The forthcoming NFL season is going to notoriously difficult to predict. So what would you say I we told you that the path to Super Bowl glory had already been mapped out? Don’t worry, we’re not venturing in the direction of Russian conspiracies or pre-election fixes. The good folks at ESPN have simulated the 2020/21 NFL season and come up with the team they think will lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy on 7th February next year.
It’s a very hard predicting the outcome of a single game of American football, so to simulate an entire season takes a lot of work indeed. Is it possible to be successful, though, and do the odds tally with the forecasts? Let’s take a look at exactly how it breaks down.
In the AFC, the predictions of the ESPN super-computer have the Ravens and Steelers both making the post-season from the North, with each side expected to get 12 wins from their 16 fixtures. That’s a tall order for the very best teams, but at 7/1 to win the 55th annual Super Bowl, the Ravens are favoured by the bookies ahead of the Steelers, available at 25/1. At those odds, perhaps the Steelers are the better bet.
In the AFC South, forecasts call a tight division sending the Houston Texans (60/1) through with the Indianapolis Colts (33/1), with both the Titans and Jaguars missing out, the latter to the tune of just three regular season wins, something that would give them the NFL draft’s famous ‘first pick’ for 2021.