ESPN’s FPI predictions present the Lions transferring up rapidly

Now that the draft is done and the NFL schedule is finalized, we’re going to start seeing projections for how the Detroit Lions will fare in wins and losses in the 2022 season. One of those predictive models takes a slightly different course and it produces an interesting outcome for Detroit.

ESPN’s analytics department, notably analyst Seth Walder, operates what they call the FPI, or Football Power Index. Instead of straight-up picking wins and losses, it formulates a value for each team based on analytical factors including roster makeup, coaching and expected performance. And their model values ​​the Lions at No. 23 overall out of 32 teams.

Not bad for a Detroit team that finished 31st in 2021 with a 3-13-1 record and was the last team to win a game a year ago.

But what is our Football Power Index? It is our predictive model that includes ratings and projections for every NFL team, from how good they are on defense to what their chances are of winning their division.

This is not your typical power rankings. The Lions evaluate at -4.3, sandwiched between the New York Giants (-4.1) and San Francisco 49ers (-6.1). Those 49ers made the NFC Championship game last year, while the Giants were the last-place team in the AFC East at 4-13.

At the bottom of the list: The Chicago Bears, with an abysmal -13.2 rating. They are one of five NFC teams ranked below the Lions, who had the worst record in the conference in 2021.

2022 Football Power Index ratings and rankings!

The rating itself indicates approximately how much better or worse — in points — that team is predicted to be, relative to an average NFL team on a neutral field.

It is a predictive rating.

— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) May 17, 2022

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