An over-under guide to every NFL team entering Week 1

The world is a better place today. The NFL is back.

You and I and tens of millions more watched the Lions surprise the Chiefs to kick off the season Thursday night, giving us the first hint of what’s to come this season.

But countless questions remain unanswered heading into the first NFL Sunday of the season.

Numerous surprises are a certainty. Predictions are simply a platform for public ridicule.

Feel free to join me.

Below are my over/under win total predictions for all 32 teams.

Bills (10.5 wins): Over
Buffalo has averaged 12.3 wins the past three seasons. The team’s potent offense will carry it through the regular season once again. The postseason is another matter.

Aaron Rodgers’ arrival has Jets fans thinking Super Bowl, but a tough schedule and Father Time may have other plans.

Jets (9.5): Under
The talent is there. Clearly. But a brutal schedule, enormous hype, a suspect offensive line and a 39-year-old quarterback has planted too many landmines. Two of the most anticipated Jets seasons this century (2008, 2011) each ended with fewer than 10 wins.

Dolphins (9.5): Under
Jalen Ramsey is sidelined with a knee injury. Jaylen Waddle is banged up. And Tua Tagovailoa considered retirement, at 25, due to his concussion issues.

Patriots (7.5): Over
You may never see a Bill Belichick-led team with a line this low again. Even without Tom Brady, New England has cleared this number the past two seasons.

Bengals (11.5): Over
Joe Burrow, now $275 million richer, hasn’t even peaked yet. The soon-to-be Super Bowl champs play in the toughest division in football, but layups against the AFC South and NFC West should help produce another 12-win campaign.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) performs a drill during the NFL football team's training camp, Thursday, July 27, 2023, in Cincinnati. Burrow was back at practice on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023, more than a month after he was sidelined by strained right calf muscle.
Joe Burrow will have to navigate out of a tough AFC North first if he hopes to get the Bengals to their second Super Bowl in three seasons.

Ravens (10.5): Under
The defense is a question mark, as is Lamar Jackson, now four seasons removed from winning the MVP.

Browns (9.5): Over
Deshaun Watson is just 27. After being limited to six games last season — due to sexual misconduct accusations from more than two dozen women — the NFL’s former passing leader should excel in a full season.

Steelers (8.5): Over
Somehow, Mike Tomlin extended his streak to 16 seasons without a losing season despite starting a rookie quarterback. Kenny Pickett should only be better.

Jaguars (9.5): Over
A soft schedule puts a high postseason seed in play. Is Trevor Lawrence ready to make the leap?

Titans (7.5): Over
The most injured team in the league is due for better luck this season. With the addition of DeAndre Hopkins, offensive production no longer falls solely on Derrick Henry’s shoulder pads.

Colts (6.5): Under
Anthony Richardson rarely played to his potential at Florida. Don’t bet on the first-round pick — who completed less than 55 percent of his passes in college — figuring it out right away.

Anthony Richardson #5 and Sam Ehlinger #4 of the Indianapolis Colts walk onto the field prior to the start of preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on August 24, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Colts defeated the Eagles 27-13.
Anthony Richardson faces a steep learning curve in leading a Colts offense without Jonathan Taylor for at least for the first four games.
Getty Images

Texans (6.5): Under
Houston seemingly hit home runs in the draft, but a four-win improvement by a three-win team is a stretch.

Chiefs (11.5): Over
Don’t overthink it. The defending champs, 0-1 after Thursday night’s hiccup, have topped this number for five straight seasons.

Chargers (9.5): Under
Justin Herbert will put up huge numbers. And he will have to, due to a defense that allowed the third-highest yards per offensive play (5.9) last season.

Broncos (8.5): Under
Sean Payton can’t do it alone. Even with Drew Brees, the Saints finished under .500 four times during Payton’s tenure in New Orleans.

Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton gestures in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Empower Field at Mile High.
Sean Payton returns to an NFL sideline this season with the Broncos.

Raiders (6.5): Under
Vegas doesn’t have enough talent to survive its challenging schedule.

Eagles (11.5): Under
Another Super Bowl run won’t be easy with a tougher schedule and a target on their backs. Philly won’t be as fortunate in turnover differential and also could see regression from Jalen Hurts, who jumped from 26th to 5th in quarterback rating last season.

Cowboys (9.5): Over
See: Bills, Buffalo.

Giants (7.5): Over
The Giants may take a step back, but Brian Daboll will keep them in contention for another playoff berth. Daniel Jones has more weapons to work with after a career year, and few players have more motivation than Saquon Barkley does.

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) hands off to New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) as New York Giants Brian Daboll Head Coach watches during warmups when the New York Giants played the Carolina Panthers in preseason action Friday, August 18, 2023 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ
Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley will need to lean on each other to get the Giants back to the playoffs.
Robert Sabo for the NY Post

Commanders (6.5): Under
Eric Bieniemy finally gets to call his own plays. Unfortunately, they’ll be run by former fifth-round pick Sam Howell, 22, not Patrick Mahomes.

Lions (9.5): Under
Like the Jets, this long-suffering team won’t benefit from generational expectations.

Vikings (8.5): Over
Minnesota didn’t respond well to being labeled as frauds, losing its opening playoff game at home after going 11-0 in one-score games. Obviously, a regression is coming. But public opinion has swung too far against a team that won 13 games last season and could win another division crown.

Packers (7.5): Over
A strong defense and ground game will give Jordan Love the space to grow in his first season as starter. A year without quarterback drama is another big plus for the Pack.

Bears (7.5): Under
Without consistency from the defense and offensive line, a third straight losing season looms.

Saints (9.5): Under
Only one team was reportedly interested in trading for Derek Carr before the Raiders released him. That should give the Saints a hint of what to expect from the quarterback with a 63-79 record as a starter.

Atlanta Falcons running back Bijan Robinson (7) runs the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Rookie Bijan Robinson should compile plenty of yards in the Falcons’ run-first offense.

Falcons (8.5): Over
With one of the softest schedules in the league, young talent and a throwback run-first attack, Atlanta has a great chance to improve after back-to-back seven-win seasons.

Panthers (7.5): Under
Bryce Young’s brilliance couldn’t help Alabama avoid one of its most challenging seasons under Nick Saban. How is the rookie quarterback going to fare with one of the least talented rosters in the NFL?

Buccaneers (6.5): Under
Tom Brady fell off a cliff in his final season, but it will look like his prime in comparison with the combination of Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask.

49ers (10.5): Over
The best all-around roster in the league will keep winning, regardless of what happens under center.

Brock Purdy #13 of the San Francisco 49ers passes during the first half of a preseason game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Levi's Stadium on August 25, 2023 in Santa Clara, California.
After helping guide the 49ers to the postseason after coming off the bench last season, Brock Purdy begins this year as Kyle Shanahan’s starting quarterback.
Getty Images

Seahawks (8.5): Over
Pete Carroll’s track record carries the greatest weight while Seattle’s dynamic receiving corps should prevent Geno Smith from reverting to his Gang Green days.

Rams (6.5): Under
I was planning on going over. The team is less than two years removed from a Super Bowl and has one of the best coaches in the league. Then Cooper Kupp’s hamstring injury happened.

Cardinals (4.5): Under
Kyler Murray, we hardly knew ye.

Today’s back page

The back cover of the New York Post on Sept. 8, 2023
New York Post

Read more:

🎾 US Open semifinal delayed by climate protesters — one of which glued his feet to ground

🎾 BROOKS: Coco Gauff makes history with win in strange US Open semifinal … Hopes of all-American final dashed after Madison Keys’ heartbreaker

🏈 Giants legend Mark Bavaro reveals fight for his life: ‘I wished somehow I would just die’

⚾ Carlos Rodon struggles as Yankees’ five-game winning streak ends

⚾ HEYMAN: Mets appear to be ahead in race for coveted executive David Stearns

Two ways to look at it

In college football, one game stands above all on Saturday (No. 11 Texas at No. 3 Alabama, 7 p.m., ESPN).

But the nation’s most intriguing player kicks off the day when two-way star Travis Hunter takes the field for resurgent Colorado against Nebraska (noon, Fox).

Hunter, who opened the season as a +10000 Heisman Trophy longshot, currently has lower odds (+1600) than just three players in the country, following his breakout performance in the Buffaloes’ shocking 45-42 upset of TCU.

Colorado cornerback Travis Hunter (12) runs against TCU safety Josh Foster (15) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023, in Fort Worth, Texas.
Deion Sanders may be the star attraction for Colorado, but Travis Hunter has the makings of one of college football’s most unique stars.

In the win that made Deion Sanders’ newly constructed team must-see TV, Hunter — the former top-ranked recruit in the nation, who spent last year with Sanders at Jackson State after decommitting from Florida State — revived the long-dormant notion of the two-way football star, making 11 catches for 119 yards while making a game-changing interception and breaking up three passes at cornerback.

Hunter, a sophomore, became the first FBS player in 21 years to record an interception and 100 yards receiving in the same game, playing a total of 138 snaps (86 percent of the game).

“I went out there and dominated,” Hunter said after the game. “A lot of people doubted me because I would rate myself as No. 1 on the Heisman watch list. But people are praising me now because they know what I can do. They finally see what I see in my vision and what my coach’s vision is for me.”

Hunter could have had an even bigger day if Shedeur Sanders — who threw for a school-record 510 yards — didn’t overthrow two deep balls to Hunter. But he will have many more chances.

An historic season has just begun.

“Travis gets bored if you leave him on offense and he’s not getting to play defense,” coach Deion Sanders said. “If you play him on defense and not on offense, he’s upset. He’s only done this his whole life. You can’t take that away from him.”

Held at love?

Ben Shelton of the United States celebrates after defeating Frances Tiafoe of the United States during their Men's Singles Quarterfinal match on Day Nine of the 2023 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 05, 2023 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.
Ben Shelton is the youngest American men’s player to reach the U.S. Open semifinals since 1992.
Getty Images

Ben Shelton will take a swing at history in the U.S. Open semifinals Friday afternoon, when he attempts to pull one of the biggest upsets of all time against 23-time grand slam champion Novak Djokovic.

The 20-year-old southpaw — the youngest American man to reach this stage at the U.S. Open since 1992 (Michael Chang) — has ridden his huge serve and forehand in this improbable run after entering Flushing Meadows with a 4-11 record in his previous 15 matches.

Shelton has the potential to be a grand slam champion. He may also never reach this stage of a major tournament again.

It has been 17 years since an American man reached the finals of the U.S. Open (Andy Roddick) and 14 years since Roddick made the most recent grand slam final appearance.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates his straight sets victory during his Men's Singles Quarterfinal match against Taylor Fritz of the United States on Day Nine of the 2023 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 05, 2023 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City
Novak Djokovic, seeking a 24th major title, awaits 20-year-old phenom Ben Shelton in the semifinals.
Getty Images

Shelton is just the fifth American man to reach a major semifinal since then. His predecessors only got — or have had — one swing.

Here is how each player fared:

Sam Querrey (2017 Wimbledon): Following an upset of top-seeded Andy Murray, Querrey fell in four sets to former U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic.

John Isner (2018 Wimbledon): The recently retired big man lost a heartbreaking serve-off against Kevin Anderson, who defeated Isner, 26-24, in the fifth set, before being destroyed by Djokovic in the championship.

Frances Tiafoe (2022 U.S. Open): Shelton prevented his fellow young countryman from a return to the semis. Tiafoe’s first trip looks even better in retrospect: He took Carlos Alcaraz to five sets.

Tommy Paul (2023 Australian Open): Shelton’s fourth-round victim also ran into Djokovic for the first time earlier this year. Paul was quickly dispatched, 7-5, 6-1, 6-2.

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