Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

27 Nov 2013

ESPN: Week 13 Playoff Odds

Posting this link to remind everyone that, through the end of the season, we'll have an article on ESPN Insider each Tuesday taking an in-depth look at our latest playoff odds report. For each team with a reasonable chance of making the postseason (currently 21), we discuss detailed simulation results: things like win probabilities for specific upcoming games, the chance a subset of games will produce a specific group of results, etc. In this week's article, we cover the impact of Green Bay's tie, highlight a couple of potential trap games for NFC heavyweights, and give you the probability of San Francisco being tied atop the NFC West three weeks from now.

From here out, make sure to look for the link in Aaron's weekly DVOA ratings column.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by: Danny Tuccitto on 27 Nov 2013

3 comments, Last at 28 Nov 2013, 2:29pm by intel_chris


by my name is my password (not verified) :: Wed, 11/27/2013 - 3:46pm

I suppose there's no chance you could show the likelihood of "started 0-7" superbowl, down to the ridiculous fraction of a percent? Maybe do an informal contest to guess?

I'm guessing 1.43 X 10^-6 percent, but I might be optimistic.

by hodgepodgestew.info (not verified) :: Thu, 11/28/2013 - 5:27am

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by intel_chris (not verified) :: Thu, 11/28/2013 - 2:29pm

Thanks for the link to the ESPN Playoff Machine. It is really interesting for finding some of those rare combinations of victories that lead to surprising results. For instance, at least in the AFC no one is yet mathematically eliminated, and there are scenarios where two 7-9 teams are in the playoffs in the AFC and in many cases an additional 8-8 team. Such scenarios require some pretty specific combinations of out-comes, but there are several of them possible.

In fact, about the only combination I could not create was both Houston and Jacksonville in the playoffs together--one of them must win their upcoming matchup to be in the playoffs eliminating the other, a tie won't do either. Still, I could pair one of those teams with about any other contender I wanted including Buffalo, Oakland, or Cleveland.

At the other end of the spectrum, I was able to eliminate any single team I wanted from the playoffs. Including some unlikely cases, where there were 3 AFC West teams in the playoffs, but two of them were San Diego and Oakland, eliminating either choice of Kansas City or Denver.

I'm pretty certain you can't get three AFC South teams into the playoffs, as I think to get either Jacksonville or Houston into the playoffs requires both Denver and Kansas City as the worst of those teams must be 9-7 and the better of those teams would be 7-9 if they won out.

I have verified that you can get three AFC East teams into the playoffs, at least if one of them is New England (and any pairing of New York, Miami, and Buffalo is possible).

One can also get three AFC North teams into the playoffs, although I had trouble finding a combination with both Pittsburgh and Cleveland together. I think also all the 3 team combinations require Cincinnati.