NFL Simulation Update – Week 12


Another week of the NFL is in the books and that means it is time for another NFL simulation.  The teams are listed in order of average wins at the end of 10,000 seasons.  The divisional alignment makes this kind of messy because you have teams in the NFC East and AFC South that are still in the playoff hunt despite a poor projection.  You can click on each team to see their full projection, let’s jump in and rank all 32 teams.

The Undefeateds

1. New England Patriots  10-0, 14.9 projected wins
2. Carolina Panthers  10-0, 14.3 projected wins

The Patriots and Panthers both remain undefeated and the likelihood of seeing a 16-0 season increases with each week.  However the simulator projects that Week 12 is the most likely week for each team to stumble.  The Panthers are on a short week at Dallas on Thanksgiving with Romo back at quarterback for the Cowboys.  The Patriots make the much anticipated trip to Denver on Sunday, however Peyton Manning is expected to sit out his second straight game.

New England currently goes 16-0 in 29.6% of simulations.  If you count this week’s game at Denver a win, that percentage jumps up to 42.6%.

In The Playoffs

3. Cincinnati Bengals  8-2
4. Arizona Cardinals  8-2
5. Denver Broncos  8-2
6. Green Bay Packers  7-3

These teams are unlikely to catch the undefeated teams and get the 1-seed, but are all still battling for a valued bye in the playoffs.  A fortuitous quirk of the NFL schedule sees these four teams play each other in the same week.  The Packers travel to Arizona, while the Bengals travel to Denver in Week 15.  Both games will have huge impact in regards to playoff seeding.

Wildcard Frontrunners

7. Minnesota Vikings  7-3
8. Pittsburgh Steelers  6-4
9. Kansas City Chiefs  5-5
10. Atlanta Falcons  6-4

After four straight wins, the Chiefs find themselves in the playoff picture.  The simulation has the Chiefs finishing 10-6 as the most common result.  While 5-1 seems aggressive in their next six games, take a look at their remaining schedule:

Chiefs Schedule

Four home games help the Chiefs’ chances, as well as getting the Ravens sans Joe Flacco.  Meanwhile, the Falcons are moving in the opposite direction.  They have lost three straight games and are now only one game ahead of the Seahawks for the final wildcard spot in the NFC.

5-5 and Ready to Make a Run

11. Seattle Seahawks  5-5
12. New York Jets  5-5
13. New York Giants  5-5
14. Buffalo Bills  5-5
15. Indianapolis Colts  5-5
16. Houston Texans  5-5
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers  5-5

Seven different teams all thinking they just need to get on a run to make it to the playoffs.  The Seahawks are chasing the aforementioned Falcons for the last wildcard in the NFC, while the Jets and Bills are in the mix for a wilcard in the AFC.  The Giants are actually the projected division winner of the NFC East at this moment although the Cowboys are gaining (more on that a little later).

The AFC South is tight between the Colts and Texans.  The latest simulation had Indy averaging 8.0 points while Houston averaged 7.8.  The two will play each other in Week 15 at Lucas Oil Stadium in what could ultimately decide who wins this underwhelming division.

Too Little, Too Late

18. Chicago Bears  4-6
19. St. Louis Rams  4-6

Neither of these teams is an easy out the rest of the season, they just haven’t won enough games thus far to be a factor in the playoff picture.  To illustrate my point, the Rams are basically rated as good of a team as the Colts, the Rams are just unlucky to be in a much harder division and conference.  It would also help if the Rams could find a competent quarterback that could stay healthy.

So You’re Saying There’s a Chance

20. Philadelphia Eagles  4-6
21. Jacksonville Jaguars  4-6
22. Dallas Cowboys  3-7

The 3-7 Cowboys still have hope which tells you everything you need to know about this NFL season.  In fact the NFC East division winner projections look like this:

 Odds to Win

All four teams still with at least a 10% chance to win the division.  It’s WAAAAAY too early to start dissecting tiebreakers but if you are rooting for the Cowboys to come back, they need to win both games against Washington to finish with a  4-2 divisional record.  You would then root for the Redskins to beat the Giants and Eagles to ensure that the rest of the NFC East all finishes with a 3-3 record inside the division.  With four divisional games remaining, the balance of the NFC East depends on the Washington Redskins. You like that? YOU LIKE THAT.

Missed Opportunity

23. Oakland Raiders  4-6
24. New Orleans Saints  4-6
25. Miami Dolphins  4-6
26. Washington Redskins 4-6
27. Baltimore Ravens  3-7
28. Detroit Lions  3-7

The Raiders had a chance to finish with a winning record for the first time since 2002.  The Saints weren’t ever a good team, but had a great opportunity with one of the easiest schedules in the league.  All of these teams at some point had some optimism but those days have come and gone.

Bottom of the Barrel

29. San Francisco 49ers  3-7
30. Tennessee Titans  2-8
31. San Diego Chargers  2-8
32. Cleveland Browns  2-8

The 2016 NFL Draft starts Thursday, April 28th in Chicago.  Start making your plans accordingly.

Most Likely Playoff Picture

Playoff Picture

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