ESPN Rankings Project Buccaneers to Finish Better Than Patriots

The Buccaneers are projected to finish better than the Patriots.
The Buccaneers are projected to finish better than the Patriots. / Elsa/Getty Images

ESPN released its Football Power Index rankings for the 2020 NFL season, where they ran 20,000 simulations in order to determine the favorites and rankings. Like much of the offseason, the spotlight for many was on Tom Brady, seeing how his move from the New England Patriots to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would affect both teams' rankings.

In these first rankings, both teams were surprisingly close. Brady's Buccaneers came in at eighth in the rankings, while the Patriots were one spot behind, at ninth.

Not only did the Power Index rank the 32 teams, it also projected each team's win total and chance to make the playoffs. While the two teams were close, the Buccaneers had the edge over the Patriots in both categories, projected for 9.1 vs 8.6 wins and 63 percent to 60 percent of a chance to reach the playoffs, respectively.

Is it the Brady effect? Possibly. The Buccaneers featured an explosive offense last season, but were limited by the interceptions from Jameis Winston, who threw a league-high 30 picks in 2019. Brady has thrown 29 interceptions over his past four seasons combined. One would think that limiting the possessions of other teams would improve the Bucs' chances to win.

On the other side, the Patriots go from someone who started 283 games for them to likely second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham. There are some many factors at play, when considering this quarterback change. Absolutely everything is effected, so having a ranking that close to a team that sports that talented of an offense should be viewed as an accomplishment.

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