AccuScore: Bengals more than double playoff chances

AccuScore provides football predictions and projections by 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. Visit AccuScore 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(notes), is 6-2 after a comeback win over Tennessee. The win had a huge affect 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 AFC North. The Ravens are 83.5 percent for a playoff spot. Pittsburgh fell 12.4 percentage points. While all three teams are each projected to make the postseason, the percentage of all three making it is 8 percent of AccuScore’s simulations. Cincinnati’s four remaining games against the Ravens and Steelers will go a long way in determining postseason positioning.

The Texans are 92 percent likely to win the AFC South after having won three straight games. The Colts have a 5 percent shot of going winless for the entire season. This week, they play the Jaguars at home which will be their best chance of the season to get a win. The 2-6 Jags have just a 0.7 percent chance of making the postseason. 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 38 points in the process. The Chiefs and Raiders also lost to keep the three teams tied at 4-4 in the AFC West. 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(notes) 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 nine weeks of play, but they have finally shown that type of fire by winning three 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 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 the Jets 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.

CINCINNATI BENGALS 35.8% 74.6% 38.8% 29.9%
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS 57.6% 71.3% 13.7% 69.9%
BALTIMORE RAVENS 72.3% 83.5% 11.2% 43.8%
NEW YORK JETS 29.5% 40.2% 10.7% 18.3%
HOUSTON TEXANS 88.8% 92.6% 3.8% 92.0%
DENVER BRONCOS 0.5% 3.6% 3.1% 3.2%
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
MIAMI DOLPHINS 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS 1.0% 0.7% -0.3% 0.7%
CLEVELAND BROWNS 1.7% 0.7% -1.0% 0.1%
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 91.9% 85.9% -6.1% 69.1%
TENNESSEE TITANS 16.1% 9.0% -7.1% 7.3%
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 19.0% 10.9% -8.1% 9.8%
PITTSBURGH STEELERS 93.5% 81.1% -12.4% 26.3%
OAKLAND RAIDERS 39.0% 18.6% -20.4% 17.1%
BUFFALO BILLS 53.3% 27.4% -26.0% 12.6%


Eli Manning(notes) might be the difference in the NFC East. The quarterback led the Giants to a superb win over the Patriots in the fourth quarter to push his team to 6-2. New York is now 70.5 percent likely to make the playoffs and maintained favored status in the division at 54.5 percent. Philadelphia needed to win Monday night to keep pace, but the loss to Chicago hurt. The Eagles lost 22.5 percentage points in playoff probability, most in the conference. Michael Vick(notes) and company now make the playoffs in just 16.5 percent of simulations. Dallas got a comfortable win over Seattle to remain in second place in the division. Washington is the one non-contender winning the division in just 1.6 percent of simulations.

The Packers continue to roll through all their opponents and are halfway to 16-0. AccuScore projects that Green Bay has an 8 percent chance to remain undefeated through the regular season. Detroit has about a 60 percent chance at the playoffs. That number would be higher, but Green Bay has such a strong hold on the projected division title that the Lions will have to get in as a wild card. The path will be the same for Chicago, which is on a solid three-game winning streak. The Bears gained 12.9 percentage points in probability this week, most in the NFC. They need to keep winning to keep up with Detroit and Green Bay. Minnesota’s playoff chances are almost down to 0.

New Orleans and Atlanta are heading toward a big game Sunday in Week 10. For now, the Saints are more likely for the playoffs at 86.1 percent while the Falcons project to make the postseason 54.7 percent of the time. Tampa Bay is 4-4, but is really not a contender having been outscored by 49 points on the season. The Bucs have just a 4.2 percent chance to win the NFC South. The Panthers’ playoff chances continue to march toward zero.

San Francisco is all the way up to 99.8 percent likely to win the NFC West. At 7-1, the Niners could clinch a playoff spot soon with a couple more wins. St. Louis, Seattle and Arizona combined have just five wins and a 1.3 percent chance to make the playoffs.

CHICAGO BEARS 29.3% 42.2% 12.9% 0.9%
NEW YORK GIANTS 62.1% 70.5% 8.4% 54.5%
ATLANTA FALCONS 50.1% 54.7% 4.6% 29.4%
DALLAS COWBOYS 45.1% 49.1% 4.0% 35.0%
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 83.2% 86.1% 2.9% 66.2%
DETROIT LIONS 57.9% 59.9% 2.0% 3.5%
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS 99.1% 99.8% 0.7% 99.8%
GREEN BAY PACKERS 99.7% 99.9% 0.2% 95.6%
ST. LOUIS RAMS 0.2% 0.0% -0.2% 0.0%
ARIZONA CARDINALS 0.4% 0.2% -0.2% 0.1%
CAROLINA PANTHERS 1.0% 0.7% -0.3% 0.2%
MINNESOTA VIKINGS 1.2% 0.8% -0.4% 0.0%
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 3.2% 1.1% -2.0% 0.2%
WASHINGTON REDSKINS 7.0% 3.4% -3.6% 1.6%
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 22.2% 15.2% -7.0% 4.2%
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 38.6% 16.5% -22.1% 8.9%