Predicting the winner of the Super Bowl at the start of each season is always difficult, but this year is especially so.
But if you fancy a flutter this season, ESPN have some advice.
ESPN have used their Football Power Index (FPI) to predict all 267 games, including regular season and postseason matches.
And the winners? Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.
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The Saints are among the favourites to lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy and they will be fuelled by the controversial no-call in last season’s NFC Championship Game against the Los Angeles Rams.
According to ESPN, Sean Payton’s team will get redemption and win their second Super Bowl in franchise history.
They simulated the entire NFL slate 20,000 times, using their FPI to predict the likelihood of one team beating another.
“In the preseason, it is based on a few factors, including each team’s preseason win total matched with its schedule, past performance in all three phases of the game, returning starters and who the starting and backup quarterbacks are expected to be,” ESPN write.
“Altogether that gets us a strength rating for every team, which we in turn use to determine game predictions and the likelihood of one team beating another.”
ESPN then took just one of those 20,000 simulations – No. 1,721 – and planned out the entire season with final scores for every game.
NFC playoff seeds: 1. Green Bay Packers, 2. New Orleans Saints, 3. San Francisco 49ers, 4. Philadelphia Eagles, 5. Los Angeles Rams, 6. Atlanta Falcons
Image credit: ESPN
AFC playoff seeds: 1. Los Angeles Chargers, 2. New England Patriots, 3. Cleveland Browns, 4. Houston Texans, 5. Pittsburgh Steelers, 6. Tennessee Titans
Image credit: ESPN
(3) 49ers 37 (6) Falcons 0
(5) Rams 30, (4) Eagles 26
(6) Titans 10, (3) Browns 9
(4) Texans 27, (5) Steelers 17
(5) Rams 30, (1) Packers 17
(2) Saints 27, (3) 49ers 17
(1) Chargers 39, (6) Titans 30
(4) Texans 38, (2) Patriots 26
Saints 17, Rams 10
Chargers 34, Texans 26
Super Bowl LIV:
Saints 40, Chargers 33
So the Saints do it, outscoring Philip Rivers’ Chargers in a high-scoring encounter.
Some things to note from ESPN’s test is the Chiefs failing to make the playoffs and a week 17 showdown between the Patriots and Dolphins deciding the AFC East title.
The 49ers stun the league by winning the NFC West with a record of 11-5.
Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Bengals have the No.1 pick in the 2020 draft after going 3-13.