The experts at ESPN have weighed in with their NFL predictions and the Atlanta Falcons received favorably reviews. 13 teams have no chance at the playoffs while four teams were unanimous choices. Five different Super Bowl champions were selected and Mike Smith even received some Coach of the Year love.
Hit the jump to see all 16 experts’ picks aggregated to give us the ultimate crystal ball.
ESPN employs 16 NFL experts for their picks and we at Blogging Dirty have combined their choices to give a better view at which teams are popular picks and which ones should not even play this year. Up first, the division breakdown. The number next to each team is how many times they were selected to win their division.
As we can see the Colts, Chargers and 49ers were unanimous selections to win their respective divisions. The Colts were chosen because they are good while the other teams were likely selected because their divisions stink.
The division expected to be the most hard-fought is the AFC East. The Patriots received eight votes while the Jets received seven. Even the Dolphins were given a vote. The second toughest division is our very own NFC South. The Saints edged the Falcons 9-7 but it was the second closest vote this season.
The Wild Cards
Each expert selected two wild cards from each conference and the chart follows with the number of votes each team received.
The Falcons were the third most popular wild card pick in the NFC with four votes. Adding that to the number of experts who picked them to win the division gives the Falcons 11 out of 16 votes or 69%. This is where the next chart comes into play.
Taking into account the votes for division winners and wild cards we can calculate the playoff percentages for all 32 teams. From the example above, the Falcons have a 69% chance. The full chart beckons.
From this list we can determine the six playoff teams from each conference. In the AFC, the Chargers, Colts, Patriots, Ravens, Jets and Bengals are the favorites. The NFC welcomes the 49ers, Packers, Saints, Cowboys, Vikings and Falcons.
No coach received more votes for Coach of the Year than Mike Smith did. He tied Mike McCarthy with four votes apiece. The full player award charts follow.
The Final Result
The last chart shows us which teams were the most popular picks for AFC and NFC champion as well as Super Bowl champion. The Falcons did not receive any love in these categories but the chart is included nonetheless.
Let me know how you think it will shake out in 2010 via the comments below or by finding me on Twitter.