A recent Vegas sports book released preseason point spreads for the upcoming NFL season, and projections done by the Washington Post have concluded that with these spreads, the Arizona Cardinals have no chance of winning the NFC West in 2019.
According to Neil Greenberg, whose beat at the WaPo is sports analytics, win-loss simulations based on the point spreads projected the Cardinals to have a 0% chance of winning the division.
Think a 4-12 or 5-11 record is bad? Arizona also has a zero percent chance to win the NFC West. When I ran the same win-loss simulations for all the teams in the division — Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers and Cardinals — Arizona was the only one that didn’t win the division at least once in a thousand simulated seasons. I thought it was a bug, so I ran the simulations again and the result was confirmed: a 0.0 percent chance at the division crown in 2019.
The projections gave a few teams a minute chance of winning their division as well. The Oakland Raiders were given a 0.6% chance of winning the AFC West and the Miami Dolphins were given a 0.3% chance of winning the AFC East.
Anything can happen, but the fact that Greenberg’s model twice projected the same rare result for the Cardinals is telling.