The Athletic

Updated NFL playoff picture: Patriots solidify standing while Jets and Giants grow shaky

Although we didn’t see as much change as the week prior, Week 11 of the NFL regular season saw three teams lose that were in my projected playoff picture. The New York Jets, Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants all went down, and although Vikings’ playoff odds didn’t change significantly, the Giants and Jets both saw their odds drop. The two New York teams were two of three in the league who saw their probabilities drop by double digits.

I project the score for each game and the final win percentage for each team using my NFL betting model. The model phases out older data and uses data from this year as the season progresses. We then run that simulation 100,000 times after each day of games to give us our Super Bowl odds and projections from my NFL model. The tables below show each team’s record entering Week 12, their projected regular season win total, their percentage odds of making the playoffs and how their remaining schedule ranks 1-32 from toughest to easiest.

AFC Playoff Picture

TEAM RECORD PROJ. WINS ODDS SOS RANK

8-2

13.1

>99.9%

T-25

7-3

10.8

98.0%

T-14

7-3

11.9

98.0%

T-20

7-3

10.8

92.5%

T-9

7-3

11

92.1%

31

6-4

9.3

65.3%

1

6-4

9.5

59.3%

2

5-5

8.5

39.1%

T-12

6-4

8.7

35.7%

T-17

4-6-1

7.1

8.5%

T-22

3-7

6.8

4.1%

T-20

3-7

6.1

3.7%

T-22

3-7

6.3

2.6%

T-5

3-7

6.1

1.1%

T-28

3-7

5.8

0.4%

T-5

1-8-1

2.8

0.0%

T-4

Let’s start with those Jets. The Jets saw their playoff odds decrease by 13.8 percent — second largest in the NFL — after their loss to the New England Patriots. Robert Salah’s team has to be pretty discouraged by that considering their offense only gave up three points to the Patriots’ offense. As always, there is a beneficiary to such a large swing, and the Patriots were just that. They saw the NFL’s biggest increase as a result of their victory (15.1 percent) and now are likely to make the playoffs just less than two-thirds of the time. That’s certainly not a guarantee at this point, but considering how tight things were heading into Week 11 (four teams with a 46- to 51-percent chance to make the playoffs but just two spots available for them), they will take any increase they can get.

The Patriots and Jets were two of those four teams, but what about the other two?

The Cincinnati Bengals beat the Pittsburgh Steelers and saw the AFC’s second biggest jump in playoff odds as a result. The defending AFC champions are now 59.3 percent to make the playoffs, up 13.1 percent from last week. The other team was the Los Angeles Chargers, whose loss in the final minutes to the Kansas City Chiefs also caused their playoff odds to take a dive. The Chargers saw their playoff odds fall 9.7 percent (the fourth-largest decline in the NFL), and now they’re at 39.1 percent, which puts them just outside the AFC playoff picture.

The top of the AFC isn’t quite set, but with the top five teams in the conference have playoff odds better than 92 percent. The interesting note is that the Tennessee Titans are now more likely to make the playoffs than the Buffalo Bills — by 0.05 percent — but the Bills are 18 percent more likely than the Titans to lock up the bye.

NFC Playoff Picture

TEAM RECORD PROJ. WINS ODDS SOS RANK

9-1

13.9

>99.9%

T-22

8-2

12.2

99.5%

32

7-3

11.8

99.0%

27

6-4

10.6

94.1%

16

5-5

9.2

85.9%

T-25

6-4

9.6

71.1%

T-12

7-3

9.6

59.9%

3

6-5

8.7

40.7%

T-17

5-6

7.3

16.7%

19

4-6

7.1

9.7%

30

4-7

7.1

9.1%

T-14

4-7

6.4

6.6%

T-9

4-7

6.7

3.3%

T-9

3-7

6.4

2.9%

7

3-8

5.3

1.5%

T-28

3-8

4.9

0.1%

8

Now let’s talk about the other in the New York metro area. The Giants lost as small favorites to the Detroit Lions on Sunday, and the result was the biggest decrease in playoff odds across the entire NFL (15.8% percent). The Giants are still favored to make the playoffs at 59.9, but the loss to the Lions was a game they wish they could have back. Just like the AFC East, the beneficiary of the Giants’ demise is a divisional rival — the Washington Commanders. The Commanders took down the Houston Texans with ease and now sit at 40.7 percent to make the playoffs, an 18.9 percent increase from last week. That’s the biggest mover of the week, positive or negative, across the entire NFL. The Giants are still in the playoff picture for now, but the Commanders are right behind them, and the teams meet twice in the next four weeks.

It wasn’t a great week for the top two teams in the NFC, but at least the Philadelphia Eagles came away with a win whereas the Minnesota Vikings weren’t so fortunate. Just one week after the Eagles were upset by the Commanders and the Vikings upset the Bills and found themselves with a great chance to get the bye in the NFC playoffs, those odds have flipped back to about where they were two weeks ago. The Eagles are now greater than 99.9 percent to make the playoffs and are projected to lock up the bye in 72.1 percent of simulations. The Vikings haven’t seen a huge decrease to their playoff odds (0.3 percent), but their odds of getting the top seed in the NFC fell by 17.9 percent to just 12.7 percent.

The reason the Vikings saw their odds for the top seed drop so much? The Dallas Cowboys. After routing the Vikings, Dallas is projected to make the playoff 99.0 percent of the time and secure the bye and home field advantage in the NFC playoffs 12.2 percent of the time. The showdown between the Cowboys and Eagles in Dallas on Christmas Eve could have huge NFC playoff implications. The Cowboys have the third-best odds to make the playoffs in the NFC, but they’ll likely be playing on the road to kick off the NFC playoffs. And that road game will likely be against the surging Buccaneers and Tom Brady.

Outside of the New York Giants, there was only one other NFC team with a double digit decrease in playoff odds — the Green Bay Packers. The Packers fell to the Titans at home last Thursday night and saw their playoff odds cut in half. Actually, it was larger than that. The Packers’ odds to make the playoffs were 19.8 percent heading into last week, and now they are just 9.1 percent. It’s not time to turn off the lights in Green Bay, but they cannot afford to lose too many games and will likely need some help over the final six weeks.

Below is a look at each team’s odds to win their division, their conference and the Super Bowl:

Super Bowl Projections

TEAM MISCELLANEOUS CONF SUPER BOWL

81.4%

27.3%

13.5%

99.3%

26.5%

13.2%

98.8%

20.6%

10.4%

59.3%

19.1%

9.8%

17.3%

14.1%

7.0%

30.3%

11.9%

6.1%

78.0%

12.0%

6.0%

79.5%

10.6%

5.5%

97.7%

11.1%

5.5%

83.9%

7.9%

3.9%

8.7%

7.3%

3.5%

21.7%

5.7%

2.9%

18.7%

6.1%

2.9%

1.2%

4.7%

2.3%

0.1%

3.6%

1.9%

0.6%

3.4%

1.6%

1.8%

2.6%

1.2%

9.7%

1.2%

0.6%

0.7%

0.8%

0.5%

0.5%

0.9%

0.5%

0.7%

0.7%

0.3%

5.1%

0.5%

0.3%

1.4%

0.3%

0.2%

0.1%

0.3%

0.1%

0.3%

0.3%

0.1%

1.7%

0.3%

0.1%

0.0%

0.2%

0.1%

1.4%

0.1%

0.1%

0.4%

0.1%

<0.1%

<0.1%

0.0%

0.0%

(Photo of Rhamondre Stevenson: Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

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