Cincinnati Bengals Over 8.5 reg season games +104
I would go as far to call this one a lock. This is one of the best-built teams in the league. Offense: I like Andy Dalton. Not to be one of the best QBs but I think he is good. Give this guy some credit. He was missing Marvin Jones, Tyler Eifert for the whole season and A.J. Green was hurt in a few games. And he is a very good QB when going vertical. For those circumstances, he put up a good season and led the Bengals into the playoffs. But what I like even more is that the Bengals have the best backup-QB in the league IMO. AJ McCarron is a stud, this kid has such a great touch it’s unbelievable. I watched so many Alabama games when he was their QB – amazing. He is a natural pocket passer, has great vision, a nice touch and what’s very importing to me: he is battle-tested from the SEC. Two-time national champion, comeback drive against Georgia in the SECCG, comeback drive in Death Valley, going against one of the best college defenses on Saturdays and in training in three years – this kid got it. I was so disappointed when he left the board at round 5. I had him in the 2nd round and only because he was not the hyped type of QB like RG3 and company. I will take him every time over a guy like Blake Bortles. I truly believed he can be a very good NFL QB and the Bengals will laugh their a$$es soon when they recognize they got him in the 5th. I also like Andy Dalton, but let him miss a few games due to injury and his starting position is likely to be gone. McCarron would be a starter at about ten teams right away.
Cincy also has the 2nd-best offensive line right after Dallas. They spent their first two picks on OL (Ogbuehi & Fisher) just to prevent some leavings on free agency next year. Ogbuehi and Fisher will learn from one of the best and will see snaps here and there. This line is not only good, they are also very deep. Their RBs are outstanding and here comes the biggest difference to last season: the receiving corps. Tyler Eifert is back, big upgrade over Jermaine Gresham. Marvin Jones is back – huge boost for the vertical passing game. Then they drafted Tyler Kroft in the third round, a guy with a good body and good pass-blocking ability. He is not as talented as Tyler Eifert, but he will be a solid addition. If this wasn’t enough, I cannot be more excited about their new OC – Hou Jackson. He speaks the QB’s language and will have a crazy playbook. In 2005 he was the Bengals’ WR coach and made Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh both crushing the 1000-yard receiving mark. This time he also got a nice tandem – Jones and Green. In 2008 and 2009 he was the QBs coach for the Ravens and had the hand on rookie Joe Flacco when the Ravens made the AFC Championship game. When he took over at Oakland as their offensive coordinator in 2010, the Raiders turned 12.3 ppg (#31) from 2009 into 22.4 ppg (#10). This is going to be a very, very good offense that will put up a lot of points in 2015.
Defense: Despite playing one of the tougher schedules, I had this defense ranked #13 overall in 2014. They were missing CBs Dre Kirkpatrick, Darqueze Dennard, both former first-rounders and LB Vontaze Burfict almost the whole season. Their secondary was thin. Their pass-rush was almost non-existing, a reason was their personnel and they didn’t send many blitzes. DE Michael Johnson comes back from Tampa Bay who was a beast for the Bengals in 2013. The return of “Will” Burfict, a very good coverage LB, allows Emmanuel Lamur to get involved way more into the pass rush and support Michael Johnson at rushing the passer. Chris Carter showed flashes of being a solid pass rusher, too. It looks like Vontaze Burfict will be on the PUP list to start the season. No really big problem as they got a steal in the third round – Big 12 player of the year Paul Dawson. He is a natural 4-3 Will linebacker, but he can also play MLB at times. He was one of the best 4-3 OLB in the preseason and I really see him starting against Oakland. He had two sacks last night btw. This guy is instinctive, tackles like a beast and can cover. They also have Vincent Rey who had a solid game at the Will against Chicago. To have Paul Dawson as a original backup going into the season is just good for the Bengals. I believe they will start Dawson, Malualuga and Lamur in week 1. Their LB corps is not “outstanding” like the one from Carolina e.g., but they are good and all in all, their pass rush and run defense is going to improve and they have more depth than in 2014. When Burfict comes back, they have a luxury problem. Same for their secondary: They have one of the better Safety tandems in George Iloka and Reggie Nelson. At CB they will have awesome depth: Dre Kirkpatrick and Darqueze Dennard will be back to challenge Adam Jones and Leon Hall at CB. I see Leon Hall & Dre Kirkpatrick starting in week one. They also drafted CB Joshua Shaw in the 4th round who looked decent in pre-season. This is CLEARLY a top-10 unit.
Schedule: They don’t have the easiest schedule, but fair enough to win 11-12 games. Yes, I said just said that – the Bengals can win 12 games this year. But more important.. I cannot see them losing 8 games. Can you?
Tennessee Titans Under 5.5 reg. season wins +124
Not much to talk here. People seem to go crazy about Marcus Mariota’s decent performances in the preseason and while I am not saying he won’t have success, I simply can’t see the Titans winning 6 games. They play so many good defenses – this is a horrible schedule for a team that sees this season as a process. Their last four games are against NYJ, NE, HOU & IND. Those games just doesn’t look winnable with their offensive line and pass defense. That means they have to go atleast 5-7 until week 14. And I just don’t see that happen.
Dallas Cowboys Over 9.5 reg. season wins -101
Since May I have been talking about this team, that’s why I keep it plain and simple – they are the real deal. If the Cowboys stay healthy, they will play for home field advantage in December.