AccuScore: NFL Playoff Shifts Week 3

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Like Buffalo in the AFC, the Detroit Lions have shocked the world by starting out the year 3-0. They used a massive comeback to beat Minnesota, and the Lions have showed that as long as they stay healthy they can be real contenders for the playoffs. Detroit is up to 62.9 percent likelihood for the postseason but is just 15.9 percent likely to win its division. The favorite in the NFC North is still Green Bay. The Packers continue to dominate on offense and are the most likely playoff team at 96.2 percent. Detroit’s upward trajectory is being inversely mirrored by Chicago. The Bears lost nearly 10 percentage points in playoff odds this week and are already less than 20 percent likely to reach the postseason. Minnesota has failed to get a win through three weeks despite being competitive into the fourth quarter in each game. The Vikings have dug a massive hole to climb out of and are just 5.1 percent likely for a playoff spot.

The most competitive division in the NFL is, once again, the NFC East. Dallas, Washington, and New York are all 2-1, while the super team in Philadelphia is in last at 1-2. The Giants made the biggest gains this week becoming 42.1 percent likely for a playoff spot, up 9.4 percent from last week. The other three teams made minor shifts in the projected playoff standings.

The Saints beat fellow division winner Houston, and New Orlseans remains in position as the second likeliest playoff team in the NFC. New Orleans is 86.2 percent likely for the postseason. Tampa Bay continues to find ways to win and is tied with the Saints in the standings at 2-1. The Bucs, though, need to keep winning to keep pace as they are 28.5 percent for a playoff spot. Winning the division will be difficult, so a wild card spot is more likely. Atlanta is in the same position as Tampa, but the Falcons need to start winning games to avoid losing more ground. The Falcons lost 11.6 percentage points this week, second most in the conference. Carolina can continue to enjoy the Cam Newton show, which should pull out a few more wins this season, but is unlikely to yield a postseason trip.

The Niners continue to lead the worst division in the NFL, gaining 14 percentage points in probability. Virtually all their chances at the playoffs are tied to the division as they don’t appear competitive in the chase for a wild card. Arizona lost a critical game to the Seahawks and dropped 14.3 percentage points accordingly, most in the NFC. Seattle took up some of the slack lost by the Cards gaining 4.9 percentage points. The defending West champs are still longshots to repeat at just 10.3 percent. The Rams are already two games back, and St. Louis desperately needs a win to stay in a winnable division race. After week 4, the Rams are just 8.2 percent likely to win the West.