Projecting all the NFL playoff spots

November 30, 2021 09:19 PM

All NFL teams have either five or six games left in their 2021-22 seasons. With the calendar turning to December, the stretch run is truly about to begin. By now we have a pretty good feel for what each team brings to the table. It is a perfect time to project the rest of the season using power ratings and then employ the findings to uncover potential playoff and divisional title odds value.

I took my current power ratings and plotted each team’s remaining schedule while also factoring in my adjusted home- and road-field advantage ratings, any injuries that figure to affect the action and some other minor situational adjustments I make to individual games. I then calculated theoretical lines and win probabilities for each game and used these to forecast records.

(To view the charts associated with this report, subscribe to Point Spread Weekly)


Here are the current division title odds:

Buffalo -140

New England + 115

Miami + 10000

This week’s “Monday Night Football” game between New England and Buffalo will have a huge impact on which team wins the AFC East and gets the home playoff game that comes with it. The edge goes to the Bills as they are playing at home, although the Patriots are the hottest team in the NFL right now and could return the favor three weeks later. That said, the Patriots have a half-game cushion in the standings, and Buffalo faces a daunting task Dec. 12 at Tampa Bay. The Patriots have nothing close to that. Let’s go with coach Bill Belichick’s team to secure the split with Buffalo and eventually the division title. 

Buffalo Bills

Dec. 6: New England — Proj FL: -4.5, Win Prob: 63 percent

Dec. 12: at Tampa Bay — Proj FL: + 2.5, Win Prob: 43 percent

Dec. 18: Carolina — Proj FL: -12.5, Win Prob: 82 percent

Dec. 26: at New England — Proj FL: -1, Win Prob: 53 percent

Jan. 2: Atlanta — Proj FL: -14, Win Prob: 85 percent

Jan. 9: New York Jets — Proj FL: -17.5, Win Prob: 90 percent

Projected rest-of-season record: 4.2-1.8

Miami Dolphins

Dec. 5: New York Giants — Proj FL: -1, Win Prob: 53 percent

Dec. 18: New York Jets — Proj FL: -6, Win Prob: 67 percent

Dec. 27: at New Orleans — Proj FL: + 3.5, Win Prob: 40 percent

Jan. 2: at Tennessee — Proj FL: + 5.5, Win Prob: 34 percent

Jan. 9: New England — Proj FL: + 7, Win Prob: 30 percent

Projected rest-of-season record: 2.2-2.8

New England Patriots

Dec. 6: at Buffalo — Proj FL: + 4.5, Win Prob: 37 percent

Dec. 18: at Indianapolis — Proj FL: + 0, Win Prob: 50 percent

Dec. 26: Buffalo — Proj FL: + 1, Win Prob: 47 percent

Jan. 2: Jacksonville — Proj FL: -15.5, Win Prob: 88 percent

Jan. 9: at Miami — Proj FL: -7, Win Prob: 70 percent

Projected rest-of-season record: 2.9-2.1

New York Jets

Dec. 5: Philadelphia — Proj FL: + 8, Win Prob: 28 percent

Dec. 12: New Orleans — Proj FL: + 5, Win Prob: 36 percent

Dec. 18: at Miami — Proj FL: + 6, Win Prob: 33 percent

Dec. 26: Jacksonville — Proj FL: -2, Win Prob: 56 percent

Jan. 2: Tampa Bay — Proj FL: + 14.5, Win Prob: 14 percent

Jan. 9: at Buffalo — Proj FL: + 17.5, Win Prob: 10 percent

Projected rest-of-season record: 1.8-4.2

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