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2022 NFL midseason win total projections, AFC: Chiefs, Bills on top; Dolphins No. 1 wild-card team

NFL franchises use contextualized data to create competitive advantages. In order to realize an edge, teams need to employ the right data in the right way at the right time. This means distilling, interpreting and applying only the most influential data in a framework that accounts for their personnel, their opponents and their evolving game situations. My goal is to be YOUR analytics department. I want to work for you by providing a peek into which numbers flag in my models as the most impactful ... or the most misunderstood.

Today, we're taking a midseason look at win projections for all 32 teams for the 2022 season, focusing on the AFC below.

As always, let me know if your eye test is picking up on something interesting, or if there's a stat/trend you'd like me to take a deeper look at. You can hit me up on Twitter @CFrelund. As with any great analytics department, the more collaborative this is, the more value we can create.

The lines below provided by FanDuel are current as of 6 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Nov. 9 unless otherwise noted below.

Kansas City Chiefs
  • Over/under Wins: 12.5
  • Make Playoffs: N/A
  • Win Division: -600
  • Win Conference: +250
  • Win Super Bowl: +550

Of Kansas City's final nine games, just three will come against teams that currently have a winning record. The Chiefs earn the AFC's one and only first-round playoff bye in 39.8 percent of simulations, with the Bills -- who hold the head-to-head advantage -- the next-closest team at 37.4 percent.

Kansas City Chiefs' remaining 2022 NFL schedule

Buffalo Bills
  • Over/under Wins: N/A
  • Make Playoffs: N/A
  • Win Division: -300
  • Win Conference: +175
  • Win Super Bowl: +330

There are truly so many Next Gen stats about this Bills team, and Josh Allen specifically, that help to explain why Buffalo projects to finish the second-half of the season strong. But I want to highlight a nugget that I found particularly interesting, especially considering how effective quarterbacks have been this year when using their legs (they've combined for 5,132 yards -- most through Week 9 in NFL history): Allen leads the entire NFL -- that's right, RBs, too -- with 8.7 yards per rush on attempts outside the tackles since 2021 (min. 30 rushes).

Buffalo Bills' remaining 2022 NFL schedule

Baltimore Ravens
  • Over/under Wins: 11.5
  • Make Playoffs: -1400
  • Win Division: -390
  • Win Conference: +750
  • Win Super Bowl: +1200

The Ravens have the statistical profile of “that team you don’t want to face in the playoffs.” They're improving in the areas that are most correlated with playoff upsets (such as effective in-game adjustments), which is especially impressive considering Lamar Jackson's best offensive weapon, Mark Andrews, has been banged up. One recent example occurred in Week 9, when Kenyan Drake posted 26 rushing yards over expected in the second half against New Orleans after rushing for 16 yards under expected in the first half. Baltimore's trade deadline addition of Roquan Smith and in-season signing of veteran DeSean Jackson help, as well.

Baltimore Ravens' remaining 2022 NFL schedule

Miami Dolphins
  • Over/under Wins: 10.5
  • Make Playoffs: -340
  • Win Division: +350
  • Win Conference: +1200
  • Win Super Bowl: +2100

There is one aspect of Tua Tagovailoa's breakout third pro season that highlights the impact of efficient deep passing: Though he ranks 16th in the NFL in deep attempts this season (25), he ranks first in completion percentage on such throws (60) among those with 15-plus deep attempts, with a 14.7 percent completion percentage over expectation. 

Miami Dolphins' remaining 2022 NFL schedule

Tennessee Titans
  • Over/under Wins: N/A
  • Make Playoffs: N/A
  • Win Division: -330
  • Win Conference: +2000
  • Win Super Bowl: +3700

This is a Derrick Henry appreciation stat dump! The Titans back ranks second or tied for second among running backs in the following categories: earned first downs (42, per NGS), rushes of 10-plus yards (23) and yards after contact per rush (4.01, per computer vision). No single back outranks Henry in terms of combined impact across these metrics. And while some of those who sit ahead of him in individual rushing categories benefit from the help of proficient offensive lines, the Titans' offensive line ranks 11th in run blocking, per Pro Football Focus. 

Tennessee Titans' remaining 2022 NFL schedule

Los Angeles Chargers
  • Over/under Wins: 9.5
  • Make Playoffs: -180
  • Win Division: +550
  • Win Conference: +1300
  • Win Super Bowl: +3000

Over his past five games played, running back Austin Ekeler added a win share of 1.1 to the Chargers. For context, consider that last season, when Jonathan Taylor helped drag the Colts to a 9-8 record, he added 0.97 wins to the Colts' bottom line in his best five-game stretch.

Los Angeles Chargers' remaining 2022 NFL schedule

Cincinnati Bengals
  • Over/under Wins: 9.5
  • Make Playoffs: -122
  • Win Division: +440
  • Win Conference: +1300
  • Win Super Bowl: +2800

The Bengals have the biggest disparity between the floor and the ceiling of their rest-of-season projections, due to injuries to star receiver Ja'Marr Chase and several key figures on defense, specifically Chidobe Awuzie, D.J. Reader, Mike Hilton and Tre Flowers. Awuzie aside, the other players will presumably return at some point. With dangerous opponents like Buffalo, Kansas City and Baltimore still remaining on the Bengals' schedule, Cincinnati could be overtaken by one of the teams listed below in the fight for a wild-card berth if this team isn't able to get close to full force, health-wise.

Cincinnati Bengals' remaining 2022 NFL schedule

New York Jets
  • Over/under Wins: 9.5
  • Make Playoffs: +104
  • Win Division: +1200
  • Win Conference: +2600
  • Win Super Bowl: +6000

PFF rates this Jets defense No. 1 in the NFL. NGS shows that one of their key differentiators is their ability to generate pressure with just four defenders, while seven players are dropped into coverage: The Jets rank in the top six in pressure rate in those situations. This has helped drive their 11 interceptions (tied for second most). Further, no team has a higher win share from any combination of three rookies so far than the Jets' trio of Sauce Gardner, Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall (1.4). That's especially impressive when one considers Hall hasn't played since Week 7, when he was lost for the season due to a torn ACL.

New York Jets' remaining 2022 NFL schedule

New England Patriots
  • Over/under Wins: 8.5
  • Make Playoffs: +158
  • Win Division: +1600
  • Win Conference: +3200
  • Win Super Bowl: +5500

Maybe this is a sign I have played fantasy football for too long, but it seems pretty notable to me that we kinda seem to have a Patriots running back we can rely on for our rosters. Yes, the Pats always get real production from the running back position, but in the past, it has been tough to predict which back would generate the numbers in a given game. However, Rhamondre Stevenson is proving himself to be a must-start as an RB1 because of his consistent volume and production.  He has 17 rushes of 10-plus yards and is logging 3.81 yards after contact per attempt, along with 35 receptions. He's also on pace to be the first Patriots player with 200-plus carries and 1,000-plus rushing yards in a season since LeGarrette Blount did it in 2016. 


New England Patriots' remaining 2022 NFL schedule

Cleveland Browns
  • Over/under Wins: 7.5
  • Make Playoffs: +460
  • Win Division: +2100
  • Win Conference: +6000
  • Win Super Bowl: +9500

This article is kind of turning into a love letter to running backs and the run game -- and that's not going to stop with this Browns blurb. Behind my model's top-rated run-blocking O-line, Nick Chubb has earned 27 rushing first downs (the most among NFL running backs by four). Per PFF, Chubb also leads the NFL in designed runs that netted the offense 15 yards or more (13). Unfortunately for the Browns, their defense -- especially the run defense, which currently ranks 31st, according to both PFF and computer vision -- drags Cleveland's forecasted win rate in each remaining game downward, leading to the projected win total above.

Cleveland Browns' remaining 2022 NFL schedule

Denver Broncos
  • Over/under Wins: 6.5
  • Make Playoffs: +770
  • Win Division: +3600
  • Win Conference: +6500
  • Win Super Bowl: +13000

The Broncos have the NFL's highest defensive coverage win share at the halfway mark of 2022. Though he is in just his second pro season, Patrick Surtain II is making a strong case for consideration as one of the very top corners in the league, allowing zero touchdowns and adding five pass breakups. The challenge facing Denver's defensive backfield will get more difficult in the second half of the season, as the amount of pressure generated up front forecasts to decrease, thanks to the departure (via trade) of Bradley Chubb

Denver Broncos' remaining 2022 NFL schedule

Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Over/under Wins: 6.5
  • Make Playoffs: +400
  • Win Division: +450
  • Win Conference: +8500
  • Win Super Bowl: +13000

The Jags' projected win total reflects a tough remaining schedule, which includes games against the Chiefs, the Ravens, the Cowboys, the Jets and the Titans (twice). But they should take heart in the emergence of Travis Etienne. The running back leads the team in carries (120), rushing yards (680) and rushing touchdowns (four) -- and he didn't even make his first career start until Week 6 of this season. His 5.7 yards per attempt ranks as the best average in the NFL (among those with a minimum of 100 carries), and he already has forced 38 missed tackles, which is fifth-best in the NFL, per PFF. 

Jacksonville Jaguars' remaining 2022 NFL schedule

Indianapolis Colts
  • Over/under Wins: 6.5
  • Make Playoffs: N/A
  • Win Division: +900
  • Win Conference: +13000
  • Win Super Bowl: +39000

The Colts' quarterbacks (Matt Ryan and Sam Ehlinger) have faced the most pressures in the NFL this season (122), per NGS, and it follows that their 35 sacks taken also rank No. 1. Things don't figure to get easier for Ehlinger (the current starter), as the Eagles, Cowboys and Vikings all still remain on the schedule -- and all three rank in the top 11 in pressures this season. 

Indianapolis Colts' remaining 2022 NFL schedule

Las Vegas Raiders
  • Over/under Wins: 6.5
  • Make Playoffs: +810
  • Win Division: +4400
  • Win Conference: +8500
  • Win Super Bowl: +16000

Last season, the Raiders' defense boasted the NFL's top pressure rate (33.6 percent), per NGS. This season, despite adding Chandler Jones, Las Vegas has only disrupted opposing QBs on 22.4 percent on drop backs -- the fourth-lowest rate in the league, per NGS.

Las Vegas Raiders' remaining 2022 NFL schedule

Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Over/under Wins: 5.5
  • Make Playoffs: +2700
  • Win Division: +5500
  • Win Conference: +34000
  • Win Super Bowl: +85000

A greater percentage of offensive touchdowns this season are coming on drives that include a big passing play than in any of the past eight seasons (in part because QBs are rushing more). And the Steelers' defense has been uncharacteristically generous to opposing offenses, ranking 29th in big plays allowed, 29th in scoring, 31st against the pass and 31st in pressure percentage (21.2 percent, per NGS).

Pittsburgh Steelers' remaining 2022 NFL schedule

Houston Texans
  • Over/under Wins: 3.5
  • Make Playoffs: N/A
  • Win Division: +10000
  • Win Conference: +55000
  • Win Super Bowl: +100000

Rookie running back Dameon Pierce has been a bright spot for the offense. The fourth-rounder has racked up 50 broken tackles, per PFF, the third-most in the league -- nine of which came in Week 9 against the Eagles. In that game, Pierce had 139 total rushing yards, 105 of them coming after contact (75.5 percent), per computer vision. 

Houston Texans' remaining 2022 NFL schedule

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