NFL Playoff Odds; Bucs Cling to Slim Chance
Well, look here, football fans:
It's Week 17.
The fruit of a season's worth of toil finally comes to fruition.
Some teams are playing for everything.
Others are playing to just end the damn season already.
Most of the playoff teams are determined. In the AFC, all six are set in stone. The only item at stake heading into Week 17 is the AFC West title. Either the Raiders or the Chiefs will claim it, as well as the first-round bye that comes with it.
Besides that, there isn’t much else to do there except get hyped for some Tom Savage, Matt Moore, and Matt McGloin chucking and ducking.
In other words, Ben Rothlesberger and Alex Smith are the only dudes in the AFC stopping Tom Brady from winning his fifth Super Bowl.
The state of play in the NFC, however, is more interesting. Four clubs -- the Cowboys, Seahawks, Falcons, and Giants -- have punched their playoff ticket. Currently, the two teams holding down the remaining playoff slots are the Lions and the Packers.
The winner of their Sunday Night Football pairing will decide which will be crowned as NFC North champs.
On the outside looking in are the Redskins, who control their own destiny. They need:
- a win on Sunday at home against the Giants, as well as
- the Lions-Packers game to not end in a tie.
Conversely, the loser of the Lions-Packers can still make the playoffs if their game ends in a tie or if the Giants beat the Redskins.
Here’s where the playoff picture gets real fun:
- After their Week 16 odds, many wrote off the Buccaneers' playoff odds as dead.
- However, thanks to the Lions' loss to the Cowboys, Tampa Bay's odds improved to mostly dead.
In no particular order, the Bucs need the following to happen:
- They've gotta beat the Panthers;
- The Packers, Eagles, Seahawks, Colts, and Texans all have to lose; and
- The Giants and Redskins game to end in a tie.
If all of those things were to happen, the Bucs and Packers would finish 9-7, with the Redskins ending at 8-6-2.
Tampa Bay and Green Bay would finish ahead of Washington due to winning percentage. Losses to the other four teams listed would give the No 6 seed to the Bucs by virtue of tiebreakers.
What's the difference between this scenario and putting a mortgage payment on winning the Powerball?
Besides the tie, most of these outcomes actuallyhave a decent shot of happening on Sunday.
Hell, maybe even the tie could happen, especially when you consider that it’s the first time since 1997 that multiple games have ended in ties in a single season.
ESPN lists Tampa Bay's playoff odds at 60,000:1.
To put that in perspective, they're the same chances as your shot at becoming a professional athlete three times over.
You never know, though.
The Browns still need a slinger.