Welcome to the Thirty Team Parlay, a weekly column on Football Absurdity that focuses on the week in football gambling. We’ll bring you the best bets, biggest longshots, and try to make some damn money.
And so it was, a weary sports world wakes up from its slumber; like a rooster announcing the sunrise on a farm, or a college junior making a walk of shame. Lebron James has announced where he will be playing basketball next season, and that can only mean one thing: FOOTBALL IS ALMOST BACK! It’s been six months since the dizzying high of watching the Patriots lose the Super Bowl, three months since people first started concealing their erections at the thought of drafting Saquon Barkley in their fantasy football league, and a mere week since Jameis Winston got suspended for groping an Uber driver for three games, a scant thirteen less than Martavis Bryant keeps getting for smoking weed. That means it’s time to get your money out and get ready to start setting on fire and throwing it away! For the next seven weeks leading up to the football season, I will be running down all of the futures and prop bets. Lets start this week with the NFC East over/under win total predictions for the 2018 NFL season.
New York Giants
2017 Win Total: 3
2018 Under/Over: 6.5 Wins
The Giants drafted Saquon Barkley with the second pick in the draft!
The Giants are gonna continue to run Eli Manning out at quarterback?
The Giants didn’t do anything substantive to fix their gaping flesh wound of an offensive line??!?
The Meadowlands is stirring with the excitement of a lot of new goings-on with the Giants this season. Pat Shurmur is the new head coach after spending last season as the offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings. He brings in James Bettcher to coordinate the defense after Bettcher spent the past 3 seasons helming a stout Arizona Cardinals defense. And for offense? Mike Shula? That can’t be right….nope, it says it right here. Mike Shula. The Mike Shula of those vaunted Carolina Panthers offenses of the past few seasons. Fun fact: Mike Shula, in approximately 51 years as an offensive coordinator, has never had a top ten offense in terms of yardage.
The big free agent signing for the Giants is offensive lineman Nate Solder. Because literally nobody has ever been burned by giving a huge contract to a player the Patriots decided not to retain… Also helping solidify the war crime of an offensive line is second-round pick Will Hernandez from noted football player factory UTEP.
The depth chart behind aging quarterback Eli Manning is Davis Webb, Kyle Lauletta, Travis Handcock, and Alex Tanney. I made one of those names up, but off the top of your heads, you probably don’t know which one. In an offseason where a number of teams were in the market for quarterbacks, the Giants opted to stand pat with Manning and pray that his remarkable health and longevity holds out, while also hoping that his declining passing numbers are just a phase.
Meanwhile, on defense, the Giants gave up the second most yards in the NFL last season. But they also won three games, so I suppose that’s not a surprising stat. They had the 28th ranked defense according to Pro Football Reference. To fix this, the Giants opted for the cunning method of doing nothing and hoping to lull the opposing teams to sleep by the boredom of their own offenses running up and down the field on the Giants defense.
2018 Strength of Schedule: 8th toughest schedule
My Pick: The Under
Theoretically, if this team can get 16 games out of Nate Solder and Eli Manning shows some form of competence, the offense has a chance to keep the team in games. Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham, Jr. instantly become one of the best RB/WR combos in football. But there is a lot that can go wrong on offense, and very few things that can go right on defense. I don’t see this team getting to 7 wins.
2017 Win Total: 7
2018 Under/Over: 7 Wins
The 2017 Washington Redskins had a good defense…compared to the New York Giants, and pretty much nobody else. While ninth in the NFL in passing yards given up, the Redskins more than made up for it by being a turnstile on run defense, giving up a league-high 2,146 rushing yards last season. The Redskins drafted Da’Ron Payne to fill the hole in the middle of the defensive line.
Oh, and they also decided to trade safety Su’a Cravens and cornerback Kendall Fuller for draft picks so they could draft players that might someday be as good as Cravens and Fuller. Fuller was included in the trade that brought back quarterback Alex Smith who is here to dink and dunk his way to manageable third downs.
Related… Kirk Cousins is gone. After choosing to franchise him multiple times, the Redskins chose to let him go instead of paying him 50 million dollars for a year. 50 million is absurd. Thinking Alex Smith can do as much in this offense as Cousins did is even more absurd.
Ending 2017, the Redskins were operating from a position of strength from running back, with Robert Kelley, Chris Thompson, and Samaje Perine. So the Redskins did the only natural thing: use a second-round pick on LSU running back Derrius Guice. Since the 2016 season ended, Washington has released the following players (or let leave in free agency): Desean Jackson, Terrelle Pryor, and Pierre Garcon. They countered these departures by giving 40 million dollars to career 4th receiver Paul Richardson.
2018 Strength of Schedule: 14th
My Pick: Push
Seven wins feels about right for this team. This team should be destined to go 7-9 forever to ensure a draft pick that won’t get them a game-changing player at the top of the draft, but also keep any of the sweet, sweet playoff revenue from ever getting into owner Dan Snyder’s evil pockets.
2017 Win Total: 9
2018 Under/Over: 8.5 wins
Is Ezekiel Elliott still suspended? Nah, he served his time under the stern, redheaded thumb of Roger Goodell and returned last season just in time to help his team get knocked out of playoff contention.
The Dallas Cowboys were the Cinderella team of 2016 or the closest approximation to Cinderella you could be when your owner is the jilted former puppet master of the NFL and your team is worth more than the GDP of Belize. The Cowboys are basically Cobra Kai getting their own TV show, but only if that TV show had existed as long as Saturday Night Live and was built on the back of pure evil and barbeque. Jerry Jones continues to own this team, which he spends most nights watching at his supervillain lair while petting a bald cat and throwing chewed up peanuts at high-end prostitutes. Jones is the moral center of the NFL, which only makes sense when you realize that the NFL is run by people like Mark Davis’ haircut and the football Illuminati known as the Maras and Rooneys.
On the field, the Cowboys regressed to the mean from a year prior on the strength of a passing game, which ranked 26th in the NFL. Out are old veteran stalwarts like Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, and in are……Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson. Dak Prescott, entering his 3rd year, better be praying that he is going to get 1800 rushing yards and 100 receptions out of Ezekiel Elliott. Oh, but don’t worry, Tavon Austin is here, on year six of his “Never gonna live up to my potential” world tour.
Even after losing Jonathan Cooper in free agency, the Cowboys boast the best offensive line in football, anchored by gigantic human men Zach Martin and Tyron Smith. On defense, the Cowboys gave up the 8th fewest yards last season, despite being middle-of-the-road in terms of sacks, and near the bottom in interceptions. Kony Ealy has been added to the defensive line after three good years with the Panthers, followed by one bad year with the Jets. But then again, nobody had a good year last year with the Jets. That’s why they are the Jets.
2018 Strength of Schedule: 15th
My Pick: Over
For as fluky good as the Cowboys were in 2016, they were fluky bad in 2017. Despite being coached by the human version of Gilligan’s Island, Jason Garrett, this team has all the pieces in place along the offensive and defensive lines to be a solid, if not spectacular playoff team this season. Also, take into account that Elliott won’t have a suspension hanging over his head this year, and this feels like a bounce-back season for the Cowboys, in spite of the fact that Dak Prescott will be throwing to the wide receiver equivalent of a desperate drunk guy swiping right on Tinder.
2017 Win Total: 13
2018 Over/Under: 10.5
To be honest, no matter what the Eagles do this season, they are playing with house money. That’s the kind of goodwill you build up by making Bill Belichek look like a befuddled Romeo Crennel in the Super Bowl. The Eagles won the Super Bowl despite losing their franchise quarterback, Carson Wentz, to an ACL injury, and turning to a backup quarterback, and noted large wang-haver Nick Foles.
Instead of resting on their victory, the Eagles front office went and kept slapping talent onto the roster. In free agency, they lost nothing of consequence beyond Mychal Kendricks, who has been banished to football Siberia in Cleveland, while gaining Haloti Ngata, Paul Worrilow, and Michael Bennett to the defense.
The noted lack of turnovers should serve the Eagles well to avoid a Super Bowl hangover. The Eagles did, however, lose Frank Reich, who is off to Indianapolis to command that sinking ship, along with quarterbacks coach, turned hot coaching candidate, turned spurned coaching candidate, turned Vikings offensive coordinator, John DeFillipo.
The Eagles turned in some real bullet dodging goodness when it came to the schedule as well, as they only have the 19th most difficult strength of schedule this season. The Eagles will also be playing the Jaguars in London on October 28th, which should theoretically break the streak of sending Europe garbage games to pretend to enjoy while the fans in attendance all watch pensively as they hope they aren’t caught cheating at soccer.
2018 Strength of Schedule: 19th
My Pick: Over
While it would be difficult for the Eagles to match their 13 wins from 2017, 11-12 doesn’t seem out of range, especially considering their strength of schedule and willingness to improve the roster during the offseason. The mitigating factor will be how healthy Carson Wentz is this season and whether the injury will hinder him in the future as he tries to work outside of the pocket.
To check out more content from Brandon, find him on Twitter @theBman. You can view him on the geeksandgamers.com Sports Wars Youtube page bringing baseball content every week by clicking here. You can check out his standup comedy podcast by clicking here. You can also check out his professional wrestling podcast by clicking here.