ESPN Football Power Index Ranks Chiefs as Second Super Bowl Favorites

Fresh off their Super Bowl LVII win over the Philadelphia Eagles back in February, the Kansas City Chiefs are the current betting market favorites to win Super Bowl LVIII for the coming 2023-24 NFL campaign. Kansas City is returning a lot of its starters this season and is expecting its young players to step up, making the team a solid bet among the league’s elite.

In the latest edition of the ESPN NFL Football Power Index, Seth Walder and the ESPN Analytics department put together an updated list ranking all 32 NFL teams in their ranking and projection model. The Chiefs took home the top spot in the model with an FPI score of 6.4, trailed by the Buffalo Bills (5.6) and the aforementioned Eagles (5.0) to round out the top three. Here’s more from Walder on why the case for Patrick Mahomes and company was pretty cut-and-dry:

Who else, really, could be No. 1? Offense is more stable year-to-year than defense, and the Chiefs led the league in expected points added per play last season by a wide margin. They are also returning their two most important ingredients in Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid. Offensively, they are just too good, and that alone is enough to put the Super Bowl champs back atop the league to begin this coming season.

Despite the No. 1 ranking overall, the FPI gives Kansas City the projected second-best chance in the NFL to win next season’s Super Bowl. Sitting at 13%, the Chiefs trail the Eagles by 1% and are just a bit ahead of the San Francisco 49ers at 11% total. Rounding out the top five are the Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals, sharing respective championship chances of 9% each.

Citing conference and schedule difficulty as reasons why the Chiefs’ mark is a tick lower than the Eagles’, the FPI factored in both elements when deciding on a final total. With a star-studded class of quarterbacks in the AFC, the conference projects to be as competitive now as it has been in recent memory. On the flip side, the NFC is bereft of high-end talent at the quarterback position and could turn out to be a two- or three-horse race by the midpoint of the regular season. Here’s more from Walder’s article on FPI’s Super Bowl calculations: 

The median AFC playoff team in our simulations is roughly 2.4 points per game better than the median NFC playoff team. That’s a big reason Philadelphia leads Kansas City in Super Bowl chances, 14% to 13%. The Chiefs also face quite the gauntlet of a schedule in the regular season — second toughest in the league, according to FPI — which dampens their projections despite being the best team in football by almost a full point. The 49ers, Bills and Bengals round out the top five, while the Dallas Cowboys are the only other team above 5% (7%).

That the Eagles are the favorites at just 14% is an indication that this season is a little more wide open than most. FPI has made preseason predictions going back to 2015, and 14% is the second lowest for a favorite we’ve had in that time period. The 2016 Packers were just 12% favorites (lowest), while the 2017 Patriots were at 32%, the strongest by a massive margin. (We’ve altered the model a few times in that period, so it’s not a direct apples-to-apples comparison.)

Regardless of not being in first place in both categories, the Chiefs are still very clearly perceived as a top threat in the NFL. An offseason isn’t changing that, especially with the team’s core of Reid, Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Chris Jones still in the fold. As this coming season draws nearer over the next few weeks and months, their FPI ranking will be worth comparing to the late-May version that views Kansas City as one of two gold standards in the league.

Read More: Does a Frank Clark Return to the Kansas City Chiefs Make Sense?