Week 8 NFL Playoff Probabilities
Unless something nutty happens in the next eight weeks, we’re looking at exactly the NFC North and MAYBE if Carolina puts together some big games (that’s with games against the Saints and Pats, who both are in but are also tough teams…). But wait! Count those AFC teams that are hovering near 1.00 and you only find five teams (KC is hiding there just behind the Broncos.) So who will get the sixth playoff spot for the AFC? While it looks like a race to the bottom for the AFC East teams that aren’t the Pats, the Fins along with the Chargers, Titans, Ravens and Browns all have punchers’ chances at that last spot. This Sunday’s Browns vs Ravens match up and the Week 11 SD vs Miami game could both loom large.
I feel stupid for even saying this, but I think the second Wild Card will actually be a bit interesting. The probabilities in chart take into consideration remaining strength of schedule, but clearly it’s worth looking at it in some detail. The Chargers have two games against Denver and one against KC, but KC is week 17, and they get to play the Giants and Raiders. The Dolphins schedule isn’t too bad, they play the Bengals this week, and the Patriots again, but not until week 15 (though we know Belichick doesn’t let off the gas pedal), plus Carolina and SD. The rest of their schedule is light, with two games against the Jets (who have a nice saw-tooth win/loss/win pattern going, and if that pattern holds, they’d lose both games against the Dolphins*) , plus the BIlls, Steelers and Bucs. Baltimore has two left against Cincy (though one in week 17) plus the Bears, Lions, Pats with only the Vikings and the Steelers as absolute terrible opponent. The Browns have only one left against the Bengals, the Pats plus the Bears, while they have two against Pittsburgh and one against Jacksonville. They both play the Jets, so who know what will happen there.
* I do not think there is some magic pattern leading the Jets to an 8-8 season. I think it’s that they’re not a very good team.
I personally would think the the smart money is on the Titans. They have two games against the Colts and one against the Broncos, but they also have two against the Jags, and one each versus the Rams, the Raiders, the Texans, and the Cardinals, four teams who are demonstrably terrible.
Stick with us to see how the playoff picture unfolds. Do not stick with certain other sites, who (no lie) actually seem to think the Bengals week 7 49-9 win over the Jets is somehow going to make it harder for them to beat the Dolphins. Um…. sure.