Nate Silver Isn’t Optimistic About a Fifth Patriots Super Bowl Title

America's most famous statistician gave New England the slimmest odds of winning the Super Bowl this year.

Photo by Randy Stewart

Photo by Randy Stewart

For what could be the last time ever, the two greatest quarterbacks of their generation will do battle in the AFC Championship Game with a Super Bowl berth at stake. The latest installment of the Tom Brady-Peyton Manning rivalry is sure to dominate this week’s news cycle, and Manning paraphrasing Patriots head coach Bill Belichick after the Broncos’ 23-16 victory over the Steelers on Sunday will do much to ensure that. In the NFC, Cam Newton’s Carolina Panthers will run up against cool dad Bruce Arians’ Arizona Cardinals, fresh off a white-knuckle win against the Green Bay Packers.

According to statistician Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight, the Patriots are the least likely to emerge from that fray and hoist the Lombardi Trophy next month.

His NFL predictions this week give Brady and company a 41-percent chance of advancing to Super Bowl 50, and just a 19 percent chancing of winning it all. Denver, on the other hand, has a 59-percent chance of besting New England, and a 26-percent chance of winning Manning a second ring, perhaps finally bringing peace in our time to Manning family Thanksgiving table. The Patriots have the second-lowest ELO rating—FiveThirtyEight’s proprietary stat measuring skill level—of 1664, just two ticks better than the Broncos.

The Panthers have the best chances of advancing to the Super Bowl (61 percent) and winning it (33 percent).

In the preseason, Silver gave the Patriots a 14-percent chance of winning the Super Bowl, the second-highest of the league’s 32 teams. Back in September, FiveThirtyEight used its ELO rating to name the 2007 and 2004 Patriots squads the greatest teams of all-time.