• People around the NFL are high on what QB Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins’ offense can accomplish under Mike McDaniel with WR Tyreek Hill, an improved offensive line and a revamped running back corps.
Over one-quarter of the NFL is about to enter the season with a new head coach when Week 1 kicks off in just under two weeks.
Here’s how those nine teams rank entering the 2022 season based on their win total odds and what has changed over the course of training camp and the preseason.
HC: Nathaniel Hackett
Win total odds: 10
We’ll see how the former transition goes, but Denver obviously experienced a significant upgrade with Wilson now at quarterback. Over the past three seasons, Wilson has averaged 3.17 PFF wins above replacement (WAR). In 2021, Bridgewater netted a 1.43 PFF WAR, while Lock earned a 0.12 PFF WAR.
The Broncos did endure one of the most impactful injuries of the summer when they lost wide receiver Tim Patrick for the season to a torn ACL. They do still have Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy, plus 2020 second-round pick K.J. Hamler, to make up for the loss of a starting wideout.
On paper, the Broncos are a very talented team, but they’re also playing in the most difficult division in football.
HC: Kevin O’Connell
Win total odds: 9.5
You could still find the Vikings’ win total odds set at 8.5 fairly recently, but in a weak conference and division, that over/under has spiked over the past two months.
Minnesota will play nine home games this season, and the team's road game against the New Orleans Saints will be played on a neutral field in London. The Vikings might not be as talented as the two teams below them on this list, but based on current circumstances, they’re projected to win more games.
O’Connell is unproven as a head coach and relatively unproven as an offensive play-caller (he handled those duties in Washington after head coach Jay Gruden was fired in 2019), but bringing aboard the Shanahan system could be huge for wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who’s already in the running for best wide receiver in the NFL.
HC: Mike McDaniel
Win total odds: 8.5
People around the NFL are high on what quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins’ offense can accomplish under McDaniel with wide receiver Tyreek Hill, an improved offensive line and a revamped running back corps. And it helps that McDaniel retained defensive coordinator Josh Boyer to seamlessly continue running Brian Flores’ old defense.
One of Miami’s biggest questions, beyond the play of Tagovailoa in his third NFL season, is at cornerback — where Byron Jones remains on the physically unable to perform/active list and Trill Williams and Mackensie Alexander already have been lost for the season. If Jones isn’t activated off of the PUP list by Tuesday, he’ll miss the first four games of the 2022 season.
Tagovailoa earned a 93.1 PFF grade this preseason. Noah Igbinoghene, a 2020 first-round pick who might need to step up if Jones continues to miss time, struggled at times in coverage with a 59.7 PFF grade.
HC: Josh McDaniels
Win total odds: 8.5
The Raiders, like the Broncos, probably would have higher win total odds if they weren’t playing in the AFC West, the toughest division in the NFL.
A source on an offensive line-needy team told PFF on Friday that scarcity at those positions around the NFL “is real.” The Raiders’ biggest remaining question is on their offensive line, where several spots still appear unsettled. And 2021 first-round pick Alex Leatherwood doesn’t appear likely to fill any of them at the moment. His tenure in Las Vegas has started so poorly that one source identified him as a potential surprise trade/cut candidate.
The other question that no one is really talking enough about is the injury and contract status of tight end Darren Waller, who’s barely practiced this summer due to a hamstring, is severely underpaid compared to the top end of the tight end market, recently left his agency and is set to play in a new and previously complicated McDaniels offense. Hmm…
HC: Dennis Allen
Win total odds: 8.5
The Saints lost head coach and offensive play-caller Sean Payton to retirement this offseason but strayed from making wholesale changes. They simply promoted Allen, their former defensive coordinator, to head coach while retaining Pete Carmichael as offensive coordinator after a brief offseason search for his potential replacement.
After New Orleans lost out on the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes, the team re-signed quarterback Jameis Winston in lieu of seeking other options and upgraded the offensive weapons around him, signing slot receiver Jarvis Landry and drafting wideout Chris Olave while getting back Michael Thomas.
The Saints have a strong defense. Their biggest questions remain at quarterback and in seeing how well James Hurst can continue to hold down the fort at left tackle after Terron Armstead departed in free agency to Miami and before rookie first-round pick Trevor Penning, who earned an 80.5 PFF grade this preseason prior to suffering a torn ligament in his foot, can take over. Penning requires surgery and will be out indefinitely.
HC: Brian Daboll
Win total odds: 7.5
People around the NFL don’t expect much out of a rebuilding Giants team, but that’s not fully reflected in their 7.5-win total odds.
Daboll and new general manager Joe Schoen don’t appear afraid to blow things up. Daboll said Sunday that wide receiver Kenny Golladay, who’s due a fully guaranteed $13 million salary this season, is competing with the rest of the wide receiver group that includes rookie Wan’Dale Robinson, Kadarius Toney, Sterling Shepard, David Sills and Darius Slayton for playing time after an uneven summer. Daboll recently said he expected Collin Johnson to get playing time at the position before the wideout suffered a torn Achilles that will knock him out for the entire season. Sills, a favorite practice target of quarterback Daniel Jones, also was in that conversation for playing time.
While the Giants play in a weaker NFC, their roster talent alone puts them fourth in a fairly mediocre NFC East.
HC: Doug Pederson
Win total odds: 6.5
Sources around the NFL still expect quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who struggled as a rookie, to improve enough to play better than the rest of his 2021 quarterback draft class in 2022.
Lawrence finished the preseason with a 60.2 PFF grade, barely above his 59.6 mark last regular season. The Jaguars spent freely this offseason to add talent across their roster while replacing the trainwreck that was Urban Meyer as an NFL head coach with Pederson.
For Jacksonville to reach 6.5 wins, Lawrence will need to play much better. And if he can truly ascend, Jacksonville has a chance to compete in what some people around the NFL believe is a wide-open AFC South.
HC: Matt Eberflus
Win total odds: 6.5
Quarterback Justin Fields, another member of Lawrence’s quarterback draft class, quietly had a phenomenal preseason with a 90.4 PFF grade and 87.4 passing grade. He went 23-of-30 for 243 yards with three touchdowns, a 6.7% big-time throw rate and zero turnover-worthy plays.
People around the league are expecting big things from Darnell Mooney, who already was a 1,000-yard wide receiver last season. But beyond Mooney, the Bears’ wide receiver competition has been rough this summer. N’Keal Harry suffered a high-ankle sprain, Dazz Newsome was an early cut and Velus Jones and Byron Pringle currently are dealing with injuries.
The Bears will be carried as far as Fields can take them. And if he plays as well as he did this preseason, that could potentially be to more than 6.5 wins.
People around the NFL are not high on Fields’ chances to dramatically improve this season, however, due to the talent around him on the roster and playing under a first-time NFL offensive play-caller in Luke Getsy.
HC: Lovie Smith
Win total odds: 4.5
Sources around the NFL actually predicted better things for Texans quarterback Davis Mills than they did for Fields in 2022. Mills earned just a 54.5 PFF grade this preseason in extensive work, as he saw time in all three weeks.
The biggest bright spot for Houston this summer was the play of rookie fourth-round pick running back Dameon Pierce, who earned an NFL-best 91.9 rushing grade this preseason and looks primed for the starting role after averaging 7.8 yards per carry on 11 attempts.