Bill Simmons and Cousin Sal recently recorded their annual NFL over/under win totals podcast, breaking down each team in the AFC and giving their picks on whether to take the over or under on Vegas’ projected win totals for each team.
Here is a recap of their AFC breakdown and picks.
The Bills’ over/under win total is set at 10.5. Both Bill and Sal are going under at 11 wins exactly. The Bills were 13-3 last season but Bill thinks it was a bit smoke and mirrors, and he doesn’t see the overwhelming talent that many seem to think Buffalo has. He sees question marks on the offensive line and thinks Josh Allen will need to carry them to 11-6 type seasons. Sal sees some bias due to recency effect of the Bills’ playoff performance, but points to their regular season consistency the past few years in hitting over 10 wins.
New York Jets
The Jets’ over/under is set at 9.5 wins. Both Bill and Sal are going under, with Sal projecting 8-9 wins. There are doubts about head coach Robert Saleh and the offensive line. While the additions of free agents like CJ Mosley help, the consensus is that QB Zach Wilson needs to take a big leap for the Jets to hit double digit wins given a difficult schedule.
Miami’s over/under is set at 9.5 wins. Bill is going over with 10-7 while Sal is going under with 7-10. Much depends on the health of QB Tua Tagovailoa after concussion issues last year. Bill believes new coach Mike McDaniel will get the most from Tua in his second year in the system. Sal is more concerned about Tua’s durability and the Dolphins’ tough schedule.
New England Patriots
The Patriots have a low over/under of just 7.5 wins. Both Bill and Sal are going over, with Bill projecting 10-7 and a playoff berth. The Patriots went 10-9 last year with a rookie QB and have improved their coaching staff and talent level. Sal sees a top 5 defense leading the Pats to close wins in Bill Belichick’s typical style.
The defending AFC champs have an over/under of 11.5 wins. Both Bill and Sal are going slightly under, projecting 10-11 wins. Concerns over Joe Burrow’s health and regression from last year’s surprise run have them falling just short of 12 wins. The division is tough and the Bengals may take a small step back before contending again.
Baltimore’s over/under is set at 10.5 wins. Both Bill and Sal are going under, with Bill projecting 8-9 wins. There are doubts about the rebuilt defense and receivers, as well as concerns over Lamar Jackson handling his big new contract. Injuries are also a worry for the Ravens, as the last two years have seen them fade down the stretch.
The Browns have an over/under of 9.5 wins, and both Bill and Sal are going over with around 11 wins. The Deshaun Watson trade solidifies QB, and an already strong defense added Jadeveon Clowney. With coach Kevin Stefanski’s leadership, both see a playoff caliber team in Cleveland.
Pittsburgh’s over/under is set at 8.5 wins. Bill is going over with 10-11 wins but Sal is skeptical, putting them around 8-9 wins. Bill believes in the Steelers’ improved offensive line and likes the emergence of WR George Pickens. Sal sees question marks with either Mitch Trubisky or Kenny Pickett at QB in a tough division.
The Titans have a low over/under of just 7.5 wins. Both Bill and Sal like the over, with Bill projecting 10 wins. RB Derrick Henry is healthy again, and the Titans were 8-3 last year before injuries struck. The weak AFC South and addition of rookie WR Treylon Burks have them thinking playoffs again for Tennessee.
The Colts’ over/under is set at just 6.5 wins, and both Bill and Sal are going under. There are major doubts about new QB Matt Ryan with his declining arm strength, plus a lack of elite receivers. The Colts seem unlikely to compete in the AFC South after trading away Carson Wentz.
Houston’s over/under is 6.5 wins, and both Bill and Sal project 6-7 wins. While new coach Lovie Smith should bring improvement, the Texans still lack difference-making talent after trading Deshaun Watson. Bill and Sal just don’t see Houston competing in this division yet.
The Jaguars have an over/under of 9.5 wins and are getting a lot of buzz. But both Bill and Sal are going under, with Sal thinking they win around 8 games. Concerns over head coach Doug Pederson and QB Trevor Lawrence being ready to carry the Jags in a tough division have them skeptical of a major turnaround just yet.
Kansas City Chiefs
Despite major turnover on offense, the Chiefs have a high over/under of 11.5 wins. Both Bill and Sal are still going over and projecting 12+ wins. As long as Patrick Mahomes is healthy, both believe Andy Reid will field an elite contender regardless of supporting cast changes.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers’ over/under is 9.5 wins. Both Bill and Sal are leaning under, expecting around 9 wins. There are doubts about head coach Brandon Staley, and injury concerns with aging stars like Keenan Allen. The Chargers also lack a true home field advantage playing in the Rams’ stadium.
Denver’s over/under is set at 9.5 wins. Bill and Sal are both going under, with Sal projecting 9 wins. Acquiring Russell Wilson is a big addition, but there are worries he is past his prime after struggling last season. The Broncos’ schedule is also very difficult.
Las Vegas Raiders
After turmoil this offseason, the Raiders’ over/under is just 6.5 wins. Bill and Sal both think they go under, projecting one of the worst records in the NFL. Sal admitted he wrongly picked the Raiders to be good last year. With the Davante Adams trade, this feels like a last gasp that likely won’t pan out.
AFC Over Under
Those are the key over/under picks that Bill Simmons and Cousin Sal made for the AFC divisions and teams. It sets up what should be a very competitive AFC playoff race this upcoming season. Stay tuned for their NFC over/under recap!