Numbers Never Lie returns! For those new to the program, I graduated with a degree in Statistics from Lehigh. So I guess you could call me a numbers guy, but that would be an understatement. I’ve loved mixing Sports and Statistics my entire life. I learned how to keep a scorecard at a Phillies Game when I was four and I haven’t stopped recording since.
This series went so well last year, it had to make a comeback. Here are the probabilities for Week 16 in the AFC.
NO TIES! (It makes it easier for all parties involved)
To get an initial probability of winning, I only took the team’s current winning percentage and divided by that number plus their opponent’s current winning percentage (EX: Denver (.786) vs Cincinnati (.679): probability Denver Wins [p(DEN-W)]=(.786/1.465)=.537 or 53.7%). So how the team is currently playing, key matchups, injuries, etc. will not affect the chances.
Nine teams are still alive, three can clinch any of the three remaining spots:
Baltimore Ravens (9-5): Playing at Houston (7-7). To clinch a birth, they’ll need: a win AND one of the two following combinations either losses by the Bengals AND the Steelers OR losses by the Chiefs AND the Chargers. Probability to clinch: 24.7%
Cincinnati Bengals (9-4-1): Playing vs. Denver (11-3). To clinch a birth, they’ll need: a win OR losses by the Bills AND the Chiefs AND the Chargers. Probability to clinch: 48.9%
Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5): Playing vs. Kansas City (8-6). To clinch a birth, they’ll need: a win. Probability to clinch: 52.9%
If you counting up the percentages, you may notice they add up to be greater than 100%. That’s because multiple teams can clinch playoff births. In fact, the probability of all three spots being clinched is 7.9%, two spots is 25.3%, one spot is 55.7%, and the probability that no teams clinch this week is 11.1%. If you played this week over and over, on average, about 1.3 teams would clinch.
The Patriots, Broncos, and Colts have each clinched the East, West, and South Divisions, respectively.
AFC North: They can clinch the AFC if: they win AND the Ravens lose AND the Steelers lose: 9.5% probability of clinching
FIRST ROUND BYES:
Denver Broncos (11-3): They can clinch a first-round bye if they defeat the Bengals: 53.7% probability of clinching
New England Patriots (11-3): They can clinch a first-round bye if: they win over the Jets OR losses by the Ravens AND the Bengals AND the Colts AND the Steelers: 79.8% probability of clinching
The probability both teams clinch is 43.4%, the probability only one team clinches is 46.7%, and the probability neither team clinches is 9.9%.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE:
The New England Patriots can clinch Home Field with: a win AND a Broncos loss: 36.4% probability of clinching Home Field Advantage
See you tomorrow for the National Football Conference.