If there’s one thing that dominates the football news cycle in spring/summer, it’s predictions. Now that the 2021 schedule is set, everyone can take a crack at predicting how the season will play out. Pro Football Focus took a stab at this by using their PFF Elo rating system to simulate the 2021 season 10,000 times.
Using the PFF Elo rating system, PFF grades and available market data, we can simulate the 2021 season 10,000 times to accurately assign distributions for win totals, divisional title odds and the percentage each team makes the playoffs. We can also look at how often each team makes it to — and wins — Super Bowl 56.
Simulations built on the correct inputs are worthwhile, as they give a representation for almost any plausible scenario to play out. They also provide an accurate distribution of the most likely scenarios, which is the most effective way to find futures worth betting in the offseason. Let’s take a look at our most recent simulation output, along with the mispriced opportunities that exist for various odds.
PFF’s season simulation was kind to the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas won the NFC East in 35.8% of the simulations, followed by Washington at 28.2%, New York at 23.2%, and Philadelphia at the bottom winning the division only 12.8% of the time.
The Cowboys made the playoffs in 45.5% of the simulations but made the Super Bowl in just 3.5%. Dallas took home their sixth Lombardi Trophy in just 1.5% of the simulations, 14th in the league.
The reigning champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers led the simulation, winning the Super Bowl 16% of the time, followed by the Kansas City Chiefs at 15.1%, the Green Bay Packers at 13.8%, and the Buffalo Bills at 7.5%.
With the quarterback situation in the NFC East, it’s pretty clear the Cowboys should be seen as the favorites in the division. The PFF simulations seem to back up this claim. With a healthy Dak Prescott, Dallas should have no problem winning at least 8-9 games and taking home the division title for the fourth time since 2014.
Once thet get out of the division, things get a little harder to predict. It’s clear the Cowboys have the firepower on offense to compete with the NFC’s elite, but will their defense be able to hold up? Ultimately, the performance of the Cowboys defense may decide how far this team can go.
What are your thoughts on the simulation? Do you think the Cowboys should be seen as favorites in the division? Do they have a real shot at winning a Super Bowl this season?