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NFL Playoff Picture: Updated Odds and Projections for Every Seed for Week 12

Mike HoagCorrespondent IINovember 29, 2016

NFL Playoff Picture: Updated Odds and Projections for Every Seed for Week 12

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    Eleven weeks of NFL football are in the books, and the playoff picture is finally beginning to take shape. Although some teams have emerged as clear-cut favorites, the wild-card positions and some divisional races are still up for grabs and completely wide open in some situations.

    I'm going to go about this a little bit differently. Instead of giving you arbitrary percent numbers, I've devised a grading scale to determine the likelihood of each team's chances of making the playoffs, whether it's by winning their respective division or through qualifying for a wild-card spot.

    Take a look at the key for the following slides. This should help you understand and make sense of some of the things you'll see in this slideshow.

     

    It’s in the bag: 95-100 percent 

    Very likely: 80-94 percent

    Strong possibility: 65-79 percent

    Possible: 50-64 percent

    Outside looking in: 35-49 percent

    Playoffs? Don’t talk about no playoffs!: 10-34 percent

    No, just no: 0-9 percent

AFC Playoff Odds

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    Don't expect for there to be any drastic changes in the power structure of the AFC divisional races. The true wild card lies in the actual wild card this season.

    There are currently five 4-6 teams in the AFC: Which are contenders and which are are pretenders?

    The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to drop their next two games without Ben Roethlisberger. It will only slow them down, though, as the team has a solid top-five defense and is beginning to be able to run the football more reliably in recent weeks.

    You can see Tom Brady willing the New England Patriots offense to touchdown after touchdown and victory after victory.

    The biggest story of the AFC is and will continue to be rookie quarterback Andrew Luck's overall understanding of his new team's offense. Indy will ride the rookie's hot hand as well as the tragic diagnosis of head coach Chuck Pagano to fuel their push for the playoffs. It'll work, too. 

     

    AFC South

    Houston Texans (9-1)

    Playoff Odds: It’s in the bag

    Indianapolis Colts (6-4)

    Playoff Odds: Strong possibility

    Tennessee Titans (4-6)

    Playoff Odds: Playoffs? Don’t talk about no playoffs!

    Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9)

    Playoff Odds: No, just no

     

    AFC West

    Denver Broncos (7-3)

    Playoff Odds: It’s in the bag

    San Diego Chargers (4-6)

    Playoff Odds: Outside looking in

    Oakland Raiders (3-7)

    Playoff Odds: No, just no

    Kansas City Chiefs (1-9)

    Playoff Odds: No, just no

     

    AFC North

    Baltimore Ravens (8-2)

    Playoff Odds: Very likely

    Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4)

    Playoff Odds: Possible

    Cincinnati Bengals (5-5)

    Playoff Odds: Possible

    Cleveland Browns (2-8)

    Playoff Odds: No, just no

     

    AFC East

    New England Patriots (7-3)

    Playoff Odds: It’s in the bag

    NY Jets (4-6)

    Playoff Odds: Outside looking in

    Buffalo Bills (4-6)

    Playoff Odds: Playoffs? Don’t talk about no playoffs!

    Miami Dolphins (4-6)

    Playoff Odds: Playoffs? Don’t talk about no playoffs!

NFC Playoff Odds

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    The NFC is a little bit more top-heavy than the AFC due to there being more "elite" teams in the conference this season. That makes for an exciting finish to the season as each of the contenders begin to jockey for position among the ranking.

    After starting out a miserable 0-4, the New Orleans Saints have gone on to win five of their last six ballgames to put the team back into postseason contention. 

    Greg Schiano's tough Tampa Bay Buccaneers have different plans for the Saints. His Bucs lost on a last-second blown route in which Mike Williams was pushed out of bounds before coming back in to make what was believed to be the game-winning touchdown for the Bucs.

     

    NFC East

    New York Giants (6-4)

    Playoff Odds: Strong possibility

    Dallas Cowboys (5-5)

    Playoff Odds: Possible

    Washington Redskins (4-6)

    Playoff Odds: Outside looking in

    Philadelphia Eagles (3-7)

    Playoff Odds: No, just no

     

    NFC North

    Green Bay Packers (7-3)

    Playoff Odds: Strong possibility

    Chicago Bears (7-3)

    Playoff Odds: Possible

    Minnesota Vikings (6-4)

    Playoff Odds: Possible

    Detroit Lions (4-6)

    Playoff Odds: Outside looking in

     

    NFC West

    San Francisco 49ers (7-2-1)

    Playoff Odds: It’s in the bag

    Seattle Seahawks (6-4)

    Playoff Odds: Strong possibility

    Arizona Cardinals (4-6)

    Playoff Odds: Playoffs? Don’t talk about no playoffs!

    St. Louis Rams (3-6-1)

    Playoff Odds: No, just no

     

    NFC South

    Atlanta Falcons (9-1)

    Playoff Odds: Very likely

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-4)

    Playoff Odds: Strong Possibility

    New Orleans Saints (5-5)

    Playoff Odds: Possible

    Carolina Panthers (2-8)

    Playoff Odds: No, just no

AFC Projected Playoff Picture

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    The first four AFC playoff seeds are pretty self-explanatory. Maybe even the first five fall under that category. However, the wild cards are not like they sound. They're pretty tame and predictable.

    Pittsburgh, while missing Ben Roethlisberger for the next two games, will drop both of them (to Cleveland and Baltimore). By the time they get back into form, it would be too late...for any other team. Any other team isn't the Steelers. They'll ride their staunch defense and Roethlisberger's arm to another playoff appearance this season.

    As expected, the Colts will roll to the playoffs thanks to the likely Rookie of the Year's performance and contributions on the field. Andrew Luck is still developing as quickly as expected, for the most part.

    Is there anyone playing football as good as the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos? They'll continue their prolific offensive performances under Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, respectively, to lock up their respective divisions easily.

    Houston is in no real danger from the Colts and will likely seal their division a few weeks early and be able to rest up for the postseason during Weeks 15 and 16.

     

    Projected AFC Playoff Seeds

    1. Houston Texans

    2. New England Patriots

    3. Denver Broncos

    4. Baltimore Ravens

    5. Indianapolis Colts

    6. Pittsburgh Steelers

NFC Projected Playoff Picture

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    The NFC playoff picture shouldn't change very much before the end of the season, barring a total meltdown or resurgence by a team like the New Orleans Saints. Unfortunately for the Saints, and teams like the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks, there are just too many good teams in the NFC this season and not enough spots for all of them.

    New Orleans' slow start will come back to haunt them down the stretch, and the Seahawks' schedule will get the better of them. For the Vikings, they just don't have the consistency to run the table and compete with both the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers in the NFC North.

    Tampa Bay is the surprise team of this year's NFC playoff picture. Rookie running back Doug Martin has sparked their offense and taken a lot of the pressure off Josh Freeman. That's helped the team and new wide receiver Vincent Jackson blossom into one of the more prolific offenses in the NFC.

     

    Projected NFC Playoff Seeds

    1. Atlanta Falcons

    2. Green Bay Packers

    3. San Francisco 49ers

    4. New York Giants

    5. Chicago Bears

    6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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