NFL 2022 Strength of Schedule Based on Vegas’ Latest Odds for Win-Loss Totals
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If you believe strength of schedule is a key factor in what a team’s over/under win total should be set at, the Dallas Cowboys are a very intriguing bet for the 2022 season.
The Cowboys and Washington Commanders are tied for the easiest schedule in the NFL based on their opponents’ combined winning percentage from 2021 (.462).
DraftKings Sportsbook has the Cowboys’ over/under set at 10.5. It is a high total, but there are three other teams—Buffalo Bills (11.5), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11.5) and Green Bay Packers (11)—ahead of them.
2022 NFL Strength of Schedule Rankings (Over/Under)
1. Los Angeles Rams — .567 (10.5)
2. Arizona Cardinals — .543 (8.5)
3. Cincinnati Bengals — . 536 (10)
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — .535 (11.5)
T5. San Francisco 49ers — .533 (10)
T5. Kansas City Chiefs — .533 (10.5)
T7. Las Vegas Raiders — .528 (8.5)
T7. New Orleans Saints — .528 (8)
9. Atlanta Falcons — .524 (5)
10. Los Angeles Chargers — .519 (10)
11. Seattle Seahawks — .517 (5.5)
T12. Pittsburgh Steelers — .512 (7.5)
T12. Carolina Panthers — .512 (5.5)
T12. Buffalo Bills — .512 (11.5)
15. Denver Broncos — .509 (10)
16. New England Patriots — .498 (8.5)
T17. New York Jets — .495 (5.5)
T17. Cleveland Browns — .495 (N/A)
19. Houston Texans — .488 (4.5)
20. Minnesota Vikings — .484 (9)
21. Miami Dolphins — .481 (9)
22. Green Bay Packers — .478 (11)
23. Baltimore Ravens — .474 (9.5)
T24. Chicago Bears — .471 (6.5)
T24. Tennessee Titans — .471 (9)
T26. Jacksonville Jaguars — .469 (6)
T26. Indianapolis Colts — .469 (9.5)
28. Detroit Lions — .467 (6.5)
29. New York Giants — .465 (7)
30. Philadelphia Eagles — .464 (9.5)
T31. Dallas Cowboys — .462 (10.5)
T31. Washington Commanders — .462 (8)
It’s important to note that trying to base over/under totals on a team’s strength of schedule, which accounts for what the opposition did in the previous year, isn’t a great strategy for success.
Last year, for instance, the Giants, Panthers, Broncos, Dolphins, Falcons and Eagles all ranked in the top eight of easiest strength of schedule based on their 2020 opponents’ winning percentage.
Three of those teams (Giants, Panthers, Broncos) finished last in their respective divisions.
But looking at the schedules going into next season, there are a couple of teams whose over/under totals stand out.
Optimism appears to be very high for the San Francisco 49ers. They are one of five NFC teams with an over/under projection of at least 10 right now.
It’s understandable because they advanced to the NFC Championship Game last season and head coach Kyle Shanahan has built such a strong infrastructure around the quarterback that the offense regularly plays at a high level regardless of who is under center.
But no one has any idea what San Francisco’s offense will look like with Trey Lance. He’s certainly loaded with the traits to be a great player. As we saw with four of the other first-round quarterbacks selected in the 2021 NFL draft, there is a steep learning curve at this level.
Lance did make two starts for the 49ers last season when Jimmy Garoppolo was injured. He went 47-71 with 603 passing yards and five touchdowns in six games.
Of course, this assumes Lance is going to be the starter in San Francisco. Garoppolo remains on the roster as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery.
ESPN’s Nick Wagoner reported the team will start to pursue trades for Garoppolo when he gets medically cleared, which is expected to be in “late June or early July.”
The schedule does line up favorably for Lance if he gets his first extended time as a starter. Four of San Francisco’s first six games are against the Bears, Seahawks, Panthers and Falcons.
The two games mixed in with that stretch are at the Broncos and at home against the Rams.
After Week 6 against the Falcons, though, things get significantly more difficult for the 49ers. They host the Chiefs, travel to SoFi Stadium to play the Rams and play the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 10 coming out of their bye.
Even though the 49ers went to the NFC Championship Game last season, they only won 10 games in the regular season. They had to erase a 17-point deficit against the Rams in Week 18 to hit that mark.
If Lance hits and key players, like Deebo Samuel and George Kittle, can avoid injuries, the 49ers could challenge for the best record in the NFC. But their ceiling depends on a 22-year-old quarterback in his second year with 71 career pass attempts.
On a more optimistic note, let’s show some love to the New York Jets. Their over/under total of 5.5 is certainly easy to understand.
Zach Wilson, who was selected one pick ahead of Lance in last year’s draft, was one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL as a rookie.
The BYU alum completed 55.6 percent of his attempts for 2,334 yards with nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He was tied with Joe Burrow for most yards lost on sacks last season (370), despite playing in only 13 games.
Wilson absolutely has to play better, but the supporting cast he has around him is exponentially better than what the Jets had in 2021. His top three receivers last season were Elijah Moore, Corey Davis and Keelan Cole.
The Jets added Garrett Wilson to that mix with the No. 10 overall pick in the draft. They also used a second-round pick on running back Breece Hall. The offensive line should be better after Laken Tomlinson was signed to play guard.
New York’s 2022 draft class was widely praised as one of the best. Wilson, Ahmad Gardner and Jermaine Johnson were selected in the first round.
There are certainly some daunting tests on the Jets’ schedule this season. They have a four-game stretch before their bye in Week 10 against the Packers at Lambeau Field, Broncos at Empower Field and back-to-back home games against the Patriots and Bills.
But there are winnable games on the schedule that can push them over 5.5 victories. The jury is still out on what the Dolphins offense will look like with Tua Tagovailoa. They gave him Tyreek Hill as another playmaker on the outside, along with Jaylen Waddle.
The Jets and Dolphins play twice as AFC East rivals. The key stretch for New York will start in Week 12 when it has a run against the Bears, Vikings, Bills, Lions, Jaguars, Seahawks and Dolphins.
At least four of those games should be winnable for the Jets, possibly five depending on how things break for the Vikings.
They don’t look like a playoff-caliber team quite yet, but all of the Jets’ offseason moves certainly suggest a roster heading in the right direction. It all comes down to whether or not Wilson takes a significant step forward in his development.
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