Halloween weekend in the NFL was a treat for some (Tom Brady, the Broncos) and a nightmare for others (Carson Palmer, the Eagles). There is a thin edge between teams making and missing the postseason. As the NFL prepares for the second half, what does the playoff picture look like? We simulated the season 10,000 times to find out.
Tom Brady is the favorite (+125) to win the NFL MVP and he has only played in four games. His 1,319 yards, 12 touchdowns and no interceptions put him on pace for 5,276 passing yards and 48 touchdowns over a full 16 game schedule. Brady is crushing right now and the Patriots are dominating the simulations. New England is 32.1% likely to win the Super Bowl.
Behind the Pats are the Broncos (11.8%), Cowboys (11.6%) and Vikings (11.6%) as the next most likely title contenders. Denver is top five in yards and points per game allowed. Dallas, with Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, are top three in both offensive rushing and passing efficiency. Minnesota, despite back-to-back losses, still ranks in the top ten in DVOA.
Houston, Kansas City and Oakland all saw their playoff probability increase by double-digits following the action in Week 8. That makes sense, all three teams won. However, Detroit lost to the Texans yet their postseason chances improved. Why? Minnesota and Green Bay both stumbled on the road, so Detroit didn’t lose any ground in the division. On top of that, Arizona and Philly, two Wild Card contenders, lost as well. In the end, the loss at Houston was a net positive for the Lions.
Last week, Indy was projected to win the AFC South. Another disappointing loss and more sacks (Luck has been sacked a league-high 31 times) have caused the Colts playoff probability to decrease by 28.4%. Indianapolis is now the third banana in the division.
The Bills and Cardinals are other teams that saw their playoff probability decrease by at least 15%. Buffalo proved it is not in the same class as the Patriots and Carson Palmer continues to struggle in Carolina.
The most likely NFC playoff teams are the Cowboys, Vikings, Seahawks, Falcons, Eagles and Packers. The most likely AFC playoff teams are the Patriots, Broncos, Steelers, Texans, Chiefs and Raiders.
The least likely teams with a winning record to make the playoffs: Packers (46.4%), Redskins (36.5%) and Giants (21.9%)
Most likely teams with a losing record to make the playoffs: Cardinals (31.5%), Colts (15.1%) and Saints (14.9%).
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Below are the updated playoff probabilities for every NFL team.
|Team||Playoffs %||Conf. Champ. %||Super Bowl %|
|New England Patriots||99.9||50.9||32.1|
|Kansas City Chiefs||76.5||6.5||3.1|
|Green Bay Packers||46.4||4.7||1.8|
|San Diego Chargers||10.3||1.2||0.4|
|New York Giants||21.9||0.4||0.1|
|New Orleans Saints||14.9||0.2||0.1|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||5.6||0.2||0.1|
|Los Angeles Rams||2.6||0||0|
|New York Jets||0.8||0||0|
|San Francisco 49ers||0||0||0|