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2015 NFL Playoff Odds Week 8: Too Close For Comfort

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The Winning Stats simulate 50,000 seasons to find out the odds of every team not only winning the Super Bowl, but winning their division, getting a Wild Card, or advancing throughout the Playoffs. Colts chances dip back below 50%, but a clear path to the Playoffs remains.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Colts Playoff Odds have taken another tumble this week coming off of their 27-21 loss to the Saints, which now, once again, sit below a 50% chance of happening. I know a lot of you are still in denial about this, but the chances are very real that the Colts could miss the Playoffs if they don't get this ship righted. I'll show you why.

AFC South
Team Wins #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 Div Bye WC Total
Colts 6.6 0.0% 0.1% 1.9% 46.4% 0.0% 0.2% 48.4% 0.1% 0.2% 48.6%
Texans 5.8 0.0% 0.0% 0.5% 22.0% 0.0% 0.2% 22.5% 0.0% 0.2% 22.7%
Jaguars 5.8 0.0% 0.0% 0.4% 17.8% 0.0% 0.4% 18.2% 0.0% 0.4% 18.6%
Titans 4.9 0.0% 0.0% 0.1% 10.8% 0.0% 0.1% 10.9% 0.0% 0.1% 11.0%

As you can see the Colts Playoff chances are now at 48.6%, falling 10% over last week, and their average win total is now slightly above 6.5 games. I did some looking at the rest of the Colts schedule to see if we can help explain how exactly they get to the Playoffs. Here's what I found:

  • It's a common perception that the Colts will roll over the other three AFC South teams in their rematch. The Predictor puts each of those games as virtual toss-ups (52/48 in all 3). Winning all 3 games, then, would be a 12.5% probability, so not all that good. I know you want to be optimistic about this team, but those other 3 teams have shown flashes, at times, of playing league-average football.
  • Let's assume the Colts do win those 3 division games though, for the sake of argument. The Colts would win the division 94% of the time, so for all intents and purposes it would be locked up just by going 6-0 in the division. Easier said than done, even with how bad the rest of the division is. This ain't even the 2010 Colts though.
  • On average it has the Colts winning two of their final six non-division games (@CAR, DEN, @ATL, TB, @PIT, @MIA), and gives them a 7% of losing all 6 of them. I saw someone on Twitter talk about 2008 and the 9-0 finish after starting 3-4. That happened in exactly 10 of the 50,000 simulations (0.02%), so I wouldn't pin your hopes on that either.

As far as the rest of the league goes, the NFC East is the only other division with a team < 60% chance of winning the division at this point in the season, and it has the Eagles and Giants in a virtual dead heat. It predicts four of the five currently undefeated teams to go over 12 wins (Broncos are at 10.8), and a 5.7% chance of one of the teams finishing the season at 16-0 (Bengals and Packers most likely). The 2nd Wild Card spots in both leagues are quite intriguing as well. In the AFC, the Raiders have taken the inside track for right now, but the surging Dolphins and getting healthier Steelers are right behind them. In the NFC the Vikings, Seahawks, Rams, and even the Saints have a shot at a wide open #6 seed. At least we'll get some drama mixed in with all these dominant teams.

Complete Playoff Odds for Every Team

AFC
Team Div. Title Wild Card Div. Round Conf. Champ Win Conf. Win SB
Bengals 97.9% 1.5% 94.3% 59.9% 35.0% 19.0%
Patriots 69.7% 28.2% 84.4% 46.5% 23.4% 11.1%
Jets 28.3% 64.4% 73.6% 39.5% 21.0% 11.0%
Broncos 76.4% 12.8% 55.2% 21.4% 8.2% 3.1%
Raiders 18.9% 34.1% 32.1% 13.8% 6.2% 2.8%
Dolphins 1.8% 22.9% 13.1% 5.0% 2.0% 0.8%
Chiefs 2.4% 8.0% 4.9% 1.8% 0.7% 0.2%
Colts 48.4% 0.2% 12.9% 3.3% 0.9% 0.2%
Steelers 1.8% 14.7% 7.1% 2.3% 0.7% 0.2%
Texans 22.5% 0.2% 7.0% 2.0% 0.6% 0.2%
Chargers 2.4% 4.3% 3.1% 1.1% 0.4% 0.1%
Jaguars 18.2% 0.4% 5.3% 1.4% 0.4% 0.1%
Titans 10.9% 0.1% 3.4% 0.9% 0.3% 0.1%
Bills 0.2% 5.4% 2.3% 0.7% 0.2% 0.1%
Browns 0.3% 2.2% 1.0% 0.3% 0.1% 0.0%
Ravens 0.0% 0.7% 0.3% 0.1% 0.0% 0.0%

The Bengals have now jumped into the driver's seat in the AFC with the Patriots and Jets following right behind. It's very interesting to see how weak the Winning Stats see the Broncos, even with the #2 Defense, at just 3% to win the Super Bowl. If Peyton Manning can get it turned around they'll be in much better shape, but I can't buy them as serious contenders if the offensive struggles continue. The Colts chances are so remote that commenting on their movements each week is pretty futile, so unless they make a serious move we'll just ignore them going forward. The Packers continue to be the favorite at 20%, while the Panthers are right around the Patriots and Jets at 11.7%.