2013 NFL Playoff Odds: Colts Lock For Playoffs, Very Unlikely For Super Bowl

Andy Lyons

A new feature with the Winning Stats: Playoff Odds! Find out how likely a Super Bowl run is based on the Winning Stats. For the Colts, it isn't that likely unfortunately.

The long weekend let me have some extra free time to finish something I started before the season, but didn't have the time to finish until now. The beauty of our Winning Stats system is that it can spit out a probability of win for any two teams, at any point in the season, and we can use this data to predict how the season will play out. If you do it enough times (say 50,000), you have a really good idea the probability every team has of making the Playoffs, getting to the second round, or even winning the Super Bowl. And that's exactly what I've done.

I've determined the probability of win for each team at this moment in time, and simulated the rest of the season, including the Playoffs, 50,000 times. For those wondering, Visual Basic took about 20 minutes to complete this task. The toughest part was getting all the tie-breakers to work correctly, which is what I finished up this weekend, and then it was just outputting the data from VB, plopping into Excel to format, and we have some really cool data.

The first tables you'll see will have the probability of teams finishing with a specific seed, and some totals, which you can sort in the division. After that you'll see a full-conference table with probabilities of advancing to each round. They aren't percentages they'll only get that far. It's the probability they'll be playing on that weekend. Everything is sortable on that too.

Let's get to the good stuff. First, the AFC South:

AFC South
Team Wins #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 Div Bye WC Total
Colts 9.9 2.8% 11.7% 23.5% 61.3% 0.0% 0.1% 99.2% 14.5% 0.1% 99.2%
Titans 7.3 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.8% 0.0% 9.1% 0.8% 0.0% 9.1% 10.0%
Jaguars 4.7 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Texans 3.5 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%

As you can see, the Colts are a virtual lock to make the Playoffs, almost exclusively as a Division winner. In order to be a Wild Card they'd have to finish 8-8 and get a Wild Card, which is why it's such a small percentage there. You can also see they're most likely to gain the 4th seed in the AFC Playoffs, a place I'd rather they not be. They also have a slim chance at a First Round bye (14%), and even an outside shot at the #1 seed.

Because it's pretty easy to do now, I simulated seasons with the Colts both winning and losing this weekend in Cincinnati. A loss almost assures them the 4 seed (82%), but a win has their chances at getting the 4 seed at just 17%. A win also boosts their chances of a bye up to 37%, but a loss makes it just 3.5%. If I haven't made myself clear, the game this Sunday against the Bengals has huge implications on Playoff seeding.

The Rest of the AFC:

AFC North
Team Wins #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 Div Bye WC Total
Bengals 10.6 8.4% 30.1% 34.8% 20.8% 0.3% 2.6% 94.1% 38.5% 2.9% 96.9%
Ravens 7.5 0.0% 0.3% 0.9% 3.0% 0.3% 15.2% 4.1% 0.3% 15.5% 19.6%
Steelers 7.3 0.0% 0.0% 0.1% 1.7% 0.2% 12.5% 1.8% 0.0% 12.6% 14.4%
Browns 5.8 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.4% 0.0% 0.0% 0.4% 0.4%

AFC East
Team Wins #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 Div Bye WC Total
Patriots 11.4 23.6% 31.9% 29.3% 10.0% 0.7% 3.7% 94.8% 55.5% 4.4% 99.2%
Dolphins 8.5 0.0% 1.1% 3.0% 1.1% 3.7% 50.2% 5.2% 1.1% 53.9% 59.1%
Jets 6.1 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.6% 0.0% 0.0% 0.6% 0.6%
Bills 5.7 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.7% 0.0% 0.0% 0.7% 0.7%

AFC West
Team Wins #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 Div Bye WC Total
Broncos 12.5 58.5% 21.6% 7.7% 1.2% 10.7% 0.0% 89.1% 80.1% 10.7% 99.8%
Chiefs 11.3 6.8% 3.3% 0.8% 0.1% 84.0% 0.5% 10.9% 10.1% 84.5% 95.4%
Chargers 6.9 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.1% 2.7% 0.0% 0.0% 2.9% 2.9%
Raiders 5.9 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 1.7% 0.0% 0.0% 1.7% 1.7%

Each Division looks to be essentially wrapped up, and five teams have a 95+% chance of making Playoffs. We can also see that the Dolphins have the best shot at the #6 seed, at just a hair over 50%, and just shy of 60% total of making the Playoffs. NBC wanted to hype the winner of the Ravens-Steelers game from last Thursday night as having the shot at that slot, but as you can see that isn't even close. At least for now.

Your NFC Conferences:

NFC South
Team Wins #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 Div Bye WC Total
Panthers 11.8 2.6% 60.8% 0.2% 0.0% 29.2% 6.3% 63.6% 63.4% 35.5% 99.1%
Saints 10.8 0.8% 35.5% 0.1% 0.0% 39.1% 21.0% 36.4% 36.3% 60.2% 96.6%
Buccaneers 4.9 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Falcons 4.7 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%

NFC North
Team Wins #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 Div Bye WC Total
Lions 9.7 0.0% 0.3% 59.2% 33.9% 0.0% 0.6% 93.4% 0.3% 0.6% 94.0%
Bears 8.1 0.0% 0.0% 3.5% 2.2% 0.5% 15.1% 5.7% 0.0% 15.6% 21.3%
Packers 6.7 0.0% 0.0% 0.2% 0.7% 0.0% 1.6% 0.9% 0.0% 1.6% 2.5%
Vikings 4.7 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%

NFC East
Team Wins #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 Div Bye WC Total
Cowboys 9.4 0.0% 0.0% 22.3% 51.0% 0.0% 3.4% 73.3% 0.0% 3.4% 76.7%
Eagles 8.9 0.0% 0.0% 14.5% 12.0% 0.1% 15.7% 26.5% 0.0% 15.8% 42.3%
Giants 6.8 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.1% 0.0% 0.7% 0.2% 0.0% 0.7% 0.9%
Redskins 4.5 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%

NFC West
Team Wins #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 Div Bye WC Total
Seahawks 13.8 96.3% 1.7% 0.0% 0.0% 2.0% 0.0% 98.0% 98.0% 2.0% 100.0%
49ers 10.3 0.3% 1.7% 0.0% 0.0% 27.2% 4.0% 2.0% 2.0% 31.2% 33.2%
Cardinals 8.5 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 1.8% 26.9% 0.0% 0.0% 28.7% 28.7%
Rams 6.8 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 4.7% 0.0% 0.0% 4.7% 4.7%

The Seahawks have clinched a Playoff berth, and three others are at 94+%, including the Lions. The most interesting thing on here? The Eagles have a better shot at making the Playoffs than the 49ers. I wouldn't have expected that.

Now you know the chances of teams making the Playoffs. How will they do once they get there? Let's look at the AFC first:

AFC
Team Div. Title Wild Card Div. Round Conf. Champ Win Conf. Win SB
Broncos 89.1% 10.7% 92.1% 55.2% 31.1% 13.4%
Bengals 94.1% 2.9% 74.1% 41.1% 22.3% 9.4%
Patriots 94.8% 4.4% 79.3% 41.3% 20.0% 7.6%
Dolphins 5.2% 53.9% 31.2% 15.0% 7.6% 3.1%
Chiefs 10.9% 84.5% 51.9% 21.4% 9.2% 2.9%
Colts 99.2% 0.1% 50.3% 18.0% 6.6% 1.7%
Steelers 1.8% 12.6% 6.9% 3.2% 1.5% 0.6%
Ravens 4.1% 15.5% 7.5% 2.5% 0.9% 0.2%
Titans 0.8% 9.1% 4.3% 1.5% 0.4% 0.1%
Chargers 0.0% 2.9% 1.1% 0.5% 0.2% 0.0%
Raiders 0.0% 1.7% 0.6% 0.2% 0.1% 0.0%
Browns 0.0% 0.4% 0.1% 0.1% 0.0% 0.0%
Bills 0.0% 0.7% 0.3% 0.1% 0.0% 0.0%
Jets 0.0% 0.6% 0.1% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Jaguars 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Texans 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%

The Broncos lead the way in the AFC for winning the Super Bowl at 13.4%, and surprisingly enough the second favorite is the Bengals at 9.4%. Very interesting. You see the Colts have the 6th best odds in the AFC of winning the Super Bowl at just 1.7%, but are 50/50 to make the second weekend. You see the Dolphins again fairly high up there. Want a dark horse? There you go, getting them in Week 14. Also, the Jaguars made the Super Bowl in two of the 50,000 simulations, but didn't win either of them. There's still hope!

And here's the NFC:

NFC
Team Div. Title Wild Card Div. Round Conf. Champ Win Conf. Win SB
Seahawks 98.0% 2.0% 99.3% 63.2% 38.7% 25.9%
Panthers 63.6% 35.5% 85.4% 50.8% 26.1% 16.5%
Lions 93.4% 0.6% 57.1% 26.1% 12.3% 7.0%
Saints 36.4% 60.2% 65.1% 28.8% 11.2% 5.6%
49ers 2.0% 31.2% 20.1% 8.2% 4.1% 2.4%
Cowboys 73.3% 3.4% 33.4% 10.7% 4.0% 1.9%
Eagles 26.5% 15.8% 17.5% 5.5% 1.8% 0.8%
Cardinals 0.0% 28.7% 11.9% 3.6% 1.0% 0.5%
Bears 5.7% 15.6% 7.3% 2.1% 0.5% 0.2%
Rams 0.0% 4.7% 1.9% 0.8% 0.3% 0.1%
Giants 0.2% 0.7% 0.4% 0.1% 0.0% 0.0%
Packers 0.9% 1.6% 0.6% 0.1% 0.0% 0.0%
Buccaneers 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Redskins 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Vikings 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Falcons 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%

You can see the Seahawks are the clear Super Bowl favorite at 26%, which in terms of betting odds is about +285. If you can find them at that or better (good luck), it's a good value bet. Personally I like the one I actually have with the Panthers, who at 16.5% are at +505, and I have them at +2800. I'm a pretty big Panthers fan now-a-days. There's also quite a few teams vying for the last Playoff spot in the NFC, much more so than the AFC, even though we don't hear much about it.

I plan to do this each week for the rest of the year, as I think this stuff is really interesting and useful information. Anything that can give me (and you) and edge is always welcomed.

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