Ross Jacobs Reviews All The 2022 Faux Season 1.0 Projections (Weeks 1-3)
FFM's Ross Jacobs is going through all the Faux Season 1.0 projections from all four analysts, and commenting on the strong trends and shocking outliers, and anything else that catches his eye -- as well as going back to the 2021 Faux 1.0 predictions/projections and seeing how they turned out...seeing if a strong group agreement was a harbinger or a curse.
The Faux 1.0 season unfolds daily over a 12-day span right up to the announcement of each analyst's Super Bowl champ. We do this for some offseason fun, but mostly to roll out our initial research on wins/losses for our real life over/under win total bets. The annual early over/under win total picks by the analysts will be released in a week or so...reports/articles discussing and debating each other's picks/bets.
Here are Ross J.'s reactions to seeing all the Faux 1.0 season Weeks 1-3 projections...
--No consensus in the AFC East.
RC and I are perfectly opposite! He has Buffalo in last place as the only 1-2 team and I have them in first place as the lone 2-1 team. Everyone has NE and Miami at 2-1 except me so perhaps I'm the dummy here. I've been thinking a lot about Miami in particular the last couple days and wondering if I'm a bit too low on them. There are a lot of reasons to be fairly optimistic about their chances this year.
--Very different opinions on the AFC North except for Cincy who we all have at 2-1 or better.
I'm highest on Baltimore but Xavier and Chris both have them at 2-1. The big surprise to me is that Chris and Xavier have the Browns at 2-1 or better. Xavier is working under the assumption that Watson is not suspended. Not sure about Chris. I don't view this as likely. It would simply be too much of a slap in the face to decent society if Watson receives no punishment after everything else.
I am the lone person with the Steelers at 2-1 while everyone else has them 0-3! I don't want to spoil too much but that's not a reflection of my opinion of the Steelers. Assuming Deshaun Watson is suspended they should beat Cleveland and while I think the Bengals and Patriots are both better teams, I don't think they are so much better that Pittsburgh can't sneak out a win over one of them.
--Everyone is mostly in agreement on the AFC South. Jacksonville and Houston are bad and Tennessee and Indy are at least decent. Nothing too shocking with those opinions.
--Probably the most uniform division has to be the AFC West. All three of us are high on the Broncos and Chargers and Chiefs at 2-1 or better. The Broncos and Chargers in particular we favor to start hot.
--Mixed bag with the AFC East.
RC and Xavier both have Washington and the Giants with 2-1 records out of the gate. I don't think that's completely unreasonable, especially Washington. They are a decent team and could surprise the Cowboys early. The Giants I'm not on board with. Anything could happen but that's still a weak team even with all their additions.
Mostly favorable views of Philly with RC the lone holdout at 1-2. We'll see where he goes with them the next few weeks but I think he could be underrating them.
Shockingly the 2021 division winning Cowboys are 1-2 in all our simulations except Chris's. Are we unfairly punishing Dallas for their off-season or is there real reason for concern?
--The NFC North is fairly similar for all of us.
RC and I like Detroit a little better early and have them at 2-1. RC and Chris are both in denial about Green Bay's continued dominance and have them at 1-2 while giving the Vikings a favorable 2-1 record. It's certainly possible. I do think the Vikings will be better this year as we'll see in later installments. How good is the question. Can they really take the division from the Packers?
--The only thing that stands out in the NFC South standings is that I have the Panthers with a nice 2-1 start because of an easy schedule just like last year when they went 0-3. Nobody agrees with me apparently, but the Giants and Browns without Watson are as easy of games as Carolina will get this year. They better take a couple wins while they can.
We're all high on Tampa and fairly optimistic about the Saints early on except for RC who hates Jameis just a tad too much. The New Orleans defense is more than capable of making up for his shortcomings in my opinion.
--We're all mostly in the same ballpark with the NFC West as well. The Rams and 49'ers are the clear favorites. I have to say I'm a bit surprised at the early Arizona hate. We all have them at 1-2 and Chris went so far as 0-3! That's a hot take you won't see anywhere else. I'm assuming they are all on board with what I'm thinking...Arizona has a brutal opening schedule with games against the Chiefs, Raiders, and Rams the first three weeks. That's quite a gauntlet. Things should improve for them moving forward if they don't implode due to a bad start...a very real possibility with Kyler.
--Overall I'd say there's more agreement than not with our first round of projections. The biggest leverage point seems to be whether or not Deshaun Watson is playing for the Browns early on. If he is, that obviously changes things a lot for RC and I, and the reverse would be true for Xavier and Chris if he is suspended.
The only real differences I see are in the tossup games that could go either way. Inter-division NFC/AFC East games mostly. Other than that it looks like we're all mostly in agreement about who the best/worst teams are. We'll have to see if the divisions grow as we get farther into the schedule.
I reviewed last season's early projections to see if I could find any patterns that might help us when reviewing the 2022 projections. Here's what I found.
--We were all too high on the Patriots early on. Don't think that will be an issue this year but maybe there's one team we all think too highly of right now? SF and LAC are the two that come to mind immediately.
--We did a pretty good job with the AFC North but were all too low on Cincy, a team that went on to be much better than anyone thought coming into the season. Perhaps someone like Jacksonville could do that to us this year?
--All of us butchered the AFC West quite badly. Xavier had the Chiefs going 1-2 correctly but missed badly on the 3-0 starts by the Broncos and Raiders. RC was on those two but missed on the Chiefs with them at 3-0. This makes me think that where there is a lot of division between us there's probably more uncertainty and thus more possible outcomes. So we might look at the AFC/NFC East divisions for something shocking to happen early in 2022.
--Last year everyone but me was off a decent bit on the NFC East. Everyone was too high on Washington at 2-1. I missed a perfect start by just one game (the Giants at 1-2 instead of 0-3 in reality). So maybe some of my frisky takes this year aren't too crazy after all!
--Everyone was quite close on the NFC North except Chris who had the Vikings leading the division at 3-0. We tease him for it but maybe there really is a bias to be aware of there. Something to watch for early as he is high on them in his 2022 projections as well. RC nailed this one at only a game off (Chi 0-3 instead of 1-2)
--Xavier was the only one a significant ways off on the NFC South. RC missed by one game total while Chris and I missed by two total. Chris perfectly called the surprise Panthers 3-0 start. Similar story with the NFC West. Xavier had Seattle and the Rams upside down but the other three of us were mostly on point.
--My big takeaway from a review of last year would be that when we're all in agreement we're usually pretty close to the mark. When one of us dissents we're typically wrong and only occasionally brilliantly correct. It's just a guesstimate since I didn't count the actual records, but I think RC was the most accurate the first 3 weeks and Xavier the least. That's interesting since Xavier ultimately finished the season as the most accurate!