The New England Patriots
might have had a fair share of challenges in recent times but that has not denied them the chance to be touted as one of the top teams this season. ESPN's Football Power Index (FPI) has put Bill Belichick and Tom Brady atop this list. The Patriots have a strong team and the only other two teams that will be in contention for the top prize will be the Steelers and the Eagles. This year, Steelers odds look really great but they have to win the battle against their two main opponents.
The FPI considers several things to come up with the teams with the highest chance to win the Super Bowl, among the issues considered, are the team's offense and defense capabilities. All the three teams have definitely had great improvements and their successes have been a testament of that. It is, therefore, no surprise that the three teams are at the top of the FPI.
Parallels drawn between the NFC and the Western Conference
The NFC has been compared to the NBA's Western Conference going by how the power has been distributed in the game. With most of the NFC teams appearing in the FPI, it has become almost impossible to draw parallels with the Western Conference. There are some clear differences in the overall dynamics though as there is no single dominant team in the NFC. Other than that, the rest of the configuration is pretty similar to the Western Conference. The AFC is a totally different story where there are only two clear dominating teams.
The most likely teams to ascend to the playoffs
The playoffs have seen at least four new teams every season. This year, it appears like the 49ers, Texans, Chargers, and Packers will make the ascension. All of these teams have performed impressively in a variety of ways.
There are other things that are captured in the FPI aside from rankings. These include the defensive and offensive ability, changes in the team composition and the resulting unity strength of teams. The FPI notes significant improvement for the Rams, who ranked second in these metrics down from 11th. The individual strengths of the players on the team have been specifically highlighted as the main contributor to the improved rating. Other teams like the Buccanneers, Packers, and Texans have also seen their FPI rating being affected by their style of play.
Despite its mostly sound predictions, the FPI might have analyzed some teams that still have a lot of time to make changes. A team like the Browns has for instance been touted by the FPI as one of those most likely to improve. This, however, is a premature suggestion since many issues will need to be addressed first. Other than that, there are many alternate realities that might likely play out as suggested by the FPI. The changing structure of teams will, for instance, affect the team dynamics in the incoming weeks.
The likely game of the year matchup
Week 15 seems to be the time for a New England and Pittsburgh clash which will be christened game of the year. All metrics currently point to this likelihood and there are no other teams that will bring the flair than than these two teams.