Explaining Why NFL Games Are Going ‘Under’
It’s been a messy first two weeks for the 2022 NFL season. Plenty of teams, including Super Bowl contenders, have looked sloppy and inconsistent. This is even more explicit when looking at the totals from the 32 games: 22 have gone ‘under’ the total or 68.8 percent of them. While this may seem like a troubling trend, NFL teams unders were also common last season. A few reasons could be behind this.
Rusty Quarterbacks and Offenses
When the Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Rams kicked off the 2022 NFL season, all eyes were on Josh Allen. The MVP frontrunner was perfect save for two interceptions, one of which wasn’t his fault. He averaged a 112.0 passer rating and was the main reason Buffalo scored 31 points. But the defending Super Bowl Champions managed just 10 points as Matthew Stafford struggled, throwing three picks to just one touchdown.
Stafford is recovering from an elbow injury. But he is also one of many notable quarterbacks who either did not play or played minimum snaps in the preseason. Others who continue to struggle thus far include Matt Ryan, Russell Wilson, and Joe Burrow, who was the best player in last year’s playoffs. These three quarterbacks’ games have all gone under in these two weeks. They all failed to cover the point spreads NFL Week 2 as well.
But they’re not the only ones. Even the two best quarterbacks in the NFL, Aaron Rodgers, and Tom Brady, have been less than stellar. Rodgers failed to score a touchdown in Week 1 against Minnesota while Brady has an 82.8 passer rating with just two total touchdowns. Both Green Bay’s and Tampa Bay’s games are 0-2-0 in NFL teams unders.
Adjusting to New Coaches
One does not simply take over an NFL team and expect a seamless transition. There are 10 NFL teams this season with new coaches and 11 if we count the Rams, who lost almost their entire offensive coaching staff. Seven of these teams have not gone over the total. In fact, per the NFL Week 2 over under, the totals went 1-6-1 in the eight games involving these teams and one of them (Las Vegas-Arizona) needed overtime to push on the total.
The Broncos have the most glaring issues under Nathaniel Hackett. Having acquired Wilson, many expected this team to come out firing. However, Denver has gone 0-6 in the red zone this season. It comes down to execution and Denver has been terrible at doing it partly because of Hackett’s play-calls. In hindsight, the 42-year-old is in his first stint as a head coach.
Kevin O’Connell, Minnesota’s new coach, is supposed to be an offensive coach as he was Sean Payton’s offensive coordinator with the Rams. However, Minnesota has scored a total of 30 points, which makes them one of the ten lowest scoring teams in the NFL thus far. They beat Green Bay with their defense while they got left in the dirt by the Eagles as they managed just 264 total yards of offense.
Matchups That Favor Lower Scoring
Other than teams enduring rusty quarterbacking or adjusting to new coaches, several matchups led to the low scoring. Some games pitted teams that favored a heavy running style on offense. The Indianapolis Colts took on the Houston Texans while the Giants faced the Titans in Week 1. Both games featured strong running attacks and/or defensive-minded coaching. Both NFL teams went under the total.
In Week 2, the Buccaneers and Saints faced off. Brady has struggled against Allen’s defense and the game went under just like three of their last four meetings did. And on the other hand, some games featured defensive teams with game managers as quarterbacks going against each other. New England and Pittsburgh combined to score just 31 points, which is nine points below the total of 40 – already the third-lowest projection for Week 2.
Injuries have also been a contributor to the chaotic results. Dallas lost Dak Prescott in Week 1 as the team’s average total is 29.5. The Titans, also a banged-up team, scored just seven points against Buffalo. And Tampa Bay, already hurting from preseason injuries, now adds Chris Godwin to its NFL injury report.Follow us on Twitter