Week 1 finally finished with the now-standard Monday Night double header, and I can start prognosticating on who's going to lift the Lombardi trophy in February. The NFL dropped the Roman numerals this year, so I guess I will too. I'm not putting any tacky gold accents on these posts though. Not yet anyway.
Here's a quick rundown taken from last year's introductory post.
Each year I project the Superbowl match-up after each day of games. The method is not of my own design, but the implementation is. Each team's strength is determined based on points scored and points allowed, and scaled to make the average of all teams .500. Then, the remainder of the season and playoffs are simulated millions of times, and I report to you the chances of each team reaching each round of the playoffs. It's had mixed results in the past, but that's the nature of taking 1 weighted random sample out of millions of potential outcomes.As always, the team with the biggest week 1 win, as measured by (points for)/(total game points) is currently the strongest, and generally is the favorite to win it all. This year that honor goes to San Francisco, and the opposite position goes to their opponent, Minnesota. Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean much this early in the year, but it's a good start. I'd use the example that Minnesota was the projected champ after week 1 last year, but there were quite the extenuating circumstances that led to their fall to 7-9. Tennessee is the most likely team to win the AFC, thus they are projected to make the Superbowl over the slightly stronger Jets. That's because Tennessee is currently 1 game ahead of everyone else in the AFC South division, while everyone in the Jets' AFC East is 1-0.
Last year, St. Louis was that bottom team in week 1, losing to Minnesota, and I called for them to put in Austin Davis or make a crazy trade for a proven quarterback. They went with option 2, trading starter for starter and got Nick Foles for Sam Bradford. I've seen a few non-homer media projections of 9-7 and even 10-6 for a wildcard slot, so I'm hoping this year the pundits know what they are talking about. After beating Seattle, the football mood in St. Louis is as though we're already in the playoffs.
Just for good measure, I ran my simulations 1 billion times, taking almost 10 hours of CPU time (they get faster as the year goes on and fewer games have to be simulated)...and then found out my schedule was wrong. I had Green Bay playing Atlanta in week 16, instead of Arizona, which was probably a result of me trying to auto-complete the text entry to finish the schedule more quickly. So here I have a mere 100 million runs, because I didn't have another 10 hours to burn.