2022 NFL season opener: Stats, notes and nuggets for every fan to remember entering Week 1 – CBS Sports

2022 NFL season opener: Stats, notes and nuggets for every fan to remember entering Week 1 - CBS Sports

It is, truly, the best — yes, best — disease to infiltrate your mind. “Arousal-Induced Brain Fog” is back. what is that It’s when you’re so ungodly excited about something — in this case, oh, the NFL season — you forget about the typical occurrences.

This phenomenon occurs at the beginning of every NFL season. Here’s the formula: too much anticipation plus a long time away from football equals fan EIBF.

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

There’s always a wild upset or a weird result in Week 1

[Samuel L. Jackson voice] “Keep your butts.” This will happen. prepare yourself Do you want proof? I caught you

In 2021, the Saints beat the packers, 38-3, you know the same Green Bay club that would win 13 of their next 16 games and land as the #1 seed in the NFC playoffs. In the COVID year of 2020, the eventual 1-15 Jaguars win the final tied foals in a bizarre Week 1 contest that featured a single Gardner Minshew incompletion and a 2.4 yards-per-carry average for Jonathan Taylor. Very normal, right?

There was no landscape upset in 2019, but the lions and Cardinals tied 27-27 in Kyler Murray’s first NFL game. Arizona scored six points through three quarters before erupting for 18 in the fourth, and Detroit linebacker Christian Jones dropped what likely would have been a game-sealing interception in overtime. On that same day, the eventual 11-5 Seahawks needed a fourth quarter, Russell Wilson-to-Tyler Lockett touchdown strike to win the final 2-14 Bengals, 21-20. weird

At the beginning of the previous season, the pirateswhich ultimately went 5-11, upset the 13-3 NFC North champion saints, 48-40. Ryan Fitzpatrick averaged 14.9 yards per attempt (!) and had a QB rating of 156.3. The Saints would go on to finish eighth in Football Outsiders defensive DVOAthe all-encompassing performance metric.

In 2017, the 5-11 Broncos win the 9-7 Chargers. In 2016, a 49ers a team that ultimately went 2-14 looked like the most complete team in football in a 28-0 rout of the almost-as-bad, eventual 4-12 Los Angeles Rams. Blaine Gabbert was the starting quarterback for San Francisco that afternoon. Jeremy Kerley led the 49ers in receiving. Heck, even in 2015, San Francisco beat the vikings, 20-3, in Week 1. The 49ers finished 5-11. The Vikings won the NFC North at 11-5.

So, if one score doesn’t feel right in your soccer-loving bones in Week 1, it probably isn’t. One game always ventures through a gate in The Upside Down.

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

hey Crowslions, JetsBroncos, Jaguars, GiantsSeahawks, and Panthers — I have great news! At least one of you will win your respective division this season. Really! Not lying. History says so. Essentially. In 17 of the last 19 seasons, this seemingly impossible phenomenon has occurred.

Also remember that it’s not always the most obvious choices to go from worst to first. How about last year, when the formerly 4-11-1 Bengals scorched the earth on nearly everyone to win the AFC North, sneak past the raiders in the first round of the playoffs, upset the No. 1 seed Titans in Nashville, then sent shockwaves through the sports world by erasing two 14-point deficits to beat the bosses at Arrowhead Stadium in the AFC championship.

The worst will happen to the former. Buckle up!

Your team should pass more

Yes, this has been the fundamental plea of ​​the NFL analytics movement for some time. It was included in last year’s article. But no matter how annoyed you may be with it, it is true. Your team needs to pass more this season. And it can start doing that more often on first down. Strictly from a yardage perspective for qualifying backs, only five teams — the Colts, Seahawks, Eagles, Brownsand Buccaneers — had a positive EPA on all rushing plays.

Now, if new age analyses is your thing, you probably know about Expected Points Added (EPA). If they are not, to summarize — it assigns points to plays relative to the expectation of that given situation based on all-time history. And “perpetual 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 for the offense) on pass plays, which, lately is actually a high number. Conversely, however, 27 teams had a negative EPA on run plays. Huge difference.

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

This, from a season ago, illustrates the EPA of each team rushing the football and throwing the football on that historically overlooked but vital first down.

Yes, Bill Walsh was right. First down is the best pass.


Notice the difference in baselines between rushing and passing games. It’s surprising. Only the Colts — with Jonathan Taylor and arguably the league’s most pulverizing downhill offensive line — had a positive EPA on first-down rushing plays. Read that again. Meanwhile, only five teams had a negative EPA in pass games. That’s it!

I rest my case.

Watch out for point differential!

Explosions in the NFL, they matter. This is why. Six of the last seven and seven of the last nine Super Bowl winners finished in the top 5 in point differential during the regular season. We had a nice streak of top 5 point differential Super Bowl teams until last year’s Rams took home the Lombardi Trophy and got those epic Super Bowl rings.

But, hey, Los Angeles wasn’t some obscure outpost. That team was sixth in point differential. And randomly cutting off at the top 5 because it’s a round number is kind of silly, right? What about the average point differential for Super Bowl winners? In the last six seasons, they have averaged a per-game point differential of 8.58 points, which equates to almost +146 points in point differential during the regular season, which is between the Chiefs and Buccaneers point differential number from a season ago.

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

Let’s use the 2021 Invoices as an example. They went a solid but unspectacular 11-6 during the regular season yet led the NFL in point differential at +194. Now, of course a bad rebound here or a miscommunication there in the playoffs and you’re out, and the latter is exactly what happened to Buffalo. But we all watched. That Bills squad was Super Bowl caliber. The point difference was a stronger indicator of the quality of that team than its record.

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

Giddy up. Never in the long history of an NFL team has beaten all the bird teams — the Eagles, Ravens, Cardinals, Falcons, and Seahawks in the same season. Of course, the programming cosmos must line up for a club to even have the chance to accomplish such a feat. Those cosmos aligned to give the Saints the opportunity to do so this season.

Your team needs to use play more, regardless of its ground situation

The analytics community has analyzed it — running game success has no correlation to game-action performance. It doesn’t matter how you run it — performance is just a back-end, running committee. Negligible difference.

Last year, 28 of the top 30 qualifying quarterbacks in play-action yards per attempt (YPA) had a higher YPA when they used play-action than when they didn’t. Of course, a drastic difference in sample size must be taken into account here. But, hello, offensive coordinators. Time to tap into the play-action section of the call more often.

If we saw more gameplay, would it become essentially useless because it’s expected? Nobody really knows. But you should hope that your team’s offensive coordinator is trying to find the optimal usage this season.

There will be a bunch of new teams in the playoffs

In 2021, half of the entire playoff bracket were new teams, clubs that did not qualify for the postseason the year before. In 2020, there were six new playoff teams. That is close to the normal average in recent history. So “chalk” represents exactly about half of the postseason field each season. Adjust your seasonal forecasts accordingly.

Now, after reading this article, you have completely battled Arousal Induced Brain Fog. You are good to go. Enjoy every second of the 2022 season.

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