AccuScore: NFL Playoff Shifts Week 9

By Ernie Padaon
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By Jonathan Lee

AccuScore Analyst

AccuScore’s expert betting system is based on calculating the precise probability teams have of winning each game, their division, and making the playoffs. Using projected lineups, football predictions are created by simulating each game of the season one play at a time, up to 10,000 to 20,000 times. VisitAccuScore for weekly updates for all football and sports predictions.


The calendar reads November and surprise, surprise: the Bengals are sitting atop the AFC. Cincinnati, led by rookie Andy Dalton, is 6-2 after a comeback win over Tennessee. The win had a huge effect on the standings, with the Bengals gaining a whopping 38.8 percentage points in playoff probability. That more than doubled their playoff odds all the way up to 74.6 percent. Baltimore completed a two-game sweep of Pittsburgh to become the favorite in the division. The Ravens are 83.5 percent for a playoff spot. Pittsburgh fell 12.4 percentage points as a result of the loss to Baltimore. While all three teams are currently projected to make the postseason, they all make the playoffs in just 8 percent of simulations. Cincinnati’s four remaining games against the Ravens and Steelers will go a long way in determining postseason positioning.

The AFC South has a certainty to it that has existed for most of the past decade; except, this season, it is Houston as the overwhelming favorite and not Indianapolis. The Texans are 92 percent likely to win the division after having won 3 straight games. The Colts meanwhile have a 5 percent chance of going winless. This week, they play Jacksonville at home which will be their best chance of the season to get a win. The Jags have just a 0.7 percent chance of making the postseason, but at least they have 2 wins on the year. Tennessee is the only team with any kind of shot at catching Houston, but that happens in just 7.3 percent of simulations.

San Diego lost for the third time in a row, but if there ever was a “good” loss, this was it. The Chargers fell to the Packers at home, but played well scoring 45 points in the process. The Chiefs and Raiders also lost to keep the three teams tied at 4-4. Those games resulted in the Chargers gaining 13.7 percentage points in playoff probability. San Diego now wins the AFC West nearly 70 percent of the time. Denver’s win over Oakland gave the Broncos a 3.2 percent chance to win the division. Oakland’s playoff chances have disappeared rapidly each week with Carson Palmer at quarterback. The Raiders lost 20.4 percentage points in playoff probability this week and are now only 18.6 percent likely to secure a spot in the postseason. Kansas City had won four in a row, but an embarrassing loss to Miami at home really hurt in the standings. The Chiefs have the worst statistical profile of the contenders in the AFC West, and they are just 9.8 percent likely to win the division.

The Jets were billed as contenders in the AFC East before the season started. It took 9 weeks of play, but they have finally shown that type of fire by winning 3 in a row to earn a tie atop the division. New York gained 10.7 percentage points in playoff probability, and is now 40.2 percent likely for the postseason. The Patriots are still easily the division favorite at 69 percent so the Jets are fighting for a Wild Card spot for now. Buffalo might have lost its best chance to stay in the race after getting walloped by New York at home. The Bills lost 26 percentage points in the projections and are now just 27.4 percent likely for the postseason despite having the same record (5-3) as New York and New England.