After 17 weeks of football, the twelve teams vying for the Super Bowl this year have been decided.  As we have throughout the season, we have simulated the remaining games to see who is most likely to hoist the Lombardi trophy in Houston in February.

But rather than jump straight to the Super Bowl, we’ll start with the conference championship games.

Chances of reaching AFC Title Game:

Patriots 84.2%
Chiefs 62.2%
Steelers 28.9%
Raiders 13.6%
Texans 6.1%
Dolphins 5.0%

This gave us the following AFC Championship Games:

Chiefs @ Patriots  52.5%
Steelers @ Patriots  24.3%
Raiders @ Patriots  5.1%
Raiders @ Chiefs  4.2%
Dolphins @ Chiefs  3.6%
Raiders @ Steelers  3.4%
Texans @ Patriots  2.4%
Texans @ Chiefs  2.0%
Texans @ Steelers  1.3%
Dolphins @ Raiders  1.0%
Dolphins @ Texans  0.4%

A few thoughts on the AFC.  Although the Patriots are docked for losing Gronk, they are still a heavy favorite at home against all other teams.  The simulation also likes the Raiders over the Texans in the first round which contradicts the current betting market which has instilled Houston as 3.5 point favorites.

The simulation also gives the Dolphins a better chance than the current betting market.  Not that the Dolphins have a great chance, but the simulation gives them a better shot than a typical 10 point underdog.

Now here are each team’s chances to reach the NFC title game:

Cowboys 77.0%
Falcons 64.7%
Seahawks 26.5%
Packers 17.0%
Giants 9.3%
Lions 5.6%

And this gives us the following NFC Championship games:

Falcons @ Cowboys  49.7%
Seahawks @ Cowboys  20.1%
Packers @ Falcons  7.1%
Packers @ Cowboys  4.8%
Packers @ Seahawks 4.0%
Giants @ Falcons  4.0%
Lions @ Falcons  4.0%
Giants @ Cowboys  2.4%
Giants @ Seahawks  2.4%
Lions @ Packers  1.1%
Lions @ Giants  0.5%

And now some thoughts on the NFC.  Green Bay is the current darling of the media and twitter.  They are “hot” at the right time, and they have the best quarterback in the league so it’s easy to see why they are well received by fans and bettors alike.  But they are only 4.5 point favorites this week and will likely be a field goal underdog (or more) for next week’s game.  Green Bay is definitely a good team but they have a very tough road (vs NYG, at DAL, at ATL/SEA is most likely) to navigate through the NFC.

So let’s move on to the Super Bowl.  Here are every team’s chances of reaching the big game in Houston:

Patriots 63.3%
Cowboys 50.5%
Falcons 29.2%
Chiefs 20.4%
Seahawks 10.5%
Steelers 9.2%
Packers 5.3%
Raiders 4.3%
Giants 3.0%
Dolphins 1.6%
Lions 1.5%
Texans 1.3%

And finally here are each team’s chances of winning the Super Bowl according to the simulation:

Patriots 39.1%
Cowboys 25.6%
Falcons 13.1%
Chiefs 8.9%
Seahawks 4.0%
Steelers 4.0%
Packers 1.7%
Raiders 1.5%
Giants 0.9%
Lions 0.5%
Dolphins 0.4%
Texans 0.3%

The simulation is a big fan of the favorites and it’s also no surprise that the four teams that earned byes have the four best chances of winning the Super Bowl.  While many see this as a wide-open tournament, the simulation suggests you should take the Patriots and Cowboys over the field.

That’s what the computer projects for the NFL playoffs this season.  Starting on Saturday, we’ll get to actually watch the games play out and enjoy the fact that the playoffs are not simulated.  Happy watching.