5 NFL Teams Likely to Go Over Their 2021 Win Total
The 2021 NFL season is just under two months away. Bettors are already looking ahead to which teams will overachieve and underachieve. The best way to look at that is to predict how teams will perform compared to their win-loss total.
I did that from one side of things, looking at which NFL teams will hit the under on their 2021 win total. It’s time for the Over side, with these five teams standing out the most going into the new year.
5. Minnesota Vikings Over 9 Wins (-110)
The Minnesota Vikings never really dominate the headlines because they aren’t ever a top team. However, they always hang around the playoff picture. They have three playoff appearances in the last six seasons. In 2017, they went 13-3 and made it to the NFC Championship Game.
Last season, Minnesota finished under .500 with a 7-9 record. That was their worst mark since 2014. Despite that, I think they have what it takes to bounce back this season.
A big reason for their struggles last season was their defense. They allowed the sixth-most yards per game. Minnesota went out and upgraded that defense by signing Patrick Peterson, Xavier Woods, and Mackensie Alexander.
Minnesota also gets back Danielle Hunter and Michael Pierce. Hunter missed the entire season with a neck injury, while Pierce opted out of the season.
Head coach Mike Zimmer was the defense’s biggest critic last year. Going into 2021, he sounds enthusiastic about what awaits.
The Vikings offense is looking good after a great 2020 season.
They finished fourth in the league with 393.3 yards per game. Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson should threaten to lead the league in rushing and receiving yards, respectively. Minnesota upgraded arguably their biggest offensive weakness by drafting offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw.
Looking at their schedule, there is an opportunity for the Vikings to win their way into the postseason.
In their first six games, they have plus matchups against Cincinnati, Detroit, and Carolina. They should pick up at least one win in their other three games, giving them a 4-2 record going into the bye week.
The Dallas game could be tough but I think Minnesota wins at home. Then, they have a tough four-game stretch that includes Baltimore, the Los Angeles Chargers, Green Bay, and San Francisco. I think the Vikings win at least one game in that stretch.
To close the season, they have Detroit, Pittsburgh, Chicago twice, Los Angeles Rams, and Green Bay. They need four wins that stretch to go over nine. I think they beat Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Chicago once.
That means, they need just one win against either Los Angeles, Green Bay, or Chicago. It may be tough but I think they get a win to finish 10-7.
A big thing going for Minnesota is their division, which isn’t too difficult. Green Bay may be their only real obstacle when looking at will win the NFC North in 2021.
Detroit should finish as one of the worst teams in the league, while Chicago goes through a transition at quarterback. There’s a lot of uncertainty in Green Bay. If Aaron Rodgers doesn’t play, that’s two more likely wins for the Vikings.
4. Buffalo Bills Over 11 Wins (-110)
After years and years of losing seasons, the Buffalo Bills are finally back at the top of the league. They lost in the Wild Card Round in 2017 and 2019 but took a big step forward in 2020.
Buffalo finished with a 13-3 record and advanced all the way to the AFC Championship Game.
The main reason for the Bills improvement last season was the development of Josh Allen. Following a pair of okay seasons, Allen took his game to an MVP level in 2020. He had 4,544 passing yards, 37 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions.
The Bills also acquired Stefon Diggs in the 2020 offseason. The two turned out to be one of the best QB-WR duos in the league.
Diggs led the league with 127 receptions and 1,535 yards. He also put up eight touchdowns. Those two guys will once again lead a Bills offense that ranked second in the NFL last season.
Their defense doesn’t get as much attention, but they forced the third-most turnovers in the league last season. That gives their elite offense more opportunities to hit the field.
In their first six games, Buffalo plays against four playoff teams.
- Steelers – 9/12
- @ Dolphins – 9/19
- Washington – 9/26
- Texans – 10/3
- @ Chiefs – 10/10
- @ Titans – 10/18
Buffalo should beat Pittsburgh and Washington, but they’ll have their hands full with Kansas City and Tennessee. The other two games are against Miami and Houston. I expect Buffalo to go either 4-2 or 5-1 over this stretch.
Coming off their bye week, Buffalo gets a nice stretch with Miami, Jacksonville, and the New York Jets.
Then, it’s three playoff teams in four weeks with Indianapolis, New Orleans, and Tampa Bay up next. Across those seven games, I can’t see Buffalo losing more than two of them. That puts them at either 9-4 or 10-3 going into the final four games of the season.
Either way, Buffalo needs just three wins in their final four games. The good news for them is they have plus matchups in all four games. A road game against New England may be challenging, but home games against Atlanta, Carolina, and New York shouldn’t be an issue.
No matter how you look at it, I think the Bills get at least 12 wins this season. They are definitely hungry to take down Kansas City and make their first Super Bowl appearance since 1994.
3. Kansas City Chiefs Over 12.5 Wins (+105)
Do you really think the Kansas City Chiefs are going to lose five games? Since Patrick Mahomes took over as the quarterback of the Chiefs, the team has only lost 10 regular-season games.
That number actually goes down to eight when you account for games Mahomes didn’t play in. In other words, they haven’t lost more than four games in the Mahomes era.
That’s a big reason why Mahomes enters 2021 as the top quarterback in the league.
Last season, they went 14-2, but they likely go 15-1 if they don’t rest their starters in week 17. The Chiefs advanced to their second straight Super Bowl but lost to Tampa Bay.
The biggest reason Kansas City lost last year’s Super Bowl was their offensive line. Mahomes was under pressure all night. So, what do the Chiefs do this offseason? They sign guards Joe Thuney and Kyle Long, and trade for Pro Bowl tackle Orlando Brown Jr.
The Chiefs also have a solid defense. I don’t know how this team will lose five games, but let’s look at their schedule anyway.
I’m not going to lie; the first half of the season is tough for Kansas City. In their first nine games, they play Cleveland, Baltimore, Buffalo, Tennessee, and Green Bay. Outside of Green Bay, those are all teams that Kansas City will likely have to go through if they want to make another Super Bowl appearance.
The good thing for Kansas City is only the Baltimore and Tennessee games are on the road. To go on the safe side, I’m looking at 7-2 for this stretch.
Kansas City has games against Las Vegas and Dallas before their week 12 bye week. If you really want to nit-pick, you could say they lose one of these games but I doubt it.
Here are the teams KC gets to face over their final six games.
- Denver (twice)
- Las Vegas
- A. (Chargers)
The only game I could see them struggling in is against Los Angeles. Maybe even Denver since it’s the final game of the season and they could be resting guys.
Having said that, I don’t think they lose both games.
All in all, I think they go either 15-2 or 14-3. If they get through their first nine games with two losses or less, I’ll feel really good about their chances of hitting the over.
There is even a case that can be made that the Chiefs can go 20-0 in 2021.
2. Seattle Seahawks Over 10 Wins (+100)
I’m not sure where all this hate for the Seattle Seahawks came from? I know the team had a bit of a disappointing playoff loss, but we can’t forget about what they did before that.
Seattle went 12-4 last season, making their ninth playoff appearance in the last 11 seasons. Since Russell Wilson took over as the quarterback of the Seahawks in 2012, they have the second most wins in the league.
Look how consistent they’ve been over the last nine seasons.
Therefore, they have just one season with more than six losses.
Wilson began last season on an MVP pace before cooling off in the second half of the season. He finished the season with 4,212 yards, 40 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. His strong season helped both DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett go over 1,000 receiving yards.
The Seahawks acquired guard Gabe Jackson in an attempt to upgrade their offensive line. The move was a must, as Wilson was sacked 47 times last season. Their line can use more work, but they took a step in the right direction.
I’ll be honest, it’s going to be a tough start to the season for Seattle. They get Indianapolis, Tennessee, Minnesota, San Francisco, and the Los Angeles Rams in the first five weeks.
Realistically, I think they split their first two games and win two of the other three to start the season 3-2.
They play Pittsburgh, New Orleans, and Jacksonville before their week 8 bye week. They shouldn’t have an issue with Jacksonville, but they’ll probably split the first two games.
Following the bye week, they have a bit of a tough stretch.
On the road against Green Bay probably won’t go well. Then, it’s a pair of division games against San Francisco and Arizona. The Seahawks are at home for both games though. In between those games is a matchup with Washington. Just to play it safe, we’ll say 2-2 for this stretch.
That means Seattle needs three wins in their final five games to go over 9.5. They pretty much have two guaranteed wins against Houston and Detroit. That leaves road games in Los Angeles and Arizona, as well as a home game against Chicago.
I like their chances against Chicago and they’ll probably win one of the other games.
Overall, that gives the Seahawks an 11-6 record. Some people may see it as generous, but I think Seattle is undervalued going into this season.
1. Tennessee Titans Over 9 Wins (-140)
Following four straight 9-7 seasons, the Tennessee Titans went 11-5 last season, winning the AFC South for the first time since 2008. They did lose in the Wild Card Round, but the team went out and made some big upgrades this offseason.
No doubt, their biggest move was acquiring Julio Jones, who makes them a legit Super Bowl contender. Jones comes over from Atlanta after spending 10 years with the team. In that time, he went over 1,100 receiving yards seven times, and made the First-Team All-Pro team twice.
Jones joins a Titans passing attack that includes Ryan Tannehill and A.J. Brown. Brown has gone over 1,000 receiving yards in both seasons of his career. He also put up 11 touchdowns last season. Jones and Brown make up the best WR duo in the league.
Of course, you can’t mention the Titans offense without talking about Derrick Henry. Last season, Henry became the eighth player in NFL history to rush for over 2,000 yards.
He also led the league with 17 touchdowns. Henry is a sleeper to win MVP this season.
The Titans made a big move on defense, signing Bud Dupree to help out with their pass rush.
Tennessee had the third-fewest sacks last season. So, the Titans season actually starts out really well for them.
In their first five games, they play Arizona, Seattle, Indianapolis, the New York Jets, and Jacksonville. New York and Jacksonville should be easy wins, while I think they win at least one of the other three games.
Tennessee hits a tough stretch from week 6 to week 9. They get matchups against Kansas City, Buffalo, Indianapolis, and the Los Angeles Rams. Honestly, I could see Tennessee winning three of these games, but 2-2 is a lot more realistic. They might even be okay going 1-3 here.
The schedule lightens up with New Orleans, Houston, and New England going into the bye week. Just because we like to play it safe, let’s say they go 2-1 here. Depending on which way you look at it, they could have anywhere from an 8-5 to 6-7 record going into their week 13 bye week.
Worst case scenario, Tennessee needs four wins in their final five games to go over 9.5 wins. Jacksonville and Houston won’t be an issue. That leaves two wins against Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Miami. The Titans are better than all three of those teams. It also doesn’t hurt that they’re at home against San Francisco and Miami.
I think they win all three games, but even two wins will work.
Their offense is loaded this season. There’s a real chance Tennessee threaten Kansas City for the top spot in the AFC.
How Far Will the Wins Carry These NFL Teams?
I like all these teams to not only hit the over on their win total, but also to make the playoffs. Minnesota and Seattle could threaten for the division title but a wild card berth is more likely.
Kansas City, Buffalo, and Tennessee should all win their division and contend for the top spot in the AFC. All three teams have an AFC Championship Game appearance in the last two seasons. However, everyone is still chasing Kansas City.
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