Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

21 Aug 2017

ESPN: Most Likely Teams to Go Worst to First

Hey, it's a special rare NON-INSIDER piece of FO content at ESPN.com, taking a look at the eight teams that finished in last place in 2016 and looking at which of those teams are most likely to finish first in 2017. If you've read FOA 2017, you know Carolina is No. 1, but the the 2016 last-place team with the second-highest chance of winning its division is different from the team with the second-highest chance of making the playoffs.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 21 Aug 2017

13 comments, Last at 27 Sep 2017, 3:26am by ankit121


by Led :: Mon, 08/21/2017 - 4:30pm

"They signed a bad, old quarterback in Josh McCown, who has won all of 18 starts in 14 NFL seasons."

McCown is, indeed, a bad, old quarterback. There's lots of evidence for that. So surely there's a more informative way to show it than wins. I'd like to see FO writers eschew crappy conventional wisdom stats, even in support of propositions (e.g., McCown is bad) that nobody disputes.

by LionInAZ :: Mon, 08/21/2017 - 11:58pm

You can see all of McCown's bad stuff right here in the FO stat pages. It's been discussed here frequently, as you should know if you read as often as you comment. In addition, contributions to ESPN/Disney should be excused if they're not as explicit, since we oughtn't upset the Cinderella establishment.

by Steve in WI :: Tue, 08/22/2017 - 1:04pm

Considering the establishment is one thing; citing the single least useful QB stat is another. I can understand why they wouldn't use DVOA or DYAR, but even QB rating or touchdown to interception ratio would be better than wins.

by Theo :: Tue, 08/22/2017 - 12:59am

Good piece.
If one of the Browns qbs can be hakf decent then I give them a good shot to be in a 3way race with the Steelers and Bengals this year.
If something happens to Ben and it often will for a few games, then this division is wide open.
I think in 2018 the Browns are expected to win the division.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Tue, 08/22/2017 - 4:08am

Problem for the 2018 Browns is whether they retain their coach for a 3rd season. Romeo Crennel was the last coach to make it to a 3rd/4th season a decade ago.

Hue Jackson is going to have to show a lot this year to be entrusted with developing the bagload of picks from 2018. I reckon he's got to get to at least 6-7 wins territory.

by Alternator :: Wed, 08/23/2017 - 6:42pm

If Jackson can get the Browns to seven wins, he should win Coach of the Year, nevermind avoid being fired.

by BJR :: Tue, 08/22/2017 - 6:26am

It's an extremely long shot for the Browns to be competing for the division this year. Among all the (rightful) admiration for their rebuilding strategy, it's become easy to forget that they were historically bad last year. Of course we should expect improvement, but their route to winning the division would have to involve complete collapses from the other three teams.

by Theo :: Thu, 08/24/2017 - 12:17am

Agreed. I think they will compete for the division in 2018.
No one knows what Ben will do in 2018 and have only 1 or 2 NFL caliber starters in their 4 man defensive backfield.
The Ravens are riding downhill. The Bengals seem to have passed their peak.
This year I see 6 to 7 wins on the Browns schedule.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 08/22/2017 - 11:05am

I feel like the breakdown of these teams falls into:

Carolina--Lots of talent, fewer injuries and they very much have a shot.

Jacksonville--Somebody has to win the AFC South, right?

Philadelphia--If Wentz and the new WRs click there's some offense, maybe the new secondary really picks up, Prescott backslides, Eli throws a bunch of picks. Sure, could happen.


Uh . . . we have to include all eight divisions, right?

by BJR :: Tue, 08/22/2017 - 1:19pm

The Chargers have some talent on their roster at key positions. With better injury luck and improved coaching it's not hard to imagine them having a run at the AFC West. I'd give them a better chance than Jacksonville, who surely can't succeed with their utterly disastrous QB situation.

Jets, Browns, Bears, 49ers.....yeah LOL.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 08/22/2017 - 11:35pm

I didn't mention the Chargers in my post, because I forgot they existed.

Fight for LA!

by ChrisS :: Wed, 08/23/2017 - 12:57pm

The first few times I saw LAC in a football article I immedialtely thought "LA Clippers no that's not right, oh yea Chargers" (that's not right either).

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