Week 4 of the NFL season begins tonight. We only have three games worth of data, but in the NFL, that is nearly one fifth of the season. There are some surprise 3-0 teams and some surprise 0-3 teams and even some surprise teams in between. But we don’t really care what a team’s record is now. We want to know what the team’s record will be at the end of the season.
We posted the playoff and other futures odds in our newest simulation post yesterday. But this will take it a step further and let you know what the most likely result is for all 32 teams in the league. We’ll go division by division.
The Patriots are the favorites to win the Super Bowl and have the best median projection of any team in the league. The surprise of this division is that the Jets most likely finish is 6-10 after narrowly missing out on the playoffs last season. The Jets next four games are against the Seahawks, Steelers, Cardinals, and Ravens. They also still play the Patriots twice. While they could turn it around, it could also get ugly for the J-E-T-S.
The Ravens and Steelers should both be battling it out for the AFC North title while the Bengals look like they may be taking a step backward. The Browns have the worst projected median record at only 3 wins and are the lead candidate to have the first overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Once again, the AFC South projects to be the worst division in football. The Texans (48%) are a slight favorite to win the division over the Colts (41%) despite losing their best player on defense for what looks like the remainder of the season. Many were touting this as the year the Jaguars took a step forward, but at 0-3, it looks they are still standing in the same place as last season.
From the worst projected division to the best. The Broncos defense doesn’t look like it has fallen off from last year’s championship team and they have a quarterback who appears to be able to improve on Peyton Manning’s play from last season. Even at 1-2, the Chargers still have a 20% chance to make the playoffs despite the loss of the extremely gritty Danny Woodhead.
This looks like a very competitive division as it has been the last few seasons. There is a caveat that we still don’t technically know when Tony Romo will return at quarterback for the Cowboys. I’m still going with my preseason prediction of Week 9. The Eagles are flying high after a 3-0 start but a division title is not a sure thing by any means.
The Vikings are off to an impressive 3-0 start beating two quality teams in the Packers and Panthers. They are now the projected favorite in the NFC North and have the best shot of reaching the Super Bowl in the NFC. The Packers are still projected to make the playoffs at 10-6 so all of you Green Bay fans can R-E-L-A-X.
The Panthers are still favored to win the division but as we predicted, there would be some regression after their 15-1 regular season in 2015. The Saints are projected to finish 5-11 and may be in line for the highest draft pick since Brees arrived in New Orleans.
The Seahawks are again the favorite in the West, with Arizona getting off to a rough and surprising 1-2 start including surprising losses to the Patriots and Bills. Jeff Fisher won’t be happy with this prediction of 7-9 for the Rams after his comments on Hard Knocks.
Most likely AFC playoff bracket:
Most likely NFC playoff bracket:
Race for 1st overall draft pick: