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Week 6: NFL Injuries Minor in Impact for Playoffs
Week 5 was devastating for the New York Giants and Houston Texans. They both lost key players, when Texans JJ Watt and Giants Odell Beckham jr fractured legs and are out for the season. In addition to this, the Texans defense got another hit when Whitney Mercilus faced season ending injury as well as Giants receiving corps were torn apart with season ending injuries to Brandon Marshall and Dwayne Harris. What kind of impact there is to these teams' playoffs hopes?
Based on Accuscore’s season simulations with current rosters, Houston has around 8% probability to reach playoffs and their average record at the end of the season is 7-9. If we run simulations with JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus, their chances are not improving dramatically. The probability to reach playoffs is basically same as well as the preseason predicted record at the end of the season.
Simulations rely on historical data and it was a game three when JJ Watt injured year ago. The end result for the Texans that season was a playoff place, and they were able to pull wild card victory during postseason. At the end, it may be that JJ Watt’s impact on Texans performance is more mental than physical.
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New York Giants’ chances to playoffs are next to nothing after an 0-5 start and injuries to their star receivers. We predict that the Giants' probability to reach playoffs at the end of the season is under 1%. Based on same simulations they'll end the season with a 4-12 record. If the team has recorded only losses during first five weeks of the season with their best roster, there is not much that can go more wrong.
With Beckham and Marshall, the Giants’ playoffs probability only pop up to 2% and they would get one additional win compared to the current forecast. Even though it looks like the final blows to the Giants' season, the 2017 campaign was already lost with the 0-5 start when everyone was healthy.
And then Adrian Peterson…in Arizona
The Arizona Cardinals acquired running back Adrian Peterson from the New Orleans Saints, where the former Minnesota Viking running back had been trying to get some carries during first games of the season. Accuscore simulated AP's impact to Arizona’s playoff chances.
Arizona currently sits on a 2-3 record thanks to two wins in overtime. Their game plan hasn’t been working very well, and before they traded their chances to the postseason away, were around 30% with the record of 8-8. These simulations were run with the tandem Chris Johnson and Kerwynn Williams carrying the main load of their running game.
When we replace Johnson with Peterson and make him featured back like he was during his heydays in Minnesota, the Cardinals' chances to reach the playoffs drop to 18%. Based on these simulations the 8-win season might be a stretch and it looks more like 7-9 that they'll finish up with. As simulations are using historical data and not the highlight videos years ago to determine outcomes of the games, it is quite clear that based on the performance during last and this season, Adrian Peterson's impact is not positive. His star is fading away and a substandard offensive line cannot light it up anymore.