Hogs Haven reacts
SB Nation polls every NFL fan base every week during the regular season. This season, Hogs Haven readers were asked how they felt about the direction of the franchise in the aftermath of the draft, and, as you can see from the chart below, back in April 100% of those polled answered positively.
That confidence in the team hadn’t dropped at all ahead of the season opener against the Chargers, with 100% of those surveyed still feeling good about the direction of the franchise.
Since then, however, the results have been driven at least partly by the game results, and the fluctuations in fan confidence seem to be getting more pronounced by the week. The confidence level fell off a bit to 86% following the loss to the Chargers, recovered to 90% when the Football Team beat the Giants, but then fell off a cliff to just 34% in the wake of the blowout loss to Buffalo.
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This week’s results from the survey of Washington fans have shown a sharp, and perhaps surprising rebound to 65%. Despite the fundamental on-field issues remaining unresolved, and the issue of a DEA investigation that involves head trainer Ryan Vermillion coming to light to start the week, two out of three fans surveyed expressed confidence in the direction of the Washington Football Team.
There’s every reason to think that the result of this week’s game against the Saints will also have a significant effect on fan confidence. A good defensive performance and a win is likely to push the needle up sharply. One without the other (win/good defensive performance) could have a more muted effect. A bad performance and a loss would likely drive the confidence number to a new season low.
The NFC East
Unsurprisingly, the Cowboys fans currently have the highest confidence levels in the division, though that has been building steadily since the draft and BtB readers only took over first place in the confidence race following the ‘Boys 41-21 thrashing of the Eagles in Week 3.
Bleeding Green Nation readers did, indeed, bleed off confidence that week, collapsing from 77% to just 21% when faced with the reality that Dak Prescott really was that much better than Jalen Hurts.
Giants fans, who began with a very high 89% confidence level post-draft, had basically been on a weekly trip to the bottom of the division until their team went to New Orleans and came back with an unexpected victory over a favored Saints team. The resulting spike in confidence leaves them below fans of the WFT, but well ahead of Eagles fans as we head into Week 5.
Week 5 projections
We could see some further rearrangement of the confidence levels in the division this week. Fans from all 32 teams voted on the likely outcome of every Week 5 game. The predicted winners are listed on the graphic below:
With the Cowboys predicted to beat the Giants in Dallas in the late window game, the Eagles projected to beat the Panthers in Carolina, and the Saints favored over Washington at FedEx Field, the confidence of Dallas fans is likely to cement itself around the 90% level, while the fragile confidence of New York and Washington fans is likely to crumble if the results of the games are in line with these projections.
The worst team in the league
Even if the Giants fall to 1-4 this weekend, Giants fans can take comfort in the fact that fans around the nation don’t think that the G-men are the worst team in the league. That distinction was bestowed upon the winless Jaguars, and may have been given some impetus by the loss on Thursday Night Football and the subsequent headlines surrounding the team’s head coach.
Despite what other fan bases may think of the Jaguars, the team’s fans have held onto a level of belief in the organization, with 27% of Jags fans still expressing confidence in their team...perhaps because they know that Urban Meyer never stops grinding.
The lowest level of confidence this week was expressed by Titans fans, who saw their team lose in overtime to the lowly New York Jets. Tennessee fan confidence utterly collapsed, falling from 93% a week earlier, to just 11% this week.
It should surprise no one that the biggest rebound from Week 4 to Week 5 was the Jets fan base that was boosted by the win that destroyed Titans fans. The confidence numbers for those Jet fans went from 39% in Week 4 to 80% in Week 5.
The two fan bases that made the biggest jumps from very low Week 4 numbers to much higher confidence levels this week were the Giants and the Bears. The Giants, as mentioned already, got their first win of the season in OT in New Orleans, while the Bears — led by rookie QB Justin Fields — moved to 2-2 with a win over the struggling Lions.
This week’s opponent
How are Saints fans feeling ahead of this week’s clash with the Football Team on the road? Well, a week ago, the confidence level of Who dat nation was riding high at 93%, but it took the third-biggest tumble this week, falling 38 points to end up at 55% — ten points lower than Washington fan confidence.
Let’s hope that the Saints trip to Washington this weekend completely shatters the hopes and dreams of every Saints fan ahead of their team’s Week 6 bye.