Ed Williams III

The Over/Under

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The Winning Solution

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The weekly picks column is back and with a new and improved format. Last season, I took over the reins and rode a roller coaster year of picking seven games each week. This year, I'll be joined by Jeff Baldwin as we battle each other every week throughout the season. We'll be picking our top six games of the week starting in Week 1 in Rotoworld's award-winning Season Pass, but to whet everyone's appetites, we've put together our top three overs and unders for win totals this year. Without further ado, here are the picks.

Ed Williams


Jeff Baldwin

New Orleans Saints – Over/Under 10
New Orleans managed to get to 11 wins last year with a revolving door at running back. They added Mark Ingram in the draft, who should provide some much-needed stability, and Pierre Thomas will be back in the mix. They've also added stud nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin to bolster the already underappreciated defense. Drew Brees should also have an emerging red zone target in tight end Jimmy Graham to exploit. All of this adds up to another 10-plus win season.
Pick: Saints over 10
Pittsburgh Steelers – Over/Under 10.5
Even with Ben Roethlisberger's 4-week suspension last year, the Steelers still won 12 games. With their defensive personnel still intact led by a now healthy Troy Polamalu, James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley, their defense remains one of the best. Big Ben, Rashard Mendenhall and Mike Wallace lead a well-balanced offensive attack. With a healthy return of Maurkice Pouncey on the O-line, along with the 27th easiest strength of schedule, the Steelers should match their 12 win season.
Pick: Steelers over 10.5
San Diego Chargers – Over/Under 10
Philip Rivers tore up the league without Vincent Jackson for much of last year, and even when he got him back, Antonio Gates was hobbled. He'll begin the season with both healthy, and that's bad news for everyone else. Their two-headed running attack of Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert should be very effective as well. Being in the mediocre-at-best AFC West and facing the equally mediocre NFC North could make for at least 12 wins.
Pick: Chargers over 10
New England Patriots – Over/Under11.5:
Tom Brady is focused more than ever after the Pats' playoff loss to the Jets, which is not good news for the rest of the league. The addition of Chad Ochocinco gives Brady yet another offensive weapon, and Wes Welker is in the best shape of his career. It's scary to think about how good the Pats can be if they get any type of productivity out of Albert Haynesworth, and the addition of Shaun Ellis helps solidify the D-line.
Pick: Patriots over 11.5
St. Louis Rams – Over/Under 7.5
The Cardinals may have gotten a little better with Kevin Kolb, but the Seahawks will be in the running for worst team in the league, and the 49ers may not be far behind, so the Rams should clean up in their division. They'll be facing the NFC North which means winnable games against the Bengals and Browns as well. With a full season of experience under his belt, and with new target Mike Sims-Walker, Sam Bradford should be poised to win his first AFC West title, and at least eight wins.
Pick: Rams over 7.5
Atlanta Falcons – Over/Under 10
Possibly taking a blueprint from the Packers a year after being dismantled by them in the playoffs, the Falcons have upgraded their aerial attack. The drafting of Julio Jones to team up with Roddy White gives them that other big weapon at WR. Defensively, the addition of Ray Edwards gives them another pass rusher to go along with John Abraham. The Falcons catch a break playing the Packers and Eagles at home. Matt Ryan will produce career numbers, and an 11-to-12 win season should be well within reach.
Pick: Falcons over 10
Miami Dolphins – Over/Under 7.5
Nothing against Kyle Orton, but when the fans are clamoring for him over Chad Henne, you know you have issues. When your backup option is Matt Moore, you have even bigger problems. To make matters worse, the two-pronged rushing attack of Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown has been replaced by brittle Reggie Bush, rookie Daniel Thomas and now Larry Johnson who is a shell of his former self. Having to face the Jets and Pats two times each just adds a little misery to the equation. It all adds up to much less than 7.5 wins.
Pick: Dolphins under 7.5
Kansas City Chiefs – Over/Under 8
The Chiefs will come back to reality this year. They were simply a product of an easy schedule a year ago. Not so this year as they have the third toughest strength of schedule in the league, which includes games @Colts, @NE, @NYJ, PITT and GB. I don't expect Dwayne Bowe to put up the gaudy numbers from a year ago. Even having one of the league's best RBs in Jamaal Charles doesn't help the Chiefs win more than seven games. This is a team that was clearly outmatched in last year's playoff game against the Ravens.
Pick: Chiefs under 8
Seattle Seahawks – Over/Under 6
The Seahawks are in arguably the worst division in football, and six wins still seems like way too much for them. The Seahawks brought in Tarvaris Jackson to be their quarterback, and he's been a failure as a starter. They brought in Sidney Rice for him to throw to, even though they never showed any chemistry in Minnesota. The offensive line is a mess, and the defense isn't much better. The only risk here is that they're in a terrible division, but they're just that bad that this pick is safe.
Pick: Seahawks under 6
Cincinnati Bengals – Over/Under 5.5
The Bengals decided in the offseason to revamp their roster and rebuild with youth through the draft. Key departures included Ochocinco, Terrell Owens, Carson Palmer and Johnathan Joseph. Losing this type of productivity is impossible to replace in one year. A.J. Green gives them a young, athletic WR. Andy Dalton will struggle just like most rookie QBs do in their first season. I think it is safe to say the Bengals may finish last in the league in points scored. It doesn't help having to face the Steelers and Ravens twice.
Pick: Bengals under 5.5
Oakland Raiders – Over/Under 7
If Darren McFadden can stay healthy, the Raiders could have a good rushing attack, but the likelihood of that happening is right up there with Al Davis having an excellent draft. They lost their top receiving threat in tight end Zach Miller, so Jason Campbell has even less weapons to throw to than last season. They'll be lucky to pull off two wins against the NFC North and will have to hope the Broncos take a nosedive to even sniff at seven wins.
Raiders under 7
Miami Dolphins – Over/Under 7.5
The Dolphins didn't address their QB situation in the offseason. They will struggle scoring points again this year (17.1 pts/game last year ranked them at the bottom of the league with the Browns and Panthers), placing a lot of pressure on their defense to keep them in games. Reggie Bush is a nice change of pace back, but his injury history has shown that he can't carry the full load. This year will solidify the fact that Chad Henne isn't the answer at QB. Dolphins are looking at a 6-7 win season.
Pick: Dolphins under 7.5

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