Biggest NFL Playoff Odds Movers: Week 10
While there were some important games over the weekend, it was not a massive one in terms of playoff odds movement.
No team saw its playoff odds change by 20% in either direction, and the postseason picture looks similar to that of last week's.
The biggest winners of the weekend were the Tennessee Titans, who defeated Cincinnati, 24-20 to improve to 6-3. The victory kept Tennessee in first place in the AFC South, though we still have the Jaguars as the favorites to win the division. (The Titans are in first place via their head-to-head win over Jacksonville, but our power rankings have Jacksonville ranked as the league’s best team while Tennessee is just 21st.)
Dallas moved in the opposite direction after its 27-7 loss in Atlanta. The defeat, coupled with a strong weekend for most of the conference’s other wild card contenders, moved the Cowboys to the number 11 spot in the NFC postseason picture.
Tennessee Titans (6-3)
Playoff Odds Movement: +19.7%
Week 9 Result: Def. Cincinnati, 24-20
Playoff Odds Before Week 10: 52.7%
Playoff Odds After Week 10: 72.4%
Tennessee is a fairly mediocre team but also one that is now has a good shot at playing some postseason football. The Titans have been outscored this season by 8 points, despite the fact that they have had the easiest schedule in the NFL, according to Pro-Football-Reference.
Their point differential suggests they are closer to a four-win team than a six-win team, with their 4-1 record in one-score games accounting for the disparity.
The good news for the Titans is that they are already have these wins banked and do not have to give them back. This may not be a team that is much better than average, but if they just go .500 down the stretch, they will almost surely be in the playoffs.
Their schedule going forward does have some stumbling blocks, with a trip to Pittsburgh this Thursday and games against the Rams and Jaguars to end the season. In the middle, Tennessee will play the Colts, the Deshaun Watson-less Texans, the Cardinals, and the 49ers.
Atlanta Falcons (5-4)
Playoff Odds Movement: +9.2%
Week 9 Result: Def. Dallas, 27-7
Playoff Odds Before Week 10: 9.9%
Playoff Odds After Week 10: 19.2%
The Falcons almost certainly needed a win to keep their season alive, and they did just that, picking up a vital victory against a fellow NFC wild card contender.
Atlanta probably would have seen its odds increase by more if the conference’s other contending teams did not also have such a good week (more on this later). These odds are also lower than you might expect because the Falcons have a grueling upcoming schedule.
Five of their remaining seven games come against teams ranked in the top-10 in our power ratings (next Monday’s game at number nine Seattle, a home contest against number six Minnesota, two games against number three New Orleans, and the season-finale at home against number seven Carolina). Their other two games come against Tampa Bay (number 23), but this is still one of the more grueling conclusions to the season in the league.
Minnesota Vikings (7-2)
Playoff Odds Movement: +8.6%
Week 9 Result: Def. Washington, 38-30
Playoff Odds Before Week 10: 77.5%
Playoff Odds After Week 10: 86.1%
The Vikings inched closer to an NFC North championship with a victory in the nation’s capital and maintained their two-game lead over the Packers.
Banking a victory in a game that was considered more or less a toss-up beforehand helps explain why their odds shot up more than 29 other teams despite not getting much help in terms of losses elsewhere.
We give the Vikings a 73.3% chance to win the North.
Dallas Cowboys (5-4)
Playoff Odds Movement: -18.9%
Week 9 Result: Lost to Atlanta, 27-7
Playoff Odds Before Week 10: 34.3%
Playoff Odds After Week 10: 15.4%
Washington Redskins (4-5)
Playoff Odds Movement: -12.5%
Week 9 Result: Lost to Minnesota, 38-30
Playoff Odds Before Week 10: 21.9%
Playoff Odds After Week 10: 9.4%
The story was the same on Sunday for these two old rivals: they lost and all the other serious NFC wild card contenders won. Literally all of them.
Washington, which is still 12th in our power ratings, is not completely dead, as its remaining schedule only contains two teams with above-average ratings (the number three Saints and the number 14 Chargers). Dallas has five such games: two against the number four Eagles, and home games against the Chargers, Redskins, and Seahawks.
Buffalo Bills (5-4)
Playoff Odds Movement: -12.4%
Week 9 Result: Lost to New Orleans, 47-10
Playoff Odds Before Week 10: 51.7%
Playoff Odds After Week 10: 39.3%
Two weeks ago, Buffalo was 5-2 with playoff odds at 75.9%.
Since then, the Bills have been outscored by 50 points and their playoff odds have plunged below 40%. Some of this is the result of turnover regression, as the Bills had the league’s best turnover rate through eight weeks but were minus-3 over the last two.
They were a team reliant on turnovers for success and one that was especially ill-equipped to overcome a negative margin, as they have a -0.8 yards per play differential.
Buffalo would still earn its first playoff berth since 1999 as the number six seed if the season ended today. Its upcoming schedule has its cupcakes (two games against the Dolphins, one against the Colts) but as I mentioned last week, even if they sweep these lowly teams, they will still need to beat an actual good unit to finish above .500. They need to play number eight New England twice, as well as the Chargers and the number ten Chiefs.