The New York Times has built a complicated game simulation program that has discovered something most New England fans have known since about 2005 or so: The Patriots will almost certainly win the AFC East division.
In fairness, the hometown newspaper for two of the Patriots’ top rivals — the New York Jets and New York Giants — has created this fairly impressive odds calculator program to predict how the current NFL season will play out for all the teams, not just New England. And for, say, the Jets, those results can be pretty unpredictable without some computer help.
But with 12 division titles, six conference titles, four Super Bowl championships (including last year’s) and an average of nearly 14 total wins per season since 2001, the Patriots are nothing if not consistent.
According to the Times, with nearly 100 games still remaining in the professional football season, “there are 158 octillion different ways the NFL regular season could end.”
The simulator allows users to select different results for any or all of the remaining games for their team of choice, then see how the season is most likely to pan out given those results.
With one of the best records in the league, the Patriots currently have a 99 percent chance of winning the AFC East, and a better-than-90 percent chance of securing one of the top two seeds in the conference, which would give them a first round bye in the playoffs and extra rest for another title run.
The calculator doesn’t go so far as to gauge the team’s odds of repeating as Super Bowl champions, although it’s very difficult to win back-to-back Super Bowls. No team has done so since the 2004 season. When the Patriots did it.