NFL Overrated and Underrated Teams

I’ve posted overrated and underrated NFL teams on my NFL Picks page for a while, but I thought it deserved its own section. I’ll update this page every week during the season as well as periodically during the offseason. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

Updated Jan. 17, 2023

NFL Overrated Teams:

Atlanta Falcons
I am not going to factor in the 49ers-Falcons game into my analysis at all because San Francisco was down 10 starters. Otherwise, the Falcons defeated a mistake-prone Cleveland squad in Week 4. The Falcons were outgained, 403-334, and Marcus Mariota completed just seven passes. In fact, the Falcons have been outgained in all but two games this year. They lost to the Buccaneers by only six points, but only because the Buccaneers took their foot off the gas. It was no surprise that they were blown out by Cincinnati, but they are still wildly overrated. They were also lucky not to lose to Carolina twice. They beat Chicago, but only because Justin Fields got banged up on the first play of the third quarter.

Everyone thinks highly of the Falcons because they were once 6-0 against the spread. Well, they’re 1-5-2 against the spread since then, with their one cover being a back-door effort against the lowly Saints.

Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings were extremely lucky to be 8-1 heading into Week 11. They got the Packers when Green Bay was missing countless starters. They made a comeback versus a Detroit team that suffered a ton of injuries during the game. They squeaked by the Saints even though New Orleans was missing its starting quarterback, running back, and top receiver. They also couldn’t generate any offense in the second half against the Bears, save for the final drive. There was that ridiculous Miami game in which the Dolphins legitimately outgained the Vikings by 224 yards. They beat Arizona in a 50-50 game where the Cardinals were missing four offensive linemen. Minnesota barely got by the Redskins, and they got trashed by the Cowboys. They beat the Patriots, but were outgained in total yards and yards per play. The Vikings have a solid offense and an above-average defense, so I don’t necessarily think that makes them a top-10 team. There was a huge disparity between them and the Eagles and Cowboys.

bUt TeH vIkInGs BeAt TeH bIlLs! Sure, but not really. The Bills were 99 percent to win that game on multiple occasions. If Josh Allen didn’t fumble the center exchange on the attempted sneak, the Bills would have run out the clock, and there would never have been an overtime. The Bills were up double digits for a good portion of that game, so I don’t think Minnesota’s victory in Buffalo was very impressive, especially considering that the Bills were dealing with so many injuries.

The Vikings impressed me a bit in their win over the Jets. They nearly blew their lead at the end, but they were dominant for half the game. However, they went on to lose to the Lions, and they had a negative point differential for the season despite being 10-3 entering Week 15!

And as for Week 15 and onward, the Vikings trailed 33-0 against a team missing its best offensive and defensive players, and being coached by an ESPN analyst. They won on the largest comeback in NFL history, but it wasn’t the greatest comeback in NFL history because it was against a 4-9-1 team. There’s nothing great about that. There was also nothing great about beating the overrated Giants by just three. The next game should have been predictable, as the Packers dominated the Vikings on offense, defense, and special teams.

New York Giants
The Giants continue to be unimpressive. They lost to the Lions and had trouble putting the Texans away, getting very lucky on some plays. They were outgained both in overall yardage and yards per play versus a Houston squad that wasn’t competitive with Washington. They also needed a miracle back-door cover against the Cowboys to stay within single digits. They beat the Redskins, but were outgained in total yards and yards per play.

Remember, the Giants’ marquee victories look less impressive based on recent results – their London win over Green Bay now is not remarkable at all – so it’s hard to take their record very seriously. They could easily be 7-10 or even 6-11 right now.

Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks have played against just three teams that currently have winning records. They were destroyed by the 49ers twice, and they beat the Giants and Chargers. However, the Chargers were missing close to half of their starters, while Giants aren’t as good as their record indicates. The Seahawks barely beat the Rams and lost to the Raiders and Panthers at home. They were 30th in net adjusted EPA heading into Week 17 (23rd now after beating the Jets and Rams.) There’s no doubt that they’re overrated.

NFL Underrated Teams:

Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders have gotten lots of flak for blowing a 16-3 lead to Baker Mayfield, but that was one of many games they could have won this year. Of the Raiders’ 11 losses, only two were by more than a touchdown!

New Orleans Saints
The Saints could easily have a better record than they currently do because they’ve suffered some bad luck this year. For instance, they outgained the Panthers in Week 3, but lost because of special teams. They led the entire time versus Cincinnati three weeks later, but lost in the final seconds because Ja’Marr Chase went nuts. They also lost on a field goal to the Vikings in London, and they blew a late lead to the Buccaneers on a Monday night. The Saints could be 10-7 or better right now instead of 7-10.

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