Six weeks into the NFL season there remains one undefeated and one winless team. Minnesota has a perfect record (5-0) and Cleveland is defeated. What’s more likely: 16-0 or 0-16?
The Vikings are the surprise team of 2016. The Purple and Gold have started fast despite injuries to Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson. The team has found success by relying on its defense. The unit is second in DVOA, tops in the league in points allowed (12.6), third in sacks (19) and second in takeaways (7 interceptions, five fumbles).
The offense hasn’t been bad either. A resurgent Sam Bradford leads the NFL in completion percentage (70.4%) and the offense takes care of the ball (only one turnover).
Can the Vikings run the table?
After 10,000 simulations of the 2016 season, Minnesota has a 3.4% chance of joining the New England Patriots as the only teams to go unbeaten since the NFL expanded to a 16-game regular season in 1978.
Even though Mike Zimmer’s squad is our most likely playoff participant and Super Bowl Champion, it is improbable that the Vikings go undefeated. The schedule moving forward is not easy: seven of Minnesota’s final 11 opponents are .500 or better. For as well as Bradford has played he will eventually throw an interception and the injuries the team has been able to overcome could catch up to them.
The last time the Browns started 0-6 was 1999. So even for Cleveland this is a rough start. The Browns have lost nine straight dating back to last season and have started five different quarterbacks in that span.
Will Hue Jackson’s team join the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only squads to go 0-16? According to the simulations, there is a 4.3% chance that Cleveland goes winless.
Just as it is difficult to win every game, losing them all proves equally challenging. Rookie quarterback Cody Kessler has been competent under center. The offense ranks 26th in points/game (18.8) and 19th in yards/game (348.0). Better than you thought probably. Cleveland has been competitive this season and the numbers suggest they will get off the schneid before season’s end.
Still, when debating what is more likely to happen, 16-0 or 0-16, the Browns futility trumps the Vikings excellence.
There are Pro System picks in upcoming games for the Vikings and Browns.
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