The NFL schedule is officially out, and most of the intrigue for that event revolves around projecting the Bills’ final record for the 2022 season. A quick evaluation of the opposing quarterbacks provides a simplistic way of forecasting each game’s outcome.
Why Just Quarterbacks?
Only looking at the QBs is insufficient for a thorough breakdown of an NFL matchup. But, for fans like us, it’s a fast, easy way to consider the challenge each opponent presents. Plus, it largely aligns with the results of serious evaluators, like those guys in Las Vegas.
Looking at the odds for who Vegas considers the Super Bowl favorites reveals a list of teams that would closely match almost anyone’s Top 10 rankings of NFL QBs. With the exception of the 49ers and Colts – teams still searching for an elite QB but with heavily talented rosters and quality coaching – Vegas favors teams with quality quarterbacking.
The Bills are the Super Bowl favorites, and people who build mansions think they’re the strongest team in the league. These really are the new glory days.
Let’s break down the Buffalo Bills’ 2022 schedule by opposing QBs.
“Favorable” and “Unfavorable” QB Matchups
First, this is not a comparison to Josh Allen. The “Favorable/Unfavorable” designation is relative to the NFL as a whole. A bottom half of the league QB is a favorable matchup, top half is unfavorable. It is neither fair nor productive to compare these regular humans to Josh Allen. These mere mortals are being compared to each other and not to the hurricane-in-shorts that is Joshua Patrick Allen. The other columns in the chart below show each QB’s ranking in the following metrics:
- Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA; Football Outsiders) “breaks down every single NFL play and compares a team’s performance to a league baseline based on situation in order to determine value over average.”
- QBR (ESPN) attempts to “incorporate all of a quarterback’s contributions to winning, including how he impacts the game on passes, rushes, turnovers and penalties.”
- STEW is everybody’s favorite grumpy podcaster Bruce Nolan’s composite metric to evaluate QB play. STEW actually incorporates both DVOA and QBR but it’s helpful to see them side-by-side.
In the 2021 pre-season, the Buffalo Bills had a generous schedule of 12 “Favorable” QBs. By season’s end, that number had grown to 13 because Davis Mills is an actual human being who played QB for the Texans instead of Deshaun Watson. They went 9-4 in those matchups. The Bills went 1-1 in each of the “Unfavorable” and “Toss Up” categories to get to 11-6.
Now, in the 2022 pre-season, the Bills’ schedule is not as generous. At 10 “Favorable” and 7 “Unfavorable”, the Bills are expected to face almost twice as many teams with solid quarterback play; and that’s including last year’s “Toss Ups”. There are no true middling QBs on the Bills’ 2022 schedule, unless you consider McCorkle a member of the soft doughy middle.
There are some unpredictable factors:
- Is Mitch Trubisky rehabilitated? Even if he is, is he still the Steelers’ QB in Week 5?
- Will Tannehill have regained the form he showed under Arthur Smith?
- How wonderful will it be to watch TuaNON melt down in the face of the undeniable truth?
Buffalo Bills 2022 Win Total
The Bills are one of the best teams in the NFL and should win the AFC East relatively unchallenged (6 of their 10 Favorable opponent QBs are their 6 games versus the AFC East). But don’t be surprised if they face greater challenges this season overall because of the increased level of play from opposing QBs.
Anything can happen. The Bills might face different opposing quarterbacks because of injury, suspension, or demotion. Last year, the Bills faced clearly “Favorable” Davis Mills instead of Watson. When the Bills (hopefully) march through the regular season, Bills Mafia won’t have put up with “they haven’t played any good teams” comments.
Final Record: 12-5, AFC East Champs for the 3rd straight year