ESPN has a fancy new tool. It is officially known as the ESPN Football Power Index and it has given projections for 2021.
In a recent article on the sports leader’s website Seth Walder of ESPN Analytics explained the new tool like this:
FPI, which launched Monday, is a forward-looking projection model that includes ratings and projections for every team, from projected win-loss records to percentages to win each division.
The model determines forward-looking strength ratings for every team based on a variety of factors, including team win total, projected starting quarterback, returning starters and past performance on offense, defense and special teams. FPI then uses those ratings to simulate the season 20,000 times to create projections.
The Green Bay Packers received exceptionally high predictions coming in as fourth most likely to win a Super Bowl at 6% and as the third most likely Super Bowl matchup against the Chiefs.
The device also pointed out the Aaron Rodgers factor as one of its 10 biggest takeaways:
The difference between the Packers with and without Aaron Rodgers is … everything
The Green Bay Packers are clearly Super Bowl contenders. They’re the fifth-best team in football and have the fourth-best chance to win it all with a 6% shot, according to FPI. They’re returning the 2020 MVP and had the league’s most efficient offense last year — yes, even better than Kansas City’s.
But it wasn’t always so certain that FPI would give Green Bay the love. As Rodgers’ future hung in the balance over the summer, so too did the Packers’ projections. Had Rodgers simply decided to retire rather than suit up, Green Bay’s chances to make the playoffs would have dropped from 70% to 24%, and their Super Bowl chances would have dropped from 6% to … 0.2%.
None of this is necessarily a surprise as most fans and league experts both expect Green Bay to be contenders this year and fully understand the importance of Aaron Rodgers. But anytime ESPN’s website puts out a fancy new tool you can bet it’s going to be discussed. As Packer fans just sit back and enjoy the fact that everybody is discussing how good the teams odds are rather than whether or not they will have a star quarterback this season.