Postseason Projections: Divisional Round

The results of the ever-so-wild Wild Card Weekend shifted the postseason probabilities around somewhat. Without lifting a finger, New England's probability of a Super Bowl appearance increased from 32 to 47%, while Green Bay's probability declined slightly, from 40 to 36%. The model still considers both #1 seeds to be the most likely teams to emerge from their respective conferences.

The Texans and the Tebows
Now that the Steelers are out, the Houston Texans, led by the inimitable TJ Yates, are the highest-ranked team remaining in the playoff field. The difficulty of their path to the Super Bowl—Baltimore and then (most likely) New England, both on the road—makes them only the fourth most likely team to come away with a Super Bowl win, however. Meanwhile, the game probability model stubbornly refuses to accept the fact that All Tebow Does Is Win, giving Denver Super Bowl odds of slightly worse than two hundred to one.

The Battle of the Conferences Revisited
Last weekend's games tipped the balance slightly in the NFC's favor, with that conference now given a 51% probability of winning the Super Bowl.

Now, without further ado, the full postseason projections, with the tables below listing each team's percent probability of advancing to each successive round of the postseason. Enjoy.

AFC Percent Probability to Advance
TeamConference GameSuper BowlSup Bowl Champion

NFC Percent Probability to Advance
TeamConference GameSuper BowlSup Bowl Champion

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18 Responses to “Postseason Projections: Divisional Round”

  1. Anonymous says:

    do these probabilities reflect the updated team efficiency stats based on the first week of the playoffs? in other words, is denver's 16% probability based on the 16 regular season games, or the 16 regular season games and the playoff game?

  2. Josh Katz says:

    It includes the results of the playoff games as well.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Does the saints 49ers game take into account the saints playing away and outside rather than in their dome? The % seems to favor the saints too much.

  4. Mike M says:

    The Pats have the highest probability to win the SB with one-of the worst defenses imaginable ?

    I think it's time to go back to the drawing board with the model !

  5. Anonymous says:

    We've got Houston at 57% to win this weekend? On the road? Time to mortgage the house on Houston on the money line I guess!!

    Or better yet...somebody hit the model with a hammer!! We're a full 10+ points off the current spread of Baltimore -7.5!

    Here's approximately what the model's lines are based on the numbers above.

    New England -13
    Houston -3
    New Orleans -4.5
    Green Bay -3

  6. Brian Burke says:

    Mike-Are you aware of this year's Super Bowl results already? Because I'm not. NE's chances are so high because they have a 2-TD spread this weekend. I guess it's back to the drawing board for your critical thinking skills!

    Anonymous-Those numbers are for season-long team averages only. Click the NYT game probabilities tomorrow for an update on the 'Yates-only' probabilities. I think the model underrates GB's defense a couple points. Other than that I'll stand pat on these numbers. We'll see!

  7. Jim Glass says:

    The Pats have the highest probability to win the SB with one the worst defenses imaginable ?

    Justified in plain sight by the simple fact that the Packers and Saints have to get past each other, while the Patriots have no such opponent (unless God intervenes on Tebow's side).

    And the era when defense was needed to be a top team is receding in the rear view mirror of history. Offense alone is sufficient to win now. See for instance the Packers, Saints and Patriots -- 41-7 combined in the season and *all* sadly deficient on defense.

    One of them has to be the favorite to win, in spite of having a rotten defense, eh?

  8. Matt says:

    With a large amount of data, and teams transitioning/changing throughout the year, do you think a more fluid, weighted model for performance could be used? I would think at this point, how a team performed over the last 8 weeks of the season is more indicative of their level than the first 8. I wouldn't get rid of the old data, but maybe weigh them... this would help account for the injuries and other factors like that, such as rookies contributing in mid-season, etc etc.

  9. Jared Doom says:

    Your recent article on how dome teams perform in cold weather makes me think NO's 33% Super Bowl odds are overstated (as they'd likely have to face GB @ home). Or is that factored in somehow?

  10. Brian Burke says:

    Jared-No, it's not factored in.

    Matt-I've several versions of both types of models. The overall accuracy is about the same both ways. I've found (but can't prove) that the best way is to have a season-long fixed model and make limited ad-hoc adjustments given significant injuries or other major changes in game factors.

  11. Adam H says:

    So if Denver wins super bowl, would you call it a... miracle?

  12. Brian Burke says:

    I'd call it very unlikely but possible.

  13. Mike M says:

    The fact New England plays a weak opponent this week does not help them at all win the following week or in the Super Bowl, it does not increase their chances to win the Super Bowl, it only increases their chances to win this week.

    As far as being in a new ear where offense alone wins Super Bowls, just because Packers, Pats and Saints have combined for a 41-7 record has littl meaning at this point, they haven't won a Super Bowl yet with those defenses, talk to me after the Super Bowl with that one.

    The Packers and Saints both have a very good shot, but the Pats ? Not happening folks !!!


  14. Brian Burke says:

    Mike, I'll put this as nicely as I can. You're a dunce.

    No, it does not help them win next week or in the SB, but think of it this way: Of the 8 teams remaining in the tournament, one of them is a 2 TD favorite this round.

    Think about it real hard for a few minutes.

  15. Anonymous says:

    The human will is huge in football in general and one game changes everything. The knowledge now that all you have to do is win a one game series to advance just increases that factor. One NFL player grasps this edge more than any other player.

    The Patriots on the other hand have shown no will to win and advance in the playoffs recently since their early success. This week they don't think they will have much trouble winning so they can just kick back and lose again. Then they can hit the warm beaches in Mexico with the Cowboys players or whatever because that's what it's all about.

    If Denver wins this week, they will have a major psychological edge for winning it all.

  16. Swiggy says:

    Mike and Anon sould just keep posting inane comments until BB's (the article author, not the hooded one) head explodes.

  17. Steve M says:

    Mike, seriously? Every team remaining has to win three more games to win the Super Bowl. If the Pats are very likely to win their first game, yes, that helps them win the Super Bowl.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Well, the will to win was oozing from the pores of playoff assassin Tom Brady and the Pats killer D.

    The Broncos, well, lets just say the whole team ran, threw and defended like a boxer trying not to get KO'ed by the champ - by featuring their jab - and they still got KO'ed. Might want to throw some haymakers and pound at the opponent with authority next time guys. What's the worst that can happen?

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