Jeff Baldwin (@JeffBaldwin4) and Jeremy Wardwell (@jdwardwell5) are picking against the spread all season long in Rotoworld's Season Pass, and it’s time for their NFL team Over/Unders. Jeremy and Jeff weigh in on team win totals and related team expectations for the upcoming season.
Dallas - Over/Under: 7.5 wins
Jeff: The Cowboys come off another eight win season where they failed to make the playoffs yet again. The Cowboys suffered a very difficult offseason as they lost defensive lineman DeMarcus Ware to the Broncos and Jason Hatcher to the Redskins, both via free agency. In addition, LB Sean Lee tore his ACL during OTAs back in May. DB Orlando Scandrick will also miss the first four games of the season after testing positive for PEDs. These losses to the defense are ones that can't be replaced. What makes matters worse is that this defense struggled last year, finishing dead last in the NFL in yards allowed while giving up 27 points per game which ranked them 26th in the league. Throw in these key losses in personnel, and it is safe to say the Cowboys will have one of the worst defenses in the NFL this year. This unit simply lacks the overall talent needed to compete in this league on a weekly basis. On the offensive side of the ball, the Cowboys will have a healthy QB Tony Romo back after back surgery this past December. Romo will have all of his weapons back in WR Dez Bryant, TE Jason Witten and RB DeMarco Murray. Throw in the fact that they have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, and this offense will have no problem moving the football and putting points on the board. However, given how poor the defense will be, the offense will be put under a lot of pressure as they'll be called upon frequently to keep this team in games. Expect a lot of shootouts in Cowboy games this year. Looking at the Cowboys schedule outside the division, they draw the likes of the 49ers, Seahawks, Colts and Saints. These are all playoff teams from a year ago, and arguably three of the best teams in the NFC. I don't see how this team wins more than seven games even if Romo stays healthy the entire season. Take UNDER 7.5 wins.
Jeremy: The Dallas Cowboys have gone 8-8 each of the past three seasons and haven’t had an overall winning season since 2009. Sad to say if you are a Cowboys fan, that streak won’t end this year. Their defense, which ranked dead last in the NFL in 2013, lost starters DT Jason Hatcher and DE DeMarcus Ware to free agency. Defensive captain LB Sean Lee is out for the season with a torn ACL. The offense, led by talented WR Dez Bryant is well stocked and remains largely intact. Ranked the #2 WR by Rotoworld, Bryant averaged over 1,200 yards receiving the last four seasons. Enigmatic QB Tony Romo consistently puts up impressive stats; he threw for almost 4,000 yards and 31 TDs last year, but has proven time and again that he is incapable of leading this team to the Promised Land. In the backfield, RB DeMarco Murray was finally healthy and rushed for over 1,100 yards but will need to stay on the field for the Cowboys to have any chance at getting over .500. TE Jason Witten and WR Terrance Williams provide additional options for Romo, having combined for 117 receptions and 13 touchdowns last season. Offense is not going to be the problem. A soft defense and an inconsistent QB will once again be the ultimate downfall of this Cowboys team. Take UNDER 7.5 wins.
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New Orleans - Over/Under: 10.5 wins
Jeff: The Saints finished last season with eleven wins as they were able to make it to the Divisional Round of the playoffs, but came up short against the eventual Super Bowl Champion Seahawks. During the offseason, they lost RB Darren Sproles to the Eagles, but I don't think this will hurt the offense much at all. The Saints drafted WR Brandin Cooks, and he’s been very impressive so far in camp. I'm expecting WR Marques Colston to have a bounce-back year after struggling with injuries last season. The Saints also possess the best TE in the NFL in Jimmy Graham. QB Drew Brees will have a handful of weapons to choose from in the passing game as he leads this potent offense yet again. With respect to the running game, the Saints will most likely go with a committee approach between RB Mark Ingram, RB Pierre Thomas and RB Khiry Robinson. They plan on putting more emphasis on the run game this year to give their offense more versatility. On the defensive side of the ball, the Saints were able to sign S Jairus Byrd who will team up with Kenny Vaccaro making this duo one of the best in the league. The Saints’ strength of schedule ranks 23rd in the NFL, which also plays a big part in this selection. I'm expecting last year's division winner, the Panthers, to take a few steps back. Outside of their division, two of the tougher opponents they'll face which include the Packers and the 49ers, and they'll have the luxury of facing them at home. Given how dominant this team is in their building, this is a huge plus. I'm expecting big things out of the Saints this year. I think they win this division and make a deep run in the playoffs. Bottom line is that they are a better team on both sides of the ball compared to last season. The Saints will have no problem putting up 11-12 wins this year. Take OVER 10.5 wins.
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Jeremy: With 11 wins in 2013 and a flurry of moves in the offseason that strengthened their secondary and replaced some key skill position losses, the New Orleans Saints are primed for another run at the Super Bowl. Drew Brees, ranked the No. 3 QB by Rotoworld, is the straw that stirs the drink and is coming off his 3rd consecutive season of 5,000 yards passing. He has a dangerous set of weapons around him in all-world TE Jimmy Graham and perennial 1,000 YD receiver Marques Colston. Add RB Pierre Thomas who had 77 receptions and over 1,000 all-purpose yards and WR Kenny Stills who averaged 20 YPC, and you have an offense that will keep defensive coordinators up at night. The loss of versatile RB Darren Sproles and WR Lance Moore will be eased by the addition of rookie WR Brandin Cooks. Second year RB Khiry Robinson should see more playing time along with RB Mark Ingram. The Saints defense, which is often overshadowed by the offense, is also stacked. DE Cameron Jordan and LB Junior Galette combined for 24.5 sacks. An already talented secondary that gave up the second fewest passing yards in the NFL last year is bolstered by the addition of safety Jairus Byrd and ageless CB Champ Bailey. The Saints have a favorable schedule with their opponents having a combined sub-.500 winning percentage from last year. Take OVER 10.5 wins.