NFL Playoff Shifts Coming into Week 13

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There was minimal movement in the AFC this week.  Kansas City was the big gainer improving +8 percentage points with its road win, but was followed closely by San Diego which got a huge road win over the Colts.  The Chargers are playing excellent football and are forecasted to overtake Kansas City with a 72 percent chance of taking the AFC West again.  The Raiders were the big loser this week with their home loss and wins by the Chiefs and Chargers.

Indianapolis was the second biggest loser this week dropping -4 percentage points, but it still leads the AFC South in playoff probability at 54.9 percent.  Jacksonville and Tennessee both lost which helped the Colts maintain their lead in the division.  Jacksonville is expected to drop back due to a tough upcoming schedule.  The Texans did improve +3.3 percent, but they still have just a 6.3 percent chance of getting a playoff spot (only 0.1 percent chance of a Wild Card spot).

Baltimore is up to a 93 percent chance of making the playoffs heading into a showdown with Pittsburgh.  The Ravens have home field advantage, and are 54.5 percent favorites to beat the Steelers.  The winner of this matchup will clearly vault to the lead in the division winner race, but the loser should be in the playoffs.  The Browns do not have any shot at the playoffs, but they can play major spoiler with Week 16 games against Baltimore and Week 17 against Pittsburgh.

The Jets and Patriots clash this week and like Pittsburgh and Baltimore, the winner of this AFC East matchup will vault to over a 75 percent chance of taking the division. The loser though should still be in excellent playoff position.  Miami has less than a one percent chance of winning the division but its Wild Card chances are still relevant.  Like Cleveland in the AFC north, the Bills have the talent to play spoiler in Week 16 and 17 versus the Jets and Patriots.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 26.6% 34.6% 8.0% 25.4%
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS 72.1% 76.3% 4.2% 72.1%
HOUSTON TEXANS 3.1% 6.3% 3.3% 6.2%
BALTIMORE RAVENS 90.4% 93.2% 2.9% 54.0%
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 96.8% 97.7% 0.8% 59.5%
MIAMI DOLPHINS 8.0% 8.3% 0.3% 0.9%
PITTSBURGH STEELERS 94.6% 94.8% 0.2% 46.0%
BUFFALO BILLS 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
CINCINNATI BENGALS 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
CLEVELAND BROWNS 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
DENVER BRONCOS 0.5% 0.0% -0.5% 0.0%
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS 20.1% 19.2% -0.8% 18.9%
NEW YORK JETS 93.2% 91.6% -1.5% 39.6%
TENNESSEE TITANS 24.5% 20.5% -4.0% 20.4%
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 58.9% 54.9% -4.0% 54.5%
OAKLAND RAIDERS 11.3% 2.6% -8.8% 2.5%

In a division where the winner may only finish with seven wins, a one game swing has huge ramifications.  In the case of the NFC West a road win by the Rams combined with a home loss by the Seahawks flipped these teams’ fortunes with the Rams doubling their playoff chances to 61 percent while the Seahawks’ chances were cut by more than half (-30.7 percent).  The 49ers are playing better, but still may be running out of time with only an 11 percent chance.  No NFC West team is making the playoffs as a Wild Card in simulations.

The Bears also jumped up this week (+25 percent) with an impressive win versus the Eagles combined with a tough loss for the Packers who dropped -14 percent.  The Bears are still just sixth in the NFC in playoff position because of their tough remaining schedule with games against the Patriots, Jets and on the road at Green Bay.  The Packers are one game back of the Bears, but having home field advantage against Chicago in Week 17 gives them a 70 percent chance of winning what could be the deciding game in the division.  Minnesota is not mathematically eliminated, but has less than a one percent chance.

The NFC East saw the Giants get back on the winning track and improve nearly 10 percentage points while the Eagles dropped nearly 13 percentage points.  The Eagles are still favored to win the division at 62.6 percent.  Any chance that Dallas had of making a miraculous comeback were eliminated on Thanksgiving with their loss to the Saints and Washington is barely hanging on at just a 1.5 percent chance of making the playoffs.

Atlanta has the best record in the league and the highest playoff probability in the NFC at 97 percent.  The Saints are looking good with over an 84 percent chance, and Tampa Bay is still hanging on at 43.7 percent.  The Bucs’ loss to Baltimore combined with the Giants win dropped Tampa Bay out of the sixth projected playoff spot.  Tampa’s playoff chances hinge on the Week 13 game against Atlanta in which the Falcons are 57 percent favorites in simulations.

ST. LOUIS RAMS 30.1% 61.4% 31.3% 61.4%
CHICAGO BEARS 36.5% 61.4% 24.9% 41.8%
NEW YORK GIANTS 50.0% 59.9% 9.9% 36.8%
ATLANTA FALCONS 92.9% 97.4% 4.5% 79.0%
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 80.9% 84.1% 3.2% 18.2%
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS 9.1% 11.3% 2.2% 11.3%
MINNESOTA VIKINGS 0.6% 0.8% 0.2% 0.1%
CAROLINA PANTHERS 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
DETROIT LIONS 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
DALLAS COWBOYS 0.1% 0.0% -0.1% 0.0%
ARIZONA CARDINALS 4.3% 1.5% -2.7% 1.5%
WASHINGTON REDSKINS 4.5% 1.5% -3.1% 0.5%
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 56.2% 43.7% -12.5% 2.8%
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 89.5% 76.6% -12.8% 62.6%
GREEN BAY PACKERS 88.8% 74.5% -14.3% 58.1%
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 56.6% 25.9% -30.7% 25.8%