By Tim Graham
Would you be encouraged or disappointing to learn the Buffalo Bills have a 28.5 percent chance to make the playoffs this year?
That's how often the Bills reached the postseason when the Prediction Machine ran 50,000 simulations of the upcoming season.
Paul Bessire, with a master's degree in quantitative analysis, built the Prediction Machine to help determine sports outcomes. Bessire used to work for Fox Sports as its product manager of quantitative analysis.
I've not looked under the Prediction Machine's hood or looked up whether it runs on 5W-20 or some sort of synthetic, but I'm passing along the analysis for your considerations nonetheless.
The Prediction Machine projected the most realistic Bills record is 5-11, last place in the AFC East.
Also in the division: The New England Patriots came in at 13-3, made the playoffs 78.6 percent of the time and won the Super Bowl 8.9 percent of the time; the Miami Dolphins projected at 9-7 and made the playoffs 45.2 percent of the time; the New York Jets projected at 7-9 but made the playoffs less often than the Bills at 24.5 percent.
The San Francisco 49ers won the Super Bowl a league-high 20.1 percent of the time in the simulations. The Denver Broncos were next at 14.6 percent.
The Prediction Machine's most common AFC playoff field: 1. Patriots; 2. Pittsburgh Steelers; 3. Broncos; 4. Houston Texans; 5. Cincinnati Bengals; 6. Dolphins.
The most common NFL playoff field: 1. 49ers; 2. Green Bay Packers; 3. Carolina Panthers; 4. New York Giants; 5. St. Louis Rams; 6. New Orleans Saints.