Playoff Projections - Week 13


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.

Week 13's biggest movers

With a little help, Miami was able to boost their playoff probability 29%. A victory over the Jets plus losses by the Steelers, Titans, and Chargers made the Dolphins the clear favorite for the AFC 6th slot.

The pivotal GB-DET game was won by the Lions in dominant fashion. With the victory, the Lions are now two games up on the Pack and one game (plus the head-to-head tie-breaker) on the Bears. The gap in strength of schedule is not huge in the remaining 4 games, but the model says that Green Bay has the easiest and Chicago has the hardest among the three NFCN contenders. The Lions now have an 85% chance of winning the division.

Arizona's win streak was snapped by Philadelphia this weekend. Because San Francisco and Carolina also won, this halved their playoffs odds, which now stand at 18%. Arizona is now the only NFC team other than the 49ers and the loser of the South to have a legitimate chance of getting in via wildcard.

Playoff seeding

The top teams in both conferences have distinguished themselves enough that we already have a pretty clear picture of who will win bye weeks.

In the AFC, Denver is almost guaranteed a bye and they will likely be followed by New England or Cincinnati. Despite being tied with Cincinnati and one game back from New England, Indy is given much less of a chance by the simulations. Where the other two are considered top ten teams by the ANS model, the Colts are slightly below average.

Kansas City will almost certainly get in as a wildcard team. Miami, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh are the front runners, but somehow not a single team in the conference is mathematically eliminated yet (even Jacksonville and Houston).

The Seahawks will almost definitely be joined by the winner of the South as the bye week teams in the NFC. New Orleans is currently the 80% favorite in that divisional race. The winners in the North and East will probably be the 3rd and 4th seed, and the losers have very little chance of making the playoffs.

High leverage game of the week: MIA @ PIT

By far, this matchup of wildcard hopefuls is the most consequential of the week. Miami faces a 39% playoff probability swing. Pittsburgh would maintain a 21% chance with a win but would be virtually eliminated with a loss.

Cincinnati's game against Indianapolis has major implications for playoff seeding in the AFC. The winner of that game will have a 45+% shot at a bye while the loser will have less than a 10% chance.

The Panthers and Saints are tied at 9-3, but the ANS model thinks New Orleans is the best team in football right now. Therefore, the simulations predict that a Saints win on Sunday would make them a 92% favorite to take the division and a loss would leave it as basically a 50-50 proposition.

The Numbers

AFC EAST
Team1st2nd3rd4th
NE97300
MIA376155
NYJ0114644
BUF0103951
AFC NORTH
Team1st2nd3rd4th
CIN98200
BAL146467
PIT0393229
CLE0142265
AFC SOUTH
Team1st2nd3rd4th
IND100000
TEN088102
JAC074547
HOU054451
AFC WEST
Team1st2nd3rd4th
DEN98200
KC29710
SD018415
OAK001585
NFC EAST
Team1st2nd3rd4th
PHI663230
DAL346240
NYG06885
WAS00595
NFC NORTH
Team1st2nd3rd4th
DET851320
GB1042480
CHI545491
MIN00199
NFC SOUTH
Team1st2nd3rd4th
NO802000
CAR208000
ATL005743
TB004357
NFC WEST
Team1st2nd3rd4th
SEA99100
SF183160
ARI016813
STL00397

AFC Percent Probability Playoff Seeding
Team1st2nd3rd4th5th6thTotal
DEN77155120100
NE1430361712100
CIN74035160199
IND114216400100
KC110090799
MIA002154654
BAL000111820
PIT000001212
TEN0000055
SD0000055
NYJ0000022
BUF0000022
CLE0000011
OAK0000011
JAC0000000
HOU0000000
NFC Percent Probability Playoff Seeding
Team1st2nd3rd4th5th6thTotal
SEA9810010100
NO17710173100
CAR01910601595
PHI0243211571
DET0042420085
SF0100166077
DAL008260237
CHI0032006
GB00280111
NYG0000000
ARI000051218
MIN0000000
WAS0000000
ATL0000000
TB0000000
STL0000000

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5 Responses to “Playoff Projections - Week 13”

  1. Michael Goetze says:

    Yes, but... who is going to have the #1 pick in the draft?

  2. Rob Hendryx says:

    Michael - Jacksonville and Houston both have around a 30% chance of getting the #1 pick. Washington is the only other team with more than a 10% chance. You can get this information if you play around with the nfl-forecast app.

  3. Anonymous says:

    "but the ANS model thinks New Orleans is the best team in football right now" As of week 13 isn't Seattle highest in the team efficiency rankings chart? Or am I misreading what you are trying to say?

  4. Rob Hendryx says:

    Anonymous - You are right. I was looking at the Week 12 numbers while writing this up because the Week 13 ones weren't done yet. But the relevant thing is that the model rates the Saints as much better than the Panthers, which is still true.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Rob- Washington technically has a 0% chance at the #1 pick because the rights to their pick is held by St. Louis.

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