ESPN has just ranked all 32 NFL teams’ chances of winning the Super Bowl using metrics like strength of schedule, number of returning players, and quality of starting and backup quarterback. For the New Orleans Saints (81%), they were given the third-best odds in the NFL - and the best odds in the NFC - to make the playoffs.
Ahead of the Saints in the AFC were the defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs (94%) and the team with the reigning MVP, Lamar Jackson, the Baltimore Ravens (92%). Then the Saints in the NFC, followed by the former division rival San Francisco 49ers (81%). Those first four teams in Kansas City, Baltimore, New Orleans, and San Francisco might not come as a surprise, but the team with the fifth-best odds just might: the Dallas Cowboys (69%).
Interestingly, while the Saints are given slightly better odds to make the playoffs than the 49ers, the Saints were viewed as a slightly less talented team than San Fran. What gave New Orleans the edge was a weaker division in the NFC South, because while the NFC East has four teams that could all have winning records in 2020, the South is expected to be top-heavy with the Saints and Buccaneers fighting for first place. Tampa was given “only” a 63% chance to make the postseason, likely due in part to the lack of a valid backup behind 42-year-old Tom Brady.
Speaking of the rest of the division, the Atlanta Falcons were projected to win only 7 games in 2020 (compared to the Saints projected 10), which would give the Falcons their third straight 7-9 season. The Carolina Panthers were projected to be tied for the third-worst record in the NFL, ahead of only Washington and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Of note, Jacksonville is currently projected to finish with the worst record in 2020, meaning Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence would wind up in Jacksonville for the 2021 season.
In a world where the Saints could wind up with the best record in the NFC, Drew Brees would welcome the bye week. Remember: the 2020 season will be the first year there will be only one team with a bye in each conference, so the fight for the #1 seed has become all that more important.
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