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The 5 most surprising NFL win totals for the season include Jim Harbaugh’s Chargers

The 5 most surprising NFL win totals for the season include Jim Harbaugh's Chargers

There's probably no market that gets as much attention as NFL season win totals.

First of all, it's the NFL. We care year round. And BetMGM released season win totals for all 32 teams on Wednesday, 162 days before the Kansas City Chiefs host the NFL's first game of the 2024 regular season. That's a lot of time to pick apart whether 11.5 is a fair number for the San Francisco 49ers this season. Plenty will change between now and September as well, especially during the NFL Draft.

At first glance, some of the opening numbers seemed a little odd. Here are the five season win totals at BetMGM that were the most curious:

Los Angeles Chargers, 8.5 wins

You might have heard, the Chargers got a new coach.

Jim Harbaugh is back after a successful run at Michigan, and apparently oddsmakers believe that fixes everything for the Chargers. Los Angeles was 5-12 last season, and they'd need to be four games better this season to go over the total.

Will Jim Harbaugh bring an immediate turnaround to the Chargers? (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Harbaugh is an upgrade, but there are questions. He hasn't coached in the NFL since 2014, and that's a long time in NFL years. There will be some adjustment. Also, the Chargers had a tough offseason due to the salary cap, losing players like Austin Ekeler, Mike Williams and Keenan Allen. It's already a roster that has been severely underachieving for years, and maybe we've simply overrated their talent.

It's possible Harbaugh fixes everything and the Chargers are a winning team right away. Expecting such a jump is a bit much, however.

Cleveland Browns, 8.5 wins

There is really no faith in Deshaun Watson.

Last season the Browns were 11-6 and that came with Joe Flacco, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, P.J. Walker and Jeff Driskel combining for 11 starts at QB. Sure, Flacco played well off his couch, but let's not get carried away. Cleveland had a good team around the quarterback. The Browns didn't have any massive losses in free agency. Most of the same 11-win team returns, Watson will be back and is an upgrade (yes, Flacco was a great story but come on) and maybe even Nick Chubb returns from a horrible knee injury.

The AFC North is tough and maybe Watson really has become a liability, but it would be a surprise if the Browns are 8-9 or worse.

Atlanta Falcons, 9.5 wins

This one is understandable. The Falcons have won seven games each of the past three seasons, and that was with terrible quarterback play. Atlanta paid Kirk Cousins $180 million to fix that.

And in theory, going from Desmond Ridder and Taylor Heinicke to Cousins should be worth three wins. Replacing Arthur Smith with Raheem Morris should mean Atlanta's best offensive players don't get ignored anymore. That's also good. But it's not like it's a lock.

Cousins is coming off a torn Achilles and will be 36 years old and in a new situation. Some struggles wouldn't be that surprising. It's also a Falcons team that hasn't won more than seven games in a season since 2017. Expecting 10 wins isn't unreasonable, but it's not a guarantee either.

New York Jets, 9.5 wins

Another team with an old quarterback coming off an Achilles injury. Except Aaron Rodgers is even older than Kirk Cousins. He'll turn 41 during this upcoming season. That's an age in which practically all non-Tom Brady quarterbacks have hit the wall already. Maybe Rodgers overcomes a serious injury and plays more like Brady than any other quarterback his age in NFL history, but that's a lot to ask.

Also, were all of the Jets' problems last season tied to quarterback? Plenty of teams had backup quarterbacks last season and were way more competitive than the Jets. There might be some organizational issues that a 41-year-old Rodgers won't fix. Also, the AFC East isn't the easiest division to cruise to 10 wins. The Jets had a solid offseason and maybe Rodgers is back to his normal self form right away, but it's possible New York just isn't a 10-win team.

Dallas Cowboys, 10.5 wins

Two offseasons ago, the Cowboys' win total was 10.5 and most bettors loved the under after some offseason losses. Dallas won 12 games. Last season, after a lot of negativity in the offseason, the Cowboys' total opened at 9.5. Dallas won 12 games.

This offseason has had a bunch of negativity — this wasn't an "all in" offseason, the Cowboys lost a lot in free agency but did not fire Mike McCarthy as most fans wanted — and yet the Cowboys' win total is 10.5? Bummer for anyone wanting to get some value on 9.5.

Dallas still is one of the best teams in the NFL and getting back to 11 wins is a distinct possibility. It's just interesting to see the Cowboys at 10.5 wins after the offseason has brought nothing but negative headlines.

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