Playoff Pontificator: Week 11

TRF’s Inaugural 2017 Week 11 Playoff Pontificator

Today, we are going to talk playoffs.  PLAYOFFS?! (Insert Jim Mora soundtrack).  Ok, after last year’s run I’m sure most of us thought we would be looking at securing a bye right about now instead of clinging to our collective playoff lives.  That said, it is what it is and we need to make some statistical lemonade.  It’s hard to believe that we were 7-2 a mere 12 months ago.  So why, one year later, are we sitting at 4-5?  Well, if we choose to play the blame game there is a lot of it to spread around.

Reggie sitting on the FA sidelines especially on Defense?  Sure….  JDR’s curious decision to dump our 12-4 OC while promoting a greener than Kermit OC?  Without question….  Retaining KNJ yet again?  Uh huh… Carr, Cooper, Lynch and the entire OL underperforming times on the field?  Hard to deny… But hey, no sense in crying WHY we are here because…well…we are here!  The question now is, will this team and its staff roll over and limp into a highly disappointing 6-10 season or, will they dig deep and turn this mess around?

Ok so lets get right to it and spin some optimism.  One thing we can all be happy about is that the AFC is a train wreck this year and I am here to tell you right off the bat that if we can go 9-7 (5-2) we should make the dance (~75%).  10-6 gets us in without question (99%).  11-5?  We can start thinking Bye Time.

With that in mind, I’ll do my best to quantify and simplify the heretofore mystifying world of NFL playoff possibilities.  You will not find any conjecture or other non-quantifiable tomfoolery gracing these entries.

The weekly objective of this series will be to keep your inner geek satiated and well-informed.  I will do my best to simultaneously overload and entertain you with percentages and possibilities galore.
As a refresher, each and every week I will target the following:
  1. Establish an accurate representation of baseline odds that delve into the likelihood that our illustrious Raiders will reach the playoff promised land. As part of that effort, I will provide the specific percentages associated with each of the 6 NFL Seeds in addition to the combined likelihood of a bye coming our way (stop laughing).
  2. Additionally, after going deep into the slate of weekly games in front of us, I will provide ‘best and worse case scenario outlooks’ that will help on the rooting front while simultaneously providing a bracket of sorts to let us know just how nervous we should or should be as it relates to any given week or any individual game.

As a bonus, I will also provide a weekly TuckRoo’Foo’ishFact© which will highlight some unlikely (but still possible) statistical oddity for you to chew on as we anxiously await the next week’s contest.

Ok so here we go…

TRF’s Week 11 Playoff Pontificator Analysis

As of today (Monday November, 13th) the likelihood that our Oakland Raiders make the playoffs is 16%.  This value is obtained based on 10’s of thousands of individual game simulations for the remaining contests that have yet to be played.  And once the outcomes are tallied, the Raiders qualify for the post-season dance 16% of the time.  As we sit at 4-5, these relatively low odds (i.e. a 1 in 6 chance) is not exactly surprising.

Next, lets get a bit more granularity and see what are the odds for us as it relates to the Six (6) Seed System the NFL uses for each Conference.  Using the same simulation process, the following likelihoods are achieved.

  • 6th: (Wild Card road team): 7%
  • 5th: (Wild Card road team): 6%
  • 4th: (4th best  Div winner – home game): 2%
  • 3rd: (3th best  Div winner – home game): 1%
  • 2nd: (2nd best Div winner – BYE, home game): <1%
  • 1st: (best Div winner – BYE, home game throughout): <1%
  • Bye likelihood: (Seed 1 plus Seed 2): <1%
Note of interest:

Right now, and somewhat surprisingly, the Raiders are the number 9 Seed in the AFC. 

With a (likely) Carolina win Monday night the Raiders then jump to Seed 8 behind Baltimore after applying the NFL’ 3-team Wild Card tiebreaker between the Raiders, Ravens and Dolphins who are all currently bottlenecked at 4-5.

Now let’s take at look at next week’s games to see which outcomes will lead to the greatest improvement (and degradation) with respect to the Raider’s overall chances of making the playoffs which, as noted previously, currently sits at 16%.

The outcomes listed below are rated on excitement and sleep scales.  The more exclamation points given the bigger the effect the game has while contests with little to no effect get zzz’s.


How Week 11 NFL games could enhance Oakland’s chances for a playoff birth to 40%(currently sitting at 16%)

i. !!! Oak over Patriots +11% Yes Duh…

ii. !! Chargers over Bills +4% Hate the Bills, Titans, Jags here on out

iii. !! Steelers over Titans +3% See above…

iv. !! Browns over Jags +2% See above…

v. !! Giants over KC +2% Ok, we hate KC too…

vi. ! Cardinals over Texans +1%

vii. ! Bucs over Dolphins +1%

viii. ! Packers over Ravens +1%

ix. ! Bengals over Broncos +1%

x. zzz all other games +-0%, practically speaking no impact.


Basically reverse everything above.  And if you do that, we are sitting at a 6% chance of getting in.

At this point, the team just needs to take care of its own business, string some wins together and leave the scoreboard watching to experts like us.

And now for your amusement, I leave you with this week’s TuckRoo’Foo’ishFact©

In turn, if Oakland wins out, the Raiders are not only 100% guaranteed to make the playoffs but they would also have a 95% chance of hosting a home playoff game and a 51% chance of securing a 1st round bye.  Unlikely?  Perhaps.  Impossible? Go ask the 7-2 Saints, who started out at 0-2 what’s possible.  In today’s wholly unpredictable NFL, absolutely anything is possible and I for one won’t stop holding out hope until the rotund lady has sung.  And right now she hasn’t even begun to warm up her pipes…

Written by: Tuck Rule Fool