NFC Playoff Scenarios

NFC playoffs logo

You can take a look at the AFC Playoff scenarios and the introduction by clicking here.  Let’s jump straight into the playoff situations.

The Locks

The Panthers will be the #1 seed, and at this point it’s likely they will head to the playoffs unbeaten.

The NFC East division winner will be the #4 seed.  The Redskins are the most likely (66.4%) so they will be the team shown, but they could still be replaced by the Eagles (28.7%) or the Giants (4.9%).

The Games that Matter

With the exception of the NFC East champion, the teams that will make the tournament are essentially decided.  The Panthers, Cardinals, Packers, Seahawks, and Vikings are going to be the remaining five teams to make the tournament.  What is still to be decided is the seeding of these teams.  Here are the games remaining that will decide the playoff matchups:

Packers at Cardinals  –  Week 16
Giants at Vikings  –  Week 16
Vikings at Packers  –  Week 17
Seahawks at Cardinals  –  Week 17

With those four key games remaining, they end up producing four NFC brackets.  Let’s go through all four in order of probability:

Outcome 1: Green Bay gets the #3 seed  (66%)


Around two-thirds of the time we will end up with the bracket above (with the caveat that Washington could still be Philadelphia or New York).  Minnesota would play at Green Bay during the first round of the playoffs right after playing at Green Bay in Week 17.  Seattle would be the 5th seed and a road favorite regardless of who they play.

Outcome 2: Green Bay gets the #5 seed  (19.3%)


In this case, the Vikings take the NFC North division and climb up into the 3-seed.  The Packers win the tiebreak over the Seahawks thanks to their head-to-head win way back in Week 2.  While Seattle is a legitimate threat, this is probably their worst case scenario as they would have to go to Minnesota, then to Carolina, then either to Arizona or Green Bay.

Outcome 3: Green Bay falls to the #6 seed  (7.8%)


In this scenario, Green Bay loses both remaining games, while Seattle and Minnesota win both of their remaining games.  The Packers would then become the #6 seed while Seattle would jump to the envious spot of #5.  This percentage assumes that all teams are playing full strength but there is a chance that Arizona has nothing to play for in Week 17 and plays backups giving Seattle an easy win and a better chance at this scenario.

Outcome 4: Arizona loses their bye  (6.8%)


In a worst-case scenario for Arizona, they lose both games remaining while the Packers win both of their remaining games.  They would both finish with 12-4 records, but Green Bay would have the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Be sure to follow @Bet_Labs on twitter and let me know if there are simulations or data-driven analysis that you want to see on this blog!

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