Somewhat surprisingly, and before I get into the details, I should mention that not all 6-4 teams are created equal. According to my calculations (along with other online NFL Playoff Simulators) you will see what I am talking about. For example, on the low end the 6-4 Rams, who reside in the much tougher NFC have ~ 28% chance of making it to the dance, the 6-4 Cowboys top the list at 66% while we sit in-between at 46%.
Ok, its time to get to the nuts and bolts of this post. How do we make the playoffs at:
Obviously, the team hopes to finish better than this. But let's start low and see what's possible. Before doing so let's list the six games that remain...
11/24 @ NYJ
12/1 @ KC
12/8 vs. Tenn
12/15 vs. Jax (last home game in Oakland! :( )
12/22 @ Carson (our last regular season home game in 2019, lol)
12/29 @ Denver
Yes, getting in at 8-8 is possible but it's a long shot. Still, the fact that the odds are not precisely 0.0 is pretty surprising if you think about it. Equally eyebrow-raising, is the fact that ANY combination of 2 wins and 4 losses results in a NON-ZERO chance to get in. On the low end, Oakland is looking at a 2-3% chance and a 1 in 10 shot at best. What are the particular combinations and associated those likelihoods? Well, ANY 8-8 record that includes a KC win gives Oakland an improved shot...
8-8 with a KC Win and -ONE- of the following...
Win @ Denver (10%)
Win @ Carson (10%)
Win vs. Tenn (9%)
Win vs. Jax (6%)
Win @ NYJ (3%)
What about 8-8 without a KC win? Well, it's not worth listing all the specifics since the best/worst chance the team can muster is 2%/1%, respectively. Want to hear two marginally interesting 8-8 fun facts? 1. That increase in likelihood with a KC win is almost entirely coming from a shot at winning the AFC West (ala 2010 at 8-8). 2. While a KC loss and an 8-8 record for all practical purposes eliminates winning the division, it's still not impossible to limp in at 8-8 as a WC.
For this section, I will keep it words-light and analysis-heavy. Below, I will show you the scenarios that max out (and minimize) the overall chances for making the postseason at 9-7 as well as the specific outcomes that max out the chances to win the AFC West or to secure a WC slot.
1. Overall best chance to make the playoffs (70%) 46% AFC West; 24% WC
Win @ KC
Win @ Carson
Win vs. Tenn
2. Best Chance to Win the AFC West (46%)
See Scenario # 1 above. Note: Interestingly, the odds to win the division (44%) are slightly lower if Oakland wins its remaining AFC West games (and loses the other 3 match-ups).
3. Best Chance to Secure a Wildcard Slot (47%)
Win @ NYJ OR Den
Win vs. Tenn
Win vs. Jax
Note: Chances of winning the AFC West, in this case, is a paltry 2%.
4. Lowest Overall Likelihood of Making the Playoffs with a 9-7 record (37%)
Win @ NYJ
Win vs. Jax
Win @ Den
Well, that's it for this week's mini-episode, folks. Feel free to comment (sorry, sock puppet Lefty12, no anonymous downvote options for you here, lol!)
With Thanksgiving upon us, the next edition of the Pontificator will be released a couple of days after the showdown at KC on 12/1.
Until then, keep the post-season faith Nation!
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These are weekly statistical/probability rantings from a PTSD Oakland Raiders fan. Years, ok, decades of losing have led to the delusion that anytime we are mathematically alive for the playoffs come December 1 (read: rare) we CAN and WILL make the...