Our friends at Football Outsiders have run the NFL playoffs 50,000 times and the Denver Broncos have emerged as the favorites to win the Super Bowl, taking home the Lombardi Trophy 26.2% of the time.
Not surprisingly, the New England Patriots came in a close second, winning the coveted trophy 24.3% of the time.
They used DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) to calculate the likelihood of each of the virtual matchups. DVOA is prety complicated, to say the least, but here’s how they (briefly) explain it:
DVOA is a method of evaluating teams, units, or players. It takes every single play during the NFL season and compares each one to a league-average baseline based on situation. DVOA measures not just yardage, but yardage towards a first down: Five yards on third-and-4 are worth more than five yards on first-and-10 and much more than five yards on third-and-12. Red zone plays are worth more than other plays. Performance is also adjusted for the quality of the opponent. DVOA is a percentage, so a team with a DVOA of 10.0% is 10 percent better than the average team, and a quarterback with a DVOA of -20.0% is 20 percent worse than the average quarterback. Because DVOA measures scoring, defenses are better when they are negative.
See? Complicated, but pretty darn cool.
Here’s how everything broke down, team by team:
|Team||Conf App||Conf Win||SB Win|
Better yet, they even went and calculated the likelihood of some media-friendly matchups, like a rematch of Super Bowl XXIV when San Francisco rolled over Denver, or a Pete Carroll Reunion Special between the Patriots and Seahawks:
|Super Bowl XXIV rematch (DEN-SF)||13.2%|
|Randy Moss Reunion Special (NE-SF)||12.8%|
|Super Bowl XXXIII rematch (DEN-ATL)||10.7%|
|Pete Carroll Reunion Special (NE-SEA)||8.1%|
|Super Bowl XXXII rematch (DEN-GB)||6.3%|
|Super Bowl XXXI rematch (NE-GB)||5.7%|
|Shanahan’s Revenge (DEN-WAS)||2.8%|
|Bill Walsh Memorial Bowl (CIN-SF)||2.2%|
|Harbaugh Bowl (BAL-SF)||2.2%|
|2008 Draft Showdown (BAL-ATL)||1.8%|
|Matt Schaub’s Revenge (HOU-ATL)||0.7%|
|Beltway Bowl (BAL-WAS)||0.5%|
|2012 Draft Showdown (IND-WAS)||0.1%|