ESPN: Early 2017 Team Projections

Here we go with our first run of Football Outsiders team projections for 2017; this year, ESPN asked me to run them both before and after the draft. (The variable for adding defensive talent from the draft is calculated by using half the draft pick value each team currently has.) Bad news for Pats haters: New England ranks No. 32 in projected schedule. Controversial findings: Both L.A. teams in playoff contention, Denver near the bottom of the league, and a big rebound from Arizona. (I personally question the system on that last one.)

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8 comments, Last at 23 Apr 2017, 4:32am

1 Re: ESPN: Early 2017 Team Projections

I read somewhere Arizona was 2-5-1 in one score games. That would make me think they would be a good candidate for a rebound.

Don't have Insider, but I expect the Jets to be really low on the projections. Sam Darnold low.

3 Re: ESPN: Early 2017 Team Projections

Yeah, the "release everybody you've heard of" strategy seems like a brilliant move if they get a franchise quarterback out of it, though it probably won't help Bowles (and this looks like it's going to be a great qb class, even beyond Darnold, who aounds like the best prospect since Luck)

2 Re: ESPN: Early 2017 Team Projections

Broncos have shaky offence (tends to be more consistent year-on-year). Excellent defence (tends to be more likely to return to mean year-on-year). Both units declined last year from previous year and their strength of schedule (and division opponents) are both tough. Not surprised to see them predicted to not do so well. A new and unproven coach taking over in unusual circumstances likely doesn't do them any favours either.

Think they could be a good pick to outplay projection as at least two divisional rivals are in flux in some respects : can Carr return well for Raiders and how much does the upcoming move affect them? How will the Chargers situation affect them? I could see (as a Broncos fan) anything from first to last place in the division this coming season, should be interesting at least early on (could be a horror show, or remain in contention as the season goes on). I feel it is unlikely to be a dull year in Denver whether good or bad : sort of <5 wins or >9 with less chance of the middle ground.

Patriots are certainly benefitting still from the continued ineptitude of their division rivals, whereas I don't think any team would chose to replace any of the AFC west this year.

4 Re: ESPN: Early 2017 Team Projections

Presumably the Rams being in the playoffs assumes that their offense will improve a lot just because of recession to the mean, while still being in a conference that is not particularly deep and also benefiting from a weak schedule (AFC South, Niners, possibly the NFC East if the decline a bit from 2016). That's not unreasonable.

5 Re: ESPN: Early 2017 Team Projections

Actually, I think FO projects them to barely miss the playoffs

Honestly, I almost wonder if regression to the mean might hurt the Rams more than help them. They were the healthiest team in the NFL last year, and they're probably not going to repeat that. They even slightly over-performed their expected W/L record based on points scored and points allowed.

As I understand it, regression to the mean mostly applies to luck, not skill, which is part of why the Browns have been so bad for so long. The Rams have lost a fair amount in FA lately, and spent all of last year's draft capital on a QB that seems to be really bad, and their going to be in a hole for this year's draft too.

It wouldn't surprise me if they improve by a couple wins, but it also wouldn't surprise me if they're just as bad