What’s more likely?
The San Francisco 49ers or New England Patriots completing their regular seasons without a loss, or the Miami Dolphins completing their campaign without a win?
We have evidence of both happening in recent years. The New England Patriots completed a perfect regular season in 2007, while the 2008 Detroit Lions and 2017 Cleveland Browns lost all 16 regular season games. This year, the Patriots are working with a great defense and an offense directed by Tom Brady. That sounds like an unbeatable combo, and so far, it has proven to be.
The 49ers opened the season a much longer shot to win all their games than Bill Belichick’s Patriots. But this season, their play on defense is explosive and Nick Bosa is messing with offenses the way Lawrence Taylor or a healthy J.J. Watt did for the Giants and Texans respectively.
This week, San Francisco bounces off a 51 point performance to play on the road Thursday night. Their opponent is division foe Arizona, which could serve as an advantage for San Francisco given it is a team they should know while forced to prepare on a short work week that includes a road trip.
While San Francisco may be familiar with playing the Cardinals, they have no prior experience against this cast of characters in Arizona. In which has been a yearly event for their NFC West opponents, the Cardinals have a new coach and quarterback.
As for the chances of what teams have the best possibilities of completing their winning or winless streaks this year, sweeps are unlikely in all cases. But, what if you knew one of these teams was going to finish the season with a zero on one side of their won/loss ledger? Which team would you suppose it would be?
In an informal limited resource survey we found that 83% thought the Patriots had the best chance of completing the season without a loss. The Dolphins had 14% select their chances of losing all their games more likely than either the Patriots or 49ers sweeping their schedules. Only 3% thought San Francisco had the best odds to complete the season without a loss.
Whether the 49ers have a chance or not to complete a perfect season might be a lot easier to answer definitively after Thursday night.