After a long and exciting season, the playoffs are finally here! Our algorithms had a great year as well and really had a great read on all 32 teams, which gave us great profits over the course of the season. Let's take a look at what our proprietary models are saying will happen in the postseason:
From our projections, the Ravens are clear favorites not only to take the AFC, but to win the Super Bowl. The 49ers come in at 2nd to win the Super Bowl, followed next by Kansas City, New Orleans, Green Bay, and then New England. After that, there is a significant drop off for the super bowl hopes of the remaining teams not listed above. Houston and Buffalo in the 1st round is projected to be a toss up game, as we have Houston advancing 53% of the time. Either way, the winner will likely have to travel to play Baltimore in the Next round, which will be a very tough game. In the NFC, New Orleans is projected to beat Minnesota 69% of the time, while Philly and Seattle is another toss up as we have Philly advancing 58% of the time.
Although both #1 Seeds claim the best odds, there are no doubt dangerous teams that can make runs in these playoffs. Although it may seem like a surprise, Philadelphia may be one of them. If they can get by Seattle in the first round, which we have them doing 56% of the time, they may see a potential return of Zach Ertz, Desean Jackson, & Nelson Agholor in the divisional round. San Francisco and Green Bay have both dipped in form from earlier in the season, and aren't as much of a sure thing as they once were. We project Philly having a 39% chance to beat Green Bay, and 29% chance to beat San Francisco. With an experienced Philly squad, they have the potential to make a run. In the AFC, the team playing wildcard weekend that is most dangerous is no doubt the New England Patriots. They obviously have the experience since they are practically in the super bowl every year, and still have enough talent to do so which may surprise some people. We project them to have a 70% chance to beat Tennessee in the Wild Card round, which would take them up to Kansas City, a team they beat twice last year and should have arguably beat this year is not for a few mistakes by the referees officiating that game. We give New England a 46% chance to go into Arrowhead and win, which is practically a coin flip. Baltimore will be a tough one, but New England has a clear road to the title game, and there is nothing more dangerous than an angry and hot Patriots team. Although Minnesota has a very tough first round game, they are a perplexing team. From our models, we rank them higher than Seattle, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Tennessee, Houston, and just narrowly worse than Green Bay, New England, and Kansas City, which is surprising considering they are the 6th seed. If the do manage to beat New Orleans in round 1, they will be headed to San Francisco, where they will have a higher chance to win they had in round 1 at 32%. If they get past them, they will have an even higher chance against the likeliest foe Green Bay, at 43%. It's an extremely tough road, but Minnesota is no doubt one of the most talented teams that has held the 6 seed in years and could make a run.
The Importance Of A 1st Round Bye
A 1st round bye in the NFL is HUGE. New England missed out on this opportunity last week with an ugly home loss to Miami. If they secured that win, the playoff picture in the AFC looks considerably different.
Without a bye, they had just a 14% chance to make the Super Bowl. With one, they now have a 32%, 18 percentage points higher. Kansas City went from 27% to 10%, so it was as important for them! So Miami may prove to end up being a very costly home loss, one that New England will definitely not forget if they end up getting bounced early.