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Final NFL Playoff Spots Up for Grabs: AccuScore's Predictions
There are only three weeks left in the 2019 NFL regular season, with several teams already securing their postseason berths. In a few divisions, along with the Wild Card spots of course, the playoff picture is still wide open.
Accuscore simulated the remainder of the NFL season and updated its season predictions to predict which teams will get in and which teams will be on the outside looking in.
So, who's going to the playoffs?
San Francisco and New Orleans are the top teams in the NFC, and it looks like both will earn the highly coveted bye on Wildcard Weekend. Seattle still has 40% chance to win the NFC West over San Francisco, so the 49ers aren't exactly guaranteed to win the division. This NFC West may well be decided in the final game of the season, when the Seahawks and 49ers face-off in Seattle.
Right now, it looks like Green Bay and Dallas are the two other divisional winners in the NFC. Winning the division is the only way for Dallas gets into the postseason, seeing as the Cowboys have a losing record with three weeks to go. The probability for Dallas to sneak in is 53% with the Philadelphia Eagles 47% to make the playoffs. It's just about a coinflip, with Dallas edging it.
Minnesota’s divisional win probability is 42%, while Green Bay has the upper hand right with a probability of 58% to win the NFC North. The Vikings, however, still have a solid shot to make the playoffs via the Wild Card. At the moment, Minnesota is 72% to play in January. Regardless of whether the Vikings win the division or grab a playoff spot, they will be playing on Wild Card Weekend.
The rather important question is: Will it be home or away game for the Vikings?
If Green Bay loses the division to MInnesota, the Packers' chances of snatching a Wild Card slot are even better than the Vikings. Right now, Aaron Rodgers and company are over 86% to reach the playoffs. The only team with a realistic chance to knock out Green Bay/Minnesota from a Wild Card spot is the Los Angeles Rams.
The Rams' current percentage to make the playoffs is 43%, with last year's Super Bowl runner-ups facing two tough road games against Dallas and San Francisco.
With three weeks to go, here's how AccuScore sees the NFC playoff picture developing:
1. San Francisco 49ers
2. New Orleans Saints
3. Green Bay Packers
4. Dallas Cowboys
5. Seattle Seahawks
6. Minnesota Vikings
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The Baltimore Ravens, led by Lamar Jackson, have been the story of this season. They have already secured the playoffs spot and, most probably, will have the home field advantage throughout the playoffs. That would mean no trip to New England or Kansas City in January for the Ravens, along with the bye.
The Kansas City Chiefs have also secured a playoff spot. However, the Chiefs may not get the first round bye, as New England is projected to finish the season witha slighlty better record.
With the Ravens, Chiefs and Patriots all but guaranteed to with their respective divisions, the AFC South is wide open between Houston and Tennessee. With three weeks to go, it looks like Houston has a 54%-46% edge to win the division and take home field advantage for the first round of playoffs.
Winning the division is likely the only chance the Titans and Texans have to make the postseason.
Buffalo and Pittsburgh have the inside track on the AFC Wild Card spots based on season simulations. Their playoffs probabilities are 87% and 83%, respectively. Pittsburgh's performance has been quite remarkable considering star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was injured in the second game of the season, along with thee Steelers' starting running back and top wide receiver have missed extensive time due the injuries.
Houston’s and Tennessee’s playoff probabilities are about 10% higher than their chances to win the AFC South. Both teams control their own destinies, as they face each other twice during the last three weeks. Tennessee will also have the unenviable task of facing New Orleans. Houston, on the other hand, will have much easier trip to Tampa Bay in two weeks. The winner of the AFC South is a coinflip -- again.
With three weeks to go, here's how AccuScore sees the AFC playoff picture developing:
1. Baltimore Ravens
2. New England Patriots
3. Kansas City Chiefs
4. Houston Texans
5. Buffalo Bills
6. Pittsburgh Steelers
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