NFL Playoff Predictions: Updated Look at the Top Teams Contending for Spots

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NFL Playoff Predictions: Updated Look at the Top Teams Contending for Spots
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Matt Ryan's Falcons just keep winning... And that's all that matters.

As we get deeper into the NFL season, the legitimate contenders have begun to separate from the rest. This trend is reflected in the newest installment of NFL playoff predictions.  

The NFC is beginning to look like a conference dominated by five elite teams with a handful of lesser ones biting at their ankles. A similar trend exists in the AFC, although its overall caliber is significantly worse.

If you’ve read some of my previous articles like this one or this one, you know that I occasionally like to use simple math formulas to answer otherwise difficult questions. While predicting playoff teams can be done well and objectively based on watching the games and digging up some elementary statistics (i.e. strength of schedule, QBR), it’s nice to look at a common topic through a new lens.

In the coming slides, you will find my newly coined statistic, Performance Score (P-Score). A team’s P-Score was calculated as follows: (Strength of Schedule) x [(Rushing and Passing Offense and Defense) + 4 x (Turnover Differential)].

“Rushing and Passing Offense and Defense” is based on how each team compares to the rest of the NFL. 

For example: Seattle’s number for this part of the equation is 72 because it has the No. 31 Pass Offense (32-31), the No. 7 rushing offense (32-7), the No. 7 pass defense (32-7) and the No. 11 run D (32-11). When you sum that all up, you get 72 (1 + 25 + 25 + 21). 

The main advantage of the P-Score is that it looks at teams solely in terms of their production across 60 minutes. There is no direct measure of total points, fourth-quarter comebacks or time of possession. Whether a team is able to capitalize on its chances is irrelevant.

P-Score will be mentioned on occasion throughout this slideshow and you might be surprised at just how well P-Score reflects the potential of many NFL squads.

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