Biggest NFL Playoff Odds Movers: Week 5
With some strong teams taking a tumble in Week 4, we've had some sizable shifts in the NFL playoff landscape. Now a quarter of the way through the NFL season, we're starting to see which teams are going to make a playoff push and ones that might be throwing in the towel early.
There are still 13 weeks of the NFL season to play, but it is never too early to eye the playoffs. Let’s see which teams are soaring above expectations while others need to turn their seasons around. Here are the biggest playoff odds movers following Week 4, according to our models.
Cleveland Browns (2-2)
Playoff Odds Movement: +28.5%
Week 4 Playoff Odds: 18.9%
Week 5 Playoff Odds: 47.4%
The extremely hyped 2019 Cleveland Browns were looking like an utter disappointment after three weeks. They dropped their home-opener to the Tennessee Titans, exploited a beat-up New York Jets team, and then had no offensive push against the Los Angeles Rams. Many people were ready to give up after the lackluster start to the season.
Then the Browns got their swagger back in Week 4, traveling to Baltimore and taking down the division rival Ravens. Nick Chubb ran wild, totaling 165 yards and three scores on the ground, one of which came from 88 yards out to ice the game. Jarvis Landry also had a career day with 167 receiving yards on eight catches. Meanwhile, superstar receiver, Odell Beckham, only logged two receptions of his own, but Baker Mayfield posted a 0.55 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back, his best of the season.
"HE'S GOT A HAT TRICK!"
Jim Donovan's call on all three of @NickChubb21's TDs vs. the Ravens: pic.twitter.com/JOKwTe2Hwm
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) September 30, 2019
Cleveland is now in the driver's seat of the AFC North, as they have a half-game lead on the 2-2 Ravens. If Freddie Kitchens continues to find success by spreading the ball around, this Browns team could reach the unreasonable heights that were set for them in the offseason.
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3)
Playoff Odds Movement: +21.2%
Week 4 Playoff Odds: 14.1%
Week 5 Playoff Odds: 35.3%
With the Browns picking off the Ravens, the Pittsburgh Steelers have a reasonable shot at the AFC North. They took down the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night for their first win of the season, putting them just one game behind the division lead.
The Steelers found success with short passes, as Mason Rudolph's 91 air yards were the lowest among starting quarterbacks by at least 40 yards, per airyards.com. The team also deployed the versatile Jaylen Samuels in the wildcat multiple times, giving a nice tandem with James Conner. Look for that trend to continue against a Ravens defense that allowed Landry to rack up 124 yards after the catch last week.
While the Steelers have a reasonable shot at making the playoffs, it would be hard to imagine them taking the division crown with a backup quarterback.
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2)
Playoff Odds Movement: +20.5%
Week 4 Playoff Odds: 17.8%
Week 5 Playoff Odds: 38.3%
Gardner Minshew might be what Baker Mayfield was supposed to be. He has now led the Jacksonville Jaguars to a 2-1 record and has hit 0.15 Passing NEP per drop back in each of his last two games. Minshew has also done it in incredible style, throwing multiple scores and no interceptions in back-to-back games.
Gardner Minshew looks like Mac disguised as Charlie pic.twitter.com/CpFSqMTwTF
— DL (@davelozo) September 28, 2019
His play has also opened up running lanes for Leonard Fournette, who just rushed for 225 yards against the Denver Broncos. With three teams deadlocked in the AFC South at 2-2, the Jaguars have a good chance at capturing the division crown with Minshew leading the way. Perhaps that could play a role in Jalen Ramsey's trade demands.
Baltimore Ravens (2-2)
Playoff Odds Movement: -41.3%
Week 4 Playoff Odds: 79.9%
Week 5 Playoff Odds: 38.4%
After dominating the Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins to start the season, the Baltimore Ravens have dropped two straight games. Lamar Jackson's play has dipped as well. After posting 1.41 and 0.24 Passing NEP per drop back in his first two games, he has been below 0.05 in each of his last two starts. The offensive line can shoulder some of the blame, as they rank 17th in adjusted sack rate per Football Outsiders.
The real issue is the defense. After their recent outings, the Ravens now rank dead-last in Adjusted Defensive NEP per play. They are struggling to generate pressure, as evidenced by their 23rd-ranked adjusted sack rate, which is making life difficult for their depleted secondary.
They have a shot to right the ship against a struggling Steelers team led by Mason Rudolph. That game may prove to be pivotal for the AFC North outcome.
Dallas Cowboys (3-1)
Playoff Odds Movement: -28.6%
Week 4 Playoff Odds: 82.9%
Week 5 Playoff Odds: 54.3%
It's amazing how much can change in one week. Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys were flying high under new offensive coordinator, Kellen Moore. They were set up for success against a (formerly) brutal New Orleans Saints and completely flopped.
This was an ambitious target for Dak Prescott pic.twitter.com/lWj0tXH6F3
— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) September 30, 2019
Dak Prescott only mustered 0.03 Passing NEP per drop back and Ezekiel Elliott managed a -0.32 Rushing NEP per carry. Either the Saints turned a serious corner, or perhaps the Cowboy's stats were just inflated by incredible matchups.
Indianapolis Colts (2-2)
Playoff Odds Movement: -21.4%
Week 4 Playoff Odds: 45.2%
Week 5 Playoff Odds: 23.8%
The Indianapolis Colts were a team soaring above expectations. Jacoby Brissett hasn't been lighting the world on fire, but he has shown command of the offense. Marlon Mack has also been stellar, averaging the fifth-best Rushing NEP per carry among backs with 50 totes. But even the Colts are susceptible to bad luck.
The team fell behind early to the Oakland Raiders and weren't able to funnel touches to their efficient running back. Brissett filled up the stat sheet with 265 yards and three touchdowns, but the Colts still fell to Oakland at home.
While they were one of the biggest negative shifts in playoff odds, they are still tied with the Texans, Titans, and Jaguars at 2-2. Home losses to bad teams don't help, but the Colts have a shot to maintain their success in the post-Andrew Luck era.