The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook released 2016 NFL Win Totals on May 1 after the NFL Draft was completed, with five teams topping the list of opening numbers.
Despite potentially losing future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady for the first four games because his suspension was re-instated from the Deflategate scandal, the New England Patriots are one of the five with an Over/Under set at 10.5 wins for this season.
The Patriots (12-4 in 2015) are coming off their fifth straight AFC Championship Game appearance, falling just short against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos last year in a 20-18 loss at Mile High. With Manning riding off into retirement following a 24-10 Super Bowl win over the Carolina Panthers, New England and the Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6) have the highest win totals in the conference and are viewed by Vegas as the teams to beat.
Brady was originally issued a four-game suspension prior to last season, but his appeal overturned it, which allowed him to play the full schedule and lead his team to its 12th AFC East title in 13 years under head coach Bill Belichick. The Pats have won 12 games or more in six consecutive seasons and 11 or more in nine of 10.
The Steelers limped into last year’s playoffs following a second-place finish in the AFC North behind the Cincinnati Bengals, losing 23-16 at Denver in the divisional round. Pittsburgh beat Cincinnati 18-16 on the road in the Wild Card round but saw wide receiver Antonio Brown suffer a concussion that kept him out of the game against the Broncos the following week.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and running back DeAngelo Williams were also injured heading into the postseason, with the former gutting it out and starting both playoff games, including the thrilling comeback victory at Cincinnati. Pittsburgh had lost running back Le’Veon Bell to a knee injury earlier in the season, paving the way for Williams to lead the team in rushing before he hurt his ankle.
The three other teams with Win Totals listed at 10.5 all reside in the NFC, including the defending conference champion Panthers, who finished an NFL-best 15-1 last year.
Carolina not only lost to the Broncos in Super Bowl 50, as All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman is no longer with the team after his franchise tag tender offer was rescinded and he signed with the Washington Redskins. Norman was one of the key difference makers on an outstanding Panthers defense that ranked sixth overall in the league.
The Seattle Seahawks ranked second in total defense behind Denver and hopes to be back in the Super Bowl this season after losing 31-24 to the Panthers in the divisional round of last year’s playoffs. The Seahawks saw running back Marshawn Lynch retire in the offseason, but second-year player Thomas Rawls should be ready to take over the starting role full-time after fracturing his ankle to prematurely end a very good rookie campaign. Former All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham should also be back at full strength following a knee injury that ended his season early as well.
The Green Bay Packers are the last team with a Win Total of 10.5 and will try to win the NFC North for the fifth time in six years. The Minnesota Vikings dethroned them last season after a four-year reign atop the division. The Packers will see wide receiver Jordy Nelson return after he missed all of last season with a torn ACL, giving All-Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers his favorite target back for another run at the Super Bowl.
Two other notable teams with high Win Totals are the Broncos (9.5) and Arizona Cardinals (10), who lost 49-15 at Carolina in the NFC Championship Game after winning the NFC West. Denver will be without Manning under center for the first time since 2011 and has to decide between starting rookie Paxton Lynch or veteran Mark Sanchez. New England is the Super Bowl LI favorite at the SuperBook with 6/1 odds followed by Pittsburgh, Seattle and Green Bay at 8/1. Arizona is 14/1 and Denver is 16/1.