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Cover 4: Lessons learned from 2022 NFL season


What did we learn from the 2022 NFL season? The crew puts a bow on it and discusses league-wide trends that could impact 2023:

John Schmeelk: You need to score points to win games. You score points by making explosive plays. You make explosive plays by throwing the ball downfield. You throw the ball downfield when you have a good quarterback with electric weapons outside and good protection up front. All of this might sound simple, but these basic principles are the prism through which I'm viewing the offseason.

This year, every team that scored 400 points made the playoffs except for one, the Detroit Lions. The teams that made the playoffs without scoring 400 points were the Giants (365), Ravens (350 despite the Lamar Jackson injury), Dolphins (397 despite the Tua Tagovailoa injury), Chargers (391) and Buccaneers (313).

Of the 11 teams that finished with the fewest passes that went for at least 25 yards, only three teams made the playoffs: the Giants, Ravens, and Buccaneers. The Giants were tied with the Rams with the fewest such passes (16) in the NFL this season. Of the eight teams that allowed the highest sack rate this season, only the Giants made the playoffs.

If the Giants can improve in these areas, they should be able to sustain their success next season. If they don't, it may be difficult to walk away from 2023 with another playoff berth.

Dan Salomone: The story throughout the year was the frequency of close games and comebacks. The average final score margin of 9.70 points this season was the lowest since 1932 (9.13). The 2022 NFL regular season set records for the most…

Games decided by six-or-fewer points: 122

Games decided by seven-or-fewer points: 141

Games decided by eight-or-fewer points: 156

Games within one score (eight points) in fourth quarter: 203

Games in which team overcame deficit of 10-or-more points to win or tie: 52

Games in which team came back to win after trailing in fourth quarter: 85

Games with game-winning score in final two minutes of regulation or in overtime: 66

It wasn't quite the NBA where you don't need to pay attention until the fourth quarter, but it was close. That means teams need to catch up to the hottest, freshest, trendiest trend right now: You can go far with good coaching, shrewd talent acquisition, dynamic quarterbacks, sound line play, and situational football on defense and special teams. That's how you navigate the razor-thin margins.

View photos of head coach Brian Daboll's time with the New York Giants.