by Mark Mayer | I can hear the clamoring now. Where are all those over / under selections?
Well, they take time.
Like four weeks of boring exhibition games that bought time in assessing which teams will advance or regress. Oh, I could give an opinion on all 32 teams. But, I wouldnt be putting any money behind all 32. I can with these seven. May the Lord bless these projections, courtesy of Caesars Palace.
Houston 7½: The Texans managed to finish 8-8 in the rugged AFC South despite a 1-5 record within the division. Unfortunately Indianapolis, Jacksonville and Tennessee are not leaving. Fortunately, Houston plays the NFC North this season, which plays to a strength. The Texans were 3-1 against the NFC last year.
This was the first team I jumped on at the betting window when I saw 7½. After all, if they won eight last year, a push would be all thats necessary. Matt Schaub, if he can stay healthy, should have a career season. Rookie RB Steve Slaton looks to be the runner he was as a sophomore and junior at West Virginia. Mario Williams may be the best defensive end in the league. The fans are excited, as they should be. OVER.
New Orleans 8½: The Saints were a true feel good story when reaching the NFC final two years ago after the city was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. Now another fierce storm, Gustav, is working that region. If the city can focus on football, there is plenty to be excited about. Reggie Bush vows to be a presence and I believe him. The offense with Drew Brees is the best in the NFC (yes that includes Dallas). OVER.
Denver 7½: Its time for Mike Shanahan to put up. Its long past Elway and beating up on Oakland every year isnt going to cut it anymore. The solution would be a renaissance season for QB Jay Cutler, who looked great in preseason. Big deal, you say. Well, if Denver is doing to go anywhere, Cutler better be veal. Playing in the weak AFC West can only help. OVER.
Arizona 8: The Cardinals are the NFCs answer to the Houston Texans. Finally reached mediocrity (8-8) after years of being a laughing stock, Arizona separates itself from the Texans by being in a weak division. The Cardinals are looking down on San Francisco and St. Louis, which may wish they could trade the Rams to Arizona for their former team. The offense is loaded. If healthy, I can see 9-7 and hopefully more. OVER.
Kansas City 6: And to think this is the franchise that brought you Lenny Dawson, Mike Garrett, Otis Taylor, Bobby Bell, Ernie Ladd, Buck Buchanan, Ed Podolak, Jan Stenerud. Where has all that success gone? Brodie Croyle is the starting quarterback. Even Oakland is licking its chops at a two-game sweep. The Chiefs are 17-point underdogs at New England. Shall I say more? UNDER.
Cincinnati 7½: I soured on the Bengals the minute management decided Chris Henry wasnt such a bad guy after all. Carson Palmer is wasting away in Cincy not knowing for sure if he and Chad Johnson or Ocho Cinco will ever be on the same page. This team is a crime zone and should implode in a tough division with Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Baltimore. UNDER.
Minnesota 8½: Somebody in the NFC North has to fold, so why not the Vikings? Aaron Rodgers is going to be all right in Green Bay. Kyle Orton and the Bears will be competitive. Detroit and its high-octane offense has a fighting chance in the division. The casualty to me is Minny and QB Tarvaris Jackson, who looks more like a running back. I can see 7-9. UNDER.
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