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 14's biggest movers
Dallas took a major hit by losing to Chicago. Coupled with Philadelphia's win against Detroit, this caused the Cowboys' playoff odds to drop 18%.
San Francisco's big win over the rival Seahawks propelled them to their current 93% playoff probability. The jump came mostly at the expense of the Panthers, who lost their big rivalry game against the Saints. The Saints are now one game up on the Panthers and considered a much better team by the ANS model, so a New Orleans divisional championship is now deemed 95% likely.
A few weeks ago Pittsburgh was getting attention after storming back into playoff contention with a 3 game win streak and some fortunate losses by other AFC wildcard hopefuls. But now a second straight loss, this time to the Dolphins, has virtually eliminated the Steelers. They trail Miami and Baltimore by 2 games with 3 left.
Some playoff scenarios
The different elimination scenarios possible this week were explained on reddit. You can play around with it yourself at ESPN's Playoff Machine and of course with the NFL-forecast app.
Coming off the least expected 3 game win streak of the season, the Jags are still in playoff contention. The parting of the Red Sea would pale in comparison to the miracle they need, but they are not yet mathematically eliminated. First and foremost they need to win out. This is very unlikely, but if we assume victories over Buffalo, Tennessee, and Indianapolis, then Jacksonville's playoff odds would be 0.5%.
Detroit, Chicago, and Green Bay are in a 3 way race for the NFC North. Barring the collapse of multiple NFC wildcard contenders, the division winner will be the only one to make the playoffs. The Lions are one game up on Green Bay, have the head-to-head tie-breaker against Chicago, and finish the year with a very soft schedule (BAL, NYG, @MIN). The Bears and Packers have much stiffer competition in the next two weeks and face each other in week 17. If Green Bay or Chicago wins out, they would have a 68% chance of winning the division. The other 32% remains because the Lions control their own destiny and automatically become king in the North if they win their last 3.
Philadelphia is currently up a game against Dallas, but lost their first meeting. That means that if the Eagles get one more win than the Boys in the next two weeks they clinch the East. If Dallas wins both of the next two and Philadelphia loses both, the Cowboys will have clinched (because of a superior record within the division). Otherwise the week 17 meeting will be the de facto divisional championship game. The model currently considers Philadelphia about a 67% favorite in that game and an 82% favorite overall.
Highest leverage game of the week: BAL @ DET
Both teams badly need this game. Baltimore needs the win to keep up with the Jets in the wildcard race and to prevent the Jets and Chargers from catching up. A Detroit victory would put them one step closer to clinching the division. Baltimore faces a 29% playoff probability swing and Detroit a 38% swing.
Both teams in the Green Bay-Dallas tilt are both sorely in need of a victory. The loser in this game will likely drop to a sub-10% playoff chance.
The individual team with the most on the line is Miami, who is hosting New England. A loss would put their playoff odds at a 50-50 proposition, but a win would make them around an 80% favorite for the final AFC wildcard position.
|AFC Percent Probability Playoff Seeding|
|NFC Percent Probability Playoff Seeding|