If we learned one thing from Week 10, it's that the NFL playoff picture can change in an instant, which is something the Buffalo Bills found that out the hard way.
Last week, the Bills were sitting at the top of the AFC, but following their improbable loss to the Vikings, they dropped all the way down to the six-seed. Of course, just because they're the six-seed right now doesn't mean they're going to stay there. Can the Bills get back into the top spot in the AFC or did the loss to Minnesota kill their chances of getting a first-round bye?
That's one of the questions we're going to answer right now in this week's playoff projection. The projections here are based on data from number-cruncher Stephen Oh of SportsLine.com. 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 14-team playoff field.
With that in mind, let's get to this week's playoff projections.
AFC Playoff Projection
|1. (AFC West Champion)|
|With the Bills faltering against the Vikings, the biggest winner was the Chiefs, who are now being projected to get the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC and the first-round bye that comes with it. The computer is projecting that the Chiefs will finish with a 13-4 record, which will put them one game ahead of Buffalo. It's also worth noting that the Chiefs are currently being given the best chance of winning the Super Bowl at 21.25%, which is just slightly ahead of the Bills (20.1%). |
|2. (AFC East Champion)|
|Although the Bills dropped to third place in the AFC East this week, that's not where the computer thinks they're going to finish. According to SportsLine, the Bills are still the projected favorite to win the division. The computer is giving the Bills a 61% chance of taking home the AFC East title, which is much higher than the Dolphins (22.7%), Jets (7%) or Patriots (9.3%). |
|3. (AFC North Champion)|
|The computer continues to love the Ravens' playoff chances and that's mostly because Baltimore has the easiest remaining strength of schedule out of any team in the NFL. Of the Ravens' final eight opponents, they'll only play ONE team that currently has more than three wins (the Bengals). The computer is giving the Ravens a 96.9% chance of making the playoffs, which means fans in Baltimore should just go ahead and start looking for playoff tickets now. |
|4. (AFC South Champion)|
|The resurgent Colts upset the Raiders on Sunday, but despite that win, the computer doesn't really view them as a threat to the Titans. According to the computer, the Titans have an 86.7% chance of winning the division, even though they're only being projected to go 10-7. |
|5. Wild Card 1|
|The Dolphins currently lead the AFC East, but the computer doesn't think they're going to stay there. According to SportsLine, the Dolphins are projected to finish with an 11-6 record, which won't be quite enough to win the AFC East. If the Dolphins don't win the division, that means they'll be hitting the road for the first round of the playoffs, and right now, the computer thinks they'll be playing in Nashville. |
|6. Wild Card 2|
|The Patriots are currently the seventh-seed in the AFC and the computer actually thinks New England will move UP one spot before the end of the season. According to SportsLine, the Patriots have a 60.2% chance of making the playoffs and if that happens, they're most likely going to end up as the sixth seed. |
|7. Wild Card 3|
|The computer is projecting the Jets to make the playoffs and if that happens, the AFC East would become the first division in NFL history to send each team to the postseason in the same year. Of course, the computer is also expecting a dog fight for the final spot in the AFC. The Jets are being given a 52.9% chance of getting the seventh spot with the Chargers (50.9%) and Bengals (32) also in the running.|
Here's a list of the playoff chances for all the other AFC teams (their percentage chances of getting into the playoffs is listed next to them in parentheses): Chargers (50.9%), Bengals (32%), Colts (14.4%), Jaguars (7.7%), Browns (6.3%), Steelers (4.5%), Broncos (1.6%), Raiders (0.7%), Texans (0.2%).
NFC Playoff Projection
|1. (NFC East Champion)|
|Like the Bills, the Eagles also got upset in Week 10, but unlike the Bills, the Eagles didn't fall out of the top spot in their conference. Despite the loss, the computer still thinks the Eagles are going to finish as the top seed in the NFC and a big reason for that is because Philly has a head-to-head win over the Vikings. The Eagles also have the best chance of any team in the NFC when it comes to winning the Super Bowl. At 12.74%, they're way ahead of the Vikings, (7.77%), who are the next closest team. |
|2. (NFC North Champion)|
|If there's one team in the NFL that the computer views as an absolute lock to win its division, it's the Minnesota Vikings. According to SportsLine, the Vikings have a 99.8% chance of winning the NFC North, which is the highest percentage being given to any division leader. Basically, it's going to take a miracle from the Packers, Bears or Lions if they want to stop the Vikings from taking home the division crown. |
|3. (NFC West Champion)|
|The 49ers picked up a full game on the Seahawks in Week 10, but that wasn't enough to convince the computer that San Francisco is going to win the division. According to SportsLine, the Seahawks have a 54.5% chance of winning the NFC West while the 49ers' chances are sitting at 43.8%. |
|4. (NFC South Champion)|
|The Buccaneers are here almost by default. The computer thinks the NFC South is a bad division and that the Buccaneers will be the only team that from the division that finishes the season with a winning record. As a matter of fact, the computer has the Buccaneers winning the division by three games over the second-place Falcons. |
|5. Wild Card 1|
|The Cowboys' shocking loss in Green Bay has opened the door up for the New York Giants to move into the fifth spot. However, at 7-2, the Giants might be eyeing more than the fifth seed. The Giants have the second-best chance to win the NFC East at 15.6%, which is well ahead of the Cowboys (8.4%). Both teams are well behind the Eagles though, who are being given a 75.8% chance of winning the division.|
|6. Wild Card 2|
|Despite losing to the Packers, the computer still views Dallas as a virtual lock to make the playoffs. According to SportsLine, the Cowboys have a 93.7% chance of getting in, which is the highest of any non-division leading team (the Giants are at 93.4%). As long as the Cowboys don't collapse down the stretch, they should get in, but let's not rule out the possibility of a collapse. The one thing working against the Cowboys is that they have the sixth-toughest remaining strength of schedule in the NFL.|
|7. Wild Card 3|
|The 49ers only have a half-game lead over the Commanders for the final wild-card spot in the NFC, but it might as well be a 100-game lead with the way the computer is projecting the season to finish. According to SportsLine, the 49ers have an 81% chance of making the playoffs, which is way ahead of the Commanders (17.6%). The computer is projecting that the 49ers will finish two games ahead of Washington in a race for the NFC's final spot that won't actually be much of a race.|
Here's a list of the playoff chances for all the other NFC teams (their percentage chances of getting into the playoffs is listed next to them in parentheses): Commanders (17.6%), Packers (11.9%), Falcons (7.6%), Cardinals (6.8%), Saints (3.8%), Rams(3.4%), Panthers (2.2%), Lions(1.2%), Bears (0.3%).
Wild-card round projection
(7) Jets at (2) Bills
(6) Patriots at (3) Ravens
(5) Dolphins at (4) Titans
(7) 49ers at (2) Vikings
(6) Cowboys at (3) Seahawks
(5) Giants at (4) Buccaneers