2012 NFL Preseason Projection Highlights: Super Bowl Favorites, Toughest Schedules, Most Improved & More

posted in NFL

Now that the NFL opening kickoff is nearly upon us, here are some of the highlights of our 2012 NFL preseason rankings. Below you’ll find the …

… Toughest schedules.
… Easiest schedules.
… Most improved.
… Biggest declines.
… Most likely undefeated.
… Most likely winless.
… Highest NFL division win odds.
… Playoff bubble teams.

All the ratings below are expressed in “points above average”. It’s essentially how much we expect the team to win (or lose) by, if they play a perfectly average opponent at a neutral site.

To give you an idea of the typical range, the New England Patriots last year finished the year at +9.5, while the St. Louis Rams were the worst at -10.1. Our preseason ratings usually have a slightly narrower range, simply because the best ratings in real life will be a combination of good skill and good luck, and we’re only predicting the skill portion, not the luck.

Many of the odds below can be found on our NFL season projections page, which updates daily throughout the season, or on individual team projections pages — like this New York Giants projections page.

2012 Super Bowl Favorites

TeamTeam RankSOS RankProj RecordSuper Bowl Win %
New England12712.6 - 3.426%
New Orleans32510.7 - 5.310%
Green Bay53211.0 - 5.010%
Philadelphia41710.5 - 5.510%
Pittsburgh21110.4 - 5.68%
Baltimore619.6 - 6.46%
Detroit8299.7 - 6.35%

Toughest 2012 NFL Schedule

The Strength Of Schedule (SOS) values below show the average preseason rating of a team’s opponents.

SOS rankTeamSOS
4New York Giants0.7

Easiest 2012 NFL Schedule

SOS rankTeamSOS
32Green Bay-1.3

Most Improved In 2012

2012 Rank2011 RankRank ChangeTeam2012 Rating2011 RatingRating Change
30311Tampa Bay-4.0-8.44.4
32320St. Louis-7.0-10.23.2
25294Kansas City-3.3-5.62.3

Biggest Declines In 2012

2012 Rank2011 RankRank ChangeTeam2012 Rating2011 RatingRating Change
186-12San Francisco-1.54.1-5.6
32-1New Orleans5.68.8-3.2
53-2Green Bay5.38.4-3.1

Most Likely Undefeated NFL Teams

TeamTeam RankSOS RankProj RecordUndefeated%
New England12712.6 - 3.44.0%
Green Bay53211.0 - 5.00.9%
New Orleans32510.7 - 5.30.7%
Pittsburgh21110.4 - 5.60.6%
Philadelphia41710.5 - 5.50.5%

Least Likely To Win A Single NFL Game

TeamTeam RankSOS RankProj RecordWinless%
St. Louis32265.1 - 10.90.8%
Jacksonville31105.2 - 10.80.7%
Washington2876.1 - 9.90.3%
Kansas City2596.2 - 9.80.3%
Carolina29166.3 - 9.70.2%
Tampa Bay30216.2 - 9.80.2%
Cleveland2126.5 - 9.50.2%
Arizona26226.6 - 9.40.2%

Biggest NFL Division Favorites

TeamTeam RankProj RecordWin Division %
New England112.6 - 3.471.4%
New Orleans310.7 - 5.360.3%
Philadelphia410.5 - 5.557.3%
Green Bay511.0 - 5.053.5%
Pittsburgh210.4 - 5.646.3%
Houston138.4 - 7.642.3%
Denver79.1 - 6.940.0%
San Francisco187.5 - 8.539.8%

NFL Playoff Bubble Teams (Playoff Odds Closest to 50%)

TeamTeam RankSOS RankProj RecordPlayoff %
Baltimore619.6 - 6.455%
Denver759.1 - 6.951%
Houston13138.4 - 7.648%
New York Giants948.8 - 7.246%
Atlanta12238.7 - 7.346%
San Diego11158.6 - 7.445%
San Francisco18247.5 - 8.545%
  • Anonymous


  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess


  • Survivor Man

    Are you guys not doing your survivor pick articles this year?

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    First one was posted a few days ago. You can always find the latest here:

  • evo34

    Does your in-season standings projections page use strictly score-based power ratings as inputs (from last year and this year), or is there something more stat-based used to create the power ratings that fuel the simulation? http://www.teamrankings.com/nfl/projections/standings/

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    They use our priored power ratings, which are a combination of score-based ratings and our preseason projections (which do take into account non-score factors from past years, like turnovers, draft picks, and QB changes). In the early part of the year, the preseason projections have a lot of weight. As more games are played, the projections become more based on actual scores.