|Photo: +The Associated Press|
The statistic-based analytical website has been projecting win totals for several years now, and has a track record of mixed success. Last season, the website correctly predicted five of the eight division winners and eight of the 12 playoff teams.
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Using advanced statistics, Football Outsiders also predicted the +Washington Redskins and the +Houston Texans, the two worst teams in the league record-wise, would both win their respective divisions. Injuries ravaged what could have been a good season for both teams but, in hindsight, it’s hard to imagine either of those teams making the playoffs with a healthy roster, let alone winning their division.
So who is Football Outsiders projecting success for this year? Let’s take a look.
It’s no surprise that the website is projecting the +Denver Broncos to have the best record (12-4) in the league this year. The team fell just short of a Super Bowl victory and returns Peyton Manning, Von Miller and a host of other elite players.
The top team in the NFC? The +New Orleans Saints, with an 11-5 record. Drew Brees, Sean Payton and Co. won 11 games a year ago and lost at Seattle in the divisional round of the playoffs.
The other two division winners are projected to be the Super Bowl winning +Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers, who should have a healthy Aaron Rodgers ready to go. Both teams are each projected to win 10 games, as are the +New England Patriots, the +Philadelphia Eagles and the +Indianapolis Colts.
Here is where I start to get a little skeptical. Football Outsiders has the +San Francisco 49ers only winning nine games, the same amount as the +New York Giants. I understand the uncertainty of +Colin Kaepernick, and that he perhaps could miss games following a sexual assault investigation, and that the Niners have a top 5 strength of schedule. Still, nine games is a hit for a team that talented. After all, the Broncos and Seahawks also have one of the tougher schedules in 2014.
On a personal note, I’m surprised the Bears — after the offseason they’ve had — are only projected to win eight games. Full disclosure: I’m a Bears fan. call me partial and even biased, but Chicago’s roster is too talented to not improve upon last year’s record. The +Chicago Bears’ SOS is average.
+ESPN.com NFL draft insider Todd McShay has released his early 2015 mock draft based on Football Outsiders’ projections. Check out the first round of his mock draft to see where every team is expected to finish this year.