Biggest NFL Playoff Odds Movers: Week 7
Consecutive losses in Week 5 and Week 6 dropped the Eagles’ playoff odds to 36.7%, but the win over the Vikings -- coupled with Washington's loss to the Detroit Lions, among other things -- boosted Philly's playoff odds up to 57.2%. This 20.5% increase was the biggest gain in playoff odds this weekend.
The Cincinnati Bengals (+20.2%) and Green Bay Packers (+14.0%) were the other big winners. As for the teams that saw their playoff odds move in the opposite direction, the Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens and Washington all saw a decline of more than 20%.
Here’s more on the week's biggest movers.
Philadelphia Eagles (4-2)
Playoff Odds Movement: +20.5%
Week 7 Result: Beat Minnesota, 21-10
Playoff Odds Before Week 7: 36.7%
Playoff Odds After Week 7: 57.2%
The Eagles are currently the No. 6 seed in the NFC, one of seven teams in the conference sitting on four wins. Philadelphia is also just a game behind the Dallas Cowboys for first place in the NFC East -- though the Cowboys have a 64.7% chance to win the division, compared to a 24.4% chance for the Eagles (the New York Giants' and Washington’s division odds stand at 5.7% and 5.2%, respectively).
Philadelphia’s odds are so low, compared to Dallas, due both to the Cowboys’ one-game edge and their comparatively favorable remaining strength of schedule. Of the Eagles' remaining 10 games, eight come against teams with a winning record, and five of them come against teams ranked in the top 10 in our nERD power rankings (with home games against the Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay and Dallas, and road games against the Seattle Seahawks and Cowboys). Also, their games against teams with a losing record are both on the road, at Baltimore and Cincinnati.
Dallas still has to face seven teams with a winning record, but it’s two games against the Eagles and a home game against Minnesota are its only games against teams in the nERD Top 10. The Cowboys also play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Detroit at home, and travel to 0-7 Cleveland Browns, all three of whom are among the bottom 10 squads in our power rankings.
Still, the Eagles travel to Dallas next week, and a win there could flip the script in the NFC East. In any case, Philly's win Sunday puts them in the driver’s seat for a Wild Card berth.
Cincinnati Bengals (3-4)
Playoff Odds Movement: 20.2%
Week 7 Result: Beat Cleveland, 31-17
Playoff Odds Before Week 7: 19.1%
Playoff Odds After Week 7: 39.3%
On its own, a win over the Browns might not mean a whole lot. Throw in the fact that every other team in the division lost, though, and that win becomes huge.
Pittsburgh, which has a head-to-head win over Cincinnati, remains the favorite in the AFC North, and has 52.8% playoff odds and a 48.4% chance to win the division; the Bengals sit at 39.3% and 34.4%, respectively.
What the Bengals have in their favor is that they are better than their record says they are, ranking 14th in nERD, ahead of the Steelers (19th) and Ravens (24th). Three of their losses have been to teams in the nERD Top 7, as they fell to the top-ranked Denver Broncos, No. 2 New England, and No. 7 Dallas.
Comparatively speaking, their schedule lightens up a bit going forward, as six of their remaining opponents have below-average nERD scores. They do still have to play two teams in the nERD Top 10, as well as Pittsburgh (which might be better than their No. 19 ranking), but Cincy will play all three of these games at home.
Green Bay Packers (4-2)
Playoff Odds Movement: 14.0%
Week 7 Result: Beat Chicago, 26-10
Playoff Odds Before Week 7: 53.8%
Playoff Odds After Week 7: 67.8%
Green Bay saw its odds jump thanks to both its win over the Chicago Bears and Minnesota’s loss to the Eagles, though the wild card seems like the likelier route to the playoffs for the Packers.
We give the Vikings a 79.5% chance to win the NFC North, compared to Green Bay’s 19.4% division odds. Minnesota has a one-game lead over the Packers and a head-to-head win, as well as a 3-0 record in the division, putting the Vikings prime position to repeat as division champs.
Green Bay is in good shape in the wild card race, though, and among the non-division leaders in the NFC, only Detroit and Tampa Bay can match the Packers’ 3-2 record in intra-conference games.
Washington Redskins (4-3)
Playoff Odds Movement: -27.4%
Week 7 Result: Lost to Detroit, 20-17
Playoff Odds Before Week 7: 50.4%
Playoff Odds After Week 7: 23.0%
Things could not have broken much worse for Washington in Week 7 as the Redskins went from being a virtual coin toss to make the postseason to having a less than 1-in-4 chance of getting in.
Philadelphia and the Giants both picked up wins in the NFC East, dropping Washington’s division odds to 5.2%, and things look almost as bad in the wild card race.
The loss to Detroit gives the Lions an identical 4-3 record and a head-to-head win over Washington, while fellow wild card contenders Philadelphia, Green Bay, New York and Tampa Bay also won (plus, the Arizona Cardinals didn’t lose but the less said about that game, the better).
Buffalo Bills (4-3)
Playoff Odds Movement: -26.3%
Week 7 Result: Lost to Miami, 28-25
Playoff Odds Before Week 7: 76.5%
Playoff Odds After Week 7: 50.2%
Who are you, Buffalo?
The Bills looked terrible on offense in Week 1 and terrible on defense in Week 2, before stringing together four dominant wins against the Cardinals, Patriots, Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers. After the rough start, Buffalo truly looked like one of the better teams in the league -- and then the Bills lost to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
The score was close but the Bills struggled on both sides of the ball, allowing 454 yards and 6.8 yards per play while gaining just 267 and 4.9 per play (special teams and Miami racking up 116 yards worth of penalties help explain Buffalo's narrow margin of defeat).
And if the performance itself was not bad enough, results around the AFC made the weekend a truly rotten one for the Bills. Another win by the Patriots dropped Buffalo’s odds to win the AFC East to just 9.6%, and wins by the conference’s wild card contenders would have the Bills missing the playoffs if the season ended today.
The Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, Broncos, Bengals, Dolphins, Indianapolis Colts and San Diego Chargers all won; Baltimore and Tennessee Titans were the only realistic AFC wild card contenders to lose over the weekend.
The Bills have a better record than the Ravens, Bengals, Dolphins, Colts, Titans and Chargers, but trail Kansas City by a half game and Oakland/Denver by a full game.
Further complicating matters is Buffalo’s 1-3 record in AFC games; only winless Cleveland has a worse record in the conference.
Baltimore Ravens (3-4)
Playoff Odds Movement: -20.6%
Week 7 Result: Lost to the Jets, 24-16
Playoff Odds Before Week 7: 39.4%
Playoff Odds After Week 7: 18.8%
Week 7 was bad for the Ravens for most of the same reasons it was bad for the Bills: they lost and almost all the other wild card contenders in the AFC did not.
The loss was extra harmful for Baltimore because they had the chance to pick up a win against one of the worst teams in the league, as the Jets rank just 25th in nERD.
They won’t have many more opportunities to do so, as the Ravens schedule is about to get very difficult. After hosting Cleveland and Pittsburgh, Baltimore closes the year with home games against the Bengals, Dolphins and Eagles, and road dates with the Cowboys, Patriots, Steelers and Bengals.