Biggest NFL Playoff Odds Movers: Week 11
In the season’s first iteration of this report, Washington was coming off a tight loss in Detroit, and saw its playoff odds fall to 23.0%. Since then, the Redskins have gone 2-0-1 and after defeating Green Bay on Sunday Night Football, their playoff odds now stand at 65.9%.
They currently occupy the No. 6 seed in the NFC with a 6-3-1 record, with a half-game lead and head-to-head win over Minnesota (6-4).
The Redskins have also moved into eighth in our nERD power ratings, rating 3.86 points above average. They have done so on the strength of their offense, which ranks fifth in the league in opponent-adjusted Net Expected Points per play. Cousins -- whose “ooh-weee” is 2016’s answer to “you like that” -- and the Washington passing game ranks fourth in the league in schedule-adjusted NEP per drop back, behind only Atlanta, Dallas and New England.
On defense, they rank 20th; not necessarily good, but not bad enough to offset all the good the offense is doing, explaining why Washington’s playoffs odds have continued to shoot up.
Here’s more on the week’s biggest playoff odds movers.
Washington Redskins (6-3-1)
Playoff Odds Movement: +20.8%
Week 11 Result: Def. Green Bay, 42-24
Playoff Odds Before Week 11: 45.1%
Playoff Odds After Week 11: 65.9%
Washington’s path to the playoffs will almost certainly not come via a division championship, as the Redskins trail Dallas by 2.5 games and have a head-to-head loss to the Cowboys, putting their division title odds at just 3.5%.
Still, a wild card spot is theirs for the taking, given their aforementioned lead over the Vikings, as well as their 1.5-game leads over the Buccaneers and Eagles. Washington is also 4-2 against the NFC, giving them a better conference record than Minnesota, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay, should that tiebreaker come into play.
Indianapolis Colts (5-5)
Playoff Odds Movement: +13.6%
Week 11 Result: Def. Tennessee, 24-17
Playoff Odds Before Week 11: 7.2%
Playoff Odds After Week 11: 20.8%
The Colts were one of Week 11’s biggest winners, but the victory may have been a pyrrhic one.
The Colts' offensive line has allowed the highest pressure rate in the league, per Sports Info Solutions charting data at Football Outsiders, their receivers are tied for the third-highest drop rate in the league, and their defense is 30th in opponent-adjusted NEP allowed per play; there might not be a team in the NFL less likely to survive without its starting quarterback, so it is very possible those playoff odds dip right back down by the end of Week 12.
Still, for the moment, the Colts climbed back into the race in the AFC South (which someone has to win, after all), thanks to its victory over the Titans and Houston’s loss to Oakland, which brings Indianapolis within a game of first place.
Minnesota Vikings (6-4)
Playoff Odds Movement: +12.9%
Week 11 Result: Def. Arizona, 30-24
Playoff Odds Before Week 11: 67.6%
Playoff Odds After Week 11: 80.5%
Minnesota would not make the playoffs if the season ended today, but only six teams are more likely to qualify by the time it actually ends.
The Vikings are in a tie with Detroit atop the NFC North, and only cede the top spot in the division because of their head-to-head loss to the Lions earlier this month. Minnesota, though, has a 75.2% chance to win the division, compared to only a 20% shot for the Lions.
This is partially because the Vikings are a better team. They rank fifth in nERD (+4.47), compared to Detroit's ranking of 24th (-2.67). The Vikings also have an easier schedule. Both the Lions and Vikings must play the Cowboys, Packers and Bears. Minnesota also gets to host the Colts (No. 26 in nERD) and will play at No. 30 Jacksonville.
The other remaining game for the two teams will be on Thanksgiving, when the Lions host the Vikings in a key clash.
Philadelphia Eagles (5-5)
Playoff Odds Movement: -17.8%
Week 11 Result: Lost to Seattle, 26-15
Playoff Odds Before Week 11: 43.1%
Playoff Odds After Week 11: 25.3%
The Eagles have been a very good football team, albeit one that is looking increasingly likely to watch the playoffs from home.
Sunday was Philadelphia’s first loss by more than one score, as the Eagles average margin of defeat of 6.0 is eighth-lowest in the NFL. Their 17.0 average margin of victory is fourth-highest in the league, strongly suggesting the Eagles are better than their record says. Their 4.29 nERD rating, which is sixth-best, backs this up.
Unfortunately, they also have those five losses banked, which puts them in a less-than-ideal position in regards to the postseason.
Their remaining schedule features three teams with below average nERD ratings (Green Bay on Monday Night Football this week, Cincinnati and Baltimore), in addition to showdowns with No. 1 Dallas, No. 6 Washington and No. 14 Giants.
It’s not an unmanageable slate, but their margin for error is very slim.
Kansas City Chiefs (7-3)
Playoff Odds Movement: -15.3%
Week 11 Result: Lost to Tampa Bay, 19-17
Playoff Odds Before Week 11: 72.1%
Playoff Odds After Week 11: 56.8%
The Chiefs were the victims of a trifecta of bad results that caused their playoff odds to drop.
They were upset at home by Tampa Bay, Oakland defeated Houston in Mexico City, and Miami won in Los Angeles. The Raiders' win dislodged the Chiefs from the top of the AFC West, dropping them into the No. 5 seed in the conference.
The Dolphins, who moved to 6-4, continue to put pressure on the AFC West teams that would win both wild card spots if the season ended today, as they have now won five games in a row.
Tennessee Titans (5-6)
Playoff Odds Movement: -14.9%
Week 11 Result: Lost to Indianapolis, 24-17
Playoff Odds Before Week 11: 25.8%
Playoff Odds After Week 11: 10.9%
Green Bay Packers (4-6)
Playoff Odds Movement: -14.9%
Week 11 Result: Lost to Washington, 42-24
Playoff Odds Before Week 11: 21.2%
Playoff Odds Before Week 11: 6.3%
Both the Packers and Titans saw their playoff odds fall by 14.9% over the weekend, putting them in downright rotten positions.
Tennessee remains the only team in the AFC South with a positive point differential, but they fell to third place in the division and has now lost twice to the Colts.
Green Bay continued its freefall on Sunday Night Football, has lost five of its last six game, and trails both the Vikings and Lions by two games in the NFC North. Only the Bears and 49ers have won fewer games in the NFC than the Packers, which have a 4.8% chance to win their division and a 1.5% chance to earn a wild card berth. P-A-N-I-C.