NFL Playoff Shifts After Week 10

| by


The New England Patriots jumped 15 percent with an extremely impressive road win in Pittsburgh.  The Jets also won to keep pace with New England.  The Patriots’ big jump came because they won a game they were supposed to lose, and beat a potential Wild Card competitor.  The Jets saw a marked improvement because Mark Sanchez’s clutch performance improved his play in Week 11 to 17 simulations.  The Dolphins beat a Wild Card competitor in Tennessee, but saw their playoff odds drop due to a number of factors including injuries at QB, OT Jake Long, and the wins by their division rivals.

The Steelers and Ravens both lost to the teams tied for the best records in the league.  They dipped -4 and -7 percent respectively, but Baltimore still holds the edge in the division race (57 percent) by virtue of beating Pittsburgh earlier in the season.  Both teams benefited by losses from Tennessee and Kansas City.  The Ravens and Steelers both have nearly an 85 percent chance of making the playoffs.  The Bengals and Browns are virtually eliminated from playoff contention.

The Indianapolis Colts now hold a 57 percent edge in the AFC South, and saw their playoff chances improve 6 percent despite a slew of injuries.  Tennessee dropped 12 percentage points because it lost to Miami.  The Jaguars are a solid 5-4 and have scored 30+ points in 4 of their past 6 games, but they are still making the playoffs in just 10.8 percent of the simulations.  The rest of the Jags’ schedule is relatively difficult, and they are only simulation favorites in three of their remaining games.  Houston’s loss on a Hail Mary has knocked the Texans down to just a 5.3 percent chance at the playoffs.  After a promising start, their poor defense will likely doom the Texans to another 8-8 season at best.

The Kansas City Chiefs dropped a whopping 18.7 percent.  Losses within the division are always costly, but in the Chiefs’ case it was the way they lost.  When your defense is absolutely demolished the way it was in Denver it does not bode well for your chances in a rematch with the Chargers in San Diego.  The Chargers are in 3rd place and are just 4-5, but they are now a solid 66 percent favorite to win the division.  Oakland is 5-4 and has a 16.7 percent chance of winning 9 or more games, but their chances of holding off San Diego or earning a Wild Card spot are still relatively low.

NEW YORK JETS 75.0% 90.0% 15.0% 47.8%
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 78.4% 93.1% 14.7% 50.4%
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS 63.7% 70.9% 7.2% 65.7%
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 58.5% 64.8% 6.3% 56.6%
OAKLAND RAIDERS 18.9% 23.6% 4.7% 18.0%
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS 6.4% 10.8% 4.4% 6.7%
DENVER BRONCOS 0.7% 1.7% 1.0% 1.7%
BUFFALO BILLS 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
CINCINNATI BENGALS 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
CLEVELAND BROWNS 1.2% 0.7% -0.5% 0.2%
HOUSTON TEXANS 8.6% 5.3% -3.3% 3.4%
PITTSBURGH STEELERS 89.2% 84.7% -4.5% 43.0%
MIAMI DOLPHINS 18.9% 12.2% -6.7% 1.8%
BALTIMORE RAVENS 91.9% 84.9% -7.0% 56.9%
TENNESSEE TITANS 51.7% 39.3% -12.4% 33.3%
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 36.7% 18.0% -18.7% 14.6%


The Philadelphia Eagles scary productive offense combined with the Giants’ defensive failure against the Cowboys has resulted in the Eagles picking up 18.5 percent this week. The Giants dropped a whopping 26 percent.  The Week 11 match-up between Philly and New York obviously has huge playoff implications.  Currently the Eagles are 63 percent favorites in that game.  The Redskins are now down to just a 1.8 percent chance of making the playoffs despite their 2-1 division record.  In simulations the Redskins are underdogs in each of their remaining games.  Dallas actually has a measurable chance of winning the division at 0.01 percent, but at 2-7 it is virtually impossible for them to win out while also having the Giants and Eagles collapse.

Green Bay is the heavy favorite in the NFC North.  The Vikings had the talent and potential to make a second half run, but their loss to Chicago has Minnesota are down to just a 10.7 percent chance of making the playoffs.  Chicago has a 29 percent chance which is fairly low considering they have the same record as Green Bay, and beat the Packers in Week 3.  Chicago has to play Philadelphia, New England, and the Jets, and must go on the road to Minnesota and Green Bay.    Week 11 at Miami and Week 13 at Detroit are not cakewalks by any means either.  A tough schedule is the reason why Chicago is not expected to make the playoffs.

Atlanta has the best record in the league and the best chance of making the playoffs in the NFC at 90.3 percent.  A quality home win over Baltimore helped the Falcons improve six percent.  The Saints are nipping on their heels and could catch Atlanta with a win in their rematch.    Tampa Bay saw a solid +17 percent increase in playoff percentage.  The Vikings and Giants struggles helped boost the Bucs’ chances of securing a Wild Card considerably.  Tampa Bay is winning the NFC South in just seven percent of simulations, but making the playoffs as a Wild Card in 43 percent of simulations.

Seattle was the big winner in the NFC West where an 8-8 record will likely win the division.  Seattle leads the division with a 41.7 percent chance of winning despite averaging just 7.6 wins per simulation. A loss to the 49ers did not hurt St. Louis in terms of playoff probability because the Rams were not expected to win that game.  Despite the loss St. Louis played well enough to help itself perform better in simulations going forward.  The 49ers actually dropped -2.7 percent despite the win because winning at home did not keep pace with Seattle getting a road win.  San Francisco may have won two in a row, but the 49ers have not been particularly impressive in their wins.   They are not clearly better than the rest of the division, and are not as likely to catch the Seahawks (3-1 in the division) as fans might think. 

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 66.2% 84.7% 18.5% 65.9%
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 32.7% 49.9% 17.2% 7.1%
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 28.0% 42.2% 14.2% 41.7%
ATLANTA FALCONS 84.3% 90.3% 6.0% 65.3%
CHICAGO BEARS 24.3% 28.9% 4.6% 18.8%
GREEN BAY PACKERS 80.6% 84.4% 3.8% 75.5%
ST. LOUIS RAMS 31.4% 34.5% 3.1% 34.4%
DALLAS COWBOYS 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
CAROLINA PANTHERS 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
DETROIT LIONS 0.1% 0.0% -0.1% 0.0%
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS 21.1% 18.5% -2.7% 18.4%
WASHINGTON REDSKINS 6.4% 1.8% -4.6% 0.3%
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 89.0% 83.6% -5.3% 27.6%
MINNESOTA VIKINGS 24.1% 10.7% -13.4% 5.6%
ARIZONA CARDINALS 20.8% 5.6% -15.2% 5.6%
NEW YORK GIANTS 91.1% 64.9% -26.2% 33.9%