Kansas City is in a free-fall. After a 5-0 start, in which Alex Smith became a MVP favorite, the Chiefs have lost five of their last six games. The offense has been a major issue. The unit that led the NFL in scoring during its winning streak (32.8 ppg) is averaging just 18.0 points per game in its last six including a 10-point performance at home against a ho-hum Bills squad.
Alex Smith has regressed, Kareem Hunt hit the rookie wall (less than 50 yards rushing in three of the last four games) and a defense that ranked 6th in DVOA in 2015 and 14th in 2016 is now below average (27th in yards per game allowed and 18th in turnovers forced). KC is a mess but are the Chiefs in danger of missing the playoffs?
No. The Chiefs still lead the AFC West, though only by one game. A division that just last season sent multiple teams to the playoffs is much weaker than expected and none of the team’s remaining opponents have a winning record. Even with all their troubles, Kansas City has a 71.9% chance of winning the division and a 76.8% chance of making the playoffs. Never underestimate the power of banking early-season wins and playing a soft schedule.
Here is everything else you need to know after Week 12. Our projections are based on 10,000 simulations of the 2017-18 season using player and team statistics adjusted for strength of schedule.
Buffalo Bills (+13.4% increase in playoff probability): With Tyrod Taylor back under center the Bills went into Arrowhead and pulled off the upset as 8.5-point dogs. The defense which had allowed 129 points over its previous three games clamped down on the Chiefs offense surrendering just one touchdown.
Los Angeles Chargers (+11.0% increase in playoff probability): The Bolts started the season 0-4 but with the Browns coming to town in Week 13, the team has a chance to get back to .500. The defense is 6th in DVOA vs. the pass and has forced 12 interceptions in the last five games, a trend that could continue against DeShone Kizer on Sunday.
Detroit Lions (-23.9% decrease in playoff probability): The Lions playoff probability took a major hit on Thanksgiving. Losing to Minnesota on Turkey Day makes it nearly impossible for Detroit to win the division (1.8%) and at 6-5, Matthew Stafford and crew are behind the Falcons, Seahawks and Panthers in the Wild Card race.
Kansas City Chiefs (-17.1% decrease in playoff probability): The Chiefs aren’t a playoff lock but half the league would trade places with them. The sky is not falling in Kansas City, yet but a loss in New York to the Jets on Sunday and all bets are off.
Most likely AFC Playoff teams:
- Patriots 99.8%
- Steelers 99.8%
- Jaguars 98.4%
- Ravens 78.7%
- Chiefs 76.8%
- Titans 72.0%
Most likely NFC Playoff teams:
- Eagles 100.0%
- Vikings 99.1%
- Rams 87.7%
- Saints 86.9%
- Seahawks 77.2%
- Panthers 74.9%
Odds to get 1st Pick
- Browns 77.2%
- 49ers 19.5%
- Giants 2.8%
- Colts 0.2%
- Bears 0.2%
- Broncos 0.1%
The Browns are winless but Cleveland isn’t a lock for the top pick. San Francisco is right behind Cleveland in mediocrity. The Niners only have one win on the season and could challenge for the No. 1 pick if everything goes right, and by that, I mean they lose each remaining game.
Below are the updated playoff probabilities for every NFL team.
|Team||Division Winner %||Make Playoffs %||Win Super Bowl %|
|New England Patriots||98.61||99.8||23.64|
|Los Angeles Rams||56.36||87.71||5.48|
|New Orleans Saints||56.75||86.9||5.06|
|Kansas City Chiefs||71.91||76.81||2.57|
|Los Angeles Chargers||21.67||29.06||0.9|
|New York Jets||0||0.46||0|
|Green Bay Packers||0.08||0.41||0|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||0||0.1||0|
|New York Giants||0||0||0|
|San Francisco 49ers||0||0||0|