Cue the Duckboats | Championship Collection for Banner 18SHOP NOW

Advertisement

Great News, Massholes: ESPN's Power Index Has the 2024 Patriots Projected to be No. 1! In the Draft Order. And Dead Last in Every Category.

If there's one takeaway from the situation we found ourselves in four years ago that has stuck with me to the current day, it is this:

In times of fear and doubt, trust the science. When nothing else makes sense, put your faith in the science. When all about you are losing their heads, turn to ... you guessed it ... the science. 

And with the benefit of hindsight, we can all see how well that worked out. 

Which is my way of introducing the current crisis of fear, doubt, and seemingly nonsensical head-losing: The state of your and my New England Patriots. So to help sort it all out, I am once again doing as I was trained to and am turning to eternally trustworthy science. 

And now that I have, I suggest we go back to arbitrarily determined social distance and masks. 

Specifically, I just took a dive into ESPN's Football Power Index (FPI). And there is no vaccine for what their analysis has found. 

ESPN - he Football Power Index is our ratings and projection model for NFL teams … with factors such as the strength difference between a team's starting and backup quarterback and a revamped special teams rating based primarily on new predictive kicker ratings. We use these team ratings to simulate the season thousands of times, creating our projections.  …

New England's league-topping strength of schedule combined with the FPI's skepticism regarding its roster has the model believing the Patriots are the most likely team to pick first in the 2025 NFL draft, with a 22% chance. The Panthers rate lower than the Patriots in the FPI, but their chance at picking No. 1 is slightly worse (21%).

You can click here for the sortable chart that ranks all 32 teams by category. And I can assure you that whatever the graphic in that Tweet may suggest about New England being ahead of Carolina at No. 31 in the rankings, that is not how it looks when you go through the data. The Patriots are dead last in:

--Projected W-L:  4.9-12.1. Which is 0.5 wins behind Carolina.

--Playoff chances: 1.9%. Carolina is at 4.5%.

--Chances of winning the division: 0.5%. Denver is next at 1.4%.

--Chances of making the Divisional round of the playoffs: 0.5%. Carolina is 1.2%.

--Chances of making the Conference title game: 0.1%. Carolina and Denver at 0.2% and 0.3%, respectively. 

--Chances of going deeper in the playoffs? 

Which means I legally can't use the Lloyd Christmas "You're saying there's a chance" GIF. Because the science says there isn't. And to repeat, we have to follow it. 

Advertisement

And while this isn't something I'm used to saying, and I know I'll be sore in the morning for using this muscle: I can live with that. At least the parts about the odds of making the playoffs being less than 2% and there being no shot whatsoever at making the NFL's final four. 

But being the favorite to be the worst team in the league? That I cannot abide. This was, after all, a team with a Top 10 defense, returning all its starters, including their two best defenders, Christian Gonzalez and Matthew Judon, who were lost for the season early on. Their embarrassing quarterback situation has been resolved. The worst wide receiver room in the league has been addressed with two picks in the Top 110. All of whom are being added to a very promising 2023 draft that already produced dividends last year. And yet they're going to be, for all intents and purposes, worse than they were last year? 

I'm not buying it. Believe me, there's not a man or woman among us who expects anything close to a successful season. At least not how we're accustomed to measuring success. All we're looking for is progress. Improvement. And the hope that naturally comes with being better now than you were before. 

And yet here are the Big Bang Theory cast stand-ins who haven't been laid off yet by the World Wide Leader insisting that, however they crunch the numbers, the data shows the Pats are going to be worse than when they were the third worst team in the NFL. Well I am saving these receipts to throw back in these nerds blemished faces when Drake Maye, Ja'Lynn Polk, Javon Baker and the rest prove the doubters wrong. That's what you can do with your feckin science.

Giphy Images.