NFL 2018 Season - Week 14
 

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Season Win Totals
by Dennis Ranahan

I think Sam Darnold is a blue chip quarterback that ranks among the best ever available in an NFL draft. Even though the Cleveland Browns had first choice, and even with a quarterback need, they filled that vacancy with Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield. The Jets took Darnold with the third pick, that followed the New York Giants selecting Penn State prize runningback Saquon Barkley with the second pick.

Both Mayfield and Darnold have looked good at times during the preseason running the offenses of their new teams. Darnold won the starting job in New York, while Mayfield is scheduled to open the season second on the Browns depth chart behind Tyrod Taylor. Taylor joined the Browns this season after beginning his career in 2011 with the Baltimore Ravens and the last three campaigns with the Buffalo Bills.

In all likelihood Mayfield will get a chance soon enough in Cleveland, unless Taylor can lead the Browns to a string of something they have only accomplished once in their last 32 outings … a win.

The Jets and Browns season win totals are set at 6 and 5½ games respectively. I can’t see either of them winning as many as seven games, so under would be the play. But, we all know that the Cleveland Browns have got to turn the tide on the worst back-to-back seasons in NFL history and betting on them to go under might just be a year late. Betting the on the Jets to win more than six with a rookie quarterback and questionable talent around him is a much higher percentage proposition.

In all, we have nine recommendations for season win total propositions. We arrive at these choices while balancing talent and season-to-season motivational patterns. What we search for are teams that have their expectations and actual talent levels out of balance. If a team has more confidence than talent, like the San Francisco 49ers, they find wins hard to come by and fit all the criteria for an under wager on their 8½ game proposition.

If a team had a breakthrough campaign last year, ending a streak of losing seasons with a playoff berth, they more than likely have expectations this year that exceed their actual talent level. The Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys were in this trap last year, and neither scored a winning season. This year, one team squarely in the crosshairs of this factor is the Los Angeles Rams. As talented as they are, this is just not scheduled to be their year. Their 2017 NFC West title and opening week playoff bye ended a string of ten consecutive losing campaigns.

The Rams have the talent and coaching to excel in the NFL, but like all teams on tracks to problems, they will endure a “down” year in 2018.

The defending Super Bowl Champions were unable to crack the endzone with their first string offense in four preseason games. Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles has shown none of the flair he finished the 2017 season with in guiding the Eagles to wins over the Atlanta Falcons, Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots.

The Eagles are waiting for Carson Wentz to get clearance for full contact, but even when he returns he will be seeing his first live football action in ten months. The Eagles won the Super Bowl last year after suffering a losing campaign the previous season. Only three other teams in NFL history have done that, and none of them won a playoff game the following season. The San Francisco 49ers were the first to do it in 1981, and missed the playoffs in 1982. The New England Patriots won their first Super Bowl in 2001 after suffering a losing campaign the prior year, and missed the playoffs in 2002.

The St. Louis Rams won Super Bowl XXXIV to complete the 1999 season after suffering a losing campaign in 1998. The next year, the Rams made the playoffs as a Wild Card, but lost their opening postseason game to the New Orleans Saints.

The Eagles fit right in line with those teams, and will more than likely miss the playoffs this year while winning less than 11 games.

Here are the Qoxhi nine recommended season win total wagers for 2018:

New York Giants over 7 games -110

Denver Broncos under 7½ games -130

Oakland Raiders over 8 games -110

Los Angeles Rams under 10 games -105

San Francisco 49ers under 8½ games -110

Los Angeles Chargers over 9½ games -110

New York Jets under 6 games -110

Philadelphia Eagles under 10½ games -110

Atlanta Falcons over 9½ games -110