All of the numbers below come from Chris Cox at NFL-forecast.com. His app uses the win probabilities from the ANS team efficiency model to run a Monte Carlo simulation of the remaining NFL games thousands of times. Based on current records, our estimates of team strength, and knowledge of the NFL's tie breaking procedures we can come up with some pretty interesting predictions of how each team will fare come the end of the season. If you want to use a different model or just fiddle with the numbers by hand, go ahead and download the app yourself.
San Francisco and Green Bay fall
After week 8, we gave the 49ers a 94% chance of making the playoffs. Two losses have contributed to their current odds of 44%, but they are also being squeezed out of wild card contention by the success of their peers. The simultaneous win streaks by the Panthers and Cardinals led to jumps in playoff probability of 41% and 26%, respectively, in that 3 week span. At this point, their best hope is sneaking in to that 6th NFC slot.
Green Bay's third straight loss has put them in a similar situation. What was an 83% chance 3 weeks ago is now just 33%. They have a relatively easy game against the Vikings this week before the crucial Thanksgiving match up versus the Lions.
Divisional races becoming more clear
Several divisions moved towards greater certainty this week. Denver had already been the favorite in the West despite KC's better record, so the victory over them on Sunday increased their confidence in a division title to a firm 87%. They are also the distant favorite to capture the #1 seed in the conference.
Indy's win over Tennessee crushed their rival's last meaningful hopes of winning the South. A Colts' divisional crown (and thus also a playoff appearance) is now 98% assured. Both teams saw an 11% change in their playoff odds due to the game.
Seattle, New Orleans, Cincinnati, and New England all moved closer to finalizing their divisions. The only races still left in major contention are the NFC East and North.
High leverage game of the week: CAR @ MIA
Carolina and Miami both would increase their chances of a wild card berth greatly with a win. A Panthers win would make them a near-assured playoff team. A Dolphins win would make them a favorite for that last AFC playoff spot. Each team has a 19% playoff probability swing at stake.
DAL @ NYG will also be important. New York must win to avoid dropping to a 0.4% playoff probability. The game gives the Cowboys an opportunity to tie back up with the Eagles during their bye week. Dallas faces a 25% swing based on the outcome of this contest.
San Francisco is the individual team with the most on the line. An end to their losing streak at the expense of the Redskins would boost them to a 57% playoff chance. A loss would leave them with a 27% chance, and that would most likely be a 6th seed.
|AFC Percent Probability Playoff Seeding|
|NFC Percent Probability Playoff Seeding|