More than a month into the NFL season what do we know for sure? The Chiefs are good and the Browns are bad. Sure, that’s easy but what about the rest of the league? If the postseason started today the Bills would be the 2-seed in the AFC and the Eagles would get home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
Five games aren’t enough of a sample to draw meaningful conclusions but what impact have these early results had on the playoff picture? We simulated the season 10,000 times to find out.
Kansas City is undefeated but New England (3-2), a team the Chiefs have already beat, are more likely to win the Super Bowl. The Pats are still the No. 1 team in our Power Ratings, which accounts for preseason expectations. New England was such a heavy favorite to repeat before Week 1 that Brady and Belichick can’t be written off after a slow start.
The good news for Chiefs fans. Right now Alex Smith and crew have the best chance to get a bye (67.7%) and home field advantage (49.4%) in the playoffs. The further we get into the season, if KC continues to play at a high level, the more likely the team will be to win the Super Bowl.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+29.2% increase in playoff probability): A stunning win over the Steelers coupled with losses by the Texans and Titans has made the Jags the favorites in the AFC South. Jacksonville now has a better chance of winning the Super Bowl than the Cowboys, you read that correctly!
Baltimore Ravens (+25.8% increase in playoff probability): Pittsburgh’s loss is Baltimore’s gain. Not only did the Killer B’s stumble but the Ravens took care of business against a Derek Carr-less Raiders team. If the playoffs started today the Ravens would be in.
Houston Texans (24.0% decrease in playoff probability): Not only did Houston look outclassed by the Chiefs on Sunday night but the Texans lost three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt for the season.
Dallas Cowboys (15.1% decrease in playoff probability): Dallas left too much time on the clock and Aaron Rodgers burned them scoring the game-winning touchdown with 11 seconds remaining. The Cowboys have a losing record a year after winning 13 games.
Most likely AFC Playoff teams:
- Chiefs 95.0%
- Patriots 87.4%
- Steelers 72.6%
- Jaguars 71.3%
- Broncos 52.5%
- Ravens 52.3%
Most likely NFC Playoff teams:
- Packers 86.7%
- Seahawks 85.5%
- Eagles 78.2%
- Falcons 69.4%
- Panthers 69.2%
- Lions 37.5%
Least likely teams with a winning record to make the playoffs: Rams (24.0%) and Vikings (34.7%)
Most likely team with a losing record to make the playoffs: Texans (31.0%) and Cowboys (27.6%)
No. 1 Pick
- Browns 45.7%
- 49ers 27.4%
- Giants 9.5%
- Bears 9.4%
- Chargers 3.0%
Cleveland is the most likely team to get the No. 1 pick after starting 0-5. The Jets were among the favorites to tank for the first pick before the season began. New York is 3-2 and has only a 0.5% chance of having the first pick. Even when the Jets try to be bad they fail.
Below are the updated playoff probabilities for every NFL team.
|Team||Division Winner%||Make Playoffs%||Win Super Bowl%|
|New England Patriots||78.11||87.38||17.04|
|Kansas City Chiefs||78.7||95.04||14.88|
|Green Bay Packers||72.52||86.7||13.28|
|New Orleans Saints||13.07||31.91||1.23|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||7.13||19.23||0.66|
|Los Angeles Rams||12.68||23.97||0.38|
|Los Angeles Chargers||0.2||2.27||0.05|
|New York Giants||0.25||0.5||0.02|
|New York Jets||1.81||5.96||0.02|
|San Francisco 49ers||0.04||0.06||0|