Official 2012 NFL Projected Standings: Records & Division Win Odds For All Teams

posted in NFL

The 2012 NFL season kicks off Wednesday with the Dallas Cowboys at the New York Giants. Team rosters were finalized and published this week, and starting quarterbacks were named, which allowed us to finish crunching the numbers on our final, official 2012 NFL season projections.

Last year, our inaugural 2011 NFL preseason projections proved overall to be successful, especially if your goal was to unearth some value in Vegas futures odds and win totals. We’ve made some incremental improvements to the prediction logic in the off-season, so we’re eager see what happens this year.

How We Make NFL Predictions

Before we delve into the numbers, here’s a quick primer on how the sausage gets made. These projections are the result of a two step process. First, we combine team ratings from the past few years with other info like the players drafted in high rounds recently, who the team’s starting quarterback is, and what kind of turnover luck the team had last year. This gives us our 2012 NFL preseason team ratings.

Then, we use those ratings to simulate the season thousands of times, and we report the average results below. So these projections are based on cold, hard facts, not on our subjective opinions. If you’re curious for a few more details, you might want to check out these posts on our preseason ratings methodology and our season simulation process.

2012 NFL Standings Projections

And now, the part you’ve all come here to see. Full standings projections for the NFL are listed in the table below, and also on our NFL projections page, which is updated daily throughout the season.

TeamRankings Official 2012 NFL Projected Standings
AFC EAST
TeamWLPlayoffsWin DivTop SeedWin SBTR RankSOS
New England12.63.489.2%70.9%44.3%25.4%1-0.6
NY Jets8.97.141.1%12.7%5.2%2.6%100.3
Miami8.47.633.7%9.7%3.7%1.6%14-0.1
Buffalo7.98.125.7%6.7%2.1%1.0%16-0.1
AFC NORTH
TeamWLPlayoffsWin DivTop SeedWin SBTR RankSOS
Pittsburgh10.45.666.4%46.2%13.3%8.2%20.4
Baltimore9.66.455.2%34.9%9.3%5.8%61.2
Cincinnati7.58.526.2%12.4%2.5%1.1%150.8
Cleveland6.59.514.3%6.6%0.7%0.4%211.2
AFC SOUTH
TeamWLPlayoffsWin DivTop SeedWin SBTR RankSOS
Houston8.47.646.7%41.3%3.3%2.1%130.3
Tennessee7.38.731.9%26.2%1.8%1.0%170.5
Indianapolis7.18.928.2%23.5%1.6%0.6%20-0.1
Jacksonville5.210.811.0%9.0%0.4%0.1%310.5
AFC WEST
TeamWLPlayoffsWin DivTop SeedWin SBTR RankSOS
Denver9.16.951.2%41.5%6.2%3.5%70.6
San Diego8.67.444.2%33.5%3.8%2.3%110.2
Oakland6.89.220.0%14.6%1.1%0.5%220.3
Kansas City6.29.815.0%10.4%0.8%0.3%250.5
NFC EAST
TeamWLPlayoffsWin DivTop SeedWin SBTR RankSOS
Philadelphia10.55.572.1%56.0%18.1%9.7%40.0
NY Giants8.87.246.1%27.5%7.5%3.6%90.7
Dallas6.89.221.2%10.1%1.6%0.7%190.6
Washington6.19.914.0%6.4%0.7%0.3%280.6
NFC NORTH
TeamWLPlayoffsWin DivTop SeedWin SBTR RankSOS
Green Bay11.05.076.5%53.4%23.8%10.2%5-1.3
Detroit9.76.357.7%30.6%11.6%4.7%8-1.1
Minnesota7.38.724.4%8.5%2.0%0.6%23-1.3
Chicago7.18.921.5%7.5%2.0%0.5%24-1.2
NFC SOUTH
TeamWLPlayoffsWin DivTop SeedWin SBTR RankSOS
New Orleans10.75.375.1%59.9%19.8%10.0%3-0.5
Atlanta8.77.347.0%26.8%6.0%2.9%12-0.2
Carolina6.39.715.6%6.6%1.0%0.3%290.0
Tampa Bay6.29.814.7%6.6%0.8%0.3%30-0.1
NFC WEST
TeamWLPlayoffsWin DivTop SeedWin SBTR RankSOS
San Francisco7.58.541.4%37.1%2.3%1.1%18-0.3
Seattle6.89.231.2%27.1%1.5%0.5%27-0.9
Arizona6.69.428.2%24.4%1.2%0.5%26-0.1
St Louis5.110.913.3%11.5%0.2%0.1%32-0.6

Projection Highlights for 2012

San Francisco 49ers Expected To Get Worse But Still Win NFC West. We discussed why the 49ers are projected to decline this season in our 2012 NFL preseason team ratings post, but a quick summary is that A) their high turnover margin from 2011 is unlikely to be repeated, and B) most drastic single-year improvements (like they had last season) don’t last. Still, the rest of the NFC West is still the NFC West, so the 49ers remain our favorites to win the division.

The AFC East Is Like Lake Wobegon. All the teams are above average, that is. The AFC East’s worst team is Buffalo, who are 16th in our preseason rankings. Despite being in a tough division, the Patriots are expected to run away with it, as their projected 3.7-win margin over the runner up Jets is the largest of any division leader.

The New York Giants Only Have A 4% Chance To Repeat As Super Bowl Champs. The Patriots are the Super Bowl favorites, with a 1 in 4 shot. Following New England are Green Bay (10.2%), New Orleans (10.0%), Philadelphia (9.7%), and Pittsburgh (8.2%), Baltimore (5.8%), and Detroit (4.7%). Then we reach the Giants at 3.6%.

The Northeast Is Better Than The Southwest. Every East or North division is projected to have more wins, higher Wild Card odds, and higher Super Bowl win odds than any South or West division. Our estimate is that there is about a 75% chance the Super Bowl winner comes from a division named East or North.

Which of our predictions do you agree or disagree with? What’s most surprising? Have any questions? Ask away in the comment section below, and we’ll try to reply to as many people as possible.