Most Likely Super Bowl (07/22/15)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
Bold Predictions – an interesting player or team prediction for the 2015 NFL season.



Each day, over the next two weeks (July 13th – 24th), we will reveal an interesting player or team prediction for the 2015 NFL season. The first five articles of the series will have a fantasy focus while the next five will be bold predictions for the upcoming season.

Previous Articles: Hill leads NFL in rushing, Luck highest scorer in fantasy, Landry over 100 receptions, Peterson is No. 1 running back, Mariota over Winston, New Playoff Teams, Steelers Miss Playoffs

Prediction: Last Year's Conference Championship Losers Will Make the Super Bowl

Let's quickly review how the 2014 season ended for the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts. Both teams reached their respective conference championships and both teams exited the playoffs in brutal fashion.

Green Bay was on the losing end of the biggest comeback in conference championship history. The Packers led 19-7 with three minutes to play and were 99 percent likely to win before Seattle scored 15 points in 44 seconds to force overtime. Seattle won the game on a 35-yard touchdown on the first series in overtime.

What is worse, blowing a big lead or never having a chance to win? The latter was the fate of the Colts. Indy suffered the second most lopsided defeat in AFC Championship game history. New England controlled every facet of the game winning 45-7. The Patriots spent more time being projected as 99 percent likely to win than Indianapolis did keeping it competitive (at least a 25 percent chance of winning).

Time heals all wounds and with the 2015 NFL season quickly approaching, the Packers and Colts are once again favorites to compete for the Lombardi Trophy. Unlike last year, Green Bay and Indianapolis will play in the Super Bowl.

The Packers have had little roster turnover in the offseason and the offense is expected to have the same 11 starters from last year. That continuity is key; Green Bay led the league in scoring in the regular season (486 points) in 2014 and is projected to do so once again. Green Bay is 82.7 percent likely to reach the postseason for a seventh straight year and 63.4 percent likely to win the NFC North for a fifth straight season.

Green Bay was about consistency in the offseason; Indy was about filling holes on their roster. The Colts added offensive lineman Todd Herremans, linebacker Trent Cole, defensive lineman Kendall Langford and former offensive stars in running back Frank Gore and receiver Andre Johnson, among others. Of course, this team will only go as far as Andrew Luck takes them. Already considered one of the best quarterbacks in the game, Luck is poised to take another step forward this season, which is a terrifying thought for an opposing defense.

Indy is 79.0 percent likely to win the AFC South and 87.6 percent likely to make the playoffs. The Colts actually reach the Super Bowl more often than (26.5 percent compared to 24.4 percent) the Packers but Green Bay is the more likely champion (14.8 percent compared to 14.4 percent).