Surprise, surprise: The New England Patriots are expected to be good this season.
ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) recently projected the Patriots to represent the AFC in Super Bowl LIII, and FiveThirtyEight’s projections for the 2018 NFL season are equally bullish on New England.
The Patriots have the best odds to hoist the Lombardi Trophy this season, according to FiveThirtyEight, with the average simulated season putting New England at 11.2 wins and 4.8 losses — or an 11-5 mark if we’re to round off those numbers.
Here are the Patriots’ playoff chances, per FiveThirtyEight:
Make playoffs: 82 percent
Win division: 66 percent
First-round bye: 47 percent
Win Super Bowl: 14 percent
The Patriots hold a slight edge over the Philadelphia Eagles, who have a 12 percent chance of repeating as Super Bowl champions, according to FiveThirtyEight. The Atlanta Falcons (8 percent), Pittsburgh Steelers (7 percent) and Minnesota Vikings (7 percent) have the next-best odds.
It should come as no surprise that FiveThirtyEight’s projections expect big things from the Patriots, who lost to the Eagles in Super Bowl LII. New England has won the AFC East in 15 of the last 17 seasons and has made eight Super Bowl trips during the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick era, winning the title on five occasions. So really, this is just business as usual.
That said, the Patriots lost some key players over the offseason, including Malcolm Butler, Nate Solder, Brandin Cooks, Danny Amendola and Dion Lewis. It probably won’t be a walk in the park for New England even if the Patriots ultimately are the last ones standing.
Thumbnail photo via Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports Images