Every week, we project the NFL playoff field here at CBSSports.com, but this week, we'll be doing something slightly different. Instead of just projecting the 12-team playoff field like we usually do, we're also going to list the playoff chances for all 32 teams, which Cowboys fans will probably find helpful since your team is no longer projected to make it to the playoffs after Sunday's loss to the Vikings.
Since no team has officially been eliminated yet -- NOT EVEN THE WINLESS BENGALS -- every team still technically has a shot to get to the postseason. That being said, don't go buying your playoff tickets just yet Bengals fans, because there are a total of six teams, including Cincinnati, that are being given a zero percent chance to make the playoffs by our projection computer (That doesn't mean those teams have been eliminated from playoff contention, it just means that the computer thinks their playoff chances are mathematically dead).
Speaking of the computer, these playoff projections will be based on data from number-cruncher Stephen Oh of SportsLine.com. Basically, Oh plugged some numbers into his SportsLine computer this week and simulated the rest of the NFL season, and using those numbers, we're going to let you know the playoff chances for all 32 teams, plus the projected 12-team playoff field.
Who are the legit Super Bowl contenders? Brady Quinn, Ryan Wilson and Will Brinson break down that question and more (is Joe Burrow a lock at No. 1?) on the Pick Six Podcast. Listen below, and subscribe for daily NFL goodness fired into your eardrums.
Alright, let's get to this week's playoff projections. Actually, before we do that, here's a mock draft that fans of the Bengals, Dolphins, Jets, Giants Falcons and Redskins might want to read. Since the computer has already eliminated your favorite team, that mock will probably be way more exciting than this projection.
Note: Remember, this is a projection based on how we think the rest of the regular season will play out. If you want to see the current playoff standings, click here to see Will Brinson's thorough breakdown of what the playoff race looks like as we head into Week 11.
AFC Playoff Projection
|1. (AFC East champion)|
|Our computer loves the Patriots so much, you'd think that it had been hacked by Bill Belichick, but I assure you, that's not the case. According to SportsLine, the Patriots have a 46.9% chance to win the AFC title, which is an insanely high number when you consider that only one other team is even over 12% (the Ravens are at 26.28%). The Patriots are also being given a 28.51% chance of winning the Super Bowl, which is more than 10% higher than the closest team. As for their playoff chances, the computer is giving the Patriots a 99.9% chance of getting into the postseason, which basically means that unless the world ends between now and January, the Patriots will be in the playoffs. |
|2. (AFC North champion)|
|The Ravens have looked like the best team in the AFC over the past few weeks, but unfortunately for them, the computer doesn't really think it's possible for them to catch the Patriots for the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC. According to SportsLine, the Ravens are projected to finish with either 11 or 12 wins while the Patriots are being projected to finish with 13 wins. Although the computer doesn't like Baltimore's chances of getting the top seed, it does believe that the AFC North race is all but over. The Ravens currently have an 87.1% chance of winning the division and a 97% chance of making the playoffs. |
|3. (AFC South champion)|
|The bye week couldn't have gone any better for the Houston Texans, who went from a borderline wild card team in our last projection to a team that now comfortably sits in the AFC's third slot thanks to losses by both the Colts and Chiefs. The Texans' chances of winning the AFC South are now up to 67.9%, which is more than 10 percent higher than last week (56.5%). Overall, the Texans have an 83.6 percent chance of making the playoffs, which basically makes them a lock in the eyes of the computer. |
|4. (AFC West champion)|
|After Patrick Mahomes went down with an injury, the computer never really thought the Chiefs had a chance to earn a first-round bye in the AFC, so the loss to Tennessee on Sunday didn't really end up hurting the Chiefs. Although Kansas City dropped from the third-seed to the fourth-seed, the computer loves their chances of making the playoffs as long as Mahomes stays healthy. The Chiefs currently have an 80.8% chance of getting in the postseason and 74.3% chance of winning the AFC West. According to the computer, the Chiefs' only threat in the west is the Raiders, who have an 18.7% chance of winning the division. |
|5. (Wild Card 1)|
|If the Bills' goal was to add some drama to the wild-card race, they definitely did that with their loss to the Browns on Sunday. As things currently stand, the Bills are projected to win more games than the sixth-seeded Steelers, but their playoff chances are slightly lower (67.5% for the Steelers to 54.3% for the Bills). The problem for the Bills is that -- unlike the Steelers -- Buffalo has no shot of winning its division. Although the computer is projecting the Bills into the playoffs, the machine does not seem to be a fan of Buffalo. According to SportsLine's rankings, the Bills are just the 21st best team in the NFL (or the 12th worse team, depending on how you like to spin things). |
|6. (Wild Card 2)|
|Welcome to the playoff projections Pittsburgh. The biggest win of Week 10 went to the Steelers, who are being projected into the postseason for the first time this year after beating the Rams on Sunday. Last week, the Steelers had just a 42.7% of making the playoffs, but that shot up to 67.5% following their win over L.A. To give you an idea of how far the Steelers have come, Pittsburgh had just a 12% chance of making the playoffs after opening the season 1-4. |
Just missed: Raiders (38.7% chance of getting into the playoffs), Colts (27.8%), Jaguars (20.2%), Titans (11.5%), Browns (9.4%), Chargers (8.5%)
Here's a list of all the other AFC teams (their percentage chances of getting into the playoffs is listed next to them in parentheses): Broncos (0.8%), Jets (0.0%), Dolphins (0.0%), Bengals (0.0%).
NFC Playoff Projection
|1. (NFC West champion)|
|The 49ers are still projected to get the first seed in the NFC, but their chances of winning the division definitely took a big hit after their loss to the Seahawks on Monday. Going into the game, the 49ers had an 83% chance of winning the NFC West, but that's now down to just 63.7% chance after the loss (The Seahawks chances jumped up from 12.6% to 34.5%). Although the 49ers aren't viewed as a lock to win the division, they are viewed as a lock to make the playoffs with a 96.2% chance. |
|2. (NFC South champion)|
|Although the Saints suffered the ugliest loss of Week 10, the computer didn't really seem to care. For one, they're still projected to win the NFC South, and they're also being given a 97.5% chance of making the playoffs. According to SportsLine, the Saints also have a 16.63% chance of winning the Super Bowl, which is the highest number of any team in the NFC (The 49ers are at 14.35%). I'll be honest, I don't know why the Saints have slightly better Super Bowl chances than the 49ers, but I've learned not to question the computer anymore, so we're just going to roll with it. |
|3. (NFC North champion)|
|The Packers only have a one-game lead in the NFC North, but you'd think that number would be much bigger based on the computer's projections. According to SportsLine, the Packers have a 62.6% chance of winning the division which is more than 25 percent higher than the Vikings, who have just a 36.3% chance. The computer also views the Packers as basically being a lock for the playoffs, giving them an 88.9% chance of getting in. |
|4. (NFC East champion)|
|With the NFC East race down to the Cowboys and Eagles, the computer basically views things in this division as a coin flip with one big catch: The coin finally landed on the Eagles side for the first time all year. With just seven weeks left to play in the season, the computer is projecting that the Eagles are going to win the division. According to SportsLine, the Eagles have a 54.9% chance of winning the NFC East, which is just slightly better than the Cowboys, who have a 45.0% chance. These two teams don't really have to worry about computer projections though because they'll be playing each other on the field in a few weeks in a game that will likely decide the division winner. |
|5. (Wild Card 1)|
|The Seahawks didn't officially punch their ticket to the postseason with a win over the 49ers on Monday, but they might as well have. According to the computer, the Seahawks playoff chances jumped from 63.4% before the win to 80.9% after the win. The computer really likes the fact that the Seahawks have a 2.5 game lead over the three teams that are currently tied for the seventh-seed in the NFC (Rams, Panthers, Cowboys), which means one of those teams would have to get extremely hot down the stretch if they wanted to try to steal Seattle's playoff spot.|
|6. (Wild Card 2)|
|Last week, the race for the final seed in the NFC looked like it was going to turn into total chaos over the final few weeks of the season, but now, the computer seems to have everything figured out. According to SportsLine, the Vikings have an 84.3% chance of getting into the playoffs, which is more than 35% higher than the next closest team in the race (Cowboys). The problem for the Cowboys is that the Vikings now have the head-to-head tiebreaker over them, which means winning the NFC East is likely going to be their only route to the postseason this year.|
Just missed: Cowboys (47.8% of making the playoffs), Rams (27.%), Panthers (13.4%), Bears (5.9%), Lions (2.9%)
Here's a list of all the other NFC teams (their percentage chances of getting into the playoffs is listed next to them in parentheses): Buccaneers (0.2%), Cardinals (0.1%), Falcons (0.0%), Giants (0.0%), Redskins (0.0%).
Wild-card round projection
(6) Steelers at (3) Texans
(5) Bills at (4) Chiefs
Byes: Patriots, Ravens
(6) Vikings at (3) Packers
(5) Seahawks at (4) Eagles
Byes: 49ers, Saints