Hope springs eternal with the impending NFL campaign marking its arrival in early September with a Thursday night showdown between the Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Rams. All 32 franchises have spent the offseason revamping their rosters while furiously pursuing improvement. Not all rosters are built the same, however, and several teams are expected to struggle. BetOnline recently released their odds for the worst overall record in 2022.
Various teams have experienced less-than-desirable offseasons via the NFL draft and free agency markets. Whether it was salary cap-related issues or downright poor decision-making, the race for the No. 1 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft is officially on and appears to contain several unfortunate contenders.
The odds for the worst record in the NFL are as follows:
- Atlanta Falcons (+400)
- Houston Texans (+450)
- Chicago Bears (+500)
- Seattle Seahawks (+600)
- New York Jets (+900)
- Carolina Panthers (+900)
- Jacksonville Jaguars (+1200)
- Detroit Lions (+1200)
- New York Giants (+2000)
- Pittsburgh Steelers/Cleveland Browns (+2500)
THE FAVORITE: ATLANTA FALCONS
It’s easy to understand why the Falcons are viewed as the “favorite” by the oddsmakers. Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot traded longtime franchise quarterback Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts in the offseason and replaced him with a bridge-type option in Marcus Mariota and a third-round rookie in Desmond Ridder. The oft-injured Mariota appears primed to receive the start under center, but he’ll be on a short leash with Ridder breathing down his neck.
Atlanta has one of the more questionable quarterback situations across the league, and that’s largely why the general public has low expectations for their 2022 output.
I don’t believe the Falcons will have the worst record in the NFL in 2022, however. Falcons head coach Arthur Smith led a similar roster to seven victories last season. Ryan’s departure looms large, but the Falcons didn’t receive high-level quarterback play a year ago anyway. Defensive coordinator Dean Pees is another veteran coach on staff that typically gets the most out of his defense.
The Falcons slightly overachieved due to their strong coaching staff last season and I’m predicting a repeat performance.
MY PICK: CHICAGO BEARS
The Bears are a young team in transition that has experienced a poor offseason. A new regime has taken the reins via general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus. Poles is a rookie decision-maker (36 years old) that continues to learn on the job.
The presence of franchise quarterback Justin Fields delivers hope in abundance, but the Bears have failed to surround him with the appropriate supporting cast this summer. Poles signed 40% of his starting offensive linemen (Michael Schofield and Riley Reiff) just weeks ago. Fields was sacked twice and hurried on multiple occasions throughout just 18 offensive snaps in the Bears’ preseason win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Poles is currently dealing with a trade request from his superstar linebacker Roquan Smith in response to an ongoing contract dispute. Second-year offensive lineman Teven Jenkins remains on the block. The Bears are trending in the wrong direction. Poles and Eberflus deserve time and resources as they attempt to usher the Bears back into annual contention. The upcoming season will be difficult and filled with valuable lessons for all parties involved.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT: NEW YORK GIANTS
The BetOnline oddsmakers rank the Giants at No. 9 (+2000). I’d be surprised if the Giants won more games than the other eight competing NFL franchises. New general manager Joe Schoen largely gutted the Giants’ roster this offseason, having released or traded several bloated contracts while cutting ties with overpaid players. A retooling was certainly in order and Schoen is the correct decision-maker to oversee the Giants’ rebuilding efforts, but short-term growing pains will be experienced as a result.
The Giants haven’t been above .500 since the 2016 campaign. Since then, they’ve won an average of 4.4 contests per season. Immediate improvement isn’t expected. New head coach Brian Daboll has a fairly large question mark at quarterback. Daniel Jones is entering a fate-deciding season and hasn’t experienced a particularly fruitful training camp. Daboll is responding to Jones’ struggles by awarding presumed backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor with reps with the first-team offense, according to reports.
The Giants are roughly three weeks away from their Week 1 opener against the Tennessee Titans and they aren’t sure who their starting quarterback should be. It doesn’t bode well for their 2022 season.