that falls hard for a season, and in 2017 that team was the New York Giants. Seattle now has that feeling. Plus, with the rise of the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams in their division, the Seahawks will struggle this season.
New England Patriots
I’m a fan of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. I like watching the best quarterback and coach in action. However, this year there might be too much for Brady to overcome. He’s been carrying the team for years, and now his team is worse. The Patriots lost left tackle Nate Solder to the Giants. Brady has played primarily with only two left tackles in his career, and now he will need to find a third. The Patriots don’t have a suitable starter at left tackle on their roster, and this is a down year for left tackles in the draft. Yikes.
The Patriots also lost Dion Lewis, their do-it-all running back. Cornerback Malcolm Butler followed Lewis to the Titans. Even with Dont’a Hightower’s expected return from injury, the Patriots need speed at linebacker, help in the secondary, a left tackle and a pass rusher. There are lots of holes on that roster, and Brady — who turns 41 years old in August — can’t keep covering them up. I have the Patriots pegged for 10 wins, which will almost certainly be lower than their win total.
One of the worst rosters in the NFL added two wide receivers in free agency. Big yawn. The Dolphins have holes at so many positions and have a quarterback in Ryan Tannehill coming off an injury. Let’s just assume Tannehill is the quarterback. The Dolphins will play at least nine teams with better quarterbacks, and that doesn’t include the Bills and Jets, who could acquire young and superior quarterbacks in the draft. I could see the Dolphins being a 4-12 team.
Pictured above: Tom Brady