Stats Show NFL Preseason for 1st-Team Offense Might Actually Matter

Stats Show NFL Preseason for 1st-Team Offense Might Actually Matter
By Christopher Boan

It was a season opener to forget for the reigning AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, falling to their division rivals from Pittsburgh in overtime at home.  

During that contest, one storyline that emerged was the inconsistency of former No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow, who threw for 338 yards and two scores, but also had four interceptions in the loss.  

Much ado has been made about Burrow’s performance in Week 1, given the third-year QB’s absence during the Bengals’ three preseason contests, with some pondering whether or not that lack of playing time contributed to his erratic play on Sunday.  

It’s worth noting that several of the league’s signal-callers sat out the 2022 NFL preseason, with New York Jets’ QB Zach Wilson’s knee injury serving as a reason for some coaches to abstain from putting their top QB’s in during the exhibition contests.  

BetOhio.com broke down Burrow’s Week 1 performance against the rest of the NFL’s starting QBs to see how his outing fared. Ohio sports betting won’t start until Jan. 1, 2023, but there is a lot of interest in the NFL before it begins.

Ten Offenses Limited in Preseason

Of note, the teams that didn’t play their first-team offenses during the preseason, in addition to the Bengals, were the Super Bowl champion L.A. Rams, as well as the Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, Las Vegas Raiders and L.A. Chargers.  

Just three of those teams won their regular-season opening game — the Ravens, Vikings and Chargers. The Vikings’ and Chargers’ wins were against teams that didn’t use their first-team offenses in preseason (the Packers and Raiders).

By comparison, teams that did play their starters in the exhibitions went 12-8-2 in Week 1, while averaging more points (23.0 vs. 16.7), more offensive yards  (357.2, vs. 331.6) and first downs (21.4, vs. 19.0) during their openers.  

NFL Week 1 Regular-Season Offensive Production After Playing in Preseason Or Not

Record Points Avg. Yards avg. 1st Downs avg.
Playing preseason 12-8-2 23.0 ppg 357.2 ypg 21.4 fdpg
Skipping preseason 3-7 16.7 ppg 331.6 ypg 19.0 fdpg

How Joe Burrow’s Week 1 Stacked Up

Burrow finished 33 of 53 for 338 yards with two TDs and four INTs. Other statistics from some quarterbacks who didn’t play preseason:

  • Matthew Stafford of the Rams was 29 of 41 for 240 yards, one TD and three INTS in a 31-10 loss to the Bills.
  • The Ravens’ Lamar Jackson was 17 of 30 with three TDs and one INT in a 24-9 win over the Jets. That was one of the three wins for teams that didn’t play their first-team offenses in preseason.
  • Aaron Rodgers of the Packers was 22 of 34 for just 195 yards and one INT in a loss to the Vikings.
  • The Raiders’ Derek Carr completed 22 of 37 passes for 295 yards, two TDS and three INTs in a loss to the Chargers.

The good news for Burrow is that he gets to play another team that rested its starters (the Dallas Cowboys) in Week 2, and Cowboys starting QB, Dak Prescott, will miss the game with a thumb injury.  

It was an opening week to forget for Burrow and the Bengals, but luckily for all involved, there’s still 16 more games to play before the curtain falls on the 2022 NFL regular season and you have to like the Bengals' playoff chances.

quote

Contributors

Christopher Boan writes for BetOhio.com and has been covering sports and sports betting for more than seven years, with experience at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

Cited by leading media organizations, such as:

Scroll to top