ESPN released their Football Power Index rankings for 2017, and the Seattle Seahawks start off in pretty good position. The Seahawks were ranked fourth overall (behind the break-away New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers, and Pittsburgh Steelers) with a 75.8% chance to win the NFC West, 22.8% chance to get the number one seed in the NFC (ahead of the Packers), and a 9.6% chance to win the Super Bowl.
The Patriots have an incredible 34.7% chance to win the Super Bowl per the FPI — and while that may not mean much for their actual end results, it does indicate that New England is perhaps the most loaded June 1 team in NFL history.
What is FPI?
In short, a team's FPI rating combines its efficiency ratings on offense, defense and special teams -- based on each unit's expected points added per play -- with the sum of all three squad ratings yielding the overall FPI rating. (For more on how FPI is calculated, click here and here.)
We then use these ratings to simulate the NFL season 10,000 times in order to derive a team's chances to win its division, make the playoffs, win the Super Bowl, etc.
Seattle was projected with 10.2 wins, two games better than the Arizona Cardinals, and well ahead of the LA Rams and San Francisco 49ers. Per ESPN:
The Seahawks hold the league's second-highest chance to win their division at 75.8 percent, trailing only the Patriots at 92.3 percent. FPI projects the Cardinals to be the only real threat to the Hawks for the division -- but it is less than a one-in-five chance. Neither the Rams nor the 49ers are viewed as credible threats, and both reside in the bottom four of FPI's rankings.
Why the slight disparities in how the Packers and Seahawks are viewed, with Green Bay having higher Super Bowl odds despite Seattle having a better shot at the top seed?
Well, the Pack plays in a tougher division and faces a more difficult schedule (15th easiest) than the Seahawks (third easiest), which also plays into the Hawks' favor when projecting the No. 1 seed. The Seahawks are a 22.8 percent favorite to earn home-field advantage, topping the Packers' 19.1 percent chance.
The Seahawks and Packers meet in Week 1, at Lambeau Field, on September 10.