Playoff Probabilities Week 7

Courtesy of Chris Cox at NFL-forecast.com, the latest playoff probabilities for each team.

These are generated using the NFL-Forecast software app, which uses the win probabilities generated by the team efficiency model to simulate the NFL season 5,000 times. And if you don't buy the game probabilities from Advanced NFL Stats, you can tweak them as much as you like to generate your own playoff projection. I encourage everyone to download the app and test out your own scenarios.

Moving Up
Their win over Houston jolted Baltimore into first place in the team rankings and gave a 21% boost to the Ravens' overall playoff probability, putting them at the top of the tables in the AFC. In addition, the Ravens are now forecast to get a first-round bye in over half of the simulations.

Moving Down
Things tightened in the NFC East last week, as the Redskins lost a division matchup and the Cowboys' failure to capitalize on Patriot turnovers dropped Dallas to 2-3. As a result, both teams saw their playoff probabilities decline 19%. However, the Cowboys' strong position in the team rankings (#2 overall) continues to propel them to a playoff berth in 64% of simulations.


High Leverage Game of the Week

Houston at Tennessee | Sunday, October 23 | 1:00pm ET



Playoff Prob.TEN WinHOU Win
HOU 4879
TEN7443


The above table shows each team's respective playoff probability given the two possible outcomes of Sunday's game (excluding a tie, cancellation, or the zombie apocalypse). As you can see, this game has a big impact on the playoff probabilities of both teams, with each seeing a swing of over 30%, a very large number for a game this early in the season. So what gives?

With only three wins apiece, both teams are a step behind the primary wild card contenders in the AFC. Given that things in the conference are as tight as they are, the surest route to the postseason for either is the division title. And with the Jaguars (1-5) and Colts (0-6) out of the mix, the model sees the battle for the AFC South as essentially a two team race, with either Houston or Tennessee taking the division in over 98% of simulations.

As of now, each team captures the South about half the time, but the outcome of this game will tilt the balance heavily toward the winner. If Tennessee wins, they go on to win the division in 65% of simulations (compared to Houston's 33%). If Houston wins, they go on to win the division 74% of the time (compared to Tennessee's 25%).

All this adds up to a midseason game with big postseason implications (with a rematch the final week of the season, in what could be a stroke of NFL scheduling genius).

News & Notes
  • Despite beating the Saints to take the lead in the NFC South, Tampa Bay (4-2) continues to get no respect from the model, and as a result has a playoff probability of only 18%, on par with the 2-4 Eagles.
  • The Panthers (1-5) aren't out of it yet, but this week's faceoff against the Redksins and their newly anointed starting quarterback is looking like a must-win. A Carolina loss would put them in a big hole—they go on to make the playoffs less than 1% of the time.

The probabilities below may not add up to 100 (in percent form) due to rounding. Enjoy.











































AFC EAST
Team1st2nd3rd4th
NE692570
BUF2346292
NYJ929585
MIA01793
AFC NORTH
Team1st2nd3rd4th
BAL652771
PIT2851183
CIN7206113
CLE031483
AFC SOUTH
Team1st2nd3rd4th
HOU524170
TEN464770
JAC2116719
IND011980
AFC WEST
Team1st2nd3rd4th
SD523981
OAK4342123
DEN294346
KC2103850
NFC EAST
Team1st2nd3rd4th
DAL45261811
NYG27312617
WAS21272823
PHI7162849
NFC NORTH
Team1st2nd3rd4th
GB712720
DET286390
CHI197911
MIN011189
NFC SOUTH
Team1st2nd3rd4th
NO851230
TB10472816
ATL5274226
CAR1142758
NFC WEST
Team1st2nd3rd4th
SF91710
SEA4433320
STL2263240
ARI3233440






































AFC Percent Probability Playoff Seeding
Team1st2nd3rd4th5th6thTotal
BAL37178318890
NE23251478885
PIT14842321575
SD71016223664
HOU3916243662
TEN51014165959
OAK4915145855
BUF4774111447
CIN2211101229
NYJ13334822
DEN0011124
KC0011013
JAC0002003
CLE0000012
MIA0000000
IND0000000
NFC Percent Probability Playoff Seeding
Team1st2nd3rd4th5th6thTotal
GB56113123498
SF102326330193
DET17831481389
NO82327251388
DAL41615941663
NYG389771449
WAS287461441
CHI000061320
TB01362618
PHI01342818
ATL01231411
SEA0013026
ARI0002003
STL0002002
CAR0001012
MIN0000011

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3 Responses to “Playoff Probabilities Week 7”

  1. Jonathan says:

    Andrew Luck Sweepstakes:

    Indy 37%
    Mia 21%
    Ari 9%
    StL 8%
    Min 7%
    Car 5%
    Jac 5%

  2. Mike B says:

    Love the idea of the "High Leverage Game of the Week". Hope it will be a weekly feature.

  3. Sam's Hideout says:

    After some more thought, I think its now possible to compute exact division winner probabilities in a reasonable amount of time.

    The basic idea is to compute each division separately. Take for example, the AFC East. Between the Patriots, Bills, Dolphins, and Jets, there are only 32 games in their remaining schedule (assuming I counted correctly...).

    With only about 4 billion permutations (of game winners/losers), if the per-permutation computation is reasonably cheap, it should be doable to compute exact division winner probabilities in a few seconds to few minutes per division. I think I can compute the permutation probability with 1 multiplication by using gray coding of the permutation [*], so probably everything else (housekeeping and tests to determine the division winner of the permutation) becomes the bottleneck.

    [*] So each permutation differs from the previous by exactly one game outcome, so divide the previous joint probability by the pre-flipped probability then multiply by the post-flipped, but this divide and mulitply can be precomputed into a single multiplied factor.

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