Skip to main contentSkip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
AP

Tom Krasovic: Rams, Jets are best NFL 'over/under' bets for 2021 season

  • Updated
  • 0
Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions signals the receiver during the fourth quarter of the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field on January 3, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan.

Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions signals the receiver during the fourth quarter of the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field on January 3, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. Minnesota defeated Detroit 37-35. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images/TNS)

SAN DIEGO — Believing Matthew Stafford will upgrade their offense, I see the Los Angeles Rams as the best bet of the 32 NFL teams to beat their 2021 over/under win total.

Oddsmakers at betonline.ag have the Rams set at 10 victories. A year ago L.A. went 10-6 behind quarterbacks Jared Goff (9-6) and John Wolford (1-0).

Stafford and the 17-game schedule should push the total higher, despite six games in a formidable NFC West.

Here's Richard Sherman, the longtime NFC cornerback and budding podcast co-host, on how Stafford will change the Rams: "He opens their offense up. I think he goes for over 5,000 yards this year."

The one year Stafford exceeded 5,000 passing yards, he took the 2011 Detroit Lions to a 10-6 season and a playoff game against the New Orleans Saints, who won by outscoring them, 45-28.

Stafford, 33, will provide improvements beyond superior arm strength, more ability to fire strikes on the move and better escape skills in comparison to Goff, 26.

Where McVay often shouted adjustments to Goff deep into the play clock, Stafford can better manage the line of scrimmage, much as Philip Rivers did for San Diego teams.

Stafford's comprehension of NFL defenses will create mismatches. McVay won't have to scheme as many advantageous plays, though Stafford figures to thrive in those designs.

Make no mistake, said Stanford man Sherman: Stafford outsmarted Seattle's famed "Legion of Boom" defense.

"He knew he had us on our heels, and didn't need the coach to say anything," Sherman said. "And he just pushed us, pushed us, pushed us until it was all over."

Sherman hasn't forgotten the sandlot-style schooling: "He destroyed us in a drive where I don't think they actually called one play."

Let's not overthink other reasons why the Rams should exceed 10 wins.

Aaron Donald, who turned 30 this week, is still the NFL's most disruptive defender. The Packers were fortunate he was too injured to threaten them in Green Bay's crisp playoff victory. All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey, 26, may be headed to his best season. Andrew Whitworth is a reliable left tackle who led the NFL in pass block win rate, per ESPN's grades.

It's concerning that Whitworth is 39. The Rams lost a few good players in free agency, headed by safety John Johnson. Desperate for a burner who can exploit Stafford's arm, the Rams drafted a receiver in Tutu Atwell who weighs only 155 pounds. (The Seahawks took a 190-pound speedster, D'Wayne Eskridge, one pick earlier.)

Mind the big picture.

McVay has shown his program will develop talent (Terrell Burgess, a heady second-year player, figures to join the safety rotation alongside Taylor Rapp and Jordan Fuller).

Stafford is the best quarterback to play for the McVay Rams, who've gone 11-5, 13-3, 9-7 and 10-6.

As for the NFL team most likely to fall short of its betting-line win total, the New York Jets are the choice. Their over/under is six victories.

Rookie quarterback Zach Wilson going down early with an injury would be no less surprising than Houston Texans QB Tyrod Taylor exiting in September. Though fluid as a passer and runner, the thin-framed Wilson exposed himself to hits unnecessarily as a runner and was sidelined by shoulder and hand injuries at BYU. His playing weight was about 200 pounds. The AFC East's defensive-minded head coaches will steepen his learning curve.

If the Jets obtain a veteran to compete with Wilson, the outlook wouldn't be brighter. Pencil them for five wins, up three from last year.

The highest over/under for any team is 12 1/2 for Kansas City, followed by the team that beat the Chiefs in last season's Super Bowl, Tampa Bay, at 11 1/2. At the low end, Houston's total is four, with Detroit at five.

The Chargers' total is nine, just ahead of Denver (8 1/2) and the Raiders (7).

0 Comments

Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Kalon “Boogie” Barnes is a flat-out burner. The biggest question facing the Carolina Panthers rookie cornerback is whether his elite speed translates to a successful NFL career. Barnes ran a 4.23 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine in February — the fastest time ever recorded by a defensive back since the NFL Network began broadcasting the event in 2003. It’s also the second-fastest time of any player, finishing one one-hundredth of a second behind wide receiver John Ross, who set the combine record in 2017.

Punter Matt Araiza arrived in Buffalo for the start of Bills rookie camp practices disappointed in the weather. A picturesque 85-degree day in May was not what college football's “Punt God” was anticipating. Araiza was hoping to get a head start on experiencing the cold and swirling winds he might be facing come fall. The Bills selected Araiza in the sixth round of the draft after the left-footed kicker set the major college football record by averaging more than 51 yards per punt at San Diego State.

Joe Buck and Troy Aikman have met their ESPN co-workers for the first time as they prepare to take over in the “Monday Night Football” booth. Both said Monday they are excited about the challenge of doing something new after 20 seasons together at Fox. Aikman had considered a deal with Amazon to call Thursday night games while reducing his schedule at Fox. But the logistics of that arrangement became difficult, and ESPN began talking to him about moving to Monday nights. Once Aikman was on board, ESPN snagged Buck from Fox, where he had a year left on his contract. Buck says the parting was amicable.

Bills Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas tells The Associated Press he and several former teammates are coming together in Buffalo this week to help support families of the shooting victims. Among those players expected to make the trip are Hall of Famers defensive end Bruce Smith and receiver Andre Reed, along with Thomas and Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, who like Thomas lives in the area. Thomas and his wife, Patti, said their family foundation has raised more than $100,000 to help the city and its residents in the aftermath of the shooting that killed 10 people.

The New York Giants have signed six  of their 11 draft picks, including first-round selections, edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux of Oregon and tackle Evan Neal of Alabama. The Giants announced the signings on Saturday after holding a rookie minicamp at their facility. All the draft picks attended the minicamp. The team also signed their three fifth-round selections - linebacker Micah McFadden of Indiana, defensive tackle D.J. Davidson of Arizona State and guard Marcus McKethan of North Carolina – plus sixth-round choice Darrian Beavers, a linebacker from Cincinnati.

Desmond Ridder is making an impact with his leadership at the Atlanta Falcons rookie minicamp. That starts with the quarterback from Cincinnati being the first one up in his apartment he is sharing with three other rookies. Ridder, a third-round pick, has made an impact in minicamp by quickly learning the playbook. He also has impressed by demonstrating his leadership in practice. Ridder will compete with Marcus Mariota, who is the favorite to start for the Falcons this season. Ridder, the second quarterback selected in last month's NFL draft, will have an opportunity to show he could be the team's long-term starter.

A person familiar with the situation says Green Bay Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander has agreed to terms on a four-year, $84 million contract extension with a $30 million signing bonus. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the extension hasn’t been announced. ESPN first reported the deal. The 25-year-old Alexander was a second-team selection in All-Pro voting in 2020 but played just four regular-season games last year due to a shoulder injury. Alexander returned for the Packers’ playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers. He led the Packers in passes defensed each of his first three seasons. 

The Atlanta Falcons have bolstered their thin ranks at receiver by acquiring Bryan Edwards from the Las Vegas Raiders. In a deal announced Friday, the Falcons are sending a fifth-round pick in 2023 to Las Vegas, while also acquiring a seventh-rounder next year from the Raiders. The trade means Las Vegas’ top five picks from the 2020 draft are no longer with the team. First-rounders Henry Ruggs III and Damon Arnette were cut last season for off-field issues, and now three third-rounders from that year are gone. In another move, Atlanta released cornerback Kendall Sheffield, a fourth-round pick in 2019.

No. 1 overall draft pick Travon Walker signed a four-year, $37.4 million rookie contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars that includes a $24.4 million signing bonus. Walker’s deal is fully guaranteed and includes a team option for a fifth year. Those are both standard for NFL first-round picks. Fellow first-rounder Devin Lloyd, the 27th overall selection, also signed his rookie deal with Jacksonville. He gets a four-year contract worth $12.9 million and a $6.6 million signing bonus. The Jags signed five of their seven draft picks in all, including running back Snoop Conner (fifth round), cornerback Gregory Junior (seventh) and cornerback Montaric Brown (seventh).

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

Breaking News

News Alert