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NFL Draft

Who Will Have NFL’s Best & Worst Record in 2021?

  • The Draft Network
  • June 25, 2021
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New lines up at BetOnline! Today, it's the best and worst regular-season record for the 2021 season. While betting traditional team totals might be a better way to protect yourself from risk here—imagine losing this bet on a throwaway Week 18 game for the No. 1 seed—there is one team in particular that makes betting here a worthy pursuit.

Best Record: Green Bay Packers +2000

  • Kansas City Chiefs +300
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers +500
  • Buffalo Bills +900
  • San Francisco 49ers +1200
  • Baltimore Ravens +1200
  • Cleveland Browns +1200
  • Los Angeles Rams +1200
  • Seattle Seahawks +1400
  • Green Bay Packers +2000

At first brush, it feels like the 49ers are a little high—and they are. But according to Sharp Football Stats, the 49ers do have the easiest schedule in the NFL by projected win totals. That’s a big deal, especially when you’re onboarding a rookie quarterback and competing in a very difficult division. In that they were the bottom finisher in the NFC West last year, they get the advantage of playing other bottom finishers in the NFC, while the Arizona Cardinals, Rams, and Seahawks have to play tougher opponents. 

With that said, the 49ers do get a couple of very tough draws early (Green Bay and Seattle Weeks 3 and 4), as well as an early bye in Week 6 that may force some exhaustion losses later in the season. I generally don’t want a piece of the NFC West altogether, as that division is too chaotic to nicely predict.

The team that feels far too low is the Packers. Again, it’s Aaron Rodgers-based worry. But the Matt LaFleur-led Packers have been 13-3 in each of the last two seasons, and critically, have gone 11-1 in the NFC North during that stretch. Both the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings look functional again, but no better—certainly not in the tier of the Rodgers-led Packers.

Many of Green Bay’s losses over the last two years have been the fault of their defense. They couldn’t stop the run in 2019 losses to the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco, and again in 2020 losses to Minnesota and the Indianapolis Colts. Ex-defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is out and replaced by Joe Barry, who will hopefully inject some life into that unit and help steal another game or two.

The Packers are not available for a season total bet, but if you believe that Rodgers will return to Green Bay for at least one more season—as I do—then this is a good spot to get some action on them.

Worst Record: Houston Texans +175

  • Houston Texans +175
  • Detroit Lions +300
  • New York Jets +700
  • Cincinnati Bengals +1000
  • Jacksonville Jaguars +1200
  • Philadelphia Eagles +1200
  • Las Vegas Raiders +1400
  • Carolina Panthers +1600

This one is a lot less fun. Realistically, it’s easier to pick the worst teams over the best teams, in that the margins at the top are a lot thinner than the margins at the bottom. The Bengals and Raiders have far too talented quarterbacks to lose that many games, and the same is likely true for the Jets and the Jaguars. Projecting rookies is tough, but even modest projections put them above guys like Davis Mills, Tyrod Taylor, Jalen Hurts, Joe Flacco, and Jared Goff. That’s what we’re working with in Philadelphia, Detroit, and Houston.

The Eagles could absolutely implode, and I wouldn’t be shocked. But Hurts is a high-floor quarterback because of his rushing ability, and the offensive and defensive lines remain high-caliber, if older and pricier units. The same can be said to a lesser degree in Detroit, where the talent isn’t at the same level, but both trenches should keep the Lions in some competitive games. Goff outside of Sean McVay’s caring embrace is a matter of concern, but the Lions should be good for a surprise win or two.

The Texans? Holy Moses.

Houston’s entire franchise is in disarray. There’s nothing—absolutely nothing—to hang your hat on in that building. Not the roster, coaching staff, or front office. They’re rudderless and lack identity, and would be odds-on favorites for this estimable title if not for the minimal chance Deshaun Watson returns to the field in 2021.

As it is, I’ll take Houston at +175.

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