NFL Playoff Projections After Week 15


By Jonathan Lee

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AFC

By virtue of both the Steelers and Ravens losing this week, the Patriots are in the driver’s seat for the top seed in the AFC and homefield advantage.  Baltimore is still favored to win the AFC North at 63.1 percent.  Pittsburgh is 36.9 percent to win the division.  Both the Ravens and Steelers have already clinched playoff spots.

Denver finally lost with Tim Tebow at the helm, but his team remains in control for the AFC West.  The Broncos are 56.8 percent likely to win the division and 67.3 percent to make the playoffs.  San Diego has won three games in a row, and is the only AFC West team to outscore their opponents this season.  The Chargers are 20.7 percent likely to win the division while Oakland is at 16.8 percent.  Amazingly, the Chiefs beat the previously unbeaten Packers and still have a 5.8 percent chance to win the division with a .500 record.

With one Wild Card spot going to the AFC North, the other is most likely going to either the Jets or Bengals.  New York is 41.6 percent likely to make the playoffs while Cincinnati is at 30.2 percent.  Tennessee gave the Colts their first win of the year, and had the biggest drop in the projections as a result falling to just 10.1 percent likelihood for a Wild Card.  Miami, Buffalo, Cleveland, Jacksonville, and Indianapolis have been eliminated.  The Colts are in the driver’s seat for the top pick in the draft and the right to select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.

AFC WEEK 15 REVIEW PLAYOFF % CHANCE
TEAM WK 15 WK 16 % DIFF WIN DIV
CINCINNATI BENGALS 15.3% 30.2% 14.9% 0.0%
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS 9.6% 23.8% 14.2% 20.7%
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 0.3% 5.8% 5.5% 5.8%
BALTIMORE RAVENS 99.5% 100.0% 0.5% 63.1%
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 99.9% 100.0% 0.1% 100.0%
PITTSBURGH STEELERS 99.9% 100.0% 0.1% 36.9%
BUFFALO BILLS 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
CLEVELAND BROWNS 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
HOUSTON TEXANS 100.0% 100.0% 0.0% 100.0%
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
MIAMI DOLPHINS 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
DENVER BRONCOS 70.0% 67.3% -2.8% 56.8%
NEW YORK JETS 46.1% 41.6% -4.5% 0.0%
OAKLAND RAIDERS 34.1% 21.2% -13.0% 16.8%
TENNESSEE TITANS 24.4% 10.1% -14.4% 0.0%

NFC

Green Bay lost for the first time this year, and to the Chiefs of all teams.  Still, the Packers have already clinched a first round bye in the playoffs.  San Francisco got a big win over Pittsburgh on Monday Night to hold on to the second seed via tiebreaker over New Orleans.  The Saints still need another win or a Falcons loss to clinch the NFC South.

The NFC East continues to be a mess as it has all season.  Dallas won big Thursday night, and is the odds on favorite to win the division almost by default at 8-6. The Cowboys win the division 64.2 percent of the time. The Giants got embarrassed by the Redskins, and in turn lost 34.9 percentage points in playoff probability.  New York trails both Wild Card spots by two games, and likely needs to win the division to make the playoffs.  Amazingly, Philadelphia is still alive to win the division should Dallas falter and finish at .500.  The Eagles have a 6.7 percent chance of this scenario happening.

Atlanta is the overwhelming favorite to win the first Wild Card spot as it makes the postseason in 94.6 percent of simulations.  Detroit is also favored to make the playoffs at 80.2 percent, and improvement of 21.6 percentage points over last week.  Both the Falcons and Lions lead the pack of four teams by two games.  Chicago has completely gone in the tank after the injury to quarterback Jay Cutler. The Bears lost 21.3 percentage points in playoff probability, and only have a 3.4 percent chance remaining.  Arizona and Seattle are both still in the hunt should they finish at 9-7. 

Carolina, Washington, Tampa Bay, Minnesota, and St. Louis are eliminated.  Both the Vikings and the Rams are still in the running for the worst record in the NFL, and the top pick in the draft.

NFC WEEK 15 REVIEW PLAYOFF % CHANCE
TEAM WK 15 WK 16 % DIFF WIN DIV
DETROIT LIONS 58.6% 80.2% 21.6% 0.0%
DALLAS COWBOYS 48.0% 66.1% 18.1% 64.2%
ATLANTA FALCONS 88.0% 94.6% 6.7% 4.3%
ARIZONA CARDINALS 5.3% 9.9% 4.6% 0.0%
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 2.5% 6.7% 4.2% 6.7%
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 8.9% 10.0% 1.0% 0.0%
CAROLINA PANTHERS 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
GREEN BAY PACKERS 100.0% 100.0% 0.0% 100.0%
MINNESOTA VIKINGS 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 100.0% 100.0% 0.0% 95.8%
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS 100.0% 100.0% 0.0% 100.0%
ST. LOUIS RAMS 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
WASHINGTON REDSKINS 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
CHICAGO BEARS 24.8% 3.4% -21.3% 0.0%
NEW YORK GIANTS 63.9% 29.1% -34.9% 29.1%