9 NFL Teams That Could Regress
Regression doesn’t always have to mean the best becoming last. It could mean the best not getting better or the mediocre not elevating itself. In the NFL, 32 teams will either regress, remain the same, or improve.
Now that the free agency is over and the 2023 NFL Draft is completed, teams are starting to find their 2023 identity. While this is the time to be optimistic, it isn’t all sunshine.
Here are nine teams that could regress in the 2023 season.
2022 Record 14-3 (.824)
The Eagles will go into 2023 without their offensive coordinator and defensive coordinators from last season. Jonathan Gannon, their former defensive coordinator, is now head coach in Arizona. And Shane Steichen, their former offensive coordinator, is now head coach in Indianapolis.
The offense lost:
- Running Back Miles Sanders: The Eagles had the most attempts per game (33.2) and the fourth most rushing yards per game (152.0) last season.
Sanders averaged 4.9 yards per attempt, finished the season with 1,269 rushing yards, and rushed for over 100 yards three times in 2022. He also had 11 touchdowns.
Last season the Eagles’ defense were eighth in scoring defense (18.8 points per game allowed) and second in opponents’ yards per game (296.4). Their player losses include:
- Safety, CJ Gardner-Johnson: Gardner-Johnson missed five games last season. He still tied for the league in interceptions last season with six. Gardner-Johnson also had 67 total tackles and eight pass breakups.
The Eagles had a total of 17 interceptions last season. That was the sixth most. Takeaway Gardner-Johnson’s six and the Eagles would have been in the bottom third for interceptions.
- Defensive Tackle, Javon Hargrave: Hargrave finished the season with 37 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss, and 11 sacks. Hargrave’s loss is a gaping hole in the middle of the Eagles’ defensive line.
- Linebacker, TJ Edwards: Last season Edwards was responsible for a fumble recovery, seven pass breakups, 159 total tackles, and two sacks.
- Linebacker Kyzir White: White was the second-leading tackler (behind Edwards) with 110 tackles last season. He also had seven pass breakups and 1.5 sacks.
New coordinators on both sides of the ball and major losses, especially on the defensive side, is a recipe for regression. It isn’t all pessimism, though. Even with inevitable regression, the Eagles are the second favorite to win the Super Bowl. Caesars Sportsbook has the Eagles at +750, DraftKings at +650, and BETMGM at +700, all behind the Kansas City Chiefs.
2022 Record: 13-4 (.765)
Were the Vikings the ‘luckiest’ team in the NFL last season? The Vikings’ wins came with a -3-point differential which was 15th ranked. The 11 wins were historic as they were the most in one-score games.
Six teams in NFL history have had negative net yardage with a 10-2 record. The Vikings -754 was the most negative net yardage of the six teams. Their -10 was also the lowest point differential of any 10-2 team in history.
So, do we agree with Bryan Knowles of the Football Outsiders when he states the Vikings “Had a rabbit’s foot tied to a horseshoe coated in four leaf clovers” last season?
In the face of their historical “good luck,” a regression seems inevitable.
If you are betting, the Vikings have a 29% chance to win the division. The Lions are the favorite, with 43% per the NFL Football Power Index 2023. And per Caesars Sportsbook, their win total is 8.5 for 2023 (over -140).
2022 Record: 12-4 (.750)
The Bengals regressing is more about their division getting better. Per Pro Football Focus, every team in the AFC North got better on draft weekend. Consider that last year, the Pittsburgh Steelers ran out Mitchell Trubisky and a rookie quarterback. TJ Watt missed time due to injuries. Then there is the Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson who only played in 12 games, including missing the Wildcard game that the Bengals won by a touchdown in the game’s final minutes. And the Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson only played in six games last season, is expected to get much better.
All the offenses in the AFC North got better. And Watt is healthier. The Browns still have Myles Garrett. The AFC North, as a whole, is better.
Per Caesars Sportsbook, the Bengals are still the favorite to win the division at +120. They are -125 with a win total of 11.5 and +1000 to win the Super Bowl.
2022 Record: 12-5, .706
The Cowboys had back-back 12-win seasons for the first time since 1994 and 1995. That is historically good.
So, listen to Tom Ryle, “One of the elements of regression involves period-to-period performance. If you are either significantly better or worse than average one year, historically, you tend to move back towards the average performance. For 2022, Dallas finished with a better record than all but six other teams in the league. That puts them in the top quartile of the NFL. There is an excellent chance that they will be closer to .500 just on probability alone.”
The Cowboys are without offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. Head coach Mike McCarthy will take over offensive play calling.
Per DraftKings, the Cowboys’ win/loss total for 2023 is 9.5. It is -130 over and +110 under. Dallas has the fourth-hardest schedule.
2022 Record: 9-8 (.529)
The Seahawks were the surprise team of the season. They made the playoffs when the Detroit Lions beat the Green Bay Packers.
The Seahawks started 6-3. They then went 1-5. They went 3-5 after their bye week. The wins were against the reeling New York Jets and two victories against the hapless Los Angeles Rams, including an overtime win.
This season the Seahawks are ranked 21st in the strength of schedule. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the over/under win total for the Seahawks is 8.5 (-130/+110). They are +225 to win the division and +3000 to win the Super Bowl.
Are you a believer? Will the 2023 Seahawks be the Seahawks of the first half of the season or the Seahawks of the second half of the season?
2022 Record: 8-8 (.500)
It is easy to say that the entire NFC East was the surprise division of 2022. The Commanders outperformed, considering the quarterback situation. Taylor Heinicke played nine games and threw 12 touchdowns to six interceptions. Carson Wentz played in eight games and threw 11 touchdowns to nine interceptions. And still, the Commanders went 4-5 at home and 4-3-1 on the road. Against the NFC East, they went 2-3-1.
Currently, Sam Howell is listed as QB1 in Washington. Jacoby Brissett is listed as the backup. In addition, the Commanders will be playing with a new offensive coordinator. Long-time Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy will now be charged of the Commanders’ offense.
Per DraftKings, the Commanders are predicted to win 6.5 games with -110 over and -110 under. They are +1300 to win the NFC East and +8000 to win Super Bowl.
Even with the boost in the offensive coordinator, the flux of the quarterback situation is concerning. The Commanders haven’t done enough to win more than two games in their division or have a better home record.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Record: 2022 8-9 (.471)
The Buccaneers will be without quarterback Tom Brady and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. They also lost running back Leonard Fournette, guard Shaq Mason, safety Keanu Neal and cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting among others.
Baker Mayfield is slotted to be the starting quarterback. The Buccaneers also acquired running back Chase Edmonds and resigned linebacker Lavonte David and cornerback Jamel Dean.
The Buccaneers attempted the most passes per game last season (45.4). They were also 25th in points per game (18.2). Brady attempted 733 passes with a 66.8% completion percentage. Mayfield attempted 335 passes last season with a 60.0% completion percentage.
The offense will take a step back. The NFC South made strides to get better. The Carolina Panthers acquired a franchise quarterback. The New Orleans Saints acquired a franchise quarterback. And the Falcons acquired a game-changing running back.
Per Sportsbooks, the Saints are the favorite to win the NFC South at +135, followed by the Falcons at +230, the Panthers at +370, and the Buccaneers at +550. The Buccaneers’ predicted win total for 2023 is 6.5.
2022 Record: 7-10 (.412)
The Titans are scheduled to play eight games against seven playoff teams. They will play three division champions from 2022. The Titans have the 28th-ranked strength of schedule. Their opponents have a 2022-win percentage of .448.
Per BETMGM, Jacksonville is the favorite to win the division (-160). The Titans have the second-best chance to win the division (+350). The Titans also have the fourth-easiest strength of schedule in 2023. And yet their total win prediction is 7.5 (+111 over/ -135 under).
Las Vegas Raiders
2022 Record: 6-11 (.353)
Did the Raiders get better? They jettisoned quarterback Derek Carr and acquired Jimmy Garoppolo. Garoppolo had off-season foot surgery that will delay his preseason work.
Per PFF’s Sam Monson, “The Raiders were one of the most active teams in the league; it’s just not immediately clear that they got a whole lot better in the process.” Per Sportsbooks, the Raiders’ win total for 2023 is set at 6.5 (-110 over/under). They are +1500 to win the AFC West and +8000 to the Super Bowl.
Gladys is obsessive about fantasy football, Pittsburgh Steelers, dogs/cats, pop culture movies and television shows, and Ben & Jerry’s 7 Layer Vegan Ice Cream (although not necessarily in that order). A writer about NFL, college ball, and fantasy football for more than 10 years, she attempts to combine her degree in statistical variance (BS Policy Analysis) with player knowledge and game script. Though her concentration is on IDP, redraft, and PPR leagues, all fantasy formats are fair game. Reach out whenever you can find me on Twitter @gladysLtyler. And remember, don’t suck and tip your bartenders well.