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Simulation gives New York Jets 5 wins, high picks in 2021

Robert Saleh, NY Jets, Predictions, Odds, 2021
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The New York Jets are projected to perform poorly in 2021 by a recent simulation

As ESPN played literal fantasy football with the 2021 NFL season, the New York Jets found the Worldwide Leader’s simulation just as cruel as reality.

ESPN’s analytics department announced this week that it ran 20,000 simulations of the 2021 NFL season using its Football Power Index formulas. Analyst Seth Walder detailed the results of one such simulation, said to be the 13,330th example.

As one would probably expect from a two-win team mired in a decade-long playoff drought, FPI’s formulas aren’t overly optimistic about the Jets’ modern fortunes. They’re one of three teams (along with Detroit and Houston) that failed to emerge as a champion in any of FPI’s simulations though they have a 0.1 percent chance of reaching the Big Game (so yes, Lloyd Christmas, they’re telling you there’s a chance).

The Jets were also granted an 8.8 percent chance of making the playoffs and an NFL-worst 2.2 percent odds of winning their division.

Walder’s focus on simulation No. 13,330 doesn’t detail much of the Jets’ outlook, though it confirms that they at least lose their respective contests against Carolina (Week 1) and Indianapolis (Week 9).

New York finishes 5-12 in the 17-game slate, tied for last the AFC with the Houston Texans and last overall in the league with the NFC’s bottom dwellers: the New York Giants and, to the delight of Jets fans, the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers.

The surprising descent of Seattle works in the Jets’ fictional favor in the coming offseason. No. 13,300 declares that the Seahawks will lose each of their first nine contests (six by one possession). That allows the Jets, owners of Seattle’s first-round draft pick next spring (through the trade involving safety Jamal Adams), to take possession of both the third and fourth choices in the 2022 NFL draft.

Adams isn’t the only former New York franchise face that is forced to face the music in No. 13,330: Walder explains that Carolina’s poor showing allows them to “earn” the top overall pick in next April’s draft, one that would likely be used on a rookie thrower in the wide-open class of 2022 to replace Sam Darnold.

The Jets would benefit greatly from the Panthers’ struggles as they own Carolina’s second and fourth-round picks in next year’s draft through the Darnold trade.

This particular simulation ended with the Buffalo Bills topping the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles. Buffalo was said to have emerged as the champion in 9.4 percent of the simulations, ranking third-best behind only the defending Super Bowl finalists from Kansas City (19.2 percent) and Tampa Bay (14.1 percent).

The Jets open their season on Sunday afternoon with a battle against the Panthers in Charlotte (1 p.m. ET, CBS).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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