Biggest NFL Playoff Odds Movers: Week 8
The rich got richer in Week 8. At least as far as NFL playoff odds are concerned.
New Orleans, Seattle and the Rams were already more likely than not to make the playoffs coming into the weekend, and these three clubs were the ones who saw the biggest increases in their playoff odds.
The Saints and Seahawks both picked up wins, while developments elsewhere helped Los Angeles as they enjoyed an off week.
Things did not go nearly as well for Washington, as they lost a divisional home game while the other NFC East team in action also picked up a win.
New Orleans Saints (5-2)
Playoff Odds Movement: +26.7%
Week 8 Result: Def. Chicago, 20-12
Playoff Odds Before Week 8: 55.9%
Playoff Odds After Week 8: 82.6%
While the NFC South contains the conference’s last two Super Bowl representatives, neither one has the inside track to winning the division.
In addition to postseason odds above 80%, we give the Saints a 65.1% chance to win the NFC South for the first time since 2011. Carolina’s relatively unexpected home loss to Tampa Bay helped, as has Atlanta’s slide down our power rankings (the Falcons won on Sunday against the Jets but have not looked like a threatening team).
New Orleans would be well served to take care of business next week at home against Tampa Bay, as their schedule hits a rough patch afterwards. They'll then travel to Buffalo, host Washington, play at the Rams, and then host Carolina.
Seattle Seahawks (5-2)
Playoff Odds Movement: +19.9%
Week 8 Result: Def. Houston, 41-38
Playoff Odds Before Week 8: 63.6%
Playoff Odds After Week 8: 83.5%
The Seahawks' wild win over the Texans shot up their playoff odds and also made them the NFC West's current favorites. They now have a 62.9% chance to win the division, while the Rams’ division title odds are at 36.2%.
Though both the Rams and Seahawks own a 5-2 record, Seattle already has a head-to-head win over Los Angeles and will host the rematch in December.
They also look to have the easier remaining schedule, as the Seahawks have three games against the lowly 49ers and Cardinals upcoming, while the Rams just have two. Los Angeles also has five games remaining against the 12 best teams in our power rankings, compared to Seattle’s three.
Los Angeles Rams (5-2)
Playoff Odds Movement: +18.7%
Week 8 Result: Bye week
Playoff Odds Before Week 8: 53.2%
Playoff Odds After Week 8: 71.9%
The Rams did not even play, but still their playoff odds shot up nearly 20% over the weekend. Not a bad way to spend your bye.
While Seattle won and further decreased Los Angeles’ chances of winning the NFC West, Week 8 was a bad one for the conference’s wild-card contenders. Detroit lost to the Steelers, Carolina lost to non-contending Tampa Bay, and the Bears missed a chance to improve to 4-4.
Also, while the Falcons won, their playoff odds actually took a dip, corresponding with our model’s declining view of their team.
It all worked out for the team that would be the the conference's fifth-seeded team if the season ended today.
Playoff Odds Movement: -26.3%
Week 8 Result: Lost to Dallas, 33-19
Playoff Odds Before Week 8: 39.2%
Playoff Odds After Week 8: 12.9%
Washington’s Week 8 game against Dallas was a crucial one: two 3-3 division rivals came into FedEx Field in a contest where the loser would be in a bad shape.
Washington turned out to be the loser, as there are now four teams between themselves and the NFC's final wild card berth. They trail the current sixth seed (Carolina) by 1.5 games but are also just 2-3 in intra-conference games.
Denver Broncos (3-4)
Playoff Odds Movement: -18.5%
Week 8 Result: Lost to Kansas City, 29-19
Playoff Odds Before Week 8: 55.2%
Playoff Odds After Week 8: 36.7%
Our model still thinks the Broncos are a quality team -- they are ninth in the power rankings -- but this may not be enough to earn them a playoff berth.
Like Washington, Denver must jump over four teams to get to the sixth seed, and the Broncos were also hurt by a good week from the teams in front of them. Buffalo, Cincinnati, and Baltimore all won, worsening the effect of the Broncos’ loss on Monday Night Football.
Green Bay Packers (4-3)
Playoff Odds Movement: -18.4%
Week 8 Result: Bye week
Playoff Odds Before Week 8: 60.7%
Playoff Odds After Week 8: 42.3%
The Packers’ bye week was not nearly as successful as the Rams’.
Green Bay was hurt by Atlanta’s win in New York, and while both teams are 4-3, the Falcons have a head-to-head win over the Packers. Brett Hundley is only completing 52.5% of his passes and is averaging just 3.4 net yards per drop back.
Aaron Rodgers helping the team bank four wins will keep them in the mix, but Hundley will have to improve dramatically for the Packers to take advantage.