NFL Prediction (07/07/13)

By Paul Bessire

Each day over the next two weeks we will reveal a Prediction of the Day, where we share an interesting player or team prediction leading into the 2013 NFL season. Rams vs. Falcons, Tampa Bay's defense.

Prediction: Neither the Denver Broncos nor the San Francisco 49ers will make the Super Bowl.  

Why it is likely:

Denver and San Francisco are the best teams from their respective conferences headed into 2013. That does not mean that their regular and postseason success is even likely, let alone guaranteed. Though favorites in their conference, San Francisco has just a 48.4% chance at this point to make the NFC Championship game and a 31.3% chance to make the Super Bowl. Denver’s path out of the AFC is a little easier as the Broncos make (likely host) the AFC Championship game 56.3% of the time, yet only get to the Super Bowl 34.8%.

Possible obstacles:

Denver wins 1.2 more games on average in our 50,000 simulations than ANY AFC team, which gives the Broncos an incredibly high (for this time of year) 93.8% chance to make the playoffs and a very good chance of being the AFC’s top seed. San Francisco is in a tough battle with Seattle in NFC West, yet still wins more games (11.3 to 11.0) than the Seahawks or any other NFC team (Green Bay is next at 10.2).

Final thought:

In the decade that we have been conducting this analysis on the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL, no team has been greater than a 30% favorite to win a pro sports championship before the season started and only the Miami Heat this season were greater than 50% likely to make the championship at this point. As exciting as it is to be a Broncos fan these days, keep in mind that it is more likely that a team that did not even make the playoffs last season wins the Super Bowl than that Denver does. For the 49ers, the Patriots, Bears, Panthers, Dolphins and Rams combine to be more likely to win it all than San Francisco.