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NFL Pythagorean Expected Wins for 2016: Patriots Projected to Win the AFC East (Again)

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The Pythagorean Expected Wins model is fairly simple. You look at the points a team scored and the points a team allowed, and then use that to project a team's winning rate over an expanded period of time. The reason we look at the points instead of the win total is that some wins are the results of flukes and that points tell a better story.

The use of 2015 data comes with a serious caveat that teams can and will improve over the offseason. Players move in free agency, rookies develop into stars, and veterans go into retirement. The state of the team after the final whistle in 2015 is not going to remain constant.

With that grain of salt in mind, let's look at the base expectations for teams moving into 2016.

AFC

Tm Wins
CIN 11.6
NWE 11.5
KAN 11.1
PIT 10.6
NYJ 9.9
DEN 9.7
HOU 8.8
BUF 8.5
OAK 7.0
JAX 6.4
BAL 6.1
IND 6.1
SDG 6.0
MIA 5.9
TEN 4.9
CLE 4.2

The Patriots are expected to win the AFC East and snag a first round bye, but the Bengals are expected to win the AFC. The Chiefs are going to finally get a hold of the AFC West, and the Colts are...well, actually, the Colts are expected to come in 3rd place in the AFC South, behind both the Texans and the Jaguars.

The Broncos are expected to be on the outside, looking into the playoffs, and the Bills are on the cusp of posting a winning record.

NFC

Tm Wins
CAR 12.1
ARI 11.9
SEA 11.7
MIN 9.8
GNB 9.2
WAS 8.2
ATL 7.8
NYG 7.5
DET 7.0
PHI 6.8
NOR 6.6
STL 6.5
CHI 6.4
TAM 6.2
DAL 5.2
SFO 3.8

The Panthers and Cardinals are looking to claim a second straight year of bye weeks, and there are no real contenders from the other division leaders. The Seahawks are expected to be the 3rd strongest team, but they're relegated to a wild card spot.

The Vikings are expected to tip the Packers again, while Washington is the only other team in the conference expected to post a winning record. It's not pretty.