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2014 NFL Playoffs: Super Bowl XLIX Predictions

Updated on January 26, 2015

Super Bowl XLIX may be one of the lesser-hyped Super Bowls in recent memory. While the game features the top two seeds from each conference: the NFC #1 Seattle Seahawks and the AFC #1 New England Patriots, both teams come with such baggage that nobody outside of their respective fanbases cares enough to have a rooting interest.

For Seattle, the defending champions, their perceived ego, 'attitude', or what's otherwise known as 'confidence' angers or perhaps leads to jealousy from non-Seattle fans who were tired of the team's personality one year ago much less now. Seattle taking advantage of an injured Carson Palmer to win their division and the NFC's top seed, as well as their monumental comeback against Green Bay, leaves many with a disgusted feeling regarding this team.

If that's all the case with Seattle, then its multiplied several-fold for New England, making its sixth trip to the Super Bowl with Bill Belichick as head coach and Tom Brady as the quarterback. People in general are tired of Boston teams in general, I believe: the Patriots' last title was in 2004, yet that's the longest drought of Boston's major sports teams. The Red Sox have won two titles since, including their latest in 2013. The Bruins won a title in 2011, and reached the 2013 Final as well. The Celtics have even won a title in 2008, plus another Finals appearance. The Patriots have been in two Super Bowls since then as well, both losses to the New York Giants.

So, since 2004, Boston sports teams have been in a combined eight final games or rounds, going 4-4 in titles. This is the ninth such final for a Boston sports team since 2004, and I'm sure most people have tired of Boston anything in elite sporting competitions.

It also doesn't help that the Patriots have gained a reputation for being sneaky, underhanded, or being flat out cheaters. It helps out even less that the team has been dealing with a controversy regarding deflated footballs in their AFC title game win over the Colts this past week, whose media-given name I'd rather not say because of how predictably stupid it is.

Yet despite all of that, Super Bowl XLIX will still be the most watched sporting event in the United States this year, thanks in large part to the majority of its audience tuning in only to watch advertising. America, right?

I digress. This article is supposed to give predictions, and predictions are what I'm going to give.

Personal Prediction

For the last 20 weeks, I have been using the Centrary simulator (at www.centrary.com) to make my predictions for me, under the premise that I'm awful at predictions and/or I'm prone to making "gimme" picks that horribly backfire on me. With that in mind, my picks this season have been serviceable; not that bad, but not particularly elite either. Some pick have been very accurate, including last week's prediction of a Seattle OT victory (never mind how it happened), as well as predicting New England's blowout win (not taking into account deflated balls, apparently, otherwise it would've gotten the margin of victory spot on, I wager).

However, to start, I'd like to make my own personal prediction, without the use of the simulator. Given everything that's happened this season, and more notably the last week or so, I don't think there's anyway Seattle won't win this game. The Seahawks have been on fire for the last couple of months, and the Patriots - controversy distraction or not - really do not have much of a chance in my personal opinion.

If I were to give it a score, I'd say the final would be Seattle 38, New England 17.

Now lets see how the simulator predicts this game going, in a few different ways.

Simulator Predictions

First, some stats on how well Centrary has fared when picking these teams:

For New England, Centrary has gone 11-7 in the prior 18 Patriots games. They are 10-3 picking FOR New England, just 1-4 when picking AGAINST the Patriots.

For Seattle, Centrary is 13-5 in the prior 18 Seahawks games. They are 13-4 when picking FOR Seattle, just 0-1 when picking AGAINST them.

I will do this three different ways: one-game simulation (like I've done it the past 20 weeks), a best-of-seven simulation (like as though it were an NHL or NBA series), and a 100-game average simulation.

One-Game Simulation

Pick: 34-23 New England

The simulator sees the Patriots open up a 14-0 lead and while the Seahawks do get back to within eight by the fourth quarter, the Patriots put up another 13 to put Seattle away.

Best-of-Seven Simulation

I'll keep going until a team wins four times.

  • Game 1: 28-27 Seattle
  • Game 2: 24-17 Seattle
  • Game 3: 34-17 Seattle
  • Game 4: 30-28 Seattle

I find it humorous it allowed Seattle to sweep the set but gave New England the one-game win.

Hundred-Game Average Simulation

For this, I will simulate 100 games and then describe averages.

To start, in those 100 simulations, Seattle got the edge by winning 53 of them, a very close total.

The average score was 22.3-21.76 Seattle overall.

In Patriot wins, the average was 27.36-16.23 Patriots. In Seahawk wins, the average was 27.68-16.79 Seahawks.

Of the 100 simulations, only four went to overtime. Of the four, New England won three of them.

The average margin of victory of each game was 11.16. This value changed very little when restricting the size to either Patriot or Seahawk wins.

The largest margin of victory belonged to New England, who in the 98th simulation defeated Seattle 41-10. Seattle had the 2nd largest, defeating New England in the 79th simulation 35-7.

The average points scored in the games was 44.06, just a few points below the predicted over/under in Vegas. The highest number of points in a simulation was 80, when Seattle defeated New England 49-31 in the 78th simulation. The 44th simulation had the lowest point total, when New England defeated Seattle 6-3 in what would be the most boring Super Bowl of all time.

In games decided by under three points (so, one or two point wins), Seattle won five such games compared to New England's three. In games decided by under seven points, Seattle again has the edge by having won 15 such simulations compared to New England's 12. In games decided by at least 17 points (a three score advantage), Seattle had 16 such results compared to New England's 11.

Note that these simulations do NOT include the five simulations from earlier. With those included, Seattle has a 57-48 edge.

Conclusion

The simulator does seem to believe Seattle has the edge in Super Bowl XLIX, though it definitely has not counted New England out of it. Based on its past picks, I'd give Centrary about 70% worth of confidence in its overall assessment, though that's partly since I also believe Seattle will win this game.

With that ends a 21-week journey of simulated pick after simulated pick. Hopefully you've enjoyed reading these articles every week as well as the analysis I would occasionally provide. If you haven't already, check out the Centrary simulator, though not perfect it is pretty decent for its scope, I suppose. Thanks for reading!

The 106 Super Bowl predictions were made with the Centrary sports simulator, which simulates teams, not players, and in a quick, simple fashion.

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