AccuScore: Chiefs, Rams bolster playoff hopes

By Stephen Oh, AccuScore.com
Nov 30

AccuScore uses past performance statistics to describe how players perform under different environmental, matchup, and game-situation conditions. Using projected starting lineups AccuScore simulates each game of the season one play at a time. By repeating the simulation 10,000 to 20,000 times per game AccuScore calculates the precise probability teams have of winning each game, winning their division, and making the playoffs. Here is the AccuScore.com analysis of the 2010 NFL season after Week 12. Visit AccuScore.com for weekly updates to the season forecast and all game forecasts.

AFC

There was minimal movement in the AFC this week. The Chiefs were the biggest winner, improving 8 percentage points with their win in Seattle. They were followed closely by the Chargers, who got a huge road win over the Colts. The Chargers are projected to overtake the Chiefs with a 72 percent chance of taking the AFC West again. The Raiders were the biggest loser this week with their home loss and wins by the Chiefs and Chargers.

The Colts were the second-biggest loser this week, dropping 4 percentage points, but it still leads the AFC South in playoff probability at 54.9 percent. Jacksonville and Tennessee both lost which helped the Colts maintain their lead in the division. Jacksonville is expected to drop back due to a tough upcoming schedule. The Texans improved 3.3 percent, but they still have just a 6.3 percent chance of getting a playoff berth (only 0.1 percent chance of a wild-card spot).

The Ravens are up to a 93 percent chance of making the playoffs heading into a showdown with the Steelers. The Ravens have home-field advantage, and are 54.5 percent favorites to beat the Steelers. The winner of this matchup will vault to the lead in the division winner race, but the loser should be in the playoffs. The Browns do not have any shot at the playoffs, but they can play major spoiler with Week 16 games against Baltimore and Week 17 against Pittsburgh.

The Jets and Patriots clash Monday and like Pittsburgh and Baltimore, the winner of this AFC East matchup will vault to over a 75 percent chance of taking the division. The loser though should still be in excellent playoff position. The Dolphins have less than 1 percent chance of winning the division but their wild-card chances are still relevant. Like Cleveland in the AFC North, the Bills have the talent to play spoiler in Week 16 and 17 versus the Jets and Patriots.

WEEK 12 REVIEW PLAYOFF % CHANCE
TEAM WK 12 WK 13 % DIFF WIN DIV
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 26.6% 34.6% 8.0% 25.4%
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS 72.1% 76.3% 4.2% 72.1%
HOUSTON TEXANS 3.1% 6.3% 3.3% 6.2%
BALTIMORE RAVENS 90.4% 93.2% 2.9% 54.0%
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 96.8% 97.7% 0.8% 59.5%
MIAMI DOLPHINS 8.0% 8.3% 0.3% 0.9%
PITTSBURGH STEELERS 94.6% 94.8% 0.2% 46.0%
BUFFALO BILLS 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
CINCINNATI BENGALS 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
CLEVELAND BROWNS 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
DENVER BRONCOS 0.5% 0.0% -0.5% 0.0%
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS 20.1% 19.2% -0.8% 18.9%
NEW YORK JETS 93.2% 91.6% -1.5% 39.6%
TENNESSEE TITANS 24.5% 20.5% -4.0% 20.4%
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 58.9% 54.9% -4.0% 54.5%
OAKLAND RAIDERS 11.3% 2.6% -8.8% 2.5%

NFC

In a division where the winner may finish with only seven wins, a one-game swing has huge ramifications. In the case of the NFC West a road win by the Rams combined with a home loss by the Seahawks flipped these teams’ fortunes with the Rams doubling their playoff chances to 61 percent while the Seahawks’ chances were cut by more than half (down 30.7 percent). The ***** are playing better, but still may be running out of time with only an 11 percent chance. No NFC West team is making the playoffs as a wild-card in simulations.

The Bears also jumped up this week (25 percent) with an impressive win versus the Eagles combined with a tough loss for the Packers who dropped 14 percent. The Bears are still just sixth in the NFC in playoff position because of their tough remaining schedule with games against the Patriots, Jets and at Green Bay. The Packers are one game back of the Bears, but having home-field advantage against Chicago in Week 17 gives them a 70 percent chance of winning what could be the deciding game in the division. The Vikings aren’t mathematically eliminated, but have less than 1 percent chance.

The NFC East saw the Giants get back on the winning track and improve nearly 10 percentage points while the Eagles dropped nearly 13. The Eagles are still favored to win the division at 62.6 percent. Any chance that the Cowboys had of making a miraculous comeback were eliminated on Thanksgiving with their loss to the Saints. The Redskins are barely hanging on at just a 1.5 percent chance of making the playoffs.

Atlanta has the best record in the league and the highest playoff probability in the NFC at 97 percent. The Saints are looking good with over an 84 percent chance, and the Buccaneers are still hanging on at 43.7 percent. The Bucs’ loss in Baltimore combined with the Giants’ win dropped Tampa Bay out of the sixth projected playoff spot. Tampa’s playoff chances hinge on the Week 13 game against Atlanta in which the Falcons are 57 percent favorites in simulations.

WEEK 12 REVIEW PLAYOFF % CHANCE
TEAM WK 12 WK 13 % DIFF WIN DIV
ST. LOUIS RAMS 30.1% 61.4% 31.3% 61.4%
CHICAGO BEARS 36.5% 61.4% 24.9% 41.8%
NEW YORK GIANTS 50.0% 59.9% 9.9% 36.8%
ATLANTA FALCONS 92.9% 97.4% 4.5% 79.0%
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 80.9% 84.1% 3.2% 18.2%
SAN FRANCISCO ***** 9.1% 11.3% 2.2% 11.3%
MINNESOTA VIKINGS 0.6% 0.8% 0.2% 0.1%
CAROLINA PANTHERS 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
DETROIT LIONS 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
DALLAS COWBOYS 0.1% 0.0% -0.1% 0.0%
ARIZONA CARDINALS 4.3% 1.5% -2.7% 1.5%
WASHINGTON REDSKINS 4.5% 1.5% -3.1% 0.5%
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 56.2% 43.7% -12.5% 2.8%
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 89.5% 76.6% -12.8% 62.6%
GREEN BAY PACKERS 88.8% 74.5% -14.3% 58.1%
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 56.6% 25.9% -30.7% 25.8%