Biggest NFL Playoff Odds Movers: Week 15
There were 49.4 percentage points worth of playoff odds gains in Week 15 and 32 of them went to teams in Pennsylvania.
The Eagles and Steelers are in different places as far as the postseason is concerned, but both improved their standing in a weekend that did not actually have a massive impact on the overall playoff picture.
Philadelphia's odds increased by 21.2% after an upset win against the Los Angeles Rams that kept the reigning champs' hopes for a title defense alive, while Pittsburgh upset New England to put its chances on firmer ground.
In terms of the teams that went in the other direction, we actually had a team (Baltimore) win but also see its playoff odds decrease.
Philadelphia Eagles (7-7)
Playoff Odds Movement: +21.2%
Week 15 Result: Def. Los Angeles Rams, 30-23
Odds Before Week 15: 12.8%
Odds After Week 15: 34.0%
The Eagles' unexpected win was coupled with a loss from Carolina, both of which led to the big boost. Philadelphia jumped over the Panthers, but still trails 7-6-1 Minnesota for the final wild card berth in the NFC.
Their most straightforward path to the postseason involves winning out against the Texans and Washington and having the Vikings lose at least one of its remaining games (Minnesota closes the season at Detroit and at home against Chicago).
The Eagles can actually also be eliminated over the weekend with a loss to and a Vikings win over the Lions.
Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5-1)
Playoff Odds Movement: +10.8%
Week 15 Result: Def. New England, 17-10
Odds Before Week 15: 62.5%
Odds After Week 15: 73.3%
Pittsburgh's win over the Patriots kept the Steelers in control of their playoff destiny, as if they win out, they will be the AFC North champions.
Their odds did not increase by more because Baltimore also won to keep the pressure on them. The Ravens are a half-game back with remaining games at the Chargers and at home against the Browns. Pittsburgh finishes the year with a game in New Orleans and at home against the Bengals.
Our power rankings actually see Baltimore as the better team, but because the Steelers have this half-game edge, our models give them considerably better odds to win the division. Pittsburgh has a 68.5% chance of doing so, compared to Baltimore's 29.5%.
Tennessee Titans (8-6)
Playoff Odds Movement: +9.8%
Week 15 Result: Def. New York Giants, 17-0
Odds Before Week 15: 25.0%
Odds After Week 15: 34.8%
Thanks to their win over the Giants, Tennessee remains very much in the race for the final wild card spot in the AFC, which could go in a number of ways. Three teams -- the Ravens, Colts and Titans -- are all 8-6, with the Ravens holding on to the last spot by virtue of a superior conference record.
|Team||AFC Record||Playoff Odds||Remaining Games|
|Ravens||6-4||48.0%||at Chargers, vs. Browns|
|Colts||6-5||37.6%||vs. Giants, at Titans|
|Titans||5-6||34.8%||vs. Washington, vs. Colts|
Baltimore makes the playoffs if it wins out but also has the group's most challenging remaining game -- its trip to Los Angeles to face the Chargers this week.
However, one loss by either the Steelers or Ravens would also put both Indianapolis and Tennessee in control of their own destinies. If the Steelers finish 9-6-1 and do not win their division, a 10-6 Colts/Titans team would edge them for the wild card, whereas if Pittsburgh wins the North at 9-6-1, that means Baltimore has not finished with 10 wins.
Miami Dolphins (7-7)
Playoff Odds Movement: -11.0%
Week 15 Result: Lost to Minnesota, 41-17
Odds Before Week 15: 16.6%
Odds After Week 15: 5.6%
While the Dolphins still mathematically have a chance to make the postseason, their loss to the Vikings ended their season in practice.
Even if Miami wins out, which is 30th in our power ratings thanks to comparatively lackluster performances in wins and lopsided losses, it would still need a fair degree of help. It would only take one of the teams in play for the sixth seed to win out to end the Dolphins' season formally, and since Indianapolis and Tennessee will play each other, this seems likely.
Carolina Panthers (6-8)
Playoff Odds Movement: -7.8%
Week 15 Result: Lost to Minnesota, 41-17
Odds Before Week 15: 9.4%
Odds After Week 15: 1.6%
It would take a miracle of epic proportions for the Panthers to make the playoffs at 8-8, and they would have to do so without the services of Cam Newton, who was shut down for the season on Wednesday. Good luck in 2019, Carolina.
Baltimore Ravens (8-6)
Playoff Odds Movement: -5.8%
Week 15 Result: Def. Tampa Bay, 20-12
Odds Before Week 15: 53.8%
Odds After Week 15: 48.0%
And now for what has to rank as one of the most bizarre entries in the young history of the playoff odds report.
Allow me to explain how the Ravens' playoff chances went down this weekend. Baltimore was playing at home against Tampa Bay on Sunday, a matchup between teams that ranked 7th and 20th in our power ratings heading into the game. The odds were heavily in the Ravens' favor, so their win did not move the ledger all that much.
Pittsburgh's victory over New England was considerably less expected, so this had a greater impact.
As far as the wild card is concerned, both Indianapolis and Tennessee won games that looked closer to tossups before kickoff, so these victories were also more impactful than Baltimore's own. The Colts were 3.0-point favorites against Dallas, while Tennessee was a 2.5-point favorite in New York against the Giants.
On the whole, the Ravens did not gain any ground, and while our models strongly expected them to win, their prime playoff rivals' contests all had greater degrees of uncertainty. Since these teams all won, Baltimore experienced a slight decline in playoff odds.