Nate’s Notebook: Crunching the Playoff Numbers
As we enter Week 7 of the NFL season it may seem a bit premature to start the playoff talk. As Jim Mora once famously and incredulously asked: “Playoffs? Don’t talk about playoffs!”
Well, sorry Jim. I am talking about playoffs. With a 4-1 record, a dominant defense, and a very friendly schedule, I think it’s fair for Buffalo fans to not only start talking about the playoffs, but to expect a berth. The numbers are certainly in their favor.
The Current Odds
The Bills currently sit with the 3rd best odds (-300) to make the AFC playoffs behind only the Patriots and Chiefs. At the time of this writing, Patrick Mahomes has injured his knee, though no word has officially been given as to how long he’ll be out. If the Chiefs are forced to play without Mahomes for any period of time, it won’t likely go well.
According to FiveThirtyEight, the Bills have a 77% chance of making the playoffs as it stands today. With the hapless Dolphins on deck this Sunday, those chances are about to increase to 85% with a win. Sure, you don’t want to assume a win. We’ve all seen anything can happen in the NFL. But this Dolphins team is another level of terrible. I’ve had bowel movements more explosive than their offense.
The Bills couldn’t ask for a better path (except for being stuck in the same division as the Pats). Already at 4-1, only two of those games have been in the friendly confines of New Era Field. Buffalo still has six home games including the next three.
The Miami Dolphins are arguably one of the worst teams in the history of the NFL and they’re on the schedule twice. The Washington Redskins are one of the worst teams in the league, with their only win coming against the Dolphins by a single point. They’ll be in Buffalo in a couple of weeks. The struggling and offensively inept Broncos, the massively disappoint Browns, and the Jets who’ve already lost a home game to the Bills are also still remaining on the schedule. In fact, with 11 games remaining, only two teams (NE, Baltimore) currently have a winning record. Two! Those two games along with a road trip to Dallas are the only games that stand out as potentially scary matchups. This schedule is tailor made for a playoff run.
Let’s face it, the AFC isn’t all that good this year. New England is really good and if Patrick Mahomes is healthy, so are the Chiefs. But both are definitely beatable. The Texans are talented but inconsistent. The Charges are falling apart. The Steelers have been gutted by trades, free agency and injury. The Colts are solid but obviously lost Andrew Luck right before the season. This conference is wide open and even if the Bills aren’t able to overcome the Patriots for the AFC East crown, it’s really difficult to envision two teams passing the Bills for the Wild Card spots.
The 2019 Buffalo Bills will be in the playoffs. Mark it down. I know, I know, some of you are shaking your fist at me for jinxing them. At Nate’s Notebook, we don’t believe in jinxes, we believe in numbers. And logic. And the numbers, the schedule and NFL history are all strongly indicating that the Bills are a playoff team.
Now go take care of business against the Dolphins.