Grant Halverson/Getty ImagesDespite going 15-1, few outside of Charlotte are picking the Carolina Panthers to win the Super Bowl. However, according to Nate Silver’s model, it is the Panthers who have the best chance of lifting the Lombardi Trophy.
Using a rating system that accounts for margin of victory, home-field advantage, strength of schedule, and prior performance, and then simulating the playoffs thousands of times, Silver determined the probability each team has of winning the Super Bowl.
This year’s Super Bowl is much more up in the air than the one a year ago when the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots were heavy favorites to meet in the Super Bowl. This year, the Panthers are the eventual Super Bowl champion in 20% of the simulations, winning the NFC championship in 38%. The Denver Broncos are a slight favorite in the AFC, with a 34% chance to win the conference championship and a 15% chance to win the Super Bowl.
Here are the chances to win the Super Bowl for all the six NFC teams with chances to win their conference in parentheses:
- Carolina Panthers, 20% (38%)
- Arizona Cardinals, 17% (32%)
- Seattle Seahawks, 9% (14%)
- Green Bay Packers, 3% (7%)
- Minnesota Vikings, 3% (6%)
- Washington Redskins, 1% (3%)
Here are the chances to win the Super Bowl for all the six AFC teams with chances to win their conference in parentheses:
- Denver Broncos, 15% (34%)
- New England Patriots, 13% (28%)
- Kansas City Chiefs, 8% (14%)
- Cincinnati Bengals, 5% (11%)
- Pittsburgh Steelers, 4% (8%)
- Houston Texans, 1% (4%)
If we break it down by conference, the NFC has a slight edge, winning ~53% of the simulations.