2022 has been the year of the fraud. From Better Call Saul's series finale, the FTX scam, Elizabeth Holmes getting convicted, and Brett Favre being unaware people can take screen shots of text messages, hucksters from all walks of life have been getting exposed. The NFL is no exception. This is the time of year where we have enough evidence to run the appropriate forensic statistics in order to identify not only which teams are frauds, but what type of fraud they profile to. That's really the fun part anyway. Every fraudster has that weird kink that makes them unique. Allow me to build rap sheets on the league's most fraudulent of 2022 and slap their dossier on the table for your review.
#4 Tennessee Titans
Before we get to the more heinous offenders let's talk about the good kid that got caught in over their head. That's the Tennessee Titans. They're not the type that showboats their ice on airplanes or has to depend on smash and grab robbery at the end of games - they just go out each and every week and grind with the little talent they have. I mean this team somehow managed to finagle taking the Chiefs to overtime in a game despite having zero completions to a wide receiver.
The Titans might be on top in the AFC South, but their prize win so far came against the 7-5 Washington Commanders. The scam they've been running is just that they beat the bona fide shitty teams on their schedule with a healthy mix of excellent coaching and no name players outside of Derrick Henry. The stats back this claim up. Below I crunched the average win percentage for all NFL team's teams beaten. For example, I took all the teams Tennessee beat and totaled those teams wins and loses and averaged them out. And as you can see the Titans beaten opponents have the second worst record in the NFL:
OK, point made on the Titans. I don't think you really needed much convincing anyway, so let's have some fun and pivot to the only team worse than them on this list for the remainder of the Titans section: The Raiders. Obviously, the Raiders aren't anywhere near good enough to be fraudulent, but had they just beat the pathetic Rams last Thursday - a team in such disarray they played a jet-lagged quarterback who practically had to jump out of the airplane into the stadium on game day to meet his new team - the Raiders might have had an argument for "fraud-adjacent". But at this point, even that pirate ship has sailed. The team who's literal mascot name basically means "people who fraud" are so shitty they can't even reach fraud status.
#3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs are the SBF type of fraud in the sense that everyone knows they are frauds except for them. And in very FTX fashion, it seems just like yesterday this team was on top of the game and everyone was on their bandwagon. They were the toast of the town and appeared in a Super Bowl in the past couple of years just like FTX. Now everyone can see what they've become. Just a bunch a frauds hiding in the tropical south.
Since the 2002 division realignment, there have only been six divisions who's leading team after Week 14 was below .500. That was before the Bucs made the 2022 NFC South the 7th on Sunday. Here are the leading teams from all such divisions without considering tie breakers.
Combined playoff wins from all teams on this list? One. Only the 2010 Seahawks managed a playoff victory in the famous Marshawn Lynch earthquake game. Most of these teams failed to even make the playoffs but for all other teams that did - here's how things went:
- 2020 Football Team: L 31-23
- 2019 Eagles: L 17-9
- 2015 Texans: L 30-0
- 2015 Redskins: L 35-18
#2 New York Giants
The Giants were able to ride new coach good luck for the first half of the season going 6-1 atop the NFC East. In the six weeks they've played afterwards, their only win came against the 1-11-1 Texans and they now find themselves at prison bottom of the division. They've been exposed, charged, and convicted. That makes them the Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes type of fraud. This team grew way too fast from the start of the Daboll era without the proper checks and balances and found success with a product that clearly doesn't work. If someone came up with a blood test that could detect NFL team frauds, this team would test positive.
Just like Theranos, we all sort of knew all along this team was too good to be true and the forensics back this up. I get how the shot they took in Week 1 by going for two for the win excited people into buying in. But when you actually put this team under the microscope you discover that of the 227 teams since the merger with a 7-5 record (dismissing ties), the Giants have the eighth worst point differential at -33. Sunday's laugher vs the Eagles put the official conviction and sentencing on this team.
#1 Minnesota Vikings
Meet the most cunning and conniving high profile fraudster ever to travel around the country pretending to be something they are not. A team that has duped pretty much everyone they've ever met into thinking they're bona fide. A team that flies around on airplanes flaunting their fake credentials. A team that takes advantage of their victim's stupidity (late in games) before running off never to see them again. I think we can all agree the proper comp for the Minnesota Vikings is Frank Abagnale Jr. from Catch Me If You Can.
The problem with the Vikings is that they are running out of victims dumb enough to be able to con into pissing games away at the end. Without that, they're just the only 10-3 team in NFL history with a negative point differential as shown by the graph above. But it's not just the point differential - it's yardage too. I tracked all teams difference in yards gained on offense vs given up on defense below. The Vikings find themselves at -790 which is fourth worst. Here's the bottom ten teams:
Unsurprisingly, the aforementioned Giants and Titans found themselves at the scene of this crime too. But just like Frank Abagnale Jr., the Vikings have been running scams for years. For the Vikings - it's been the same old point differential gig. I mentioned the Giants have the 8th worst point differential of any 7-5 team ever. Want to know what franchise is not only the current biggest 10-3 fraud ever but also the biggest 7-5 fraud ever?
You like that Skol nation? I sure hope not. The fact of the matter though is the 2022 Vikings are making the playoffs one way or the other. It's just going to be an ugly scene when they get caught. But for now we may as well let them enjoy Christmas before the post-season reveals them for what they are.