As the NFL season rolls along, the serious contenders for the Super Bowl are starting to emerge after week 4. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers look strong, after Tom Brady led his new team to a close win in his old stomping grounds, beating the New England Patriots 19-17. The Arizona Cardinals are the only remaining undefeated team, after trouncing the L.A. Rams 37-20 to move to 4-0.
There is, of course, a lot of football left in the regular season, but some teams are proving that they can play with the best, and could be tough to beat in the playoffs.
To determine how each NFL team will finish the 2021 season, 24/7 Tempo reviewed FiveThirtyEight’s 2021 NFL predictions for how the season will play out, based on 50,000 simulated games, as of September 23, 2021. Supplemental data came from Pro Football Reference.
With 32 teams competing for a shot at the Super Bowl, even the top teams are projected to have just over a 10% chance of winning the title. While it may be too early to say who will win the Super Bowl, we have a good idea of who won’t — the winless Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars have almost no chance of even making the postseason, much less competing for a title.
More than a month into the season, injuries are starting to affect how teams can perform. In week 5’s Thursday night game, Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson left the game with an injured finger, and it is unclear when he will be fit to play again. Teams that have invested in depth by signing quality backups and rotation players will be able to better weather any injuries to their starters, and stand a better chance of making a deep run in the playoffs. These are the teams paying their players the most and the least.