Studying NFL 2023 Wins and Losses to Predict 2024

With the NFL schedule release this week, there will be endless dissecting of it to find advantages or disadvantages for all 32 teams. Many people will use this 17-game set as a means for predicting how teams will fare in ’24. For as much as I also love looking ahead to the fall and the big games on the schedule, I always feel that the degree by which a team will improve or decline in any given season is determined by other factors, and I prove it through the data that I study each spring. 

Over the last two weeks, I’ve studied the draft, the new coaches and the new starting quarterbacks. As I continue to ramp up my offseason NFL work, my next couple of pieces will dig into a subject I call Changeover Systems. I refer to them as such because they are data angles that take records and/or statistics from one season to provide insight as to which teams might be better or worse in the follow-up season. These are always very popular articles, and they wind up being a major factor in what goes into my regular-season win total wagers.


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This article is often extremely predictive. Perhaps the highlight of this analysis came four years ago when many of these most optimistic systems pointed to the Buccaneers enjoying a breakout 2020 season. All the Bucs did was go on to win the Super Bowl. In 2022, the predictions were strong all over with major improvements for teams including the Seahawks, Vikings and Giants being cited. Then a year ago, these systems called for severe drops from those same Vikings and Giants, with the Chargers sprinkled in as well. All of those teams won at least three fewer games last season. I was able to cash in on these predictions, based heavily on the Changeover Systems I will unveil now and in Part 2 next week.

This exercise continues my spring routine of getting ready for the upcoming NFL season, and in it, I go through the list of won/lost and statistical traits that are most important to determine which NFL teams have the best chance of getting better or worse and by how much. In the first part of this series, I will analyze the quality and quantity of teams’ won-lost records by various means. Next week, I will dig into several key statistical angles that typically lead to significant improvement or decline. 

Before digging into the data, however, here’s a quick explanation as to why I believe these findings prove to be so impactful. I have always felt that the NFL is unlike any other sports league in that teams can make quick definitive turnarounds from year to year, both positively and negatively. It’s not unusual for teams to go from first to worst or vice versa, and unlike the NBA or NHL, more than half the teams that qualify for the playoffs can differ from the prior campaign. As such, it benefits the bettor greatly to know the traits that lead to teams improving or declining quickly. What is the typical resume of a team that improves greatly from one season to the next? Those who can find the answers to these questions can take advantage of not only the futures wagers and season win totals available before a season, but also the point spreads in the early weeks of the season before those setting the odds can catch up.

Read through the findings over the next couple of weeks and make your own assessments of the teams that might not be what we saw from them in 2023. Then factor in the coaching changes, free-agent transactions and draft results, and head to the betting window. I will share my conclusions, along with my updated 2024 NFL Power Ratings in the next couple of weeks.

Systems of teams that had an unusually high or low total of close wins the prior season

  • In 2019, Seattle’s 10 “close wins” (8 points or fewer) were the most by any team in the NFL over the last 23 seasons. In that span, of the 33 teams that managed 8+ close wins, only four improved the next season and the average DECLINE for the other 29 teams was 3.3 wins per season.

Teams affected in 2024: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh

  • The last eight seasons have shown another trend against teams that win a lot of close games. In that span, 59 teams have won 6+ games by 8 points or fewer. Of that group, only 12 have improved the next season, with the other 47 DROPPING OFF by 3.1 wins per year.

Teams affected in 2024: Buffalo, Cleveland, Green Bay, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, L.A. Rams, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Seattle

Systems of teams that had an unusually high or low total of close losses the prior season 

  • Since ’93, 43 teams have lost 8+ games in “close loss” format, that being one possession or less (8 points). Of those, 37 improved the next season, with a combined average IMPROVEMENT of a hefty 3.84 wins per season.

Teams affected in 2024: L.A. Chargers, New England, Minnesota

  • Over the last two decades, 124 teams have gone into the next season after losing at least six games by one score or less (<=8 points). Of these, 91 teams IMPROVED their won-lost record the next season, including 48 of them by 4+ wins. The average improvement of the 91 teams was 3.8 wins per season. Of the 13 teams that qualified for this angle in 2023, only Tennessee got worse, by one game.

Teams affected in 2024: Atlanta, Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, L.A. Chargers, Minnesota, New England, New Orleans, Tennessee, Washington

Systems of teams that had an unusually high or low total of blowout wins the prior season

  • In 2022, Buffalo became the first team since the ’98 Broncos to record at least nine double-digit wins in a season and improve its won-lost record the next season. Since that ’98 Denver team, the average win DECLINE of the other 31 qualifying teams was -3.9.

Team affected in 2024: Baltimore, Dallas, San Francisco

  • Over the last 27 seasons, 46 teams have recorded at least five blowout wins (20+ points) in a season. Of them, only six improved their won-lost record the next season. The other 40 combined for an average win DECLINE of -3.33.

Team affected in 2024: Buffalo, Dallas, Miami

  • Over the last 30 seasons, 35 teams have won 7 or more games with ONE OR FEWER by double-digit margins. This is typically a DECLINE situation, as only 11 of the 35 improved the next season. The other 24 combined for an average DECLINE of 1.9 wins per season.

Teams affected in 2024: Minnesota, Pittsburgh

  • Ironically, teams that won five or fewer games, NONE by double-digit margins, have shown significant improvement in the follow-up season. In fact, since 1993, there have been 52 such teams, and 50 of them IMPROVED the next season, by an average of 3.9 wins per season, including one by as many as 10 games.

Teams affected in 2024: Carolina, New England, Washington

Systems of teams that had an unusually high or low total of blowout losses the prior season

  • Since 2001, 62 teams have lost seven games or more in a season but suffered ZERO blowout losses (20+ points). These teams have shown a tendency for IMPROVEMENT, with only 17 of the 62 dropping off. The other 45 improved by 2.33 wins per season.

Teams affected in 2024: Green Bay, New Orleans, Tampa Bay

  • As another key sign of how teams can quickly improve from a dreadful season, over the last 30 seasons, 76 teams have lost at least eight games in a season by double-digit margins. Of those, 57 IMPROVED the next season, and by an average of 3.68 wins per year, including the Rams a year ago, by 5 games.

Teams affected in 2024: Arizona, Carolina

  • Since ’94, 88 double-digit win teams have suffered at least three of their losses by double-digit margins. Almost half of those teams (43) DROPPED dramatically the next season, by at least 3 wins. The average drop for the 62 teams that did DECLINE was 3.8 wins per season.

Teams affected in 2024: Cleveland, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh

Systems of teams based on their playoff results from the prior season

  • Only three of the last 30 teams that lost in the Super Bowl improved their won-lost record in the follow-up season, with an average win DECLINE of 3.33 per season. Those that had 7+ double-digit wins in that prior SB losing season declined by 4.0 wins on average.

Team affected in 2024: San Francisco (had 11 double-digit wins)

  • Alternatively, the last 31 teams that won the Super Bowl were far better off in maintaining success, with only a 1.4 win DROP-OFF per season, boasting an average won-lost record of 10.7-5.3. Kansas City was 11-6 last season after their prior year title. Only three of those 31 teams finished under .500 the next season, including the 2022 Rams, who went 5-12.

Team affected in 2024: Kansas City

  • NONE of the 42 teams in the last 27 years that won 13 games or more and DIDN’T make the Super Bowl improved their won-lost record the following season and only four equaled that prior win total. The average win DECLINE was 3.71 per season!

Team affected in 2024: Baltimore

  • All 11 teams since 2000 that had won fewer games than the prior season in three straight seasons have IMPROVED their won-lost record, by an average of 4.5 wins per season.

Teams affected in 2024: Unfortunately, none for this season

  • Since 2002, only one of the 19 teams that had recorded improved records in three straight seasons continued that trend. The average DROP for the declining group was 4.44 wins per season, with an average season win total of 6.4.

Team affected in 2024: Unfortunately, none for this season

  • Of the 34 teams since 2005 that won 6+ games fewer than the prior season, 30 rebounded to IMPROVE their won-lost record in the follow-up campaign, by an average of 3.9 wins per season.

Team affected in 2024: Minnesota

  • Only five of the last 50 teams since ’98 that won 6+ more games than the prior season improved in the following campaign, with an average season win DROP of 3.47 from the other 45 teams.

Teams affected in 2024: Houston