2022 NFL Season Kickoff: Stats, Tips and Nuggets Every Fan Should Remember Entering Week 1

It is, truly, the best — yes, the best — disease that can invade your mind. The “excitement-induced brain fog” is back. what is that? You’re so excited for something — in this case, the NFL season — that you forget about regular events.

That event occurs at the start of every NFL season. Here’s the formula: High expectations and long absences from football equal fan EIBF.

EIBF will infiltrate TV rooms and NFL stadiums starting Thursday with Bills-Rams and continuing through September. So, I’ve compiled everything you need to remember at the start of the 2022 season to combat the EIBF feeling.

In the 1st week there is always a terrible upset or strange outcome

[Samuel L. Jackson voice] “Hold your butts.” This will happen. Prepare yourself. Need proof? I got you.

In 2021, the Saints fell to the wall Bakers, 38-3, you know the same Green Bay club will win 13 of its next 16 games and be the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs. In the covid year of 2020, eventually 1-15 Jaguars Beating the playoff boundary Colts A strange Week 1 matchup saw a Gardner Minshue incompletion and Jonathan Taylor average 2.4 yards per carry. Pretty normal, right?

No landscape-shattering regrets in 2019, though Lions And Cardinals It was tied 27-27 in Kyler Murray’s first NFL game. Arizona scored six points through three quarters before exploding for 18 in the fourth, and Detroit linebacker Christian Jones dropped what would have been the game-sealing interception in overtime. Same day, 11-5 at the end Sea hawks Needing a fourth quarter, a Russell Wilson-to-Tyler Lockett touchdown strike eventually made it 2-14. Bengal, 21–20. Strange.

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At the beginning of the previous season, The BuccaneersHe eventually went 5-11, lifting the 13-3 NFC North champions. Saints, 48–40. Ryan Fitzpatrick averaged 14.9 yards per attempt (!) and had a QB rating of 156.3. The Saints would finish eighth Football Outsiders Defensive DVOAAll inclusive performance measurement.

In 2017, 5-11 Broncos Won 9-7 chargers. In 2016, A 49ers A team that eventually went 2-14 looked like the most complete team in football with a 28-0 run. Los Angeles Rams. Blaine Gabbert was the starter for San Francisco that afternoon. Jeremy Kerley led the way with 49 runs. Heck, even in 2015, San Francisco won Vikings, 20-3, in Week 1. The 49ers finished 5-11. The Vikings won the NFC North 11-5.

So if a score doesn’t feel right on your football-loving bones in Week 1, it’s not. A cam always enters upside down through a gate.

At least one team will go from last in its division a season ago to first this year

hey, Crowslions, JetsBroncos, Jaguars, GiantsSeahawks, et al Cheetahs — I have good news! At least one of you is going to win your division this season. Truly! Not lying. History says so. basically. In 17 of the past 19 seasons, this seemingly impossible event has occurred.

Remember, going from worst to first isn’t always the most obvious choice. How about last year, when the previously 4-11-1 Bengals went on a scorched earth rampage to win the AFC North? testers In the first round of the playoffs, the No. 1 seed rose Titans In Nashville, the latter two sent shockwaves through the sports world by erasing 14-point deficits Leaders at Arrowhead Stadium in the AFC Championship.

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The worst happens first. Hook!

Your team should be highly skilled

Yes, this is the basic appeal of the NFL Analytics movement. It was included in last year’s article. But no matter how angry you are, it’s true. Your team needs to pass more this season. It can start by doing the first down often. Only five teams — the Colts, Seahawks, Eagles, BrownsAnd the Buccaneers — had a positive EPA on all rushing plays.

Now, if the new age analysis There are You may be aware of your subject, Expected Points (EPA). If they don’t, it assigns points to plays that correspond to expectations for a given situation based on short — all-time history. And “all-time history” is a pretty big sample size, wouldn’t you say?

In 2021, there were 10 teams that finished with a negative EPA (net loss on offense) on pass plays, which is actually the highest number of late. Conversely, 27 teams had a negative EPA on run plays. Huge difference.

And don’t even get me started on first down runs. I propose that they be eradicated from every offensive game plan in the NFL.

This explains why every team’s EPA from a preseason rush the football and the historically overlooked but important first down.

Yes, Bill Walsh is right. First down passing down is best.


Note the basic differences between rushing and passing. Astounding. Only the Colts — with Jonathan Taylor and probably the league’s most pulverizing downfield offensive line — had a positive EPA on first-down rushing plays. Read it again. Meanwhile, only five teams had a negative EPA on pass plays. That’s it!

My argument is over.

Pay attention to the point difference!

Blowouts in the NFL, they matter. Here’s why. Six of the last seven and seven of the last nine Super Bowl winners finished in the top 5 in points margin during the regular season. We’ve had great Super Bowl teams with a top 5 point differential until last year when the Rams took home the Lombardi Trophy and got those epic Super Bowl rings.

But, hey, Los Angeles isn’t some obscure outlier. The team was sixth on point difference. It’s funny to randomly cut off the top 5 because it’s a round number, isn’t it? What is the average point differential for Super Bowl winners? Over the past six seasons, they have averaged a point differential of 8.58 points per game, which equates to nearly +146 points in point differential during the regular season prior to the season.

I mention this because often teams win a set of close games, which of course leads to a quality record and said team is really good. In fact, in almost every case, the team is actually not as good as its record. As the season progresses, it’s a good idea to check a team’s point differential before its record. No disrespect, Bill Parcels. But clubs are not what their record says.

Let’s use 2021 Bills For example. They went a solid but unspectacular 11-6 in the regular season, but led the NFL in point differential at +194. Now, of course one bad bounce here or one miscommunication in the playoffs and you’re out, and the latter is precisely what happened to Buffalo. But we all saw it. That Bills team is Super Bowl caliber. Point difference was a stronger indicator of a team’s quality than its record.

The Saints will have a chance to make NFL history by defeating all five “bird teams” this season.

Dizzy. At no time in the NFL’s long history has one team won all the Bird teams — the Eagles, Ravens, Cardinals, Hawks, and the Seahawks during the same season. Of course, the scheduling cosmos must align for a club to have a chance to accomplish such a feat. The Cosmos have adjusted to give the Saints a chance to do so this season.

Your team should make the most of the game, regardless of its field-of-play situation

There is an analytical community analyzed it — has nothing to do with run-game success Play-action skills. It doesn’t matter how you run it — the feature is, again, the running back committee. A trivial difference.

Last year, 28 of the top 30 qualified quarterbacks in play-action yards per attempt (YPA) had more YPA when using play-action than when not using it. Of course, a drastic difference in sample size must be considered here. But, hello, offensive coordinators. It’s time to tap into the play-action section of the callsheet more often.

If we watch too much of our play because it’s expected, does it become ineffective? Nobody really knows. But you better believe your team’s offensive coordinator will try to find the optimal usage rate this season.

There are new teams in the playoffs

In 2021, half of the entire playoff bracket will be new teams, clubs that did not qualify for the postseason the previous year. In 2020, there were six new playoff teams. This is close to normal averages in recent history. So “lime” refers to half of the postseason each season. Adjust your season predictions accordingly.

Now, after reading this article, you have completely combated the excitement-induced brain fog. You better go. Enjoy every second of the 2022 season.

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