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 15's biggest movers
All of the major action this week was in the NFC North. Detroit fell a huge 51% due to their loss to Baltimore, which was compounded by victories for Green Bay and Chicago. All 3 games were decided by 7 points or less. With a little more luck Detroit could have been a huge favorite in the division at this point; instead, they are in 3rd with a 20% chance. Because the Packers and Bears both have superior records and play each other in week 17, the Lions would be eliminated from playoff contention with a loss in either of their remaining games.
The only other team with more than a 10% move was Miami. They now have a 78% chance of making the playoffs. Their 12% move came at the expense of other wild card hopefuls: the Jets, Steelers, and Chargers. That 6th seed is now very likely going to the Dolphins or Ravens.
There are 19 teams that are not yet mathematically eliminated. The Chargers have a 3% chance and the Steelers less than 1%. All other teams still alive have at least 14% playoff odds.
The race for bye weeks
Losses by both Denver and New England have left the competition for the top two seeds in the AFC very much alive. The winner of the West is virtually guaranteed one of the byes - the Chiefs are currently given an 11% chance of stealing it from the Broncos. New England is the favorite for the other bye, but the Colts and Bengals have 18% and 26% odds, respectively, of sneaking in.
The NFC byes are much closer to certain. Weak records at the top of the North and East mean that the South and West winners will be claiming the top two spots. Seattle is a 99% favorite over San Francisco and New Orleans is 70% likely to beat out the Panthers.
High leverage game of the week: CHI @ PHI
The Bears need the game to maintain the lead in the North. An Eagles win would clinch the division if the Cowboys also lose to the Redskins. Chicago and Philadelphia both have more than a 20% playoff odds swing at stake.
For the second time in 3 weeks the Saints will play the Panthers. While both teams are 10-4, New Orleans won their meeting 2 weeks ago. Thus a Saints win clinches the division. The Panthers would clinch a playoff spot with a win and become the 68% favorite in the division.
The Ravens are the team with the most on the line this week. A win at home over New England would give them a 47% chance of nabbing the 6th slot. A loss would drop them to 11%. Their week 5 win over the Dolphins would be keeping them alive in that case.
The Lions, Chargers, and Steelers would each be eliminated with a loss this week. They all also need some help in other games.
|AFC Percent Probability Playoff Seeding|
|NFC Percent Probability Playoff Seeding|