Biggest NFL Playoff Odds Movers: Week 16
With eight teams officially in the postseason, Week 15 decided the fate of many teams across the NFL. As 15 teams are now eliminated from the playoffs, the other nine are fighting over four spots. While some like the Cleveland Browns and the Oakland Raiders are longshots with 6-8 records, other teams can lock up their playoff spot with a win this week.
Let's see which teams boosted their chances and which ones are crashing fast. Here are the biggest playoff odds movers following Week 15, according to our models.
Houston Texans (9-5)
Playoff Odds Movement: +24.3%
Week 15 Playoff Odds: 74%
Week 16 Playoff Odds: 98.3%
The Houston Texans took a massive step towards securing the AFC South division title with a road win over their division rival, the Tennessee Titans. While he turned the ball over twice, including a bad red zone pick, Deshaun Watson was efficient, averaging 0.26 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back while only taking one sack.
DW4 is #ProBowl bound!#WeAreTexans pic.twitter.com/MjVGLcRWLF
— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) December 18, 2019
Houston is now a near-lock to win the AFC South, as they have a one-game lead on Tennessee with two games to go. If they can win this week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where they are 3.0-point favorites according to oddsFire, they'll take the division crown and secure their postseason position.
Minnesota Vikings (10-4)
Playoff Odds Movement: +22.9%
Week 15 Playoff Odds: 75.1%
Week 16 Playoff Odds: 98%
The Minnesota Vikings are also in a prime position to secure an NFC wild card spot at the very least. With the Los Angeles Rams getting blown out by the Dallas Cowboys, LA would need to win both their final games and have Minnesota lose out. The Rams would then own the tie-breaker (division record) for the wild card over the Vikings.
While our models give that a two percent chance at actually happening, the Vikings have two tough division games to close out the season. This week they draw the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football, who currently lead the NFC North. Kirk Cousins shamefully holds an 0-8 record on MNF in his career and could also be without Dalvin Cook, who aggravated his shoulder injury yet again.
Pro Bowl votes are in and Dalvin Cook finished with more votes than any other RB in the #NFL this season pic.twitter.com/llWVVXfZVQ
— Adam Patrick (@Str8_Cash_Homey) December 16, 2019
If Cousins shakes his bad case of the Mondays and the Vikings win out, they would need the Packers to lose both of their final games to win the division. Green Bay has a Detroit Lions team in Week 17 that has lost seven straight, so the wild card is likely in Minnesota's future.
Dallas Cowboys (7-7)
Playoff Odds Movement: +5.7%
Week 15 Playoff Odds: 57.1%
Week 16 Playoff Odds: 62.8%
The Cowboys finally reached their expectations on both sides of the ball, as they ran up 44 points on an elite Rams defense. The final score seemed respectable with the Rams scoring two touchdowns in garbage time, but Jared Goff was held to -0.1 Passing NEP per drop back and Todd Gurley only mustered 20 yards on his 11 carries.
Unfortunately for the Cowboys, the Philadelphia Eagles picked up a win, as well. Week 16 is massive for this division, as these teams face off in Philadelphia. For Dallas to win the division, they would need to win one of their next two games to win the NFC South with Philly losing at least one. For the Eagles to win the division, they would simply need to win out. That would give them the same division record, and Philadelphia would win on "common games."
The Cowboys are 2.5-point favorites, according to Online Sportsbook, so this could be a nail-biter.
Los Angeles Rams (8-6)
Playoff Odds Movement: -27%
Week 15 Playoff Odds: 29%
Week 16 Playoff Odds: 2%
After a trip to the Super Bowl last season, the Rams have been all but eliminated from the playoffs before they even started. With two other teams in the NFC West sitting at double-digit wins, the Rams are in need of some serious help to eek into the wild card.
Blake Bortles greeting Jalen Ramsey in the locker room after another Jared Goff masterclass #LARvsDAL pic.twitter.com/LisARmJgbO
— Windy (@WindersMurphy) December 15, 2019
As previously stated, they would need to beat the 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals in their final two games, while the Minnesota Vikings would need to lose to both the Packers and the Chicago Bears. It is certainly possible, but after getting dominated by Dallas in Week 15, our models aren't too fond of that happening.
Pittsburgh Steelers (8-6)
Playoff Odds Movement: -16.6%
Week 15 Playoff Odds: 69.8%
Week 16 Playoff Odds: 53.2%
After stringing together three wins in a row, the Pittsburgh Steelers fell to the Buffalo Bills at home by a score of 17-10. Had they won, they would have been in the driver's seat of an AFC wild card berth with the Titans losing this week, as well. Now, they'll likely have to win both of their final two games to make the postseason.
The good news is that this week they'll play a New York Jets team that ranks dead-last in schedule-adjusted total offense and 17th in total defense. Then they'll face a Baltimore Ravens team that could be resting a majority of their starters if they secure the top seed this week against the Cleveland Browns.
Those two winnable games would lock the Steelers into the playoffs at 10-6, which isn't bad considering the quarterback catastrophe they've endured this season.
Tennessee Titans (8-6)
Playoff Odds Movement: -5.9%
Week 15 Playoff Odds: 53.9%
Week 16 Playoff Odds: 47.6%
The Titans had a strong chance to win the division for the first time since 2008 with two matchups against the Texans in their final three games. That dream was essentially crushed on Sunday after they suffered a home loss to their rival.
They could still win the division if the Texans drop their final two games and the Titans win both, but considering they play a motivated New Orleans Saints team this week, that could be a challenge. After New Orleans, they would have a rematch with the Texans in Houston.
Ryan Tannehill to AJ Brown can’t be stopped. Brown just burns with a hesitation release and Tannehill drops it in the hole. pic.twitter.com/TRUAqse1Ra
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) December 15, 2019
If they can't sweep their final two games, then they'll likely be done with the Steelers having a far easier path to the playoffs. This hot streak under Tannehill was still impressive -- and likely netted him a nice contract in the offseason -- but we'll see if they can cap it with a playoff run.