Biggest NFL Playoff Odds Movers: Week 11

So does anyone want the AFC’s final wild card spot?

Buffalo looked to be in the driver’s seat just a few weeks ago before going on a skid and compounding it by benching Tyrod Taylor for Nathan Peterman, which did not work out well. Elsewhere, the Dolphins have lost four straight while the Jets have lost four out of five.

These three teams, along with the 4-6 Raiders and Bengals, are ranked 24th or lower in our power rankings.

These developments seem to cede the inside track for the 6 seed to the Baltimore Ravens, who improved to 5-5 with a 23-0 win over the Packers. The win boosted their playoff odds to 58.7%, marking their 22.8% boost the largest increase of the week.

If the season ended today, the Ravens would qualify for the playoffs as the conference’s second wild card team, doing so because of their head-to-head win over Buffalo. The Bills were the biggest loser of the week, as their playoff odds fell by 17.7%. They now have only about a 1-in-5 chance of ending their nearly two-decade playoff drought.


Baltimore Ravens (5-5)

Playoff Odds Movement: +22.8%

Week 11 Result: Def. Green Bay, 23-0

Playoff Odds Before Week 11: 35.9%

Playoff Odds After Week 11: 58.7%

As I wrote in yesterday’s power rankings report, Baltimore shot into the top 10 largely on the strength of their strong defense. This means there is a huge gap in quality between the Ravens and most of the other teams vying for 6 seed.

Team nERD Rank Rec Playoff Odds
Baltimore Ravens 10 5-5 58.70%
Los Angeles Chargers 7 4-6 31.50%
Buffalo Bills 27 5-5 21.60%
Cincinnati Bengals 24 4-6 4.10%
Oakland Raiders 29 4-6 3.30%
Miami Dolphins 30 4-6 2.20%
New York Jets 25 4-6 2.20%

The Chargers look to be the better team, but Baltimore has a one-game lead in terms of both overall record and conference record.

Atlanta Falcons (6-4)

Playoff Odds Movement: +13.3%

Week 11 Result: Def. Seattle, 34-31

Playoff Odds Before Week 11: 19.1%

Playoff Odds After Week 11: 32.4%

The Falcons have put themselves back into the playoff picture after their odds fell into single digits not too long ago.

Since their loss in Carolina, Atlanta bludgeoned Dallas and edged the Seahawks in Seattle on Monday Night Football. If the season ended today, they would be the NFC's 6 seed.

Their schedule remains challenging (aside from a pair of games against Tampa Bay, all of their remaining games come against top-10 teams), but they do have a strong conference record going for them. Atlanta is 5-1 against NFC foes, the best mark among those in wild card contention.

The Falcons also have head-to-head wins over the Seahawks and Lions.

Los Angeles Chargers (4-6)

Playoff Odds Movement: +13.3%

Week 11 Result: Def. Seattle, 34-31

Playoff Odds Before Week 11: 19.1%

Playoff Odds After Week 11: 32.4%

The Chargers are on the rise, which was the case even before they turned Peterman’s first start into a historically-bad mess.

Los Angeles was plagued by turnovers and poor special teams play during an 0-4 start -- they were tied for 25th in turnover margin (-3) and last in special teams NEP throughout the first quarter of the season. This contributed to a minus-21 point differential (25th in the league) despite being tied for 10th in yards per play differential.

The silver lining for the Chargers were that turnover margins tend to be prone to randomness in small samples, while offensive and defensive performance is more consistent than special teams.

Since Week 5, L.A.'s yards per play performance has held relatively steady (they are 11th over this span), but their turnover margin is a league-best +10 while being ranked 21st on special teams. Their +46 point differential is the seventh-best mark in the league over this span.

They won’t continue to hover around a +2 turnover margin per game going forward, but their recent surge (coupled with a lackluster AFC field) has the Chargers back in the mix.


Buffalo Bills (5-5)

Playoff Odds Movement: -17.7%

Week 11 Result: Lost to Los Angeles Chargers, 54-24

Playoff Odds Before Week 11: 19.1%

Playoff Odds After Week 11: 32.4%

While the Chargers’ bad start owed much to an unsustainable turnover margin, the same can be said for Buffalo’s strong start.

After Week 8, the Bills were 5-2 with playoff odds north of 75.9%, but were also getting outgained by more than 0.5 yards per play. Their record owed much to a +14 turnover margin, a mark which has dropped to a league-worst -9 in the three weeks since.

It has also not helped that their yards per play margin has dipped even further to 0.9.

Regression has bit this team hard and their playoff odds have suffered as a result.

Seattle Seahawks (6-4)

Playoff Odds Movement: -13.3%

Week 11 Result: Lost to Atlanta, 34-31

Playoff Odds Before Week 11: 71.1%

Playoff Odds After Week 11: 57.8%

Seattle is still more likely than not to make the playoffs for the sixth straight season, but a win on Monday would have been a big shot in the arm. Instead, the Seahawks have plunged into the the crowded NFC wild card field.

If the season ended today, they would actually miss the playoffs, by virtue of the head-to-head win Atlanta just picked up. Detroit, the conference’s other 6-4 team, also has a better conference record than Seattle.

An NFC West title is still in the cards, as they trail the Rams by one game, but have a head-to-head win over Los Angeles and will host the rematch in December. We give the Rams a 55.5% chance to win the West, compared to a 44.1% shot for Seattle.

Green Bay Packers (5-5)

Playoff Odds Movement: -12.3%

Week 11 Result: Lost to Baltimore, 23-0

Playoff Odds Before Week 11: 22.0%

Playoff Odds After Week 11: 9.7%

After Week 5, the 4-1 Packers were the second-most likely team to make the playoffs, with odds that stood at 82.5%. Fast-forward to present day and five games with Brett Hundley under center now has Green Bay's chances in the single digits.

We've already touched on how much the Packers' offense has declined after going from Aaron Rodgers to Hundley, but their defense (22nd, according to our metrics) has not been nearly good enough to pick up the slack.