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.
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.
|AFC Percent Probability Playoff Seeding|
|NFC Percent Probability Playoff Seeding|