AccuScore: Lions in great shape, Bears hurting
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 Luke McCown(notes) experiment has already imploded in Jacksonville. The Jaguars got six completions and four interceptions from their quarterback in a 29-point blowout loss in New York. As a result, they dropped nearly 18 percentage points in playoff probability to just 8.8 percent (which is probably too high).
The team in firm control of the AFC South is Houston, the only 2-0 team in the division. The Texans gained 21 percentage points because of another solid win and because AccuScore now projects Peyton Manning(notes) to miss the entire season. Last week, computer simulations still had Manning playing the final weeks of the season. The Colts are making the playoffs in just 2.9 percent of simulations, the lowest number in the AFC. The biggest competition for Houston appears to be Tennessee which is now 30.2 percent likely for a playoff spot after a big win over Baltimore.
[ Yahoo! Sports Radio: Brian Cushing on Texans’ culture change]
The hottest division in football is the AFC East, the only division with three 2-0 teams. The Jets’ dismantling of the Jags led to a gain of 18.8 percentage points in playoff probability. But they still trail the Patriots, who actually lost ground after Week 2. There isn’t much ground to gain since New England is projected as the most likely team to reach the postseason at nearly 92 percent. The biggest surprise is 2-0 Buffalo, which has a 33.2 percent likelihood of making the playoffs, nearly twice as high as last week. The Dolphins are the dud in the group with only a 0.4 percent chance to win the division.
The Raiders’ loss to Buffalo, the best finish of Week 2, significantly damaged Oakland’s playoff chances. Oakland lost 14.4 percentage points this week and is now 14.2 percent likely to win the West. The Chargers are still the best team in the division in simulations, despite a loss to New England. San Diego is the second likeliest team to win a playoff spot at 85.8 percent. Denver came back to get its first win, but the Broncos are still long shots at just 1.8 percent to win the division. Kansas City is tied with Indianapolis as the worst team in the conference.
All four teams in the AFC North are 1-1 after two weeks. Pittsburgh regained 7.4 percentage points after a rough Week 1 and now leads. The Steelers are 57.1 percent likely to win the division followed by Baltimore at 39.5 percent. The Ravens lost 15.8 percentage points in playoff probability after a surprising loss at Tennessee. The Browns got a win but gained only 3.2 percentage points because of the strength of the two teams ahead of them. Cincinnati is in the same position despite showing more moxie than previously predicted.
|TEAM||WK1||WK2||% DIFF||WIN DIV|
|NEW YORK JETS||51.0%||69.8%||18.8%||26.8%|
|NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS||92.2%||91.8%||-0.3%||65.2%|
|SAN DIEGO CHARGERS||88.6%||85.8%||-2.8%||82.2%|
|KANSAS CITY CHIEFS||5.9%||2.9%||-3.0%||1.9%|
On Monday night, Atlanta got one of the most impressive wins of the week by beating the Eagles at home. As a result, the Falcons made the biggest jump, gaining 18 percentage points in probability. They are now in a crowded group hovering near 50-50 for a playoff spot. The Saints are projected significantly higher at 82.7 percent. Tampa Bay pulled off an exciting road win against the Vikings but gained just 2.3 percentage points. Cam Newton has electrified Carolina’s passing game, but that hasn’t yet translated into victories. The Panthers are still the fourth-best team in the division and are the least likely to make the playoffs in the NFC.
Washington is the only 2-0 team in the NFC East, but the Redskins saw no change in their playoff probability after a one-point win over Arizona. The Redskins were already favored over the Cardinals, and they are more likely competing for a wild-card spot rather than a division title. Philadelphia is still the favorite despite losing 6.3 percentage points this week. Dallas is actually close behind the Eagles, making the playoffs in 48.3 percent of simulations. The Cowboys, though, are already dealing with injuries to Miles Austin(notes) and Felix Jones(notes) as well as Tony Romo(notes). New York got a solid win over the Rams but is still trailing several teams in the race for a playoff spot. The Giants are the ninth-most likely team to make the postseason at 32.8 percent.
You know it’s a different NFL season when the Lions are more likely to make the playoffs than not. Detroit is 2-0, has a 52.2 percent chance of making the playoffs and has scored the most points in the league. Green Bay is the third-highest scoring team through two weeks and is the most likely team to win a playoff spot at 92.8 percent. Chicago was the biggest loser this week after showing more problems on the offensive line and getting lit up by New Orleans on the road. The Bears dropped a whopping 26.8 percentage points and have just a 5.9 percent chance at winning the North. Minnesota has not looked great through two weeks and the Vikings have just a 1-in-11 chance at the postseason.
San Francisco lost to Dallas in overtime and blew a golden chance to take control of the NFC West. Still, the Niners are more likely to make the playoffs than not at 50.5 percent. Arizona is next in line at 34.5 percent, virtually no change from a week ago. The Rams were a trendy pick to win the West, but a difficult early schedule could put them in too big of a hole. Seattle is also a long shot at just 7.4 percent.
|TEAM||WK1||WK2||% DIFF||WIN DIV|
|GREEN BAY PACKERS||88.9%||92.8%||3.9%||77.4%|
|NEW ORLEANS SAINTS||80.2%||82.7%||2.5%||65.9%|
|TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS||22.8%||25.2%||2.3%||9.6%|
|NEW YORK GIANTS||34.8%||32.8%||-2.0%||19.5%|
|SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS||52.8%||50.5%||-2.3%||47.2%|
|ST. LOUIS RAMS||18.7%||15.8%||-3.0%||14.4%|
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