Bills’ playoff odds sink after loss to Jets
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • November 07, 2011 @ 9:19am
Now that there’s a three-way tie atop the AFC East—the Bills, Patriots and Jets all sit at 5-3 overall—the media begins to worry about playoff odds with the season at its halfway point. Unfortunately, according to research by CoolStandings.com and reports from Buffalo Business First, Buffalo’s playoff odds have diminished to 18.6%, while New England (63.6%) and the Jets (70.2%) have taken the odds-makers by storm. After the 27-11 loss to division rival New York, Buffalo’s post-season odds dropped over 30 percentage points.
CoolStandings.com derives its odds from a simulator that compiles one million separate outcomes—each week—for the rest of the season. Sounds like an exhausting, boring job to us!
“Basically we simulate the rest of the season millions of times, based on every team’s performance to date and its remaining schedule. We then look at how many “seasons” a team won its division or won a wildcard, and voila—we have our numbers,” the CoolStandings.com website reads.
The composite record of the Bills’ remaining opponents is 27-37, good for a .422 win percentage. The Jets, who face the stiffest schedule in the final eight games, will see opponents with a 30-33 overall record, a winning percentage of .476. The Patriots, buoyed by a match-up against win-less Indianapolis, will face other teams with a total record of 22-33, only a .400 winning percentage.
Why else might the mastermind computer be hatin’ on the 716, aside from its middle-of-the-road remaining schedule? The rather lopsided loss to New York yesterday certainly doesn’t help the cause, nor does the team’s record in the final eight games over the last four years (12-20). Predicting failure based on past teams’ records is bad practice, however, as the Bills are a much more gifted team—when healthy—than any team since the late ‘90s.
Perhaps the most concerning—and realistic—reason the Bills are on the outside looking in is the unexpected success of the AFC North. Baltimore and Cincinnati both stand at 6-2—I bet the Bills are dearly regretting that Week 4 loss to Marvin Lewis’ Bengals—and Pittsburgh is only a half-game back at 6-3. All three of those teams have above 72% odds of reaching the post-season. Unfortunately, this could be one of the years where a 10-6 team isn’t guaranteed to make the playoffs (two 10-6 teams missed in 2010, but every 10-6 record reached the postseason in ‘08, ‘09), largely due to the glut of worthy wild card teams.
One final noteworthy statistic, since we’re on a numbers roll today. The NFC is 65-62 overall, while the AFC is 64-67.