There are 11 games left in the 2011 NFL season.
Anyone can make predictions about the four that take place this weekend. But those winners will determine what other matchups happen in successive weeks, making predicting who will win later games easier a week from now.
Who wants to take the easy way out? I am making the predictions all the way to Super Bowl XLVI.
This poses some challenges. For instance, one may think the Pittsburgh Steelers will beat the Denver Broncos and the Cincinnati Bengals will beat the Houston Texans in the first round of the AFC playoffs.
That would match the Bengals against the New England Patriots and the Steelers against the Baltimore Ravens. Perhaps one then thinks the Ravens and Patriots advance, but if the Bengals lose in the first round, they will play one another and cannot both advance.
Thus, what ends up mattering most in such a prediction is who will win when. Which individual winners are most likely to advance from each round?
Note: To make it more interesting, they're listed from most to least probable. Remember a team cannot win a later game unless it also wins the earlier one, so unless the Super Bowl champion is more likely to win three or four games than another team is one or two, that final win will appear later in the list.