ESPN analytics like 49ers chances to win Super Bowl this season
It’s hard to find much to love about the 49ers’ offseason. Not that it’s been a bad few months for them, they just didn’t make any huge moves outside of the addition of defensive tackle Javon Hargrave. Instead the focus on San Francisco since their season ended in January has been their lack of clarity under center. They also didn’t do much in the draft thanks in part to their lack of quality draft capital.
Despite what’s been an offseason short of great news for the 49ers, they’re still one of the three favorites to win the Super Bowl according to ESPN analytics guru Seth Walder.
Walder published a piece on ESPN with the network’s Football Power Index rankings for 2023. Here’s his explanation of FPI:
For the uninitiated, the Football Power Index — commonly referred to as the FPI — is our rating and projection model for NFL teams. In the preseason, the model’s predictive ratings are based substantially on win totals from Caesars Sportsbook and strength of schedule, along with factors such as past team performance and returning starters. We use team ratings to simulate the season thousands of times, creating our projections, which update every day during the season. Game predictions are also informed by factors such as travel, rest differential and changes at starting quarterback.
Despite San Francisco’s tough schedule, bad rest differential, and lack of certainty under center, FPI still ranks them No. 5 overall behind the Eagles, Chiefs, Bills and Bengals.
That speaks to the overall quality of their roster and coaching staff that they’re projected to overcome such sizable obstacles.
While they land at No. 5 in FPI, ESPN’s analytics actually give them the third-best chance to win the Super Bowl. The 49ers have an 11 percent chance, just behind the Chiefs (13 percent) and Eagles (14 percent). Those are the only three teams with a 10 percent chance or better to hoist the Lombardi trophy at the end of the 2023 season.
The 49ers and Eagles are the only NFC teams in the top five. The Cowboys are at seven percent, with the Lions behind them at four percent. Of 12 teams with a three-percent chance or better, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Dallas and Detroit are the only representatives from the NFC.
It’s undeniable that the 49ers path back to the Super Bowl won’t be easy. Their schedule is brutal and the No. 1-ranked team in FPI, Philadelphia, will stand in their way.
Beyond Philly though there aren’t a ton of substantial threats in the NFC going into the year, which is why the 49ers are still considered among the favorites to make a deep run. If they can get their QB situation ironed out, and Hargrave contributes the way the team is hoping, San Francisco’s relatively slow offseason will quickly be forgotten.
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