The pro football season comes to an end with a contest between the top seeds in the two conferences. In Sunday’s title game, the Bing Predicts models project 17-1 Carolina to win the Big Game with 64% probability. During the regular season, Carolina was the league’s #1 scoring offense and #6 scoring defense, while Denver was the #20 scoring offense and #4 scoring defense. Carolina’s rush offense was #2 vs #17 for Denver, and Denver’s rush defense was #3 while Carolina’s was #4. Both defenses are stout, so our models expect Carolina’s much stronger offense to be the difference, becoming the first 18-win champion in 30 years.
Championship Game Facts:
Denver and Carolina have only met four times in their history, with the last meeting a 36-14 Denver win at Carolina on November 11, 2012. The teams had two common opponents this year, Indianapolis and Green Bay. Both beat Green Bay in successive weeks, Denver first by a score of 29-10 and then Carolina 37-29. Carolina beat Indianapolis at home in overtime 29-26, while Indianapolis ended Denver’s perfect season with a 27-24 win in Indianapolis.
Carolina looks to become the first 18-win titlist since the 1985 Chicago team also went 18-1. If not for the December 27th loss at Atlanta, 20-13, the focus of the run-up to the title game would be about Carolina chasing history and matching the 1972 Miami team which was the last to have a perfect season. Carolina was 4-0 in the regular season versus playoff teams, securing wins over Washington, Green Bay, Seattle, and Houston.
Denver was 5-2 against playoff teams, beating New England, Cincinnati, Kansas City (they split their two games with the road team winning a game each), Minnesota, and Green Bay while losing to Pittsburgh and Kansas City. They ended the perfect seasons of Green Bay (6-0) and New England (10-0), and beat a Cincinnati team which had started 8-0, giving them the highest strength-of-victory for any of the playoff teams.
Season in Review:
In August during the pre-season, Bing Predicts projected a Denver vs. Green Bay title game. Before the playoffs began, we predicted a Carolina vs. New England final. In both cases, we got one of the two actual finalists. Last week, in the semifinals, we correctly predicted Carolina while missing Denver’s close win over New England. With these results, Bing Predicts moves to 7-3 in the playoffs.
Bing Predicts finished the regular season 161-95 (63%), a few games ahead of Vegas odds. The models got off to a fast start with a 13-3 Week 1, and also had a 13-1 Week 8 and a 9-4 Week 9. For 2015, we also had playoff projections from the beginning of the season, at which point we had predicted Denver and Green Bay to win their conferences and reach the big game. Our pre-season models got 5 of the 12 playoff teams correctly, including Denver, New England, Houston, Green Bay, and Seattle.
This season, we also added fantasy football predictions weekly for QB, WR, RB, and TE positions. Our accuracies for the predicted order of players was in line with major sports sites. For highlights, our models had Tom Brady first and Cam Newton second for QBs (they finished in the top 2 with order swapped, but we were one of few who had Newton rated so highly). At the TE position, we projected Jordan Reed in 3rd, and his breakout season landed him in the top 2 at end of the season.
With the professional football season coming to a close, Bing wants to invite you to our college basketball experience, AreWeIn, which you can also experience on Bing.com, as well as our coverage of the 2016 elections, reality shows, and award shows as we want to have all of your sports, election and entertainment needs covered. While we eagerly await another football season in the fall, let us help you track your favorite college basketball team and presidential candidate as both try to advance their way in 2016, and use Bing.com to get the latest on potential award and reality show winners with our entertainment predictions.
– Walter Sun, Bing Predicts Team Lead