If we learned one thing from Week 10, it’s that the NFL playoff picture can change in an instant. The Bills, Saints and Ravens all found that out the hard way on Sunday for very different reasons.
Does losing a your starting quarterback hurt you in our playoff projections? How far do you fall when you lose a game you were supposed to win like the Ravens did? Does our computer even care if you lose on a fluke play like a Hail Mary?
We’re going to answer all those questions in our weekly playoff projection. The projections here are based on data from number-cruncher Stephen Oh of SportsLine.com. Basically, Oh plugged some numbers into his SportsLine computer this week and simulated the rest of the NFL season, and using those numbers, we’re going to let you know the playoff chances for all 32 teams, plus the projected 14-team playoff field.
With that in mind, let’s get to this week’s playoff projections. Actually, before we do that, here’s a mock draft that fans of the Jets, Jaguars, Chargers, Bengals, Broncos, Texans, Falcons and Panthers might want to read. Since the computer is believes those teams basically have a zero percent chance of getting into the playoffs, that mock will probably be way more exciting than this projection.
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Note: Remember, this is a projection based on how we think the rest of the regular season will play out. If you want to see the current playoff standings, be sure to click here.
With that in mind, let’s get to the projections.
AFC Playoff Projection
First team out: Raiders (56.5% chance of getting into the playoffs)
Note: The first team out could end up making the playoffs. The NFL has approved a proposal that will expand the playoffs to 16 teams, but that will only happen if COVID-19 causes the cancellation of multiple regular season games that have a bearing on who might make the playoffs.
Here’s a list of the playoff chances for all the other AFC teams (their percentage chances of getting into the playoffs is listed next to them in parentheses): Browns (43.3%), Patriots (13.3%), Chargers (0.2%), Broncos (0.2%), Texans (0.1%), Bengals (0.1%), Jaguars (0.0%), Jets (0.0%).
Note II: The Jets and Jaguars haven’t been eliminated from playoff contention, but they have a zero percent chance of making it because the computer hates them. Actually, the computer doesn’t love or hate, it has no feelings, it just doesn’t think there’s a mathematical chance for either team to make it.
NFC Playoff Projection
First team out: Bears (27.5% chance of getting into the playoffs)
Note: The first team out could end up making the playoffs. The NFL has approved a proposal that will expand the playoffs to 16 teams, but that will only happen if COVID-19 causes the cancellation of multiple regular season games over the final eight weeks of the season.
Here’s a list of the playoff chances for all the other NFC teams (their percentage chances of getting into the playoffs is listed next to them in parentheses): Vikings (22.1%), Giants (21.1%), Lions (9.7%), 49ers (4.9%), Cowboys (8.1%), Washington (6.5%), Falcons (0.9%), Panthers (0.3%)
Note: The Giants, Cowboys and Washington have a higher percentage than several other teams because they computer believes they have a better shot of winning the NFC East than the most other NFC teams have of earning a wild-card berth.
Wild-card round projection
(7) Titans at (2) Chiefs
(6) Dolphins at (3) Bills
(5) Ravens at (4) Colts
Bye: Steelers (Pittsburgh would host Las Vegas in the wild-card round of a 16-team playoff)
(7) Cardinals at (2) Packers
(6) Seahawks at (3) Rams
(5) Buccaneers at (4) Eagles
Bye: Saints (New Orleans would host Chicago in in wild-card round of a 16-team playoff)